Saturday, April 30, 2016

Tender Years: Zoo, never been to one.




"A grownup is a child with layers on."  -  Woody Harrelson



Peeling back the layers.



So, I am cheating a little today.  I have never visited a real, full zoo in my life.  I did go to Astroworld in Houston quite a few times growing up.  And they did have a small petting zoo inside there.  We never loaded into the car and went on any rambling vacation staying in motels, either.  We went to visit relatives when we took to the road, and if we stayed over night, we stayed with them.

Ninety percent of our meals were cooked at home by Mama.  Both Daddy's lunch and mine were made each morning, by Mama.  Occasionally, Daddy would take us all out to eat.  Sometimes family or friends had us over for a meal.

We took real "Sunday" drives on many Sundays after church and lunch.  We'd take off and go down any road that caught Daddy's attention, stopping in at anyone's house we passed that we knew, to visit a minute, have a cup of coffee.

For fun, we'd sometimes go see a movie, do something at or with the church, have family or friends over, go swimming or have a picnic.

Mama and Daddy almost always tried to have me in the bed by 9pm, and they would stay up long enough to finish the news at 10 most nights.  Mama always got up first, made coffee, fixed breakfast, and put those lunches together.  She got Daddy off and out the door and then would get me up, if it were a school morning.

Life was simple and uncomplicated.  There were three TV channels and if nothing was on you wanted to see, you turned it off and did something else.  Read, talked, played a game.  There were enough conveniences to make life easier, but no devices to drive our lives and obsessed us.  People and conversation mattered the most of all.

I thank God I had the childhood I did, when I did, and I am very grateful that I was able to give my son and daughter a very similar childhood. even on the heels of innovation and technology.

Was yours a simple childhood?

Please share your thoughts with me!

Barbara


Friday, April 29, 2016

Tender Years: in the Yard





"A grownup is a child with layers on." - Woody Harrelson


Peeling back the layers.


If the weather was the least bit tolerable, I'd be out in the yard for at least a big chunk of the day.  I did do other things besides trying to fly off the well tank and riding my bike.  I loved to get in the deep, shady San Augustine grass and find pill bugs.  I loved how they'd curl up into a complete ball!  I'd put them in a pocket, I'd throw them.  I'd see how many I could get balled up at one time. I also like to walk around in the sand in the driveway and look for ant lions.  Their little funnel in the sand made a fun place to push an ant into, or to toss a twig or spring of grass.  Sometimes I was mean and poked a stick in the center and twirled it round and round.

Occasionally, I'd go through the house and announce to Mama I was bored.  If she wasn't too busy, she'd come out and we'd made a hop scotch board in the dirt and play a game or two.  In the evening, when Daddy came home, if I were outside anywhere, he'd chase me one full circle around the house, then go inside, sit in his lazy boy and say "Poor tired, Daddy!  Needs someone to pull his big ol' boots off."  And I'd unlace his leather work boots, rare back and "pull" them off.  I think mostly it was Daddy pushing with the other foot that did the trick.

I also loved to swing.  I had a swingset, but if I swang very high or fast it tried to tip up.  In a huge old oak tree, behind the garage, Daddy threw a thick rope up and looped it over a huge limb.  He made me a swing!  A swing I could swing higher than high on!

In the late summer evenings, I'd sometimes lay out on the shady side of the house, watching the clouds, chewing on a piece of grass, smelling Mama's supper simmering and slipping out through the open windows.  I'd hear the clanking dishes in the sink.  Hear Daddy say something to Mama or to our little Susie dog.  And life just felt so rich!  So full!  So cozy and perfect!

What were some of your favorite outdoor activities?  Did you play with insects?  What is one of the warmest, life is right memories you have?

Thanks for sharing with me!

Barbara










Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tender Years: X


"A grownup is a child with layers on."  -  Woody Harrelson


Peeling back the layers.

Sarah had a baby blue Mustang, Eddie had bought for her.  She came by the house to pick me up. She was taking me and little Holly somewhere.  Kelly and Paige may have been with us.  I don't clearly remember.  Usually when Sarah picked us up, we were going somewhere to swim or to swing or to get a great burger.  

As we were driving, the edge of something slid out from under the drivers seat.  I picked it up.  It was a magazine.  I started thumbing through it.  It had a lot of ladies in their nightgowns.  Before long, Sarah noticed me in the rear view mirror.  She told me to give it to her.  Laughed and said something about Eddie's stuff.  

I believe that was my first look inside an X-rated magazine.

Ever stumble across something the grownups had hidden?  Did you look, read it, taste it, try it?  Did you say anything about it? 

Please share your thoughts!

