When I really take the time to sit and think about my father, one thing that comes to mind about him is that he never, ever, raised his voice at me even if I probably deserved it. My mom was more the disciplinarian and Dad was the one who thought up the fun things to do. He taught me how to fish in the little brook near our home, and he even had me baiting my own hook at a very early age. And while Mom was more the academic, Dad is the one who encouraged me to tell stories about things we’d see or talk about. These subjects ranged from the deer we’d see in the woods near our home, to the tree fort we were planning to build.
Another image that comes up when I think of my dad is orange popsicles and beer! Sounds like a strange combination, I know. But Continue reading
“Hmm – write about a leaving or a departure or some such – that’s a broad subject to be sure”, she thought. As a young person, I thought a lot about leaving – or others leaving. When my sister and I were young, we worried that our parents might die and we’d have to go and live with our aunt and uncle. It wasn’t that we didn’t love them dearly and we knew they loved us in return – but – our aunt had some very conservative ideas about how children should dress and act and we amused ourselves sometimes, dreaming up various scenarios on that theme. We’d laugh and laugh -and shudder a bit also. (Boring shoes and no lipstick seemed to feature in these visions.)
Later on, it seemed we all wanted to leave for something – we wanted to move on to the next grade, on to high school. In high school we dropped, changed, left, boyfriends, girlfriends, hobbies, activities; changed course subjects, even. Life seemed always to be fluid in some ways, although we never actually strayed far from the familiar. Teenagers talk a good game, but are less courageous than you’d think.
Adult life found us all moving on in various ways. The armed forces found many of my generation traveling to far places; we went off to college; married, “settled down” – and many of us never ventured too far from what we knew as home territory. And now, she mused, I am older and find that I have never ‘left home’. Although I dreamed once upon a time of travelling to exotic places (I read the National Geographic Magazine all through my childhood) and have managed some trips to new places, I find that I am now the one left behind – or call me the ‘core’ person; the one who stays and is comfortable sending children out to their lives in the wider world. Although this particular apple never fell far from her New England tree (a Baldwin, perhaps?), it has produced sturdy branches in other places.
“And, she added – there is one leave-taking that will take place eventually, that affects everyone – and it’s one that no one wants to discuss – ever. No matter how practical and pragmatic one’s children may seem, talk of that final leaving they prefer to leave in limbo until they must face it. And we won’t be around to tell them how we want that last leaving to be carried out!”
I grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts. My mother remarried in January 1966, when I was 13 years old. For their honeymoon, the three of us cruised across the Atlantic Ocean to Gothenburg Sweden. My brother came to New York to see us off. My mother decided to give him her new cranberry Ford Fairlane. They had shipped my stepfather’s black Mercury Comet by freighter the previous week, so the car was waiting for us when we disembarked. Two of my stepfather’s nephews owned a funeral parlor. They purchased the Comet as a status symbol. Continue reading
Charlie and I will soon be celebrating our 48th anniversary. And they said it wouldn’t last! No, really they did! Charlie was two months away from his 19th birthday and I had just turned 19, nine days earlier. Does that make me the “older woman?” I’ll have to say this, it wasn’t always easy. Big surprise, huh? But I will also say I wouldn’t trade a second of it for a billion dollars. I used to say a million dollars, but what with inflation and all.
Can I tell you about our big fight? Doesn’t every couple have at least one of those? Well, here’s ours, laid bare Continue reading