Posts Tagged With: Childhood

Whensday

I was telling my kids a story about my own childhood the other day, and it had my husband in stitches.  I’m not sure why, but for what it’s worth, here’s the story.

When I was a kid, I was a pretty picky eater.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I still AM a picky eater!  Although I’m not nearly as bad as I was as a kid.  Anyway, in addition to my being a picky eater, my mother was a horrible cook.  She did criminal things to food, I kid you not.  How much of her bad cooking contributed to me being a picky eater, one will never know.

One time, I must have been around 10 or 11, she made something for my dinner that – best as I can recall, was either mushrooms or Brussels sprouts.  It was round and slimy, I remember that, and I would not eat it.  It looked weird, it smelled awful, and it was slimy.  No way.  Would. Not. Eat.

I can be a stubborn girl when I have a mind to.

My mother yelled at me, threatened me, all kinds of things she told me would happen if I didn’t eat the science experiment reject in front of me.  Eventually she picked up a piece of whatever it was off my plate and tried to shove it in my mouth.

Oh no, we are so not going there!  I clasped my hand over my mouth as an extra barrier of protection.  This was a battle of epic proportions!

My mother, in her rage and frustration, leaned over and bit my hand, the hand covering my mouth.  She bit me!  I remember screaming, and I had a set of lungs on me too, it’s a wonder the neighbors on the other side of the wall didn’t call the police. 

At this point in the story, Darc busted up laughing.  I mean to tell you, he almost had tears running down his face, and that’s quite a feat of accomplishment for me!  Usually I’m the one splitting a gut at his stories.

“Why are you laughing?” I asked him.  “My knuckles were bloody and had teeth marks and everything!”

I try to remember that my beloved is a writer of horror fiction so things often strike him in a way they don’t other people. 

“Oh my gosh,” he replied, “‘Eat or be eaten!’  That’s just priceless.”

I guess it does have sort of a vampire quality to it.  Eat or be eaten.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll make it into one of his stories yet!  Smile

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Categories: Memories, Personal, Whensday | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Whensday

It must be the pool.  He wasn’t even in the dream, but pools and swimming always remind me of him, and I guess it only makes sense that a dream about a pool party would bring his memory sharply into focus. 

I still didn’t know how to swim, the summer I was 10.  Oh, I frolicked a lot in whatever swimming pool was available, and those weren’t hard to find in California in the 70s.  I was a water baby, you just couldn’t keep me away.  I had the chlorine-green blonde hair to prove it!

One place my mother and I lived, had a big rectangular pool right out front.  That blue door in the center on the 2nd floor was my apartment for a year.  It’s hard to see in the picture there, but just beyond that brick entry, was the pool.  That’s where I learned to swim.

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Tucked away, in the last bottom apartment on the right, lived a man, his wife, and their 17 year old son.  The old man told everyone, even the kids, to call him Rick.  “No Mr for me!  I’m just old man Rick.”  He was the 1st grown-up I was permitted to call by his first name.  He spent his days sitting on a bench in front of his apartment, smoking and watching the kids swim.  He reminded me a lot of Jackie Gleason. 

imageI learned a lot about Rick that summer.  He loved water, he loved kids, he’d been a diver in the Navy during the war (WWII) and his eardrum had burst during one of his dives.  He’d worn one of those old diving suits with the big brass helmet.  I had visions of him dressed up like an astronaut, only exploring the bottom of the sea for treasure, not space. 

imageHe was kind and he smiled a lot.  He loved teaching the kids how to dive into the pool.  “Bend your knees just a little!  Keep your back straight!  Relax!”  Sometimes he’d throw the spare change from his pocket into the pool to encourage us to dive the 12’ in the unheated water to go get it.  Our reward was getting to keep it.  He taught me how to do the backstroke, and the butterfly, although I wasn’t very good.  I grew to love that old man, although in retrospect he probably wasn’t as old as I thought.  Not a gray hair on his head!  He was probably in his 50s. 

His son, Rick Jr,  would dazzle us kids by climbing up on the railing in front of my apartment and jumping into the pool.  Oh he made my little girl heart flutter with his daring and bravado! 

Even after school began that fall, I’d come home and see Rick on his bench, smoking.  I’d wave and he always waved back, ask how I was.  The weather turned cooler in November and one day his bench was gone.  Worried, I wanted to go check on him but my mother wouldn’t let me “bother” him.  “He probably just puts his bench away for the winter,” she said.

