Thursday, April 30, 2009

Barbie Doll

This is the last of my siblings born to both my mother and my father.The picture to the right shows of all of us. The last sister I write about is ninety years old now and just as feisty as she always has been. She is also the only one who openly defied our father. Her name is Barbra. She loves being called Barbie! When she gets upset her eyes get very large she inhales a deep breath and look out, you are going to get verbally accosted. Sometimes her fists are clenched and her tongue slips to the corner of her mouth just enough so you know she has one. Look out! She's mad! However, just like most Leos, she is easily calmed down and a little TLC brings a silly smile to her face as though she too wonders why she exploded. A heart of gold beats inside her. She is there for you no matter what. She will put her own plans aside if it means helping you out. She loves socializing and dancing. She still gets out often to play cards with her friends. Barbie was probably the best mother of all. She took very good care of her children and especially one child who was born with a problem. She spent hours doing physical therapy for him so he would be able to walk. Barbra had five children in all. Her faults were that she was a terrible house keeper. Lost one husband because of it. Don't ask how many husbands there were. She might not want me to enter that information. Another bad habit she had, and I do not think she knew it, was that she had no qualms about inviting herself anywhere. If she heard you talking about going somewhere, she would just up and say, "Oh, I'll go too!" Never, "Is there room for one more, or is it all right if I come?" Just, I will go also!" At times we had to hurt her feelings when there wasn't room or we just wanted certain people along, and she never understood that. Barbra's other fault was that she had poor judgement in men, and she could never be without one. Earlier I said she defied my father, and she did. At seventeen my dad had forbid her to see this fellow she was going out with. She did not take well to that ultimatum and she ran away with him to get married. My dad found her before she could do that and brought her back home. That was the end of that. When we were growing up Barbra and I never got along very well. We did a lot of quarreling and driving our mom to distraction. I guess if there is a higher power who watches over us, he picked the right two to be together at the end. We get along so well and we share a lot of laughs and sometime go to lunch. We talk daily on the phone and call back and forth in the evening, giving opinions on these silly reality shows on T.V. That is our nightly entertainment. I am sure I would not have had this repertoire with the others. Barbie and I suit each other just fine, thank you!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

She Was A Queen

My father always told us we were descendants from the French royal family. His father was born in Alsace-Lorraine, France, so maybe he was right and maybe not. I really do not know. His cousin who gave us the rocker, went to France to look up the family tree, but I never knew the outcome of that trip. However my sister (whom I shall call R.V.) took it all to heart and was sure that is who we were, descendants from the French throne.
Therefore she was dubbed with the nickname, “Queenie” whenever one of us thought she was too high and mighty for her own good. She did actually think she was a bit superior to the rest of us. She always carried herself well, dressed well, and gave the impression of being aloof. Her first impression of people was a raised eyebrow. She never participated in doing menial jobs. That was left to the rest of us. She either feigned illness or she planned a fainting spell. No matter what, it always worked for her. I have told before her fainting stories, so I will not repeat that. When she was grown and on her own, you never wanted to drop in on her without first calling or you would be greeted at the door very coolly. On rare occasions she might greet you with a smile, but not often unless you called first and made sure she would be available for a visit. She did however, love all of us and if we needed help she was always there for us. Her advice was always sensible and good. Sometimes she was a peacemaker between sisters. My younger sister will tell you how good R.V. was to her. One Christmas. Roo had invited all of us for Christmas dinner, but had said the younger one, (Barb) was not invited because Roo said she had too many kids. She had five. In that case R.V. (who had four kids) decided to stay home, cook dinner, and invite Barb to her house. I heard they had a great time. My sister R.V. was not the best mother in the world. Most of the parental upbringing was left to the rest of us. Myself, Roo, and my mother, had all taken turns in the rearing of her children. She would just drop them off, say she could not handle them and take off. She never left the girl, just the boys. R.V’s older daughter grew up to change her first name as she said she wanted nothing her mother had given her. She even moved far away so she would not be near her. Although I am sure all R.V's children loved her, they never respected her. I thought she was the prettiest in the family and I always thought she looked so beautiful. I used to say when I grow up I want to be like her. R.V. was so very regal. She would have worn a crown well. Maybe she was a Queen!

Setting The Record Straight

I fear I have given the wrong idea to some of my blog followers. I therefore want to set the record straight before continuing. When I started writing this blog it was to release some pent up feelings I had about some of the ways I was parented. I certainly did not mean to imply my parents did not love me. Some of the things said and done left its mark on me, as I am sure it has done for a lot of you out there also! My mom and dad were very proud of my talent in theatrics and poetry and a short stint on the radio. They told me often about that. My parents just did not realize how hurtful some things were to a child. Maybe I should not have written this blog if I have given some the wrong idea. I probably should not have been bearing my soul so much! I don't want people to be sorry for me. I just want them to know how some things can affect a child. Parenting does not come with an instruction booklet and most parents make mistakes along the way. Sensitive kids like me can be affected without parents even knowing it. I sure do not mean to come off looking like an abused kid and some kind of hero for telling how I feel. Wow! That was not my intention at all. Mom and dad did a lot of nice things for me as well. I can remember as a teenager being mouthy to my mom when she did a big favor for me that I had asked her to do, and then I mouthed off to her because it did not turn out exactly like I wanted. I know that must have hurt her when she had put her heart into it! When I was going to college, dad let me drive his car until he got me my own Model A Ford. It was mine, all mine! There are a lot of good stories to tell, but that was not the purpose of this blog. It was just to air what had been brought into my adulthood from childhood and how it has affected my life. It was certainly not to make my parents look bad or my siblings. I by no means was a perfect child. If you think I am going to tell you how naughty this little girl was, well I am not. That is a story some one else should tell from looking at me through their eyes. You will not ever hear or read it though as I have myself and one sister left. She will not tell because she is ninety years old and unable to write like this. AHA! So you see! What I write is all you get!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sisterly Love

