Tuesday, July 31, 2012

6. One Ending

I know there is probably a point in most children's life where they think that the life they have is perfect.  Maybe for most, it is when they are really young and they don't know better.  My disillusionment lasted at least until I was almost 7 or 8.  Then my mother and father got a divorce.  I think for a while, at least until I learned why, I almost hated my mother for taking our father away.  I don't know how she kept things together, and she probably should have divorced him years before.  But she tried the best she could.  My mother was married young, I think 18.  I believe she only got married to get away from her parents and their home.  My uncle, who I never knew, died at 16 years old in a jeep accident.  It changed my grandparents forever, my mother practically raised her younger sister.

To go from one broken home into another one ready to explode, and she never saw it.  Four girls to raise and no job back then was not an easy task.  She had hardly any work experience other than doing Princess House, Tupperware and the such.  She had not finished high school, because why finish high school when you're just going to be a homemaker.  Commodities were welcomed and helped immensely.  We were used to eating oatmeal with powdered milk and brown sugar.  Plenty of peanut butter and cheese, and prunes.  I always wondered, why prunes, but we got used to them and my mom was pretty inventive with them.  She would put them in a pan with water and brown sugar, I guess the precursor to those yummy little ones you find that are soft and moist and have other fruit flavors infused in them now.  We at least did not starve.

 My older sister became a wonderful cook.  Mom was gone at work and the duty fell to her to take care of the rest of us.  She once invented a drink for us with frozen orange juice and milk, not a lot unlike the Orange Julius drinks that they have in some of the malls.  Her spaghetti was wonderful, she even tried putting walnuts in it once and it was delicious.  Not fair though to have an 11 year old caring for 3 other children, the circle had come completely around where now my sister was basically a mom, where as my mother had done the same with her sister.  She had to grow up way to fast, so unfair.

And then my mom married another man.  I guess she thought that this would be the answer to her prayers, someone to take care of her and four girls.  And they did love each other, but she did not know him long enough and it was like going from the frying pan and into the fire.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

5. Life

My dad worked in the ship building industry, big boats like the U. S. S. Kittyhawk and the such.  We were not rich, but we were not poor either.  We didn't want for much, we had a nice home and my mom sewed all of us girls clothes as well as her own.  The only person she did not sew for was my dad, but I don't think that men's clothing was as expensive as women's and with a house full of girls I'm sure my mom's sewing helped out quite a bit.

We never went anywhere extravagant, but we always went somewhere.  Up to the mountains for the day with a basket in tow, or just up to the local restaurant where my mom and dad would get a steaming cup of coffee and us kids would get hot chocolate with the whipped cream piled high.  All the more better if it had been snowing and a piece of pie accompanied the hot beverages.

Sometimes we would go fishing with my dad just out to the local beach.  Our fishing poles dangling over the pier into the waves below.  Nothing like when you got a bite, the power of the fish and the excitement of bringing it in.  We had so much fun.  I remember one particular time, I was very young, maybe six and I had my eye on a seagull that I thought I was going to catch.  I was just about to grab that bird when my dad called out to me and scared it away.  I had no idea what I was going to do with that bird, but I wanted it and was so upset when it flew away out of my reach.  My dad would make us girls gut our own fish.  I was all girl, but I think that it taught us something about life.  With the good sometimes comes the bad and you just have to deal with it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

4. The House

My sister and I were out happily playing in our back yard with our dolls one day.  We were rather young, I was probably about 4 or 5 which put her at about 7 or 8, when a giant bumble bee came flying through the yard, now you never saw two little girls run so fast but we forgot our dolls outside.  We begged our mom to go and get our "babies" until she finally relented.  I'm sure that the bumble bee was long gone, but there was no way we were going back out there to find out.  She was our hero that day, yeah mom!

That was also the house we lived in where I fell out of a moving car.  My grandfather had an old 4 door sedan, I can't remember what it was, but it was big and it was pink and white.  My dad was driving us home with our cousin, and my sister and I were in the back.  I thought that I was rolling the window down when I grabbed the door handle and out I went.  Into gravel rolling and rolling until I finally came to a stop.  I hadn't realized how close we were to the house, but all I could think of was that they were leaving me behind so I got up and started running after the car.  My sister had been standing up in the back of the car looking out the back (no seat-belt requirements back then) when she saw me rolling and getting up and running.  I guess the spectacle looked rather funny to her so she started laughing and telling my dad that I was rolling down the hill.  My dad stopped the car and came and picked me up and took me home.  It was bad, but not too bad.  They had taken me to emergency, I can still remember those big round lights in the examination room.  They had to scrub the gravel out of my knees and elbows.  My mom was changing bandages on me for weeks it seemed like.