Could a man go that long without stepping outside to smoke?  I wondered.  My heart was scared and I didn’t know why.

One day in January, we ran into Mrs Rick coming out of the laundry room.  I grabbed my chance.  “How is Rick?  Is he alright?  Did he quit smoking or something?  I never see him anymore and his bench is gone!” 

Her eyes clouded and I knew before she could say it.  “Oh sweetie, I’m so sorry, I thought you knew … Rick died last November.” 

I don’t recall how I responded to her, if I said anything at all.  I do remember lying on my bed, weeping.  His wife was a widow, his son was fatherless, and I had lost a friend.  How was I supposed to get through this?  Rick was still teaching me, only now it was about death and sorrow.  Bend your knees a little!  Keep your back straight!  Relax!  If you think about it, if you keep that in mind, you can pretty much handle anything.  You can withstand the blows life will deliver, if you remember those things. 

The aquamarine shimmer of a swimming pool will always stir my memories of old man Rick.  So will the sunlit sparkle of coins under the water.  Those memories of him are my own under-sea treasure.

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Categories: Memories, Personal, Whensday | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Whensday

I was listening to the kids talking about robotic toys while I was ironing.  They’d seen some toy cats and dogs the other day at Toys R Us, and made the comment that robotic toys were new. 

“Uh, no, new to YOU maybe, but robot type toys have been around a while.  I even had a couple of dolls when I was little that were robotic.”

Thankfully they spared me the “Wow, that long ago?!” lines.  🙄

So, since I was ironing, I told them about one of my favorite dolls that I got when I was 6 or 7, called “Bizzie Lizzie.”  She came with a little iron and ironing board, feather duster, and vacuum.  I think it must have been my mother’s hope to inspire me to clean my “pigsty” of a room.  Do mothers ever use any other phrase to describe their kid’s bedroom?  Hmm.  I remember her screaming at me when I was little, “If you don’t learn to clean up this mess, who’s going to clean it when you’re out on your own?!”  My nonchalant answer back then was, “The maid!”  I might have been slapped for that one but I can’t recall. 

I spent a lot of happy hours with Lizzie.  She had long golden pony tails that came out of her head – they were just plugged in.  The plug ends looked like the ends of shoelaces.  My favorite thing to play with was the feather duster because that really “worked,” being simply a miniaturized version of a regular feather duster.  The iron and vacuum, not so much.  Mostly, she was the giant maid that came in to clean Barbie’s Townhouse.  Because Barbie was the ruler of my magical little play world, and more than anything else I wanted to grow up and be just like her.  Yes, I did have a ton of Barbie shoes.  And boots! 

But I loved Lizzie for a time.

And the irony struck me, as I stood there ironing, that in a few ways, I ended up much like Bizzie Lizzie and not nearly as much Barbie as I’d thought I would. 

Lizzie’s reality crashed my Barbie dreams I suppose.  Oh well.  I didn’t really want to be a Malibu beach bum anyway.  I burn too easily.  Winking smile

 

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Categories: Memories, Personal, Whensday | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Put a lid on it!

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It almost looks fake, doesn’t it?  That’s the picture I took just before the storms rolled in here, around 8 on Sunday night.  It stretched as far as the eye could see to the north and south of me.  One of the weird thing was – and you can sort of tell in the picture – the air was very still.  The flag wasn’t moving at all.  Yet the mass was pushing north quite fast.  Blue sky and storm clouds.  It looked like someone was actually putting a lid on this place!

Which is sorta true – we here in Chicagoland haven’t made our usual 60% quota of sunshine in May for over a decade.  Think about that.  Barely half of our daylight hours in May are sunny around here.  No wonder so many people are cranky all the time!

Heartfelt prayers to the people of Minneapolis, MN and Joplin, MO.  The Red Cross estimates that 75% of Joplin is gone.  Gone!  What terrible devastation! 

I did have some awesomely fun news though.  I found out a childhood friend of mine is in the Midwest for a few days, and may actually be able to come over for a visit!  I haven’t seen him in like 8 years, and it was at least 10 before that.  We were nearly steps – or so we thought when we were kids.  Turned out my father’s intentions toward his mother were less than honorable, so we didn’t get to actually become brother and sister on paper.  In our hearts though, a different story.  Although, I don’t think we’d be able to get away with jumping on the bed to the tune of “Kung Fu Fighting” anymore and pretending to do karate kicks.  Winking smile  Still, it should be a great day.  Open-mouthed smile

And how was your weekend?

