memories

Rethinking my thinking

Today I’m spending the day with mom. We spent some time at the Texas Department of Public Safety getting her a state issued identification card and she surrendered her drivers license. She quit driving years ago so that was really no big deal.

Then we decided to go shopