Monday, May 21, 2018

What fascinated me as a child?

I pondered this question for quite some time before I came across the answer.  I was looking at Facebook and saw a reference to Our Lady of Perpetual Astonishment.  That truly describes my childhood.  I was in awe of so many things.  I loved the stars, I loved the sunshine, I loved walking barefoot in the grass.  I loved singing and I loved jumping rope.

Strangers fascinated me as well.  For one thing, I had this stupid accent and everyone around me talked differently, well except for my family, of course.

I loved hearing what my friends had for dinner.  I wanted to know what they got for birthdays and Christmas.

For a child, I loved talk shows on television.  They talked about things so very strange to me.  I watched Mike Douglas and Merv Griffin religiously.  I probably got away with it because Daddy was working, and Mother had housework or gardening to do.

Something that didn’t fascinate me was cartoons.  I wanted to sleep in on Saturdays.  I got up usually in time to watch the Tarzan movie.  I liked Tarzan much better than the Roadrunner or Daffy Duck.

When you grow up in a very strict religious household where almost everything is considered sinful, the world is an amazing place.  I guess because most of it was taboo for me, it made it all the more wonderful.

I was astonished that Daddy would trim our trees back every year and they would come back and continue to grow.  I was astonished that my mom could make just about anything and she never opened a cookbook.

I was astonished at my neighbors, the clerk in the grocery store, my teachers and the students in my classes.

I think I still have that in me.  I have had such a tremendous life and I have done things that I never thought as a child I would do.  I’ve swam beneath the ocean, I’ve flow in a balloon too many times to remember how many.  I’ve learned to make chicken cordon bleu, lasagna, Mu Shu Pork and things I’d never even heard of as a child.

I have a husband who loves me and I have two of the most wonderful daughters ever.  And now I have two son-in-laws that I adore, and a new grandson.

Life is just fascinating!

Peace be with you.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Remember these?

Did you ever get in trouble as a kid?

Well first of all, thanks for bringing up one of the most painful experiences of my life.
In fourth grade I was ten years old, already mature physically, and pissed off at the world because I’d rather be a boy.  I hated periods, wearing bras and dealing with trying to be dainty.  Beyond that, I was a smartass and usually said what I was thinking and got into trouble almost daily.

My teacher was called away from the class to the office.  The class next door joined our class and that teacher was our chaperone.  We were playing math baseball.  The corners of the room are the bases and you have to get the math problem first to go to first base.  The person following you has tog et theirs right to go to first base and to let you proceed to second base, and so on.

I was up to bat and I did not get my math problem correct.  I turned to go back to my seat and the girl in front of me laughed at me to my face.  I graciously stuck my tongue out at her.
She raised her hand and said something like, “Teacher, Wilma stuck her tongue out at you.”
I’m like, “No I did not, I stuck it out at you.”

Just about that time our teacher came back to the classroom.  She must have just gotten reamed by the Principal because she asked what was happening and she and the other teacher conferred.  My teacher jerked me by my arm and grabbed the paddle hanging on the chalkboard.  She took me into the hallway and I got three very hard and loud whacks with that paddle.

I held back tears but I don’t think I lifted my head for the rest of the day.  When I got home I lost it entirely.  I bawled telling my mother what happened.  Instead of comforting me, I got another spanking.  My poor butt was on fire for quite some time.

I asked why I got spanked.  My mother told me that I was never to cause trouble at school.  I should behave and mind my manners.

To this day, I despise that teacher but even more I despise the girl who tattled on me and lied as well as to what happened.  I live with the peace of mind that karma has taken care of each of them.

I still have that teacher’s picture in my desk drawer and take it out frequently to remind myself of how much I hate her, and hope fleas infest her armpits, that her teeth fall out on Thanksgiving, and that a rat dies in her car and she can’t find it.

You don’t even want to know what I wish for my lying bitch of a classmate.

Peace be with you.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

What did you hide from your parents as a child?

Nothing was hidden from my parents as a child.  There was no privacy allowed.  I couldn’t study or read in my room.  They would ask, “Are you mad at us?  Come sit out here.”

