Monday, July 11, 2016

Happy Birthday to Me!

Does that make me sound conceited?  Too bad.  LOL.

On July 12, 1956 I came into this world and I have predominantly enjoyed my stay here.  I hope to be here for a long time to come but since nothing is for certain, I thought i should take time out to wish myself a Happy 60th Birthday.

Yep, that's right.  I am 60.  Where did the time go?  I'm not sure.  I was too busy living in it to discover where it all went.   Don't get the impression that it was all sunshine and lollipops.  I've lived through many relatives deaths, many miscarriages and a still birth, and ups and downs in relationships.  Am I sorry?  That's hard to say.  All of those things are part of me and help determine how I see things today.  What do I remember?

My father died when I was still in grade school which makes all memories of him either vague and/or happy.  I never doubted that he loved me and that I loved him although he never was one to overly show emotion.  He left child raising of girls to mom.  Still every Sunday my sister and I could stay up a whole hour later if we were quiet and sat on the couch with him while he watched The Fugitive tv show.  Patti and I didn't really understand it and it was a little scary for me but I could burrow into Dad's side during the super scary parts.  Eventually I started to understand the plot line a bit and would cheer on the good guys and boo the bad guys...after asking Dad to make sure which one was good and bad.

I would also sit on the couch with my oldest brother and dad during football games.  I didn't understand any of it but it made me feel good.  Finally I learned that if I wanted to follow the ball, just wait long enough and then look under the pile of big guys.  Most of the time that was where the football was.  Eventually I learned I could track the football before all those big guys hid it.  Once again I would ask Dad or Tony which side we were cheering.  I didn't want to cheer on the wrong ones you know.

Most of the time it was Mom and I that hung together.  Mom always made time for us.  She worked as a Managing Editor of a small town newspaper which meant she did everything but got to write something called an editorial.  When I was in middle school I finally learned that meant she could tell of people or pick a topic and tell what she didn't like about it.  That was ok until she wrote about the garbage collectors not putting the garbage cans back in the driveway or how they banged up the garbage cans.  Did you know that if they spill garbage out of the cans they aren't "obligated" to pick it up?  I learned that after that editorial.  It took three weeks of the "battle between mom and the garbage trucks" before they stopped "spilling" our garbage and mom stopped "writing" about it.

Mom and I were always close and I will forever have her as my example of what to strive to achieve.  She did such wonderful things.  She survived the depression.  She always had food on our table.  She never made us feel like we were poor although if you count wealth by dollar signs we were.  She would sit up all night with me while I did schoolwork and she would tell me stories about her growing up.

My sister and I were close.  By birth she was my cousin since my mother adopted her.  Long story.  Anyway she was around 3 - 4 years older than I was and considering that my two brothers were 13-17 years older, it was Patti that I usually hung out with.  We lived in the country so we didn't have a lot but I still remember playing in the rain and playing games in the barns.  I also remember chasing Patti around holding a wiggling worm in my hand when she teased me too much.  She HATED worms.  I hated fish so we would go fishing together.  I would put on the worms, she would take the fish off the hook if we caught anything.  That type of cooperation defined our relationship.  If needed we were there for each other but we didn't suffocate each other either.

That was sort of how I grew up with my brothers.  They were out of the house by the time I came along.  The oldest of us, Tony, spoiled me.  I was the youngest so, naturally, I let him.  Mom and I would see Tony every day no matter what shift he might have been working.  There are too many memories of Tony to list them all here but one of the ones I remember was when mom decided to cook him steak at 10:30 at night.  Tony worked on the a mid shift and lived 5 blocks from us.  When he got off work he would always drive by our house to see if we were up.  By this time it was mom and I and we had moved into town after Dad's death.  Mom had a new gas grill and she thought that Tony would like dinner after he got off work.  She had me stand outside our house with an old fashioned lantern which was lit.  I was to swing it back and forth to catch Tony's eye as he drove by.  Tony never turned down a free meal.  So we were eating t-bone steaks freshly cooked on the grill at 10:30 p.m.

My other brother Kerm I don't have as many stories or memories but those that I do have of him are terrific.  Once again I never doubted that he loved me or would do what he could for me.  There are two memories that I have of Kerm.  One was when he had just gotten out of the army and we were all driving up to Wisconsin Dells for a weekend.  Patti and I were young and didn't understand the things like "he's out now".  We just knew that the Army had borrowed him for a bit and now he was back.  Everything was going well until at a rest stop we saw an Army convoy stop.  That wasn't unusual but for some reason THIS time Patti and I thought they were coming to take Kerm away from us again.  Kerm started to walk over to them to say high and I suppose to swap a couple of stories but Patti and I didn't want him to.  We were SURE he was going to get kidnapped by them.  Soooooo, Patti took one leg and I took another and we wrapped our arms around his tall legs and clung on to him telling me not to go.  He just walked over to the guys with us clinging to him and laughed.  The guys promised us that they wouldn't kidnap Kerm and that we could stay there and keep an eye out on him.  We did.  Any little movement of Kerm and we were right there to make sure he was coming back with us.  LOL.

The other story that I remember about Kerm was when Patti and I found him a wife.  Yep...we did it.  Kerm was in Germany and in one of his letters to us, he told us he wanted a girlfriend.  Mom always made us write Kerm to help us with our penmanship so we asked him what he was looking for.  He criteria was (not sure of this order):

1.  Blonde
2.  Tall (at least over 6')
3.  Pretty
4.  Friendly
5.  Would want to write to him.

Mom had taken us shopping with her for the weekly groceries and there she was.  She was the cashier.  When we got up to her, Patti and I were basically jumping up and down in excitement.  Now my mother was raised that you don't make a scene in public and even though we knew we would get in trouble when we got home we HAD to as the cashier certain questions.  What kind of questions do you ask when you are still young?  Easy ones!

1.  Are you blonde?
2.   Are you friendly?
3.  You look tall, how tall are you?
4.  The most important ones - You sound nice, would you like to write our brother?

Mother then had to explain everything but much to our surprise and pleasure, the cashier said if we gave her Kerm's address she would write him.  Next week we handed her his address and the rest, as the saying goes, was history.  Kerm married her after he got out of the service and actually got to meet her and they were married for almost 50 (?) years.

Another family member that I have TONS of fond memories about was Grandma Chamberlain.  She was the best Grandma and could do EVERYTHING.  She made us cookies and we got to go on sleep overs all the time.  She had a magic step on the stairs that went to the bedrooms where every Thanksgiving we put our dolls and Santa would come and pick them up for vacations at the North Pole.  They got to stay there until he dropped off our Christmas presents and then he gave them a ride back to us.  It wasn't until years later that we realized that Grandma's aprons matched the new outfits that our dolls came back with.  When we questioned her she said it was an Agent's fee for helping with the travel arrangements.  We bought it.  We thought my brother Tony was Santa so why couldn't Grandma be his helper?

So I guess I come by the nickname Elfkins honestly.  :)

I have other stories but I won't bore you with them.  Every story is part of the patchwork quilt that is called Bonni's life.  I wouldn't rip out any of the stitches because with such a great foundation, how can I fail?  How could I decide what to give up?  No.  Even though I had hardships, they were balanced by delightful family and friends who got me through.

Thank you to all of my friends and teachers.  Thank you to Mom and Dad who helped create me.  

And now, I shall close this post down memory lane with some things that caught my eye.  :)  Enjoy

Remember to be happy with yourself for you can't make others happy until you are happy.

1 comment:

Kathy G said...

I found your blog through Bloglovin'. I think I'll be back :-)