Barbara

This was my lunch kit in the 3rd & 4th grade.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tender Years: Water Well



"A grownup is a child with layers on."  - Woody Harrelson


Peeling back the layers.





On Cooks Road, as elsewhere, we lived outside the city limits.  There was no "city" water.  You had to have a well and a pump to have water.  The old McWilliams place we rented, had a well in a small tin shed.  A few feet from the shed, was the concrete cistern that held the well water.  There was a wonderful galvanized pipe that ran from the shed to the cistern.
On many, many days when there was no one to play with me, I found all the fun I needed right there!  The small pipe hit me just above waist high.  It fit my hands perfectly.  It was the perfect place to flip over and over!  It was also great fun to climb up on the shed side of the pipe and try to walk it the few feet over to the cistern.  Of course, any time Mama caught me, I was in great trouble because I could cause the pipe to break off of the well, but back then I couldn't see the harm and ignored her continually.

As much fun as playing on the pipe was, the greatest fun was on a good windy day.  I'd take the small square lightweight baby blanket Aunt Norma had made me, use a safety pin to put it around my neck, climb up onto the top of the cistern (all four-five feet) spread out my blanket cape and fly off and into the deep, thick San Augustine grass.  I know I flew!  Really flew!  And I loved the wind, as it was my friend that let me fly!

In my dreams at night, I didn't need the blanket cape or the cistern to launch off of.  In my dreams, I could will myself up into the sky and float/fly over my school campus, or around our house.  It took a lot of concentration to come in for a landing on my feet, and quite often I cut a flip or two, but it never hurt.

Mattel Liddle Kiddles Doll in a ring.  I had one, did you?


What about you?  Did you have anything you loved to play on/with that you knew you shouldn't?  Did you ever fly in your yard or in your dreams?  Please share with me!

Barbara

P.S.  I feel I must clarify, as some are getting the wrong idea.  The well had an electric pump on it.  The well itself was simply a pipe in the ground.  The water came up, went into the tank and stayed there, until we turned on a faucet in the house.  We did have running water and we did have indoor bathroom.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tender Years: VBS, Sunbeams & Sunday School





"A grownup is a child with layers on."  -  Woody Harrelson


Peeling back the layers. 



My earliest memories of church are from First Baptist in Silsbee.  I recall going to Sunday School there, something called Sunbeams there and to VBS there.  To me, there was nothing like the Sunday morning feeling.  Shiny and clean.  Best clothes on.  Patent leather shoes,  my own little white KJV Bible, pennies to give to the missionaries in my tiny purse.  
I felt happy, clean and like I was a "good" girl. 

Collective memories from all of these:  marching in with the flags going before us, singing "Onward Christian Soldiers", memorizing Bible verses, singing songs, playing musical chairs in the rooms, playing red rover out on the back lawn, cookies and punch.  


One year, my Aunt Billie was my teacher.  She had the BEST crafts!  For one, we took a coke bottle, a light bulb, black spray paint, pipe cleaners and felt and made a cat!!  I thought this was so cool! Most precious to me, we did our own stained glass Jesus!  We traced a picture of Jesus onto a pane of glass, painted him with tempera paints, crumbled up foil and put it over the back, then masking tape around for a frame.  I was so proud of mine that I still have it, buried down and tucked away safe in Mama's old cedar chest. 

Was church a part of your childhood?  What's your warmest childhood church memory?  If it wasn't a part of your childhood, do you feel you missed something?



Monday, April 25, 2016

Tender Years: Under the Bed





"A grownup is a child with layers on."  -  Woody Harrelson


Peeling back the layers.



Remember how I mentioned in an earlier post, I was afraid at night, in the dark in my bedroom? Mama often told me how hard and long her and Daddy had to fight to get me to sleep in my own bed.  This is when I was five or younger.  We were up in Carthage.  I had good reason to be scared to sleep alone:  under the bed.

I remember lying in the dark room, eyes wide open.  They had to be wide open, so I could see if anything was coming to get me!  Eyes wide open, staring up and out into the room, into the dark.  Watching for movement.  Looking for any difference in shade or shadow.  When I stared long enough, the little bright colored circus animals would start floating down toward the bed.  I'd watch them come down one right after another.  They were bright and cheery, but I knew there was something under the bed that would run them off soon enough!

It was snakes.  There was a huge pile of snakes under my bed!  They only came out at night.  They slithered around and covered the floor of my room.  They wriggled and writhed and hissed.  They couldn't climb up on the bed if I kept my eyes open.  But I was trapped.  Cut off from everyone by these snakes!  Surely Mama didn't know about the snakes!