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Categories: Weekend | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wondering

imageY’all hate the travel posts, don’t you?  (Just for giggles, there’s a poll at the bottom of this post – would you take it please?  Thanks!)  Thing is, I really don’t want to do the other 47 if you hate them. 

My daughter has decided that now is the time to play in mommy’s old make-up.  She’s 5.  *eyeroll*  Last week I had to put lipstick on her.  Yesterday it was green eyeshadow.  I didn’t even know I had green eyeshadow!  She found it in some gift bag thing I had.  I figured I had a few years yet, but now I see I’m going to have to put bars on the windows and get that 12-gauge much sooner than anticipated. 

Is it just me, or has a good portion of the blogosphere fallen away?  Seems like a lot of people aren’t blogging anymore.  I miss them. 

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Categories: Family Life | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments

Wednesday What-not

image_thumb[1]Ahh, forgive me.  I wasn’t going to say anything about it, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and I’m out of blogging ideas tonight.

Have you ever had a dream about something from your childhood, and you wake up with all the memories and emotions of those events?  I think I was around 7 or so when I woke up the other morning.  7 and gunning for bear.  I really hate when that happens!  It makes me feel like all the effort I’ve put into being a grown-up just flies out the window, because there is really something almost enviable about being able to have a 7 year old tantrum, and I sort of wish I could stay there.  ;)  There is the part of me that wants to go back with those 7 year old emotions but with my grown-up body and my grown-up strength and spank the living snot out of some people.  With the belt, heh. 

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long after waking for the grown-up reality to kick in.  I’m not 7, and I can’t throw fits like one, and revenge isn’t mine to take.  It was enough that I left certain people behind when I walked away.  But boy oh boy, I confess, sometimes those vengeful thoughts do make me smile!

Yeah, it’s a wicked smile.  😈

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Categories: Memories, Personal | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Wednesday Wondering

imageI was going through my blogroll a few days ago, clearing out broken links, blogs that have been all but abandoned, updating new blogs – general blogroll maintenance.  I’m sure you know the drill.  Sometimes we just do that.   As I did, I had a few things flit through my mind.  I recalled the person who (quite some time ago) sent Darc an email requesting that he remove them from his blogroll.  In trying to determine if it was a spam generated email or a legitimate one, we discovered that said person had decided to believe a lot of their own misconceptions about us (and it turned out about others as well) and was actually holding some amount of hostility toward us for reasons we never really figured out.  Such is life and the nature of the blogging world, I suppose. 

And then I got to thinking, why do we do that?  Why is the blogroll used that way?  I think similar things occur on Facebook too, with the friends list.  “I’m going to take you off my blogroll!”  “I’m going to un-friend you!”  I remembered – and cringed – when I was about 7 and threatened the neighbor girl with “I won’t be your best friend anymore!”  I have no recollection why, but I do remember saying it.  We all did that, and I’m sure kids across the world do that still.  Why was that such a threat?  That never occurred to my 7-year-old brain.  Did I think friendship with me was such a prize?  Did I think I could control her?  Did I think she cared?  Did I think she had no other friend options?  I don’t even know, but I do recall that feeling of wanting to bend her to my will somehow, to make her do what I wanted.  And I thought my friendship was the tool I could use to do that.

Boy, was I dumb!  I was also 7. 

Eventually we grow up, or think we do anyway!  LOL  I know lots of “grown-ups” who are stuck on 7 in lots of ways!  No doubt you do too.  It makes me sad to know that.  I have learned in the years since then, how very valuable friendship is, how it needs to be cherished and nurtured and not taken for granted, and certainly not used at a threat or manipulation.  It is a gift.  Loyalty means a great deal to me. 

And a blogroll is not a litmus test of anyone’s friendship. 

I like to think I’ve grown up a little since those long ago days when I was 7.  Or 17.  Or 37.  Maturity should be a constant goal, shouldn’t it?  When I was little I wanted nothing more than to be a grown-up.  I thought I would hit 21, and I would “arrive.”  I had no idea it would be a lifetime endeavor!  If I had, I might not have wanted it so much.  😉

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Categories: Memories, Personal, Thinking out loud | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments

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