Memories are glimpses in the mirror of what is past. My memory feels fractured – I only have bits and pieces that I don’t think about much anymore, some parts of my life I can’t remember at all.  Call it what you will – old age, self-protection or just having an unimpressive childhood but it may be helpful to write them down so here goes:

“I’m at a party, it’s my party – a birthday party!  There were lots of kids there and we played games. But I’m sad because all of the other children got a present..and I didn’t.”  I’ve been told that this party was for my 2nd birthday so that should make it my oldest memory.  I was also told that I received all kinds of presents at that party and the other kids were given some sort of treat bag as they left with a box of crayons inside and probably some candy.  Fascinating what the mind latches on to – I wonder what Freud would make of that memory?

Speaking of parties, my mother used to make fun cakes for my birthday parties – the cake I remember the most was a Raggedy Ann cake, she cut the cake into the shape of a Raggedy Ann doll and then frosted it with the most wonderful frosting and then decorated it with candy to look like the clothing.  I want to say that it was around my 7th birthday that she made that cake – somewhere I may even have a picture of it, but I’ll have to look.

As an early grade-schooler I adored Native Americans, although back then we just called them Indians and nothing disrespectful was meant by it.  I grew up in Montana and I thought their darker skin and black hair made them the most beautiful people I’d ever seen.  We operated a family business and went to Pow Wow’s, selling our wares, and I was able to see the dances and hear the drums beat late into the night, those were some of my favorite times.  In spite of being a tow-head I desperately wanted to be an Indian.  I learned how to walk softly and with the exception of a short period of high school where I wore heels all the time, I really dislike shoes that make a lot of noise with every step.  I checked out books from the library and learned that Indians in California ground up acorns and ate them…so I did too!  They didn’t taste very good though, even after I put salt on the mash.  I learned about beading and traditional clothing, how to make moccasins from deer skin, hunting with a bow and arrow, how to make a fire, tanning hides, how to set up a teepee and as many other things that traditional Indians did as I possibly could.  I refused to have my hair cut more than just a trim and I frequently wore either two long braids hanging over my shoulders or one long braid down my back.  When my two brothers and I would play outside we were constantly playing Cowboys and Indians and I was always the Indian.  We moved to another state before I completed grade school and for years I keenly missed the rustic Montana atmosphere and seeing Indians everywhere.

One Christmas I woke up extra early and went to gaze at the tree with it’s lights glowing softly in the dark living room.  Back then the lights didn’t twinkle or change colors, they just were on or off but I loved to sneak out of my room in the night and sit and stare at the tree…  Anyway, back to my story, I woke up extra early and in my tree-gazing I noticed a piece of paper on the tree.  What?  Why is there paper on the tree?  “It probably needs to be thrown away”, was my first thought so I took it off the tree ad noticed there was writing on it.  It was a note telling me to go look in the silverware drawer…  Very, very quietly I followed all of the notes until they led me to a bicycle under the basement stairs – I was so (quietly) excited!  And then I realized, oh crap, I’ve totally ruined the surprise.  I put as many of the notes back as I could find, I lost one or two somewhere along the way, and snuck back into bed until it was a more decent hour to get up and open Christmas presents.  Then I had to do it all over again, find this note and then that note, go here and go there, and where on earth were all the notes hidden?  I couldn’t remember so I looked in several cupboards and drawers hoping my parents wouldn’t remember where they hid all the slips.  Finally I made it back down to the basement and “found” the bike, yay!  I did not fool my mother, however.  She could tell that I wasn’t as happy or surprised as I should have been and she asked me later if I had found the bicycle before they got up.  I had to tell her yes, because that was the truth, and she was not very pleased.

In that same house we had one of those weight-loss gimmicks, some sort of vibrator belt.  You stood next to the machine and put a thick, canvas-type belt around your waist and backed up enough so that the belt was taut and then you turned it on…and jiggled all over.  My brothers and I thought it was great fun to talk, sing, laugh and what not while we had the bet turned on because it made our voices all funny.  I think we mostly told jokes while we were on the belt.

My brothers didn’t like playing Barbie with me so I usually wound up playing whatever boy game they wanted to play…but sometimes they would play Barbies with me.

I was maybe 10ish and mad at my parents so I thought I would run away, but I didn’t have any money.  My next oldest brother had $10 and I tried to get him to run away with me so we would have that $10, which I thought would be plenty of money get by on, but he wouldn’t do it… he wouldn’t go with me and he wouldn’t loan me the money… so I didn’t run away.

There was an Italian Plum tree in the yard and once they had ripened our mother would tell us to go eat plums if we complained we were hungry and wanted a snack.

Several years in a row I went and spent a whole month each summer with a couple at church who were old enough to be my grandparents.  They had a granddaughter from California that would come spend the summers with them and they brought me over as a playmate.  I don’t remember her name anymore but I remember all the fun we had, going to the creek, reading books, playing games and sleeping outside in mummy bags next to a fire.  Those times hold a very special place in my heart.

Well, that was easier than I thought it would be, and I still have more memories to share!  Enough for tonight, I need to go get my beauty sleep…  Sweet dreams to all and to all a good night!

Advertisements