I'd finally break and call out for Mama and Daddy.  I know they used to love me.  Used to take me to the safety of their bedroom.  But they couldn't see the snakes.  They were too fast!  Disappeared under the bed as soon as they walked in.  In time, they started spanking me and making me stay in my room.

So, I had to learn new methods to cope, to deal with this dilemma.  The bright circus animals whispered to me and told me if I'd just cover all but my eyes and nose with the sheet, that the snakes couldn't get through the sheet.  I worried that if I fell asleep, my arm might dangle off the bed and the snakes could then raise up and strike me or slither up my arm.  Again, the bright animals had the solution:  Cross my arms over my chest and hold an edge of the sheet with each hand.  That'd keep me snug and tight and keep me safe through the night.

Eventually, the animals stopped coming.  I got a room without snakes under the bed.  A lot has changed, but I still always go to sleep with my arms crossed over my chest.

What was bedtime like for you as a small child?  Anything living and hiding under your bed?  Any odd ritual before you can fall asleep?

Thanks for sharing!

Barbara

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Tender Years: Tonto & the Lone Ranger




"A grownup is a child with layers on."  -  Woody Harrelson



Peeling back the layers.




For quite a bit of my childhood, certain family members lived in Arkansas.  My mother's parents, Mama Ruth & Daddy Jess, and Aunt Catherine & Uncle Wayne for the most part early on.  Here's a couple of photos from a trip we made up there in 1967, right after Daddy bought this Volkswagen Bug.  
Jesse Oah Allbritton & Clayon Stutts















Daddy and my little dog Susie




















Aunt Catherine's youngest son was named Luke, after the Rifleman, and I called him Lukey.  He was a couple of years older than me.  The only boy I ever really played with.  At times we got along well, and at times he called me stupid and baby.  Despite our natural ups and downs, we made memories together.  One of my fondest memories of our times together, was up in Arkansas.  There were cool evenings, but not cold.  At dusk we'd go out and lay on the steps, look up at the stars and take turns making up stories and adventures with us as Tonto and the Lone Ranger.  Our imaginations were vivid and the duo did things far beyond their exploits on TV.

Did you often play games with the opposite sex?  How did the older children treat you?  Who did you pretend to be?

Thanks for sharing!

Barbara


Friday, April 22, 2016

Tender Years: Sheets?





"A grownup is a child with layers on."  -  Woody Harrelson



Peeling back the layers.



All through my life, Mama often hung our clothes out on the line.  I loved the billowing garments, especially the big things like sheets!  I liked to play among them, grab them, smell them.  Of course Mama would get on to me and tell me to leave them alone, as she didn't want dirty little kid stuff all over her nice clean laundry.  

I also loved it when Mama brought the clean, fresh linen in the house and put it on the beds.  When she'd stand on one side of the bed and pop that top sheet so that it floated down evenly across the mattress, it seemed like magic.  Occasionally, if I were fairly clean, I could convince her to let it billow down over me a time or too before she actually put it on the bed.  I indulged my own children in this same manner.

While we were attending church at First Baptist, I was finally old enough I started to actually listen and understand some of what was said and sung.  I remember Mama standing, hymnal open in her hands, singing with a smile on her face, what I thought was "We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheets."  I couldn't comprehend.  Why was Mama smiling and singing about something I know she viewed as only a chore that had to be done.  She was never that happy bringing in the laundry! Finally a little time and some more learning, and I understood the word they were singing was "sheaves" and not sheets.  A few more years and I understood the sheaves were symbolic, not actual. 

Were clotheslines a  part of your childhood?  Ever misunderstand something the grownups were doing?  Ever have a sheet billow down over you like a cloud?

Thanks for sharing!

Barbara

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Tender Years: Riding Jenny




"A grownup is a child with layers on."  -  Woody Harrelson



Peeling back the layers.



Over the years, after Daddy got Jenny for his plowing, most every baby or toddler that was ever at the house sat upon Jenny's back or "rode" her.  Here is my youngest niece, Sarah's daughter, Holly, and I on Jenny at Cooks Road.  I remember Holly diving right over into Jenny's neck with her mouth wide open, like she wanted to kiss her or perhaps take a bite of her!

Jenny was always totally docile.  We no clue if she had been trained with love, or trained with beating.  I do know that Daddy only struck her once in the very beginning and then if she was tempted to eat niblett ears of corn as they went down the row, he simply lay his whip out where she could see it.

I was less than eleven here, no date is on the picture.  Guessing from Holly's size, I'd say this is in 1969.



Fast forward a few years, on 1122, in 1975, not long before Daddy would succomb to colon cancer, he had a photo shoot in the front yard with Holly and her little brother, Clay.  He was the first male in the family and was Daddy's namesake, as the Clay was short for Clayon.  Here's Clay on Jenny with Daddy.  I was fifteen and the one taking the pictures.