I have a lot of memories of that house, our neighbor was always doting on us girls, she was older and I think all of her kids had left home.  And I had my first "boyfriend" there (I was about 6), our families were friends and we used to go swimming in their pool.    I cracked my head open one day when my sister was playing airplane with me and I collided with a brick wall.  Our alligator lizards that we had ran away when we lived there.  They were beautiful white colored lizards about a foot long and I think we had two of them.  That and the wolf spider on the property who we used to feed flies to was the extent of our animal entertainment there.  But the wolf spider was really cool.  I can still remember him running out to catch the spider or potato bug that we would throw into his web.  So many memories in that house.

Monday, July 23, 2012

3. Things

My mom dyed her hair blond one year I don't know what possessed her to do so.  She came to pick me up at the bus and I barely recognized her.  She was almost always on time and I looked and looked and couldn't find her.  I was looking for her beautiful auburn hair when finally looking right at me with a big smile on her face, I realized that is was my mom.  It didn't last long, I don’t know if she decided that blonde's didn’t have more fun or if my dad told her he really didn’t like it.  After a while her beautiful auburn hair was back to normal.  Funny though, because I always wanted her color hair and I wind up with the blond hair.  Complete tow head when I was younger.  I tried going red once, but it did not suit me at all.

Funny how we always want what someone else has.  The curly hair when yours is straight, blond when yours is brown.  And the big house on the hill that comes with all the extra work when all you have is the little track house at the end of a cul-de-sac.  Having that big house or that boat, or the motorhome is not what makes you happy.  It is the family and friends that surround you that really make your life worth living.   That’s the trick to love the life that is your own.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

2. Memories

I got roller skates one year, I think for my birthday.  They were not the lace up kind, we could not afford something so expensive.  They were the kind that had a key and you wore them with your shoes.  My older sister said she would take me across the street to the school so that I could practice.  I remember riding the undulating sidewalks up and down and the smell of water going through metal pipes on a hot day as they watered the grass.  A steely smell, can't quite describe it, but whenever I smell that again, the memory hits me.  My sister and me skating up and down all over the school.  Those days were so simple and we had so much fun just skating, or playing with dolls, or waking up on Saturday mornings and watching cartoons with my dad.

It's hard to remember everything, I'm sure because I've supressed some of them along with other things I do not wish to remember.  I am thankful though for the memories I do have and I hope that it will bring back memories for my wonderful sister so when she looks back she can smile once again.  There were some wonderful things that happened.  As always though we tend to remember only those that hurt us the most and the wonderful things get shoved to the back of the closet.

Times have changed so much, all the electronics, trying to keep the family together is very hard.  Everyone wants to go their own way and do something different.  There was only watching TV or playing outside, back then, and we all would have way rathered to be playing outside.   Now there is everything, our families go in so many different directions.  I worry, will my children have such wonderful memories when they get older?   I believe it is the simpler things that make such touching memories.  I hope they have those of each other as well.

Friday, July 20, 2012

1. The Begining

I think that I was always a pretty happy child.  I believed that our family was absolutely perfect, and you know that nothing is perfect.  I loved my dad, he was my favorite.  Everything he liked, I liked.  Everything he wanted to do was what I wanted to do.  My mom was beautiful and I always loved and wanted her beautiful auburn hair.  She almost seemed to float when she was around and I loved her infectious smile.  Second in a family of all girls, I was all girl, from baby dolls to Barbie dolls, tea parties and mud pies and dressing up.  My older sister and I got on really well until she got older and then she didn't really want me around, I was too young, but I didn't really want to play with the little kids.  I was too grown up for them.

We had everything, or it seemed to me we did.  life was grand.  My mother did Tupperware, Princess House and a myriad of other odd jobs that kept her busy, but not too busy.  She wasn't the greatest cook back then, but she got by.  My favorite was brown bread from a can, which she didn't cook, fried potatoes and ham hocks with some sort of beans.  Back then women knew how to sew, and my mom was the best.  We always had the cutest clothes, she had even made matching outfits for my sister and I at one point.  With our ratted up hair and our shoes shined with Vaseline  we looked awesome.  I still have that picture in my mind to this day.  But things change and they did.