The more I write the more I see my family as being dysfunctional. I did not know that before. I worry about what I am going to find when I start describing "myself as I see me." Maybe I should beware of walking that path. Oh no! What is good enough for my siblings is good enough for me. I will take my lumps. OW! Back to the subject at hand. My oldest sister, I am giving a nickname to, as it is easier to write with a name than saying she or he all the time. From now on she will be known as "Roo." This woman was a diversity, a complex person. Whether you believe in the signs of the zodiac or not, she was definitely a true Gemini. Roo had two faces and most people who knew her saw the nice one. She was so very clever, it was hard to distinguish who she was at any given moment. Roo would say to you, something like, "Do you not think that person should have worn a dress to this function instead of a pant suit?" No matter what you say in response, she would keep on the subject and give reasons as to why you should agree with her, until you finally do, or at least say,"You could be right." That would be what she wanted to hear and would later tell that person,"You know so and so said you should have worn a dress instead of a pant suit." It was easier for her to deliver her message that way than to be bold enough to pass on her opinion in the first place. I have seen and heard Roo do this so many times and more than once I was her victim until I caught on, or was approached by the other person and had to wiggle my way out. My mom favored her, at least that is what we always believed, until our mom told a friend one time that "My girls think Roo is my favorite, but that is not true. A mother always protects her weakest." The friend passed this on to one of my sisters. Well, in her protection of Roo, she passed on great pain to the rest of us. Here is an example. A day came when my mom asked me to take her to my lawyer as she wanted to make out a new will now that my dad had passed on. During the process of relating what she wanted done, she told the lawyer, "I want my youngest child to have my wedding ring." This came as a wonderful surprise to me and I was so honored and proud that I wanted to share this news. Big mistake! Be careful who you share your good news with. I found out later Roo put up such a fuss and tears flowed so hard that my mother had Roo take her back to the lawyers to change it to where Roo got the ring instead of me. When my mom passed on and Roo was wearing the ring she was badgered on and off for several years by my other siblings about how wrong she had been. She finally could not take the guilt any longer and said she would give me the ring, but I had to give her a ring in return.I did not have another ring outside of my wedding bands except one moss agate ring that an aunt had given me. Roo said she would take that and she did. I had to choose which would make me feel less hurt. Another time she betrayed me was when my husband and I had friends we played card with every Saturday night . One night I had not heard from my friend about our time and plans, as we usually called ahead to make arrangements, and so I called her. My friend said she had made other plans for the evening and would not be able to keep our usual date. O.K. I understand that. Something did not feel right though and so I called the next day. My friend said Roo had called her and said why did she always have to play cards with us, why could she not play cards with Roo and her husband. Mind you, this was not and never had been Roo's friend. The couple were our friends for a long time. I asked why she did not just say so last night and she said, "Your sister asked me not to tell you." I cannot tell you how hurt I was from both of them. The friendship never was the same and eventually went by the wayside. Roo and her husband stayed close to them for a long time after. I guess until they felt I was no longer hurt and Roo could get no joy anymore from what she had done to me. She vied for attention right up until the day she died. She told me and everyone else who would listen how badly she was being treated by her one son and daughter-in-law, but when any of us tried to help her or give her assistance she would refuse and say nothing was wrong. Oh, we know for sure her youngest son and daughter-in-law fleeced her of what money she had, and took control of her life, but we also found out her abuse stories were not all true. Her oldest son tried hard to take her home with him and even confronted the younger one, but Roo would not budge. She told all these abuse stories to all her friends at the Moose lodge and they would advise her and offer help until they got tired of hearing about it. She would always refuse their help. It was her way of getting attention. The same way it had been all her life. I do have to tell you, despite all of this, I loved my sister. Some of the best times I had in my life and some of the best memories are with her. I can't tell you how many laughs we have had together, and during World War II we were inseparable. In our old age we went back to our younger years and recalled so many things and laughed all over again. How could I love her when she did so many mean things to me? Believe me, I have not told them all, but I do not know. I just know I did love her! If you remember past blogs you will remember good and bad things also. Remember the eggs? So funny! Remember the naughty little girl? Not so funny. If she were here today and could write her blog, she would probably recall things I did that hurt her also, so everyone has a story to tell!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Love Thy Brother

Although my oldest sister said she and my brother were closer to each other than the rest of us, it was me to whom my brother came when he wanted advice. My father did such a poor job of raising him that he was very limited in relationships with women. He just did not know how to treat them and therefore ended up very lonely until his senior years. Since dad was such a "bad boy," he was going to make sure his son did not turn out like him. He drilled it into him that you did not sleep with females until after you were married. One night my brother came home late from a date and my dad rushed him to the hospital emergency at the wee hours to have a doctor check him out for anything being wrong. Can you imagine? I just wish I could have been there to hear the doctor's response to that one. My brother lost the love of his life because he would not sleep with her until they were married. She broke it off because of it. Actually, maybe he was lucky if she was not willing to wait. He was a hard worker, and always dreamed of making it big. He entered contests and invented crazy things, all of this thinking it would open doors. He was very religious, and very opinionated. He was stubborn and would argue with you at the drop of a hat. He also had a temper, but it just came out verbally. He was not one to share. He never wanted to give anything away to anybody and he was a pack rat. He saved most everything, magazine, papers, cottage cheese and butter tubs. To his credit he used some of the tubs to plant starter flowers or veggies, but the rest were stored. He was not keen on showers or bathing. What he learned in childhood, he carried over into his adult life. Since we were poor and lived during the depression we had to save on water and electricity, so we could only have a bath in a big galvanized tub, once a week. I am positive my brother had Parkinson's disease early in his life, but no one did anything about the obvious symptoms of something being wrong. When he was in high school he used to fall asleep doing his homework. Other times he fell asleep at strange times and places. All that happened was his getting yelled at that if he was sleepy he should go to bed. When he was around forty five or fifty and I observed his tremors in his hands, I suggested something was wrong and he should consult a doctor, he became angry with me and said "Nothing is wrong with me." This happened on several occasions until I gave up and kept still. He was finally diagnosed with Parkinson's and that is what took his life. I loved my brother and we got along fine in our adult life,but it was sad to see in his senior years that a lady took terrible advantage of him and unaccustomed as he was to spending money, she got him to do it and left him as soon as the money ran out.
He did find a lovely lady to share his last days with before she died, but there again, as good as she was to show him how to have fun in life, (travelling, hobbies,etc.) she too took what he had saved for his only son and benefited her own children on her death. He had sold his home to use the money to improve hers, but in the end he only had privilege to stay in the home and everything was left to her children. He was so very naive in many ways. When he came to me and my husband for advice on things, I could not believe he would not know these things himself. Even to things that happened to his own body was a mystery to him. I have to say this one thing though, I shall always remember, at one point in my life when I needed some advice, it was he who gave me the answer. I shall always be grateful to him for that. I feel so badly that he lived the unhappy life that he did. Shame on my father for keeping him in such a prison.
I have decided there is more I should tell you before I end this story, so please read with an open mind. Thank you!
When he became old enough to apply for social security, my brother discovered he was born illegitimate. That was a sad day. He cried and said, All these years my father has lied to me. I lost my one love because of it." All of us girls knew because my oldest sister had snooped in some papers when she was young and it got passed around from sister to sister. I do not know if we ever told my mom that we knew, but one time when I was living with my parents because of circumstances, I learned that my dad had held this over my mom’s head all these years. It was as if he thought it was all her fault and he had nothing to do with it. I guess way, way back then, that was the general opinion of people. If a woman got pregnant she was bad, but the guy was absolved of any wrongdoing. Well one day I heard mom and dad arguing in the bedroom with the door closed, and he was saying to her, “You better behave yourself or I am going to tell you know what.” That did it, I could no longer stand and listen to him threaten her for something that he was a part of, but for which he would take no responsibility. I opened the door and said, “Well she is free now from your hold on her and your secret is no longer something you can hold over her head. All of us girls know and have known for some time. I am so grateful that I do not have a man in my life like you! Do you actually think she did it alone and you have no responsibility?” I was so angry and I said more, but right now I cannot recall. I do remember his response, which was to snivel and walk back to the kitchen, saying, “OH, I wonder if I was illegitimate and my mother never told me.” I was so mad by that time I just yelled at him, ”What difference does it make? You are here aren’t you?” No one ever told my brother even after we all begged my parents to do so, as we knew there would come a time when he found out and he did. Look how sad that turned out.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