I was the only one who ever truly rode Jenny.  I learned the hard way that a donkey doesn't walk through a ditch, they bunch up and jump it!  I remember lying back on her and looking up at the clouds as she grazed.  I remember laying over her neck, much as Holly did, just petting her on the sides and smelling her unique scent.

Jenny was my first only "chore" for the many years we had her.  It was me who was supposed to go out and feed her and check on her water every day.  Jenny was the only "person" in my household who was still alive when I met and started dating Pete.  She was more than a beast of burden, she was a connection, through the years and the generations.  A connection from Daddy's childhood memories of cotton farming and through my life, my nieces and nephews and cousins, on to the man I'd share my life with.

What memories come to your mind as you read this?  What is something that you feel has connected the generations of your family together in some way?

Thanks for sharing!

Barbara


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tender Years: Quarters




"A grownup is a child with layers on."  -  Woody Harrelson


Peeling back the layers.




Since I never had a pet named Queenie, I'm going to be talking about quarters today.  During the war (WWII) and afterward, as he traveled all across the country as a heavy duty equipment operator, Daddy collected coins.  My earliest memories around this were in the years we lived on Cooks Road.  The collection was stored in a Mason Jar and in an old Pinocchio plastic bank.  Everything in the collection was solid silver.  Lots of Indian head nickles, quarters of various types from over the years, a couple even from the 1800's.  Standing liberty, sitting liberty, liberty heads, etc.There were a few pieces of money from the war.  But what captured my imagination the most, was the dollar bill he had, printed as currency for Hawaii before it was a state!



This is not Daddy's.  It's one I found on the internet.  You see, Hawaii was a territory of the U.S. and didn't achieve statehood until 1959.  There was something about a state being so new that appealed to me.  

There were many times we hauled out that old coinage and looked at it, and talked about it on the yellow dinner table.  We kept right on adding to it, too.  There was nothing in the collection worth exceeding money.  Just memories and a connection that spanned from Daddy's single days to me and my own children.  Both of which have been allowed to take the bill to school when study made it appropriate.  

What about you?  Any collections, hobbies or interests that spanned generations and connected you together?   

Thanks for sharing!

Barbara

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tender Years: Preaching




"A grownup is a child with layers on." - Woody Harrelson


Peeling back the layers.




Back up in Carthage, TX.  I can't possibly be more than 5 years old. We'd go to Sunday church.  I don't remember anything about that church.  But I do recall coming back to the house, going into my room, I had a small square table that stood about two feet tall by my bed.  I pulled it out into the center of the floor, opened my little white King James Bible on top of it, and proceeded to preach.

All so long ago, I don't recall what I preached, what I said to my imaginary congregation, but I recall vividly how it felt.  I felt white hot and on  fire for the Word.  It seemed that in that moment I understood things far beyond my years, comprehended the urgency of the message and used words and expressions I had never used.or really even knew.

I don't recall ever doing it again.  It was just something burning in my heart to do that one day. And then it was over.  Was it simply a child inspired to mimic the preacher she had heard that morning in some imaginary play time?  Was it  a young child sincerely led to try to worship and proclaim God?  Did I think those thoughts and say those things or was the Holy Spirit in the room with me?

Whatever it was exactly, it left a strong memory.  And I still have the little table beside my side of the bed.

Did you ever have bouts of  imagination that went beyond your years and understanding?  Ever seem to feel things and understand things beyond your years?

Thanks for sharing!

Barbara

Monday, April 18, 2016

Tender Years: Old Shed Clubhouse

"A grownup is a child with layers on.''
   -  Woody Harrelson

Peeling back the layers.

When we lived on Cooks Road, I was fortunate enough to have a "play room" right off the kitchen.  Mama and Daddy had also allowed me to use the little room at the back of the garage to play in.  Once when I was in 3rd or 4th grade, the twins, Sherri and Terri came over to spend the day and play.  It was their first time at our house and after I had showed them around and we had played some everywhere I usually played, they inquired "What is that, back there?"  They were talking about a very old wooden shed.  Part of it was open and part of it closed in.  There were even a couple of windows in the closed in part.  It sat in part of Jenny's pasture and Daddy kept some of his stuff for plowing out under the open part.  

