In case you missed last weeks blog, here it is. It was an intro to this week’s, giving a clue to what today’s was going to be about. Notice I said it was going to be about.
I’ve decided to add a bit more before that story is given. Why? I just realized how I’d like to explain a bit more what lead up to that day, or better yet, moment. I want to share a few things to help you understand how I came to be the person that I am today, in hopes my story shows a bit more why it was one unforgettable time for me.
For starters, I had some of those normal ups and downs most have gone through: It’s officially called Growing Up. I was the youngest of seven but my two oldest siblings were already out of the house when I was about six. By that time I was living in a great neighborhood south of Seattle, Washington called Normandy Park. My parents, three brothers, one sister and, of course, Sam, our terrier dog, never complained about our decent-sized home with a beautiful yard that even had a creek down a little hill. To top it off, it was on one of those perfect dead-end streets with friendly neighbors all around. Mom stayed home while Dad worked for Boeing, a very secure, well-paying job. My mom, however, was one who loved thrift stores and devoured those Seattle Times Sunday-morning grocery-store ads.
It seemed to me that my four siblings still at home, the oldest being thirteen years older, to the youngest only two years older, got to do so much more than I did.
“It’s not fair!” I often yelled to whomever could hear. “I never get to sit in the front seat! I’m tired of being the youngest. Mom, why can’t you take just ME to school today?”
Here is a taste of a well- known conversation:
“It’s your turn!” one of us would bark when told to feed our dog Sammy.
“No, I did it last time,” the other would reply.
“BOTH of you do it,” was our mom’s common reply.
As I write this, I can’t help but picture how David, the one closest to my age, and I often went into the laundry room, and one of us would get up on the washer to reach way up high to the shelf to grab the bag of dog treats. One time, for sure, I’ll never forget.
“Dare you to eat it.”
“You eat it first..”
Back and forth, back and forth. Finally we agreed that we both try it.
“It’s not so bad!” and happily took turns giving Sam a few of the goodies along with his normal food. I also remember being surprised when David said, “Here, I’ll get him some fresh water,” Yep. He offered without being told. Shocked I sure was.
We grew up going to a Catholic church every Sunday. I had it mastered when we would stand up, sit down, get down on our knees, stand up again, and, of course, cross ourselves. I felt almost grown up when I was old enough to take communion. Of course I felt extra special when, a few years later, I became one to help serve it. I learned from church how to be a good person and, having been baptized as a baby, that I would go to heaven. Catholicism was really the only religion I knew anything about all through grade school.
That church had a private school, which I attended from first through eighth grade. My only concern going there was why we couldn’t be like the public schools and wear whatever we wanted. The first three years I had to wear the same red-and-white striped skirt, a white button-up dress shirt and a red button-up sweater. More often than not, I made sure I wore shorts under my uniform skirt. After all, I was proud that I could jump off the swing when way up high during recess. I was not going to let my skirt keep me from showing off my skills. Such a relief in fourth grade when we were allowed to wear black pants. But still, every day? I sure wished we had more free-dress days.
Here’s one journal writing from way back then. I chose this being it doesn’t embarrass me too much.
Jan 1980 (12 years old – 8th grade)
Diary – Today was pretty lazy. Me, Mom and David went shopping for food. After that I went to the twins and played Ping-Pong. It was fun. I forgot to say I rearranged my room yesterday. It looks really awesome now. I’m also getting all set to begin taking my saxophone lessons. I hope it all works out. I have to say, too, that I hope Chuck starts liking me because I sure now like him. I keep putting off my twenty-five page report. I had better start. By until tomorrow.
I shared this now just to give a taste of the normal-ness I had before my pre-teen years.
Next time you get to read how things were going as my, gulp, teen years began.