Posted in childhood, daily prompt, family, life, summer

Summer

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My mother has never pumped gas.
I love this despite what anyone thinks.
I give my mother a gold star. For this.
I remember a friend who said he had a friend who had never been passed. Driving. This is the only thing I can think of that is anything better than my mother never pumping gas.
I can tell you.

My mother can balance a checkbook better than your accountant
who hasnโ€™t written a check. In a decade. Or more.

I remember summer.
It was watermelon on picnic tables.
And bible school. Crafts. Like macrame. And papier-mache.
I made a papier-mache maraca from an old lightbulb. You had to break the bulb when you were finished. This seems dangerous for a kid. But we were in a church so it worked out just fine.

Air conditioning.
Vents and blanket forts as tents. With books. My sister and me.
The books held everything in place.
Until dad came home for dinner.

My mother watched As The World Turns or One Life To Live.
One of those.
They were the same to us. They are all the same to her now.

Summer was popsicles and bicycles. And Barbies.
My Barbie was a single Mom. Riding around in her camper van.
She didnโ€™t take any shit from anybody. She had the light blue one piece bathing suit.

I had red white and blue roller skates.
Our neighbor had an Elton John record.
It was pine straw and pavement and 8 track tapes.
American Bandstand.
Skyrockets in flight.

Summer

Posted in childhood, family, life

Your Turn.

I don’t recall feeling bored one minute as a child. If it happened I was probably at the doctor or dentist or some other very unfun for a kid place. Even then there was usually a Highlights magazine nearby to remedy the situation.

When I was a kid the phrase “play date” did not exist. We simply walked next door or down the street to occupy the neighbor’s backyard for awhile. Lay the burden of injury on another set of parents for the afternoon.
Sometimes we were driven. Usually by my mother.
When I was about 7 or 8 I spent a “not a play date” with my friend Duncan. This was particularly exciting because Duncan had a Slip and Slide.
We did not.
I was promised a banana sandwich post slipping and sliding and that was something I looked forward to all morning long.
While slipping and sliding.
At my house a banana sandwich was 2 slices of white bread, possibly toasted. Or not. Half a banana, on top of peanut butter. Crunchy is best. Yes please.
This makes perfect sense. Because it makes a perfect sandwich.
I quickly learned that afternoon that people do things differently in other kitchens. When it comes to banana sandwiches. Some people have very bad ideas.
Duncan and his mother apparently liked to insult a good banana by subjecting it to– of all things–Mayonnaise.
What did you just say?
I did not eat mayonnaise. At all. Ever.
Unless carefully disguise in a salad. Tuna or potato.
This dislike was acknowledged in my family to the extent that my brother once chased me through the house with an open jar. He must have thought it was great fun mayonnaise terrified me. I did not.
Duncan and his mother had no idea.
Most of that lunch is now a blur of polite disappointment. With a side of potato chips. At least.

When I was a kid
We played inside.
When it was too hot, too cold, too rainy.
We played.

Candy Land, Slap Jack, Go Fish, Barbies, makeup Barbie, Holly Hobbie, Chinese checkers, regular checkers, Lincoln Logs, jacks and marbles. Our stuffed animals had names and personalities. They had voices and did people things.
My sister and I played school. We had books labeled Discard.
Science and Math.
I remember trying to write down every word I knew on a sheet of paper.
I thought coloring books were kind of like cheating. And forget the paint by number.

When we were all old enough to read my parents bought a set of Childcraft books. The 60’s or early 70’s edition. Each book was grey except for the spine. Each title had a different color. When you looked at them from the side they made a rainbow. They had titles like About Me, Look Again, What People Do, How Things Work.
World and Space was pink. I might have looked at that one couple of times. I spent most of my time with #9 Make and Do. It was green.
Lime green and gold and orange color scheme saturation. Instructions on how to make and do lots of things. Happy make and do illustrations and strange photographs of children with the finished products.
Shadow puppets, stick puppets, party hats, how to give a party, how to paint with a toothbrush, clay jewelry, paper airplanes. How to sew an apron? I feel sure potato printing was mentioned. Soap carving. I believe there was a section on how to make a sandwich.
My sister and I spent hours with Make and Do.
Our finished products never quite matched the book.

My brother had a game called Good Guys and Bad Guys. Cowboys. On horses. Good cowboys and bad cowboys. Whoever designed that game got paid a lot for doing very little.
You followed a path of horseshoes. There were illustrations on the game board of cowboys shooting each other. I’m not sure how you won. My brother probably always won. I think he was always the good guy.

My very favorite doll set was The Sunshine Family.
The Sunshine Family was a cleaned up hippie couple with a baby that would always be a baby. The father wore a turtleneck sweater and boots. The mother was blonde with a flower print dress. She wore sandals.
I imagined she liked to cook. Pies and casseroles.
And sew.
They probably had a garden.
You had to construct their house and furniture out of recycled things. A kleenex box was their bed. Plastic aerosol lids were tables. A spool of thread was a nightstand. It came with a booklet of ideas.
The original low impact family. Concerned about the environment.
Smiling.
They were always happy.
The Sunshine Family did not mingle with my Barbie or my sister’s Barbie. Or my brother’s GI Joe. And definitely not Stretch Armstrong.
Holly Hobbie was the closest thing they had to a neighbor.
They were happy in their shoebox house.
In the middle of the gold shag carpet.
In the corner of the living room.
On their own.

Posted in childhood, family, life

Playing It Safe

Most kids can rattle off a litany of injuries suffered as children. A laundry list of broken bones and a multitude of trips to the ER.

It’s a kid soundtrack. And it’s loud. Usually.