Nothing would do them, but we go back there and take a look around.  They got so excited when they realized the little room had windows, and asked if we could clean it up and make it a club house.  We started in doing what we could do.  Soon we had to make a trip to the house to ask Mama for some supplies to help us get it in tip top shape.  When she heard what we were up to, she was flabbergasted!  She said we had no business there as it was summer and there could be snakes out there.  All three of us set in to telling her how much we already had done and how wonderful it would be.  She finally came outside with us, to inspect just what we were in and how things were.  Probably because it was clear we had already been all over the room and had done so much already, Mama gave in and let us continue.  We worked hard that day!  My first time doing real housework!  We were hot, sweat and dusty from the dirt floor.  Yet, we were so proud of what we accomplished!  I think we had about 30 minutes to admire and enjoy all of our hard work before the twins had to leave.  No one ever went back to our amazing club house, either.  

What is the biggest endeavor you undertook as a young child?
Did you and your friends have a club house?

Thanks for sharing!

Barbara
Mama bought a set of jacks and taught me how to
play.  Created a connected memory from her childhood to mine.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Tender Years: Nice, New & Store Bought




"A grownup is a child with layers on."  -   Woody Harrelson


Peeling back the layers.



As I have mentioned before, Mama sewed the majority of my clothes as I was coming up.  So I always thought it was a special treat to get a store bought garment.  It wasn't until my later teen years that I realized the clothes Mama made were made better than the store bought.  No unfinished edges.  Her sewing skill far surpassed most of my friends mothers abilities.  But today, I am remembering a couple of store bought memories.#

One, was a a plastic multicolored skirt attached to a bodice.  A very now and happening little outfit, like a go-go girl would wear.  I received this dress from either Sarah or Edna, when we were living on Cooks Road.  Proved to be hot, sticky and uncomfortable to wear, but I remember the excitement upon seeing it.

Another memory is when two of Daddy's sisters blew into town.  I say it that way, because Elana lived in Oakland, CA and Mitzie lived in Las Vegas, NV.  They'd team up and fly in together once a year or so to visit family.  When they came, it was always a whirl wind of excitement and activity.  One year, after they arrived, nothing would do them but they take Clayon's daughter shopping downtown.  I remember they bought me a silky baby blue pajama set, matching silky, quilted robe and houseslippers with blue feathers across the top.  I felt like the Queen of Sheba!  Certainly nothing fire proof about the outfit, I remember later Mama warning me repeatedly not to stand too close to the gas space heater in my robe.  Finally, one day I got in a little too close and melted a big patch of my quilted, slinky robe.


What about you?
Homemade or store bought?
Ever lived with gas space heaters?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Tender Years: A Medicine Tube & a Little Thief




"A grownup is a child with layers on."  -  Woody Harrelson


Peeling back the layers.




We were over in Cleveland, Texas visiting Uncle Hightower and Aunt Evelyn.  They had a boy, Geary, who seemed SO much older than us and a daughter, Kim, who was only a few years older than me.  Geary had an eye infection or something, There will tiny tubes of medicine all over the house.  Apparently, samples.  All I know is I thought those tiny medicine tubes were the cutest things I ever did see!  They were prefect for little old me!  Geary had so many, and surely no one would miss just one.  So, I slipped one down in my white knee hi socks to near my ankle.  No one would notice it lying aside my ankle bone, covered up in that sock.

Was not long, however, till we passed Mama and Aunt Evelyn.  Mama, "What's wrong with your ankle?"  Me, "Nothing."  Mama, "Is there something in your sock?"  Me,"No!"  Mama, "Come here and let me see."

Oh, boy!!  Talk about feeling the white hot pain of embarrassment and humiliation!  And heart break that they took the cute little tube away from me.  Of course, they explained to me it was medicine and I didn't need it and Geary really did.  But none of that mattered.  I had shamed my mama in front of Aunt Evelyn.  I found out that day the criminal, outlaw life was not for me.

What about you?  Ever do anything that you know shamed your parent?  Ever get caught redhanded?

I had one.  Did you?
Thanks for sharing!

Barbara

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Tender Years: Leap Frog & Other Things




"A grownup is a child with layers on." - Woody Harrelson


Peeling back the layers.




Travel back with me to Carthage, TX and the days when I was no more than five years old.  I don't know for sure if all of these memories stem from that one summer day or if several melded into one in my mind.  It was the Fourth of July.  We were at a picnic table in Willie's shady back yard.  We had hamburgers and French fries.  Homemade French fries.  I have a very vivid memory of sitting on that picnic table, eating those  fries.  Just cool enough for me to eat.  I can taste the grains of salt sprinkled upon them..  Each fry was a very pale gold all over, with the edges slightly darker.  I remember eating off all the edges first, and then the rest of the fry.

Later there was ice cold watermelon.  I remember Daddy showing me how to spit the seeds.  Trying to get me to do it.  Making sort of a contest out of it.

