Memories snob

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Ava making snow angels, and memories

We had a decent snow a few weeks ago. The kind where you can actually bring out the sleds. It was a magical time for the kids.

It brought out a lot of comments on Facebook about “when I was a kid, we used to…fill in the blank.” Was the snow better back then or what?

I’m finding that as I (clears throat) get a little older, my friends around the same age and I talk about our childhoods a lot. We did have great childhoods. We grew up in the 60s and 70s with 3 channels on black and white tvs, vinyl records played on something called a record player, and the ice cream man wasn’t on a national registry.

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The Willis kids’ snowman

I must confess it irritates me a little when I hear people my own age compare the magic of our childhoods to the childhoods’ of  kids these days. Who died and made us the ‘my childhood was better’ gods?

My grandkids play Minecraft. A lot. They play on ipads, Kindles, and the Playstation. I don’t even pretend to understand the game. But it’s okay—it’s their memories. We played Life, and Clue, and Masterpiece. Our games weren’t better. They were different.

We danced and acted silly and made up dance routines to the music of The Beatles and The Monkees. My grandkids do the same to the music of someone named Lorde and a group named One Republic. Thirty years from now their kids will be doing the same thing to music of an artist not even born yet. And it’s not wrong. It will be their childhood memories. Not wrong. Just different than mine and yours.

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Aiden and Jeana’s pup, Wrigsley

They have Nickelodeon on demand. We had Bonanza on Sunday nights. Technology doesn’t make their childhood any less significant or wondrous. It just makes it different.

When I was a kid, my favorite meal was broiled hamburger patties, fat steak fries, and field peas. I still fix it sometimes and think of my mother fondly every time I do. Ava’s favorite meal is kielbasa, dirty rice, and green beans. One day she’ll fix it for her own kids and think of Nina when she does. Her childhood memory of her favorite meal will be just as sweet as mine, though it’s two different meals separated by several generations.

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Emma making her own snow angel

Looking at the pictures of the grands playing in the snow made me laugh. I couldn’t help but to think of comments from my age group about the depth of snow when we were kids. “When we were kids, it snowed up to our knees!” Well, yeah…the knee-to-ground ratio of a six year-old probably hasn’t changed much over the years so don’t slight the grandkids’ snow memories because you think your snow was deeper.

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Paisley. Making memories.

It’s their childhood. It will be their memories. And they will be just as wondrous and magical as ours.

Blinded by the light

How many of you (if you grew up in the 60’s) stroked your gifts on Christmas morning with little child hands? Not because it was exactly what you wanted and you were so grateful and pleased, but because you were blinded by the light bar on your dad’s 8mm camera? Spent many a Christmas morning blinking and batting my eyes at that darn light. Even going as far as holding one hand up to shield the eyes.

I have a box full of those movies and say every year I’m going to have them transferred to DVDs. I love the graininess and the shaking and jerky motion. And the mouths moving but the only sound emitting is the whir of the projector. I love how my mom and other women of that day would pretend to be camera shy and shoo the camera away like a bothersome fly. Then they’d smile and roll their eyes.

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Check out that play kitchen furniture!
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Me and my sister. Apparently we liked baby dolls.
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My favorite stuffed animal. I named him Tippy and still have him.
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I think I might have been a little leary of the man in red.
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Garey and his John Deere tractor
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Garey and Nina. I miss those days.
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Nina made a good stocking stuffer
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Garey and my dad. No other words needed.
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Still amazed by it all

What’s your favorite Christmas memory?

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Wow! Santa has certainly gotten a little more real looking through the years.
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My sister – happy with her new baby doll.

Things my mother taught me

My mom would have been 87 years old tomorrow. She died twelve days before my father on March 8, 1998. Telling daddy, who was in a hospital bed on a different floor, that she had died was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It was the second time in my life I can remember seeing my daddy cry.

I’m finding that as I get older, my memories of her come in random flashes, like snapshots with voice-overs. Sometimes, I cry. Most of the time, I smile. mom1_0002

Some of the things she taught me (in no particular order):

Marigolds are all purpose flowers. She loved them. Planted them every year. And I hate them. Ok, maybe not hate, but I do have a strong dislike for them. Don’t know why other than I remember having to pinch the dried dead heads off of the hundreds she would plant each year. When someone suggests I plant marigolds in my non-existent garden, I smile.

No one leaves the house on Saturday mornings until the house is clean. Maybe that’s why on Saturday mornings I now aimlessly wander around my little house rebelling against the “rules.” Mom’s not here to tell me to turn that darn radio (or record player) down. Can’t clean without the radio blaring.

She taught me how to make gravy, Hungarian goulash, and how to ice a layer cake.

She taught me good things come from having a routine. Thursday nights were grocery shopping nights. Bestway on Vandalia Road. My favorite place in the whole world to be on a Thursday night. If I was good in the store, I’d get the new issue of Tiger Beat magazine. And cereal for supper. Life was good.

She taught me humility by taking me (after my insistence) to the dermatologist where we (my mother and me and my three pimples) sat in the waiting room with others who were horribly scarred from acne.

She taught me sometimes it’s ok to hide from door-to-door sales people.

She taught me that no matter how old your children are, they’re still your babies. When I  was pregnant with Garey, I suffered from toxemia and eclampsia. He was delivered by emergency c-section. My condition was so severe, the doctor came out to the waiting room prior to surgery and asked if they “had to make a decision, whose life should they save?” Although married and about to deliver my firstborn, my mother told him, “that’s my baby on that table.” Both my kids will be in their thirties this year. And yes, they’re still my babies.

And later on, through the years, as my mother became my best friend she shared a secret of what men want. Their mother in the kitchen, a lady in the living room, and a whore in the bedroom. Seems simple enough.mom1_0001

Happy birthday, Mom.