He Was My Saviour!

The first time I saw him was when he was dancing at a local night club. He looked so good on the dance floor and I really wanted to dance with him. I waited until my date went to the rest room and I hurried over to where he sat and said, "Can I dance with you?" He looked up at me from where he was sitting and said, "I don't know if you can follow me or not." Oh, my gosh, what egotism! This guy likes himself! I smiled and said, "Try me." Well, we danced to a fast piece and did what was called "the jitter bug." He was from New York and so he called it "the swing." Whatever you call it we did it, and it was like we had danced together forever. That is what we did! Dance together forever. At least for the next forty two years. He was thirty one years old and had never been married. He said he just had not met the right girl. I was thirty five, had been married before and had two boys. He decided he had met the right girl and having a ready made family was not a deterrent. We married January 19, 1958 and for the next forty two years he told me every day of my life that he loved me. Some days he would say, "Did I tell you I loved you today?" If I said, "No," then he would repeat it, and if I said, "Yes," he would say, "Well I will tell you again." My guy was of Spanish-Irish decent, and his dad was born in Barcelona, Spain. My family did not believe that and said he was Mexican, or as they say now days, Hispanic. My father had taught us that any time someone says they are Spanish, that means they are Mexican. Well, sorry daddy dear, but I saw my husband's dad's citizenship papers and he was from Barcelona, Spain. Why did it make a difference? Who knows except it sounds like he was a bigot, does it not? Well , one sister said my marriage would not last six months and another called him a "spic." That is an ugly name for a Mexican, which he was not, but it made her feel better about herself. Not far into the marriage he wanted to adopt the boys. I told him that was a big responsibility, and it carried a lot of scary stuff with it. If we ever did divorce he would be liable for child support and other things along with it. It did not matter, he wanted to adopt the boys. I proposed he just adopt the youngest as the oldest was in school already and would have to change his name and explain it away at school. The oldest boy would hear of none of it and wanted to be one of us also. It was decided to be a done deal and he went through with all the legal stuff and did it. We were now a family. This man took such good care of me. I had a foot massage after every shower. He had a little stool he would drag out, sit on it in front of me, put my feet on his lap and perform the best foot massage in the world. He would not let me wipe down my own shower. He preferred to do it for me. After he retired, I had my coffee and paper waiting for me every morning when I woke up. Best forty two years of my life. I will try to shorten this up by just telling you some instances of how he gave me back my life. One day my dad was demanding me to do something as we were leaving his house from a visit, and my sweetie turned to him and said." She is not your little girl anymore, she is my wife. She no longer has to answer to you." My dad was dumbfounded and just stood there and said nothing, but that is the day he started to have respect for my husband. Another time he suggested we go to the movie and I said all right but first I had to call....., and let her know where I was. He took the phone out of my hand, hung it up, and said to me,"You are married to me now and you do not have to answer to anyone!" Always before I had to call this one sister to let her know where I was going , or to let her know who was coming to visit me and if a car was parked in front of my house she would call to see who it was because her husband drove past my house daily on his way home from work and reported any strange car in front. My husband put a stop to that for good. It really upset her that she did not know my whereabouts at all time. I will tell you why in my next blog. He just stopped all those responsibilities my family had put on me. Maybe now you will realize why I had my screaming and running spells. He is the one who put me into the car and took me to see a doctor at the mental health clinic which started me into group therapy and gave me back my life. I credit him for it all, my sanity, and my life back, and do I miss him? With all my heart!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Run, Naughty Little Girl!