I remember very late in the afternoon when shade was all over the left side of our yard.  Being out in the San Augustine grass and me convincing my Daddy to play Leap Frog with me.  I had never played.  I had seen it somewhere, perhaps on a cartoon.  It seemed like such a wonderful game.  My sweet, dear Daddy obliged me.  It must of been a sight!  All 6'  and 200 lbs of him playing on the grass with a tiny me.  I'm sure there was no way I cleared him when I tried to leap him.  The game itself was probably a fiasco.  But the memory is warm, rich and fills me with a father's love.
























What about you?  Any extra vivid memories of some single event?  Any first times seem extra special?  Ever convince a parent to do some ridiculous thing with you?

Thanks for sharing!

Barbara

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tender Years: Kelly and the Tricycle Oops!




"A grownup in a child with layers on."  -  Woody Harrelson


Peeling back the layers.




I believe Daddy always bought my bikes and things from Western Auto.  My first mode of transportation was this three wheeled beauty:

I had wonderful, exciting adventures on this baby!  It was at one time , or another, every animal that could be ridden.  It had even been every mode of transportation ever invented.  I could tie something to the back pole and tow it anywhere.  I could pump friends and my niece if they stood on the flat back plate and held on to my shoulders.  Probably on of the single best investments Daddy ever made for me. I rode her until I was 7 or 8 and my knees were almost hitting the handle bars!



That's when Daddy decided I needed a beautiful new ride for my birthday.   Another trip to Western Auto and I was the proud owner of beautiful girl!

That's me in the yellow gingham shorts set Mama had made, Daddy holding a baby Paige Anne,
 and Kelly standing nearest the steps. 

Daddy taught  me to ride on two wheels in a couple of sessions out on our relatively quiet paved road in front of our house.  Cooks Road.  We were renting the old McWilliams place.    I loved the new bike and was proud of her.  But I had so many fond memories tied up in my old tricycle and there were things I just couldn't do so well with a bike.  

Time went on.  A month?  Another year?  I don't know.  One day, the girls were over at the house.  I was riding my bike and Kelly was riding my tricycle.  All of a sudden the handle bars come off in her hands!  Kelly starts in to crying.  Mama and Edna rush out to see what's the matter.  Everyone is making a big fuss over Kelly, making sure it didn't hurt her in any way.  Reassuring her that it wasn't her fault, the thing was getting old and rusty.  No one noticed that my heart was broken, just like those handle bars.

Did you use your imagination to make a trike or bike into a horse, a train, a car or a rocket?  Ever get so attached to a toy that if broke your heart when it "died"?  

Thanks for sharing!

Barbara  


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tender Years: Jenny




"A grownup is a child with layers on."  -  Woody Harrelson


Peeling back the layers.




Let me preface today's post by saying as a young child, I was incredibly scared of the dark and my parents had a very hard time teaching me to sleep in my own bed.

Fast forward about five years and I am around 8 years old.  We are back in Silsbee, living on Cooks Road.  Not too long after we moved there, being thrilled to have enough land to "garden", Daddy purchased a jenny (female donkey) that was already broke to the plow.  He acquired a "georgie stock", "trapsings", reins and assorted plows and implements.  He was ready to go about gardening the way he remembered it as  a boy.  The place had fences and part of the fenced off land became Jenny's pasture and part was the garden area.

In this old rent house, my bedroom was in the front and the porch ran along in front of it down to the hallway and the front door.  Built long before air conditioning was the norm, my bedroom had four windows, two on the side of the house and two facing the front porch.  This and the fact that every room had two doorways, allowed for making the most of any breezes on hot, muggy summer nights. Like most homes built in the same day, the porch had cement steps leading up to it.

I had outgrown my predisposition to fear in a dark room and was sleeping snug in my bed, which faced the front porch.  Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, I was awakened by "clomp, clomp, clomp" and instantly all the fear of  my younger years came flooding back!!  I was too frightened to yell, too frightened to move as I realized the sound was coming from the front porch!  I lay there waiting to die.  Finally, I got up enough nerve to open my eyes and peek over the covers and out the front windows.  There, staring back at me was a huge, ghostly white face!!!  That spurred me into action.  I hopped out of bed, ran through the connecting bathroom and into my parent's bedroom not even pausing before I leapt into their bed.  There were probably a "damn it' or "what the hell?" being exclaimed by my folks as I hurriedly tried to tell them there was a ghost on the porch and it was after me.

Daddy got up and went to check it out in his pajamas.  He was soon back, laughing at me and telling me it was only Jenny.  She had found a weak place in the old fence and apparently wanted to spend a little more time with us, perhaps see what we did in this house.



Daddy & Jenny plowing when I was about 13 or 14 at our home on  Hwy 1122.



What about you?  Ever afraid of the dark?  Have you ever got to see first hand someone plowing with a "georgie" stock and animal?  Have you ever lived without air conditioning?  Tell me about it!  Or anything else this entry brings to mind.