We didn’t run around naked that is for sure.  You always had to have clothes on.  I remember once when my sister came home late from a date and I think Daddy met her at the door in his underwear.  I didn’t see daddy half clothed very often.  Mother would sometimes come out in her slip and underwear but she was probably ironing her dress or something.

We also had only one bathroom for five people so you didn't linger in the bathroom.  When the family was away I spent time in the bathroom, primping and such.

I did hide something as a teenager, but it is entirely too personal to discuss with anyone else.  Also, if I went on a date, I wasn’t allowed to go to the drive-in but if that was where my date wanted to go, I went anyhow.  Of course, I always told my mother the truth if she asked where we went on the date.  She was disappointed but I don’t believe I was ever punished.

Once when I was a teen, I received a letter from a boy I had met from another town.  When I got home from school, my brother had already opened it and read it.  My mother just stood by and didn’t say a word.  I was humiliated and wanted to die.  The boy hadn’t written anything personal but said he had liked me.  We rode a Ferris wheel together at a fair, for Pete’s sake!

I do remember when I was in college, we were assigned Catcher in the Rye.  I read it in the living room, laughing at the top of my voice with my family close by.  I’m sure if my mother had any idea what I was reading, she would have blown up.  The next time I read the book, by the way, I cried my eyes out.  I must have read that book at least six or seven times.  It is still one of my favorites.

Not much was hidden in my family and that probably contributed to my personality.

Peace be with you.  And may you have some privacy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

When I was a child, we did this thing called,”playing”.  We played outside until we were called in at dark.  We played Hide and Seek and I remember yelling “Olly, olly oxen free” which meant you could come out of hiding because someone had been discovered and the game was starting anew.

We girls jumped rope for hours and we giggled if a boy wanted to join us.  We let him.  I remember singing, “Down in the valley where the green grass grows, there stood Wilma as sweet as a rose.  She sang, she sang, she sang so sweet.  Along came blank and kissed her on her cheek.  How many kisses did she get?”  And you kept jumping and counting until you missed.  That was how many kisses she got.  I usually missed right away since I was a tomboy and was not getting any stupid kisses from any stupid boy.

We also played “Annie, Annie, over.”  You had a team or if it was just you and your playmate, would go to opposite sides of the house.  You yelled “Annie, Annie, over” and tossed the ball over the house.  That team or the person would try to come around the house and tag you.  Then you would be on their team.  It was a limited game if it was just you and your mate.  You can watch this game at

Another game we played was Red Rover.  You had to have a team for this.  This was played a lot at school at recess.  Each team joined hands and were across a field from each other.  The team would decide who to dare and you sang, “Red Rover, red rover, we dare (fill in the blank with person’s name) over.  That person would then run very hard at the line of the other team and try to break the hands of the holders and they could then pick someone to come be part of their team.  Or if they didn’t break the handhold they had to join up with that team.

During this game there was a lot of picking on the smallest or weakest children.  We almost killed a little girl when my girls were little.  She was so determined to break the handhold and choked herself.  I believe we quit playing this game about then.

We also played tag.  Plain old tag, freeze tag, blindman’s tag.  We had so many versions of tag.  I looked up versions of tag on the internet and there were three pages of tag games.  I remember taking a Physical Education class in college.  You had to make up a game.  I am pretty sure I made up a tag game but I can’t remember what it was exactly.

My brother annoyed the heck out of me as a child.  He would slap at me and yell, “You’re it!” out of the clear blue.  And “no touchbacks”.  The first time I visited his grave, I touched his headstone and said, “You’re it!”  I am so bad!

During the winter we played board games like Monopoly or Sorry.  We weren’t allowed to play cards at our house as they were considered sinful.  We played jacks on the kitchen floor but not on the hardwood floors.

Speaking of hardwood floors, my mother kept ours spotless with real paste wax.  After they dried my sister and brother would pull me around on a throw rug to polish the floor.  I remember giggling so much during those tough housework games.

My family was very musical also.  My parents belonged to a church that was very musical.  My dad would trade instruments with fellow church members and we got to try out all sorts of instruments.  We played several kinds of guitars, dobro, banjo, mandolin, and tambourine.  I was never very good at tambourine because I lack a sense of rhythm.  But I did learn several songs on the mandolin.  I could also follow other people playing guitar if I could look straight on to their fingers.