Before going on with my feelings about my brother and sisters, I should tell you some important facts about me. I was in the second grade when my parents took me to the doctor and was told to take me out of school for a year or they would be dealing with a child with Saint Vidus Dance. That is a type of nervous disorder. I did not have it, but they were told I was on the verge of getting it. This is important for you to know as I am going to tell you about a more serious disorder I had later in life that nobody paid much mind to and I did not seek help for myself either. All my life I had been told I was a "naughty little girl." I was told that so often by every member of my family that I finally believed it myself. To this day as an eighty six year old woman I still feel I may be a naughty little girl and it is so very hard for me to accept gifts or compliments because I do not think I deserve them. I was a grown woman with children of my own and my mother and older sister were still calling me that everytime I did not conform to their wishes. It was not just my parents who instructed me to do things, I had four siblings that were my bosses also. In my adult life when I told my doctor I almost had Saint Vidus Dance and that I did not understand why as they all spoiled me, he became very angry. He said, "They did not spoil you, they used you! You were a toy they took turns playing with. You became so distraught as to whom you should obey that confusion lead to anxiety." I have no idea if he was right or wrong, but I do know it was a relief to hear I was not as bad as I thought I had been. The problem I was referring to earlier was just as shameful to me as it could be and I had no control over it either. When I became too stressed out, usually from a verbal altercation with one of them, I would drop whatever was in my hands and start screaming and running through the house, picking up whatever I could find, throwing it across the room and just running and running until some one grabbed me and hit me. I would then start crying. I would lay down wherever I was and cry until there was no more cry in me. After that I would be fine except for feeling spent. I lost a lot of breakable things doing that, but it was almost like someone wound me up and turned me on and I could not stop. I did not ever feel it coming on either. It just hit me like a ball bat. The last time that I remember having a spell was when I was talking to my mom on the phone and she called me to ask me what I had done to my sister. Never asked my side of the story just said, "Your sister is upset and you are a naughty little girl." I dropped the phone to the floor and started my run. My youngest son was home and had been told if he ever witnessed this he was to hit me. Well I did not have much running room in that house but I took in all the rooms, with him running after me, and then jumped on the bed and was screaming and jumping on the bed. The poor kid jumped on the bed with me and wham! Hit me in the face. I fell down on the bed and he grabbed me crying ,"I am sorry mom, Aunt ---- told me to do it. Well aunt---- had never told him where to hit me as she usually swatted me anywhere but the face. I forgave him though as he did not know and was so remorseful, I felt sorry for him. I tell him today that we must have made quite a picture the two of us jumping up and dpwn on the bed. After I spent a year in therapy, I never had another spell . I went to therapy for another reason, but I also unloaded my family problems and learned so much. I found because you are related to someone does not mean you HAVE to love them. You can't choose your relatives and they have to earn your love. My sis always said, "Since you went to that therapy class you have never been the same." Oh my gosh, How lucky was that? I now had control of my own life! Next blog, before my siblings, I want you to meet my husband who really saved my life and set me free.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Not Cinderella's Sisters.

Here is a little bit about how I felt about each of my sisters and one brother. Of course I am telling you right away that I absolutely loved them all, but there were times when I did not like some of them so very much. My oldest half sister was such a jewel. As the old saying goes," she would give you the shirt off her back if you asked." There was not much she couldn't do either. She could take a hammer and nail in hand and build something, she could fix a car and she did not hesitate to crawl under one to do it. She did not fare so well in her love life though, and she did not take good care of herself and therefore died at an early age. I do not know exactly how old she was, but I have determined she was in her fifties. It seems like she was fifty five. She was a heavy drinker and all her many boy friends were drinkers also. She got along very well with them until she married, and then it all fell apart. Four husbands she had. When she died there was a long list of ailments on her death certificate that claimed to contribute to her death. A truly beautiful person with a heart of gold and a love of people cut down way too early from the abuse of the bottle. The next oldest half sister was equally as beautiful, not necessarily in looks, but inside her heart and soul. I have to say, she was the prettiest of the three though, cute and perky. She had such a delightful way about her. When she greeted you it made you feel so very special because it was so genuine. Almost like she had not seen you in years. Now here was another talented lady. Not much she could not do either. She would always say, "I can do that!" and she did! She took hammer in hand and helped put shelves up in her daughter's gift shop and helped prepare it for a grand opening. In the way of crafts, you name it and she did it. We are most amazed at her paintings though, which she did up into her nineties. I did not meet her until I was about fourteen years old but we seemed to have a closeness to each other whenever we had a chance to meet. When she moved closer to us, I know I was her favorite as we had so much in common. We shared crafts and the love of our gardens. She was still very, very active when she passed away ate age ninety six. My third half sister, like the other two was a hard worker and a giver. She would give it to you if you admired it. She was a lover of the outdoors and would take gun in hand and hunt with her one-armed husband, who was a cracker jack shooter. He taught me how to use a gun and after his teaching I could most always hit my target. Her husband, with only one arm, could always bag his deer in season, so they had plenty of meat for the winter. They lived in and owned a hotel on a beautiful lake so they were fishermen also. She too was a talented person and I have many pieces from her crochet work. Unfortunately, she too liked her bottle. When she came for visits, she always had it with her. She openly said she loved us all, but my oldest (full) sister was her favorite. That is where she stayed when she came. They were closer in age, but they both loved to play bingo also. Her downfall was her son.
She could not say no to him or tell him to get out and get a job, so little by little she sold off her acreage to help him in tight spots. She eventually had a small plot of land with a mobile home on it and bought him one also to live close by. Her husband had long passed on. I guess she was not badly damaged by the bottle for she was eighty seven when she left us. They were truly wonderul women who were born by a pioneer lady who passed on her strong will and love of hard work and accomplishments to them . They were by all standards beautiful. Next blog you will meet my other sisters and my brother. Stayed tuned!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

If You Can Handle, You Can Candle!