Thanks for sharing!

Barbara





Monday, April 11, 2016

Tender Years: Indian Reservation Trip




"A grownup is a child with layers on."  - Woody Harrelson


Peeling back the layers.



One of my happiest childhood memories is from when Mama & Daddy took me to the Indian Reservation near Livingston, TX.   We drove the small East Texas two lane backroads over for the day.   As we toured the "village" I was shocked and proud to hear older Indians call my daddy "Bill" and happily shake his hand and greet him.  (Daddy's family grew up near the reservation.)  I remember sampling hot fried bread they prepared there and how good and tasty is was!  

There was a locomotive train you could board and take a tour of the beautiful land in the reservation. I liked that an a lot, as that was my first train ride.

We went in an arena fenced off with wood and sat on wooden bleachers around a circular area and saw the Indians perform dances in native costumes.  Beautiful!

We went through the gift store.  I remember Mama fussing over the prices.  She had been a child of the great depression, lived through gas stamps and rationing in WWII and raised two little girls alone after her first husband more or less abandoned her.  So, she was ALWAYS price conscious!  My eyes landed on a little Indian boy and girl doll set.  They were made of hard plastic, had braids and buckskin clothing with beads.  Of course Daddy trumped Mama and said I could have them.  I remember playing with them in the back seat all the way home.  I kept those dolls until I was in my twenties, married and thought I needed to be a responsible adult and get rid of all that childhood stuff I had hoarded.  

Speaking of on the way home, we stopped at  a restaurant and ate.  I know I had a hamburger and french fries.  I always had a hamburger and french fries no matter what restaurant we were at.  That was my safe food.  Something hard for them to mess up, as I didn't like any food that didn't taste like Mama's.  

I suppose one reason this day was so memorable to me is that we didn't do a lot of "going" to places back in the day.  All that stuff was somewhat frivolous to the generation my parents were from.  

What about you?  Ever been to an Indian reservation?  Road a locomotive?  What about your eating habits away from home?  Are there things from your childhood you wish you had kept?

Thanks for sharing!

Barbara

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Tender Years: Horses




"A grownup is a child with layers on."  - Woody Harrelson

Peeling back the layers.





Despite the lore, everyone in Texas does not have a horse!  I do 
suppose if you live in the rural areas, you do either have a horse , know someone who has a horse or know someone who rides.  We never had a horse.  My middle sister, Sarah, dated and married into a family that had horses.  Working cowhorses.  Horses that could swim the sloughs, walk through mud and pull a steer to safety.  Carry a calf to dry land.  Later on, my other sister, Edna, and her husband got a couple of horses and for a while everyone participated in the local Trial Riders Club and Lion's Rodeo Arena.  

Sarah & I on Dan
My earliest "rides" were around the yard with Sarah.  I liked the big, beautiful animals, but I had a healthy dose of respect for their size and power.  I also have a fogy memory of her taking me at least part way on a trail ride.  Everyone dressed in jeans, boots, hats, and western shirts.  A lot of dipping and chewing.  A lot of laughter.  A lot of words I'd never heard.  Horses getting sideways with one another.  A man or two getting sideways with their horse.  A man or two getting sideways with each other.  Is sideways a Texas term?  Sort of means a disagreement with a little hostility that doesn't go very far.  I remember tromping through mud to go to a port-a-pottie.  I remember being disgusted by the filthiest bathroom I ever saw!  But I was with Sarah and that made everything all right.

I remember Sarah's youngest sister-in-law going for rodeo queen one year when I was nine or so  She had made her a baby blue, satin suit with rhinestones and glitter.  I thought it was the prettiest thing I had ever seen!  I wanted to ride and be rodeo queen and dress like that.  But I never told anyone. There were lots of things over the years I wanted to try, wanted to do, but I never told anyone.  It never occurred to me that you could tell someone and they might could get you lessons or something. So, I never rode, I never danced, I never learned to twirl a baton.  All I ever took lessons for was swimming and that was mostly because Mama wanted me to be safe in water.  

I remember going to the rodeo arena quite often for a while with Edna and her girls as I entered adolescence.  I loved the the cowbells, the smell of horses, the country music blaring over the speakers when they weren't announcing events.  The flags that were paraded by horse and rider. There'd  be barrel racing, calf roping, and of course, bull riding.  And clowns.  I remember the Frito pies from the concession stand:  they'd split open a small bag of Fritos on the side, spoon in chili and cheese and whatever else you wanted and hand you a plastic spoon.  The hamburgers they grilled and served up!  Everything tasted better there!  I don't think all the credit goes to the cooks, I think it had something to do with eating outside, under the stars.  