Another of our favorite pastimes during the winter months was making popcorn over the fire in the fireplace.  We would turn out the lights and just watch the fire.  Sometimes Daddy would start a song and we would all sing together.

Sometimes I am sad for children being raised in this technological world.  They are not getting any exercise, they are not socializing and I believe there is a lot more depression issues with young children now a days.

I do often wonder what the next generation will turn out to be.

Peace be with you.

One of earliest childhood memories was of my mother warning me not to go to the outdoor toilet with one of the neighborhood boys.  I had to have been less than four years old because we moved to our other home in 1954 when I was four.

This memory troubled me for years as to why my mother didn’t want me going to the toilet with some boy and it hit me in my later years that she was afraid he would molest me.

I remember that the boy was a few years older than me.  All the kids in the neighborhood played together, I figured, as I didn’t really remember.  Why warn me about this one boy?

When I was a teenager I ran into this boy in school.  He was in the slow learner classes, and I didn’t come across from him often.  We exchanged pleasantries. I believe this is the first time that memory came back to me.

Another memory from about the same time period was when I stopped up the new indoor toilet at our new house.  We had just moved, and I didn’t know the rules of indoor plumbing.  I had thrown the wrapper from the toilet paper and the tube from the old one into the toilet and had flushed it down.  After using the plumber’s favorite tool, Mother and Daddy took me aside and explained the new rules of toiletry.

Photo of my cousin, Faye, my best friend from high school, Jeanie, her cousin, Trish, and me eating watermelon  in front of the house with outdoor plumbing.

Peace be with you.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

My daughter asks me what is the one thing I wish I had known before I became a parent.  Considering that I didn’t plan on being a parent, I guess I wished I had known what to expect.

Those sad wrinkly little boogers stole my heart and soul.  They cried and I fed them or changed their diaper.  I sang to them and read them books.  I rocked them and nursed them.  They were mine 24/7 and I just had to do whatever it was that needed to be done..

When they were about two and four, I thought I would go insane.  We were down to only one car and once a week I put the girls to bed and dad babysat which I got away for an hour of grocery shopping.  It was the best hour of the week.  I’m pretty sure I drew that hour to more time more than once.

As a child I didn’t get my fair share of playing and so when my girls were little we went to every playground we could find.  Our favorites were Discovery Center and the one that used to be at the corner of Mulford and Guilford in Rockford.  They moved that one someplace and we never did find it again.

We went to the beach or to the pool every day that we could.  We made sailboats and sailed them on the lake.  Swinging on the swings on the playground was one of my favorite things to do.  Once we had a race with old tires that were at the Quarry Park.  We turned them loose from the top of the hill to see how far they would roll.

One year after Election Day I was so sick of seeing election signs that we drove around in the car and pretended that we were capturing enemy flags.  I would assign one of the kids to go get the election sign and the others had to be on the lookout for any enemies.

I cried so hard when they graduated from high school.  One went to Beloit, Wisconsin and the other the next year to Whitewater, Wisconsin.  It felt so lonely in the house without them.

I guess the one thing I wished I had known was how my heart could be broken and healed so many times in my life.  I wish I had cherished more moments of joy with them.

I do get new moments of joy when we skype on Sundays.  They bring me up to date with their lives, and I get to see my precious little grandson.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Lullaby for Vincent

I was listening to NPR the other day on the way home from a gardening project and the story was about this musician who had a new album.  The hostess asked him to sing the lullaby that he had written for his son.

It was a nice song and it got me thinking that I should write a lullaby for my grandson, Vincent.  I had to pull off the road to write down what was in my mind.  I then had to ask Siri how to record something and she came through.  I recorded it and sent it off to my daughter, Jessica.

The lullaby goes like this:

Good night Vinnie, there won’t be any
Bad dreams or monsters, bothering you tonight.
Nighty night Vincent, close your eyes this instant.
We love you, but we’re turning off the light.

Jess said she played it for him.  He was crying because he is cutting two upper teeth.  She said he quit crying to hear the lullaby.

My heart is full.

Photo attached is his first bite of prunes.  He liked them so much he put his nose in them.

Peace be with you.