Coming down from the mountains yesterday, one of my boys reminded me of a funny story I used to tell them. I thought maybe it would be fun to write about it and post it for someone else to enjoy! It was back in the forties, and I was in my twenties looking for a new job to do besides waitress work. One of my sisters and I decided to apply for a job at the egg processing plant where they candled eggs. I will explain that in a minute. Eggs were delivered to more places than just the grocery store. You might be surprised to find out where they all went. We were thrilled to find out we were both hired. Because we were inexperienced we had to start from the bottom and work our way up. The first thing we had to do was paste labels on boxes. Besides not being very exciting to do, it was also very messy. It was not hard to get yourself all glued up. Thank goodness we only had to do that for a few days until they had us go into the candling room. We each had a booth where a box of eggs were put in front of us and there was a little light in front, just about in line with our sight when we held the eggs up, I would say a little bit above shoulder height. There also were several egg boxes for the different grades of eggs. By that I mean eggs that were small, medium, or large. Until you learned to know the sizes, there was a scale you could use. Then there were boxes for eggs with blood in them, or long thread like worms. Bet you did not know eggs had all these things in them. Ugh! We had to learn how to tell what size an egg is and also how to hold four eggs in your two hands, check out the right hand egg under the light, then check out the left hand egg under the light while you are rotating the egg in your right hand to the lower part of your hand while pushing the lower one to the top of your hand. Do the same with the other hand and then deposit them in the correct boxes and grab four more. When you put them to the light you can see into the egg and discover any thing that should not be there or give it the O.K. for being good and into a box it goes. I never ate another egg at home without first putting it under a light. I don't do it anymore, but I did for a long time. O.K. we got pretty good at that and then they said they were short of help in the rotten egg room. Well, that was when our careers as egg candlers came to an end. Come on, go into the rotten egg room with me. Have you ever seen the Lucy show where she works on the candy belt? Well then you can imagine how funny this is because in here they have an egg belt. Eggs come rolling down that belt slowly until someone thinks we are going too slow and they speed it up. Fortunately you can yell stop or slower when it becomes too stressful, but at times it is quit humorous. We put these eggs in categories also. Guess where these go? You will not believe it. At this time we had service men stationed in town and all of the rotten eggs went to them to use in whatever cooking they did. Oh my gosh! Those guys did not know what their cooks were serving them. Now where did the bloody eggs go? Do you really want to know? I guess you do. They went to the local bakeries. You can have your cake and eat it too! Yum!! I doubt that they do that anymore with so many laws around now, so do not be afraid to buy at the bakery. Back to the belt. As the eggs came down the belt we sorted them and put them in a flat that held several dozen eggs. When this was full you had to learn to grasp it at opposite ends, twist it so they would not fall out and carry it across the room to a stacking place. I was so proud of myself because I thought I had mastered this and was doing quite well. I shouted to my sister,"Look, I'm doing it, I'm doing it" and at that very moment the eggs decided to make a liar out of me by escaping out and flinging themselves juicily upon the floor. I had to keep walking trying to get them to where I was headed as the went splat! splat! splat! upon the floor. My sister is laughing hysterically and it infected me and I started to laugh also. I got across the room with only a few of the eggs intact. I hope I have described this well for you and you can see me creeping slowly to get to my destination all the while laughing uncontrollably trying not to drop any as they continued tumbling. Did I mention that the rotten egg room smelled so badly that you wanted to gag? I know I did not so let it go down in the books now as a horrible smell. I cannot tell you how happy we were to get back to our waitress jobs. Scrambled eggs anyone?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Funny What You Remember

It is funny how when you get older, and I do mean older, I am talking over seventy, you start recalling things that happened in your youth. Most of the time, they are not even about me. Just some little thing that happened and you start thinking about it. Right now I am remembering when a homeless man came and knocked on our back door. They did not call them homeless back then. They were either hobos or they were tramps. It is true that some of them even road the boxcars on the railroads and traveled from town to town. Well, getting back to the story, he knocked and my dad answered. He said he was hungry and could we possibly give him some food. He did not ask for money or a handout of any kind, just some food. My dad said he would never let a man go hungry, but the guy would have to earn it first. He did not fuss or get angry, he just said, ”What do you want me to do?” My dad said there was some wood to be cut out by the chicken coop and the guy could cut some of it up while mom fixed him a hearty breakfast. He cut and mom cooked. She made bacon, eggs, potatoes, and pancakes. She brewed him some coffee also. That poor guy ate like he was starving, which he probably was. Now I would have fed him, and I would not have made him work for it, but my dad was a stickler for believing that nothing is ever for free. Sometimes the homeless would mark your house somewhere so that others seeking help would know if you were a kind person or not. If my father was approached on the street for money, he would never give it, but would take the person in to the nearest eatery and pay the waitress to give him something to eat. We were not rich by a long shot, but we were never so poor we couldn’t share. I can remember standing in line with my dad while he waited for a hand out of dried beans and whatever else they were giving during the depression. I guess I remember the beans most because mom would soak them in water and we would pick out all the stuff that floated to the top and ran our hand through them to also take out any little rocks that had accumulated. One time while in line someone gave me a cute little push toy that was Felix The Cat. He had a long wooden stick handle and when you pushed it the feet wobbled along. Funny the things you remember when you are getting older

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Charlee Was A Colorful Lady!

