|Back in our day . . .||
Back in my youth I lived in a small coal mining town and had the run of the place. Folks there all knew each other and I knew no strangers. I walked where I wanted, played with cousins and friends, and always made it home in time for lunch and dinner! For the first 3 years I was the only child and I learned to love it! My Mom always had time for me, my Dad loved me dearly, and my Grandmother was always there to fix skinned knees and remove splinters. I didn't lack for attention at all. Then my little brother was born when I was 3 and I ceased to exist. That was a shock for me, because having been the only child, I was spoiled rotten! I would steal my brothers bottles, steal his pacifier and still being little, I'd hide somewhere and use the pacifier myself! I knew I was too old to do that, but it was my only consolation. My little brother was very sickly. He had a crooked spine which meant that when he learned to walk, he had to have special shoes that had steel toes in them. When he got a little older, he would kick me in the shins with them and leave horrible bruises on my legs. I still have scars. Once he threw my Mary Heartline Majorette doll at me and hit me in the forehead. I had a nose bleed for four hours and couldn't lye down because I'd choke on the blood. When he wasn't kicking me, he was throwing silverware at me at the dinner table! He pinched me, pulled my hair, bit me and punched me. It was all ignored and laughed at because he was "sickly". Bah humbug I say!
I was a good child. I did well in school, had friends, knew how to count to 100 before I even went to school, and we didn't have kindergarten back home, so when I was 4 I was in 1st grade. My teacher was Mrs. Rutledge. She was a buxom woman with red hair, and one day we were having a fire drill. She told us to all be quiet and that we would all line up and go outside when we heard the fire alarm. The little girl in front of me was excited and began stomping her feet. The teacher walked up to me and slapped me hard in the face! She thought I'd been the one stomping. Well, lest you think that all I remember are the bad times and the times of abuse and being ignored, I also have stories of great Christmases, Grandma's wonderful cooking, and the difference time makes. You grow up, you learn things about yourself and your family that sort of makes it all make more sense. We began moving when I was 8, and we moved every year or so until I was 18. I had to learn how to adapt, and I did. I made new friends easily, but school grew increasingly difficult because of all the state laws and rules and the school curriculum changed so radically. I got lost. By the time I was a Senior here in California, I had learned all they were teaching me yet again, and I decided to have fun instead of worry about grades! At the end of the year, I had decided I wanted to be a Court Reporter. I passed all the exams to go to college, and then my Dad came home from overseas and told us we were moving yet again. I was 17 1/2 and even though I begged my Dad to let me live with my best friend and her family and go to college, he wouldn't have it. No way was he going to let me stay. And now that I'm older I see the rationale in that. I wouldn't let my 17 year old daughter be that far from me either. We were moving to Minnesota. I hated the place because we had just spent 3 years in Kodiak Alaska and I couldn't go out side in the winter because I"d fall just looking at the snow! I didn't know a place like California existed and once I"d had a taste of the wonderful warm weather, and the palm trees, and the school and friends and so on and so on, I could not imagine living anywhere else! I cried through 3 states and gave myself a splitting headache!
But I learned a lot in Minnesota. I grew up I guess you'd say. At 18 1/2 I told my parents I was leaving and I boarded a plane, American Airlines, and flew home. I stayed with my friend and her family and we did go to college. But I became ill and my Dad went back overseas, and for a long while I was unable to do the things I wanted to do. I fought through the illness, although it would reappear in the future. I found work, and worked hard at everything I tried. I was learning about real independence, and it wasn't by being out from under my Dad's thumb. True independence is when you can think for yourself, do the things you feel are right in your heart, and take care of those around you to the best of your ability. My Dad left us sitting high and dry when he got back from overseas. He moved again to Seattle, but this time my Mom refused to go with him. She didn't want to take my sister out of school yet again and make her readapt to new schools, friends, and housing. I was getting older and moved out with a girlfriend to Imperial Beach. My Mom threw a fit. Called me the first night and told me that someday I'd wish I had a home to come to. She was very angry because I had gone in the house when she was gone and took my clothes and things and left. She knew I wanted to leave, and she had plans to help me pack my things, but she didn't tell me that. Things hadn't changed much for me. Housework was always more important than sitting down with your offspring and talking with them about their future and things of that nature. It was sick. I stayed gone for a while and then my friend decided she didn't want a room mate after all and invited me to leave. I went back home. I had not enough to make car payments and have my own place too. I had little choice.