What about you?  Have any experiences with horses as a child?  Were there things you would have liked to learn, and did you express that to anyone?  What does the expression 'sideways' mean to you? Does food really taste better outdoors?

Thanks for sharing!

Barbara



Friday, April 8, 2016

Tender Years: Ghost Stories at the Puntes'




"A grownup is a child with layers on."  -  Woody Harrelson


Peeling back the layers.




I recall summer evenings at the Puntes' old white house with the cement porch and steps.  Kids out on the porch catching lightening bugs in jars.  Or playing with hard-shelled June Bugs, while the adults socialized inside.  I was one of the younger of the crowd.

One night, they brought the party inside to one of the bedrooms.  The door was closed and it was pitch dark, except for one flashlight.  We were gathered cross-legged on the floor to tell ghost stories. Now, I had never been involved in the telling of ghost stories, as Mama always shielded me from such things, thinking I'd have nightmares.  So, this was my indoctrination. The speaker would hold the flashlight under their chin, with the light pointing up toward their face, creating the eerie setting. Several stories were told, none of which I remember. None of which scared me very much.  But then the light was passed to an older boy who told us the tale of "Bloody Bones and Goo Goo Eyes".  He told his tale slowly and with much inflection and drama  I don't remember that story, either, but it ended with something like "I'm gonna get you!" and the boy reaching out and grabbing at us.  That scared me enough to make me jump!  Several of us squealed and adult voices told us to quiet down and get out.   
One of Pete's daddy's nicknames was "June Bug."

I don't recall if it gave me nightmares or not.  But I do remember the freedom and camaraderie we
shared in those gentle evenings.

Did you ever spend mild evenings playing by porch light? What about ghost stories?

Thank you for sharing!

Barbara

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Tender Years: Fishing with Kim




"A grownup is a child with layers on." - Woody Harrelson

Peeling back the layers.





In all of my childhood, I went fishing one time.  I was at my Uncle Hightower & Aunt Evelyn's camp on some lake.  My older cousin Kim, wanted us to go fishing.  It sounded fun.  We went down the bank from the camp.  I knew nothing about baiting a hook, so Kim had to do it for me.  Then I knew nothing about casting. She gave me a brief lesson, and the first thing I did was to get my line hung up in the tree branches behind me!  I'm beginning to think fishing isn't much fun. Finally, I'm free, baited up and my hook is in the water.  After quite some time, Kim tells me I have something and to jerk the rod to set the hook.  I jerked, but the fish jerked back harder than I ever expected!  So the rod sails out of  my hands and goes sailing off into the sunset.  We have to go back and tell the adults I lost a rod.  No one was none too happy. least of all me.  I felt like a failure at something I never really wanted to do in the first place.
I don't recall if it was later that same day, or the next, some man who knew Uncle Hightower returned the rod to him.  Said he saw it floating and got alongside of it to pick it up.  Fish was still on it!  He kept the fish, returned the rod.  That eased my feelings, and I no longer felt like the little black sheep that lost the rod.

It would be fifteen years later in an aluminum boat over snags and in backwaters of  Bush Lake with Ode Mae, using a cane pole, that I came to enjoy fishing.

Did you go fishing as a child?  What was your impression of it?  Got an amusing fish story?  Did you ever feel like the pariah for being ignorant of knowing how to do something?

Thanks for sharing!

Barbara

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Tender Years: Everywhere, There Were Pallets




"A grownup is a child with layers on."  -  Woody Harrelson

Peeling back the layers.




One year, when we were living in Carthage, away from my sisters and their families. everyone came up for Christmas.  I  am not sure of the number of people in the house.  I do know, I had a twin bed and Mama and Daddy had a double bed and that was it.  No more beds.  

It's a series of impressions, more than complete memories. Lots of extra noise in the house as everyone laughed and talked.  A real feeling of joy in the home because everyone was together.  The thing that impressed me the most  was that. after Mama had me ready for bed and we walked back into the living room to say goodnight, there were pallets everywhere!  I thought it was the single most exciting thing ever!  I have no idea what we had for Christmas dinner, nor do I remember what gifts I received, but this stays with me.  The thrill, the joy, the anticipation and the sense of family.  

Growing up as the only child in the house, this was the closest I ever came to understanding what it would be like to be in a large family.  Mother had three sisters and they grew up together.  Daddy came from a family were he had thirteen siblings.  This was the fullest our home would ever be, and it is a memory I will treasure always!

What about you?  Siblings?  Ever have your home full of stay-over family for a holiday or occasion? What were your earliest impressions of it?

Thanks for participating!

Barbara
Exactly like the one I had.

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