She was the first person I saw when I walked in the room. She was the first person everybody saw when they walked in the room. Long black hair poofed a bit and a large, I mean large ,white flower in her hair. She wore black eye make- up that made you take a second look. When you got to know her it was like that eye make up was a big part of who she was. One day she told me her daughter had suggested it was a little bit too much and I said,"I know" She said "You knew it too and did not tell me?" Well duh! "That is who you are and I was not about to take who you are away from you." She toned it down a bit, but it soon crept back. Little kids by her side and waiting to be seen by the clinic doctor. That is where we first met. It was at the County hospitals children's clinic. I had my son with me and we were all there for, I don't know, check up, or shots, or whatever, I do not remember, but there we were. She had that Hawaiian look about her, and why wouldn't she? That is where she was from. Her father had served in the service and was stationed there. From that day in the hospital we became the best of friends. I have so many memories of her, and with her, that I have to share some of them. Many a time she would call me on the phone and say,"What are you having for dinner tonight?" Neither one of us were very flush with money and so we would put our dinners together and dined as though we were. First at her house and then at mine. I was working as a waitress at the Flamingo hotel and she came over while I was at work and cleaned my whole house including scrubbing and waxing the floors. Another day she came over and weeded my yard and mowed my lawn. When I married my Bobby Joe she threw us a house warming. No one has ever made me laugh like she could. She had the most wonderful and sometimes off color sense of humor, but on her it just did not seem offensive. She laughed so heartily that you could not help joining in. When I invited her to go with me to functions she would ask me,"Do you want me to show class, or color?" She never let anyone say anything bad about or to me. As little as she was she defended me like a mother hen. It was a very sad day when she moved away. However we still kept in touch. Our vacations were always spent travelling to visit her and she made them true vacations. We went to Disneyland and to Knotts Berry Farm, and to the Aquariums. She took us on the Queen Mary and we rode the ferry to Catalina Island. But for her I would never have been able to see a lot of these places. She made them all very special with her outgoing ways. At the grocery store when we shopped for our meals, we split the bill down the middle. While she and I cooked, and the guys would come in for whatever reason, she would say to them "Please, go sit down, we're awfully busy!" Then she would crack up laughing. They came back to Santa Rosa to visit us also. She had a sister here so she made it a double reason to come. The last time she came for a visit, she informed me that she and her husband were taking Bob and I to Hawaii and she did not want to hear any sounds of refusal. They were doing good now and there was no way she would take no for an answer. I felt like Cinderella. What a grand time we all had. Her daughter and friend accompanied us also. Since she had lived there at one time she knew some of the natives, and we were guests in their home. The mother of one family where we were privileged to visit and enjoy "poo poos" out under the Lanai, was the last living relative of King Kamehameha, the last king on the Island. Another family invited us to dinner and the lady cooked a meal you can not even believe, but she would not join us at the table. They were Asian and her culture would not allow her to sit with us. I felt so bad, but that was the way they were taught. The deck where we ate was built right on the water and the small waves washed right up to us . It was so beautiful. Mr. Kim, that was his name, taught me some Hawaiian words and before we left he asked me to pronounce Pi pe li ne (Which comes out sounding like pee -pay- lean- ay in Hawaiian). So that is what I said, and he said."O.K. that is good but over here we pronounce it pipeline. What a laugh he got out of that as we all did. By the way, Poo, Poos are hordouvres. I do not usually give out names, or at least I try not to, but you all should know the wonderful Charlotte that touched my life. Everyone called her Charlee. We laughed together, we cried together we shared, we raised our kids together, we even shared her death together. When she called to tell me she had cancer and was dying, I died a little bit myself. During those days she called me often and kept me informed. She would even tell me about her doctor visits and how she would be Charlee and tell jokes to the doctors and nurses to make them laugh. I am sure they knew she was a special patient. She accepted her diagnosis with dignity and added humor to it to make it easier, I am sure. She was not afraid of going. She told me who all was waiting for her and that she would save me a place. In the meantime, when I saw a butterfly, she said that would be her coming to say hello to me. Whenever I see a butterfly I smile and say ,"There's Charlee." The day then came when she called to say Hospice was now coming and she wanted to say good bye to me. She said,"Don't you dare cry because we have laughed too many years together to cry now." Shortly afterwards she was gone. Charlee was the best friend I ever had and to this day I miss you dearly Charlee!

Friday, April 10, 2009

You Can't Take It With You!

We took everything out of the spare room and prepared it for mom. Boy, that room has been home to a lot of people since we have had the house and there were a lot that came after mom. That room even at one time was made into Bob’s bar, and what a lot of stories I could tell about that. What a nice little room it is! However I always felt it was not that nice to my mother. She wanted to be in her home with my brother, but she could not. She had reached the point where she needed more care and help than he could give her. I tried to make it as comfortable and nice for her as I possibly could. She did not bring much with her. She brought her clothes, her jewelry, her bathroom needs, and her chair! Since she was often times cold, we put her chair in front of the heater. I can still see her sitting there now. She had a little shawl sister Barb had crocheted for her and that was placed over her knees. A lot of the time she placed her elbows on the rockers arms and let her head rest on the palms of her hand. She looked at television on occasion, but said she could not hear it or that it was silly. She appeared to be in deep thought most of the time and I suspect she was reviewing her life and enjoying her memories. Oft times she would call my name to have me come in and listen to something she remembered, or as she would say, “Babe, I was just thinking……! There were wonderful times when I would sit on the floor and listen to her stories. The best one was about her trip across the Oregon Trail. She also talked about my three half sisters and her life with her first husband. She told of how she walked miles to town as a young girl and it took all day to get there and back. Sometimes she got to ride horse back into town or to the neighbors. On occasion, with the parents, they took the horse and buggy. One story that always confused me was the one she told, when she was married to my dad, of my dad packing her and the kids up and taking her someplace to camp while he was on a business trip. Camping with all of us kids was supposed to be her vacation. I always wondered what the heck he was doing during that time. At one point in their lives they were building a home. It was called homesteading, and while it was being built they lived in a tent. While they were living in the tent, my sister Arvilla was born. My sister Barbra, was the first to be born in a hospital. Mom had a midwife. One story she tells is when one ( I don’t recall which) child was born, it had a rather pointed head. The black lady in attendance took the babies head in hand and just reshaped it. Did you know babies heads were that pliable? I did not! Talk about pioneer women, my mom sure was one. From her rocking chair she relived her life and I am so lucky that I got to share it with her. My only mistake was not writing it all down like I should have and this would have been a much longer story. I have told you before about my brother not wanting to share anything and his obsession with possessions. He never got rid of anything and he was definitely a pack rat. His son had a nightmarish experience after he was gone, disposing of all the things he had saved and stored in his little mobile home. In a way I am glad my nephew received a lot of my moms things that we girls had wanted because the remainder of what she had were sold in a garage sale that we did not know about until after it was held. Brother had gotten mixed up with this Hispanic woman and she took him for a lot of things. She got him to buy her a car, and a diamond ring, and talked him into having the garage sale. She even sold my mom’s button box, which I would have stole for. Everything that the nephew did not get, went at the garage sale. She had to be some kind of evil miracle worker to get him to relinquish these things. We could never get him to have a sale or even throw away any of his garbage. No way! Well, when mom passed, brother came for the chair! HA! “I want mom’s chair,” he said! “It goes to Dan when I am gone.” Take a guess as to what I said! O.K. I will tell you. “Before I let you take that chair out of this house, I will take an axe and chop it into a million pieces. If you do not believe me…try me!” To my surprise he calmly said, “Well I will let you have it for a while, but I want it back to give to my son.” Do you know what? Only my sister Barbra and I are still left and I have the chair. Which one of you boys of mine want it? You better decide soon. I might just take it with me!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Musical Chairs!