Between the 3 of us. My brother, sister and I had a total of 2 broken bones.
2. At the most.
The kids were winning in our corner.
Because we played it safe.
My brother once had a broken wrist. I think. From skateboarding. The bicycle? Jumping off something he shouldn’t have? He jumped.

He used a ballpoint pen to scratch inside his cast. It was the summer and I felt sorry for him.

My sister sprained her ankle when she was 17. On pointe. Dancing.
I broke the ring finger on my left hand.
I flipped over my bike while riding in NYC. I was about 35. That doesn’t count. At all.
When we were about 4, 6 and 9 my parents were at the neighbor’s house one evening. For Tupperware or adult conversation I suppose. While they were gone my sister hit her head against our giant tv.
A half step away from the emergency room. On the scale of bad about a 7 1/2.
We were playing. Jumping around on the gold shag carpet. After dinner. Jumping off the couch. On the couch.
We would stand on the couch arms and pretend to surf. To the Hawaii 5-0 theme song when it came on TV.
And when it wasn’t on TV.
Then my sister hit her head and sucked the fun right out of the living room. We were sorry.
It was a group effort.
My brother and I suffered the consequences.

 

Look. Be careful. You have to. Wash your hands. Take your Flinstones vitamin.
Look both ways. Wear a hat and gloves. Don’t talk to strangers. Beware of lightning. And electricity. If you can’t touch the bottom hold on the to side. Kick your feet. No eye contact. Just keep moving. Your name is sewn into your jacket. Hands at 10 and 2. Don’t forget.
When the Jehovah’s Witnesses come to the door… Hide. Turn off the lights. Let’s face it. Because. It’s weird. Those boys look nice in their white shirts They ride bikes. But. You can’t take any chances. You just never know.
On Saturdays my brother, sister and me would watch wrestling on tv. For inspiration.
And then we would toss each other around the living room. Just like one of those wrestling guys. It was pretend anyway. We just knew it.

 

ย My father’s job when we went to the beach was to keep an eye on us. Forever.
We would look up from our inflatables and see him waving us back to shore. Arms over head. Waving.
Come back. Come back. You’re too far out. It’s dangerous out there. Really.
Mom would be reading a book and instructing Dad. They are out too far. Do something.
Because.
Rip current. Jellyfish. Sharks. Boys.
Everything.
Posted in Uncategorized

In Trouble

In Kindergarten I had to stand in the corner. The corner.
Of our classroom.
In 1973 that happened. It would never happen today.

I think I laughed and looked at the boy in the opposite corner who I liked. Who was also in trouble. With me.
Trouble.
That young even.
In kindergarten I drew a picture of a squirrel which was apparently. Advanced.
My mother still has this drawing rolled up in importance in her closet.

First grade
I was paddled with a wooden paddle for getting up out of my wooden seat and for what.
My teacher had left the room.
In first grade I carried a Barbie lunchbox. Pink. With a thermos.
On the way to lunch it came open and the contents of my mom packed lunch fell on the ground. Under the covered walkway. Egg salad and potato chips and a Little Debbie. I went to the end of the line. While the line progressed.
Fine with me.

7th grade for talking.
My mouth has gotten me in trouble plenty.
But this time mom called the school and wanted to know why.
Talking.
That’s not a trouble reason.
It did not happen again.

My loud mouth could never sing
In 3rd grade my music teacher thought it would be a good idea
when I knew it was a bad idea all along.
If I sang a solo in our 3rd grade performance.
It was a program about Pecos Bill.
I guess cowboys were part of the curriculum.
I did as was suggested of me
And the entire class ended up singing my part instead of just me.
I could have told my music teacher in advance that would be the outcome
But adults know best.
They think they do.

Dad drove me to school and stayed to watch me sing my solo with the entire third grade.
I remember this.
We had to wear plaid shirts and jeans. Just like cowboys.
On the way home we stopped at a gas station.
I remember thinking it would be terrible if my dad and I were kidnapped at the gas station.
We would need someone like Pecos Bill to save us. If he was around.

In church mom and dad sang.
The benediction. The doxology. And everything else. Stand up. Sit down.
In church we always sat up front and on the right.
Everything was clean. I tried drawing on those tiny envelopes with tiny pencils.
I looked forward to lunch.
I usually sat next to mom. We were all strategically placed.
I could hear mom and dad singing. Because.
I would only pretend to sing.
Because.

Posted in childhood, family, life

Summer

My mother has never pumped gas.
I love this despite what anyone thinks.
I give my mother a gold star. For this.
I remember a friend who said he had a friend who had never been passed. Driving. This is the only thing I can think of that is anything better than my mother never pumping gas.
I can tell you.

My mother can balance a checkbook better than your accountant
who hasn’t written a check. In a decade. Or more.

I remember summer.
It was watermelon on picnic tables.
And bible school. Crafts. Like macrame. And papier-mache.
I made a papier-mache maraca from an old lightbulb. You had to break the bulb when you were finished. This seems dangerous for a kid. But we were in a church so it worked out just fine.

Air conditioning.
Vents and blanket forts as tents. With books. My sister and me.
The books held everything in place.
Until dad came home for dinner.

My mother watched As The World Turns or One Life To Live.
One of those.
They were the same to us. They are all the same to her now.

Summer was popsicles and bicycles.ย And Barbies.
My Barbie was a single Mom. Riding around in her camper van.
She didn’t take any shit from anybody. She had the light blue one piece bathing suit.

I had red white and blue roller skates.
Our neighbor had an Elton John record.
It was pine straw and pavement and 8 track tapes.
American Bandstand.
Skyrockets in flight.