Things didn't change much. Home was still a sick environment, my illness came back on me again, and I was out of work for 6 months. I fought through it again and returned to work. I'd been on my own mentally for 10 years. I paid my bills, helped my Mom out, and gave them money for rent every payday. But under the Doctor's care, I took his wise advice, and when I got my bills paid off, I was able to leave for good and have my own place. I loved the freedom so much I laid in the middle of the living room floor for hours listening to the music I liked, and feeling the warmth of the sun through the big windows in the living room. I was at peace for the first time in many years.
I met someone at work not long afterwards. He was very nice, very compassionate, and a good friend. One evening, a Friday evening, I went home, had dinner, and watched a little TV. Then I got the idea to call him and see if I could come visit. He said yes, gave me directions to get to his place, and I was on my way. When I got there he was doing dishes. I knocked on the door and he answered. We listened to music for hours and talked sitting cross legged on the floor. On the way out to my car that evening, he touched my shoulder and said, "Sometimes all you need is a friend!" I was touched. We went out after that and he showed me around San Diego till 6:00 in the morning! We had great fun and he kept me laughing the whole evening! He didn't know I knew how to laugh, he said. One date lead to another, and we spent more time together than apart. Eventually I moved in with him and we had more money for things we wanted. One day after having lunch together, he said that we should get married and I could have a baby! I was stunned! We did. We were married on my 29th birthday. He was 27. By the time he was 28, and just before I turned 30, we had twin sons! When they were 17 months old I gave birth to our daughter as well! Life was good. We had our hands full, had hard times, bankruptcy was in our future, and our son developed asthma. We moved. We moved several times as a matter of fact. We both had to work 8 hour days to make ends meet. Raising kids and working too was difficult, but we did it! We worked hard to be good parents, and tried to enjoy a little freedom. There was ballet lessons, drum lessons, soft ball, wrestling, and what happiness we could bring to our children's lives.
In essence what I'm trying to say is I had a very busy and chaotic life and we really had our hands full. Now I am Grandma to 7 wonderful grandchildren. I'm 67 years old now....and I'm tired!!! I decided today to carve out a niche for myself. I am going to relax, recreate, live life fully and to the best of my ability. I am fortunate to have a husband that encourages that. He doesn't mind if the tables are dusty, and the floor is less than spotless. He's bought me so much art and craft kits over the years, and I never made use of them because I was "too busy" with housework and work. Well I've been retired since I was 48 and I have no further excuses to make! I am going to finally take the time to stop and smell the roses before the roses are on my coffin. I'm so tired, so very tired in body. My hips hurt because I have arthritis. I have bad knees and it's hard to climb the stairs. I almost lost Jack the first part of this year. He was so ill he was in the ICU for 35 days and in a rehab facility for 2 and a half more weeks. I found out how quickly you can be removed from the scene. I don't want to miss any more time relaxing and doing the things that are fun from now on. If I want to go out, I'll go out. If I want to paint, I'll paint. If I want to sleep all day, well, I have a very comfortable bed, and if that's what I need, that's what I'm gonna do. I've been busy for so long, and for all the reasons you might expect. I always thought I had to be busy to account for the fact I'm here at all, and I have tried to keep up with things. Now I see that it just isn't in me to be Betty Crocker, and if we have burritos for dinner somedays, well we'll have burritos! My body is tired, my soul is tired, my mind is tired. I need rest, recreation, outings, movies, dinner out once in a while, and I'm also tired of dieting. I feel like I've been on a diet all my life. I know I've always been overweight. If that's what I am, then that's what I am. I am in good company. One half of America is obese! I'm not the odd ball. The skinny ones are!!!! For a change I'm with the in crowd! ha ha ha
Making time for oneself is essential. He never forced me into anything. He's been just the opposite! He always wants me to relax and recreate...I just couldn't work it in. I"d work till I was exhausted and then stare at the TV uncomprehending because I'd be too tired to concentrate on it. Just mindless sitting. Something happened for me today. I don't know if it was the arthritis, or my bad knees, or my aching back. I just don't feel it anymore. I am going to do what he's always wanted me to do. I am finding time for self. It's important. It's an essential. I've had a good life, a rich life, a busy life. I've done much, seen much, and now it's time to rest and recreate the rest of my days. Do I hear a "here here"? With out further ado, I big you good evening and remember to live life like you mean it! I copied that from my husband. Live for the moment! It's the only present we have. No past, no future. Just this one glorious minute to be captured and lived to the hilt! Welcome home self! You are a winner after all and not a loser! Take your life in your hands and really live it!
This is for the grandkids, the family, close friends, and anyone else who can keep a civil tongue in their heads! It amounts to an interactive book of memoirs, but only if you interact... so get to it!
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California has been my home since 1965. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I'm home to stay!
What is there to say about a ten-year old turning 65, besides, what the hell happened?!??