Before I go any farther, I would like to clear up a couple of things. This I should have clarified from the beginning, but when I get something in my head to say I just cannot stop the fingers on the keyboard. Then the thing that should have been said has gone. However, lucky for me, I have a return mode that comes on and nudges me to go back. Wait a little bit and I will return to the story. First, perhaps you noticed in my profile, that often I said I was the youngest of ten, and yet you only saw five kids in the car heading for California. I also refer sometimes to my older sister. Well, here is the scoop. My mom was married two times and I had three wonderful half sisters. There were four, but a little girl named Goldie died at the age of four from pneumonia. With my dad she had six. A boy named Kenneth was born a “blue baby” and died at six weeks. Only one of my half sisters lived with us for a while and the other two were elsewhere. A loving family adopted one sister, and the other was with her grandmother. Those are separate stories though and do not belong in this one. When you hear me refer to an older sister, it only means in the family I grew up with, and that had the same father as me. I have great memories of my half sisters and may later on write about those wonderful memories with three great ladies. The other thing I need to clarify is this story I am writing about now. It sounds as though I did not like my brother. That is so very far away from the truth. I adored him and in actuality, he and I were very close in my adulthood. He came to me for a lot for advice and I to him. In fact he gave me (at one time) the best advice I have ever had in my life at a time when I was confused and uncertain. I remember that to this day. I did not however, like his selfishness, and greed, which came out on my mom’s passing. I have seen this same situation so many times in families that it almost makes me determined to stay around as long as I can so my boys won’t fight over my “stuff.” I have even gone so far as to ask them to put their names on things now so there won’t be any problems, but they laugh at me, or joke about where their names are going. Come on guys! It could solve a lot now rather than later. The only thing I must decide on soon is who gets the chair. My youngest, at one time said he would like it, and my oldest son seemed uninterested at that time. Now time has passed and my oldest has been put in the position of, not taking care of me (I am not that old or incapable yet) but he is doing for me. Trust me, there is a lot of doing that needs to be done.! So I therefore think he should have the chair if he has now changed his mind. Oh my, now I do have a dilemma on my hands that I must quickly fix. First I better get back to my story so you can find out how I happen to get the chair.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Remember Mama

There is a story as to how I happen to be in possession of the rocking chair since there was more than one sibling. No one wanted it except my brother and me. The story is long! When my dad died, my mom sold her home and moved in with my brother. She did not want to be alone and he needed a baby sitter for his son. It was a win, win, situation for both of them. For a long time I had physical custody of his son, but now he was able to take him on his own. His ex wife had visiting privileges. My mother was his cook, laundry woman, housekeeper, gardener, and baby sitter all rolled into one. It was all right because she was very happy. She was where she wanted to be. As time went on though my brother became more controlling and dominating of her. I recall the time I was over visiting and she made the remark that she wanted to get rid of some things that were just gathering dust. In the washroom was hanging a fairly large picture of horses. My dad had made the frame for it and it was quite a nice picture. Hanging all over it were cobwebs and dust. She said, “I would like to get rid of that thing. It is all dusty and it is up so high I can’t get to it, and he never dusts, so it should go.” Of course I said if she were sure she did not want it anymore, I would be thrilled to have it. She said, “Take it!” I got a stool to climb on and was in the process of taking it down when my brother came in. He asked what I was doing and I told him. His eyes got big, his face screwed up, he pointed a finger and told me to put it back. He said nothing was leaving this house. There was a beautiful purple fruit bowl that stood on three short legs that my sister Barbra wanted, but he said she could not have it either. When mom got so she could not do the work anymore, and my brother was not a housekeeper, I would go to their home and bathe her, wash and set her hair and trim her toenails when needed. Barbra did it on a couple of occasions, but it was my weekly chore to be sure. I also cleaned the house for them. I usually did not touch his room, as he was fussy about anyone going in there, but on this one occasion I decide it needed a good cleaning. I was right! There was an inch of dust, I swear, and his dirty underwear had been pushed under the bed. I do not know how long they had been there or how often he changed, but I cleaned everything. I made sure I put things back exactly as he had placed them, but the room was clean. When he found out, he hit the roof. I did not do that again without asking. Now since he was the one taking care of her by having her in his home it was no more than right that he should have first choice of what he wanted when she was gone. However I think we girls should have been able to have some memento of hers. He did not think so. He would have it all and when she passed and when he was gone everything would go to his son since she had taken care and become very fond of him. There came a time when my mom injured herself and required professional care that none of us could give her. She was put into a rest home of sorts. She hated it! Her mind was still sharp and she was very unhappy. In a short while she was moved to a larger place with very sickly and demented people. This was so very devastating to her that I said when her body healed, I wanted to take her home with me. My older sister said no I could not do it, but I insisted and she agreed to let me try it. She would have preferred to go to my brother’s home, but that was not possible. Mom came to my house to live out her final days.

Monday, April 6, 2009

And The Walls Came Tumbling Down!

In my last post you saw the house I lived in on Dutton Avenue. Well that house is gone. In its place is a bank and parking spaces on both sides. On the nearest corner, you can now stand and look at a small shopping center. There is a fast food place and several small businesses. The house where she lived is also gone as is the used furniture store that her dad used to own. There are lots of business places up and down the street called Sebabstopol Avenue, but nothing is what it used to be. In fact the area is now a Hispanic population. That is just one change in the town of Santa Rosa. The powers that be are not big on preserving any thing that is deemed part of the town's history. Oh, there are a few things saved, but they are not as significant as the wonderful things that have been destroyed. In the middle of town was a magnificent very large building we called the court house. Inside was a beautiful set of stairs leading to the second floor and the floors were all marble. Talking a bit loudly created a wonderful echo. At Christmas time, Santa Claus came to the old court house and from the top steps he handed out mesh stockings filled with goodies to the children. On the side lawn was an old cannon. We used to climb on that old piece of memorabilia. Then one day it was decided that it was not earthquake proof and should be torn down. It was a sad day for everyone as the big wrecking ball tried time and again to take it down. It was not about to come down without a fight. It eventually gave up its fight and succumbed to the wrecking ball. How would it have done in an earthquake we will never know. A town square was built in its place and now those great city officials want to put it back together again, sans the court house of course. We keep electing these people. What is wrong with this picture? We have an old adobe house sitting and rotting away on a street called Montgomery Drive, where the Carillo family first settled. They were the first family to settle in Santa Rosa. Instead of preserving this wonderful piece of history, they talk about putting a fence around it and building apartments around it. Now, can you really imagine what brain came up with that one? There also were three absolutely wonderful old theaters in Santa Rosa. The Roxy, The California, and the Tower. All of them gone, but wait, we have a shopping mall to look at. The old post office is still here, but it had to be moved several streets over so Macy's could come to town. The post office is now a museum where you can go and look at the things that are not here anymore. It was a small town back then and of course we know progress has to happen. I do remember, however that we had a street car that ran from the old railroad depot to the end of the line, which was where College Avenue and Fourth Streets come together. Anything past that was country. Where the shopping center called Montgomery Village is, was all walnut orchards. Where I now live, was country also. My home is not too far away from where the hop fields were. I remember one time when I was coming home from a short jaunt with my dad, that he stopped at a very small service station to get gas, and because I had been so good, he bought me a Nehi! In case you do not know what that is I will tell you. It is not unlike our sodas today. They came in bottles in all flavors and they cost a nickel. That was such a big treat that I had to go home and smarty mouth off to my siblings, who were indeed, as I had intended, jealous. Speaking of nickels, I also recall in Junior high school there was a man called "Benny" that had a truck, much like the taco trucks today, out of which he sold ice cream bars. The kids lined up to purchase a favorite from him. A thing called a "Zero" sold two for a nickel. I never had a nickel so my best friends always bought two of those and gave one to me. What good friends I had. A zero was somewhat like Popsicles today, except it was harder and more like frozen flavored ice. Boy were they good! Getting back to the town, when I first moved into the home I now occupy, there was nothing but an empty field across the street. The owner had his goats and a donkey in the field and a pleasure to me was watching them each morning while eating breakfast. If you have never watched the antics of goats, especially the young, you have missed out on a joy. In that same field now there stand numerous low income apartments I watched the goats leave, then a mobile home come in and a young Asian lady planting her garden yearly and a sign going up indicating vegetables for sale, then everything disappeared and the apartments went up. Also disappearing was the two way street which is now four lanes. Gone are all the pleasant things I used to watch, and I now watch the traffic and the crazy drivers!

Friday, April 3, 2009

School Daze!

Besides my love of poetry, I had many other interests while in school. In Junior High I was active in tumbling, writing, and in small bits of acting. In High School I was very active in Drama, drum and bugle corps, and I did a lot of entertaining at sport rallies. I wrote all my own material. The coach would call me out of my classes and go over with me what he wanted me to do at the rallies. I would go home and write some comedy stuff and deliver it in the auditorium at the next rally! I was also on the local radio station (KSRO) in a program called "Us Kids Of Seventeen." There I wrote my own material also and was billed as a budding "Tizzie Lish" She was a character in the movies that did comedy in a rather falsetto voice. One such writing I did on the radio was "How to Ride A Horse Back After You Get Him There" I never starred in, but I was a character in many school plays and was the leading character in some plays that were for students only. In the drum and bugle corps we performed at every parade in town and at every sports game at half time. We fought long and hard to get to wear shorter uniforms, but in the end we were only allowed to have them three inches above the knee. My how times have changed! I had lots of girl friends in high school, but no boy friends. All my girl friends had boy friends, but not me. I dated one time and the guy was just awful and I never went with him again. I had a guy out of school that I liked and I sneaked to be with him a few times, but my dad did not like him so he forbid me any further contact. In Junior College I had lots of guy friends (not boy friends) and life was just great! I used to go cook dinner for one guy, once in a while when he complained he did not know how to cook and would sadly ask if I could not help out. I got to ride on the back of a motorcycle with another guy on a couple of occasions, and I had one very dear guy friend who would come by my house in his dump truck, honk and holler, "Want to take a trip with me to pick up a load of gravel?" Of course I did and away we went. I was friends with him up until the day he died. I am still friends with his last wife. I have this wonderful memory of him that I would like to share. When I was separated from my first husband and very pregnant, my oldest sister had convinced me I needed to get out of the house and go with her to sit and watch at a local dance hall where big bands came and played. I felt rather embarrassed to go, but I went with her any how. Harry James was playing that night. Well, my friend was there also and he came over to me, held out his hand and said, "Would you two like to dance with me?" How sweet was that?!! When I am gone and my boys go through my picture album, they are going to think mom was quite a "tart," but the truth is, I did have a lot of guy friends who were not boy friends. Also during the war everyone had guy friends. They were just there, and they were great guys! I am so glad I experienced all of that!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cranking Can Make You Cranky!

My very first car!! A 1929 Model A Ford. I learned to drive using my dad's car and my sister Barbra's boyfriend was my teacher. He was a good one also, very patient and easy to understand. I was driving in no time at all. I also learned quickly how to change tires and how to crank my car. That's right, back then you had to crank some cars and when you got them started, you ran fast for the spark on the steering wheel and pulled it down just right so you would keep the car running. You did not have to crank it all the time, just when you could not turn the engine over with the key. This car had a turtle back, which was different from a rumble seat in that it opened like the trunk of a car today. I had a big stick that when positioned correctly, it would hold the turtle back up. I remember when I used to go to the U.S.O dances (Those were dances for the service men, and young ladies attended to dance with them.) We were, however, never allowed to leave until all the service men had left in the buses that brought them. After that we could go and get into our cars and leave. Many a time I went to my car and found two service men in front and two or three squeezed into the trunk of the little Ford waiting and preferring for me to drive them back to their base on the old Wikiup Ranch. I never quite figured it out why that was more fun, but I did it anyhow and was only to happy to do it. None of them were boyfriends, just good old boys looking for a diversion. The rumble seat in a car was a lot of fun to ride in. A lot like a convertible today, but not as sophisticated. You had to climb up on the car, step down onto the seat, then slide yourself down until you were sitting and your feet went underneath. My little Model A , myself and a couple of girlfriends, cut Junior college one day to take a ride over to the coast. I almost missed the turn off where we wanted to go. We were cutting up and laughing when I suddenly realized I almost missed the turn, yelled "woops! gave the wheel a quick turn and almost flipped us over. The little car went up on two wheels, lingered a bit, but decided to spare us and settled back down on all four. We were not so different in that way than kids today, but believe me, I NEVER DID THAT AGAIN! We were scared. O.K. Yes, my girlfriends still rode with me after that, but we did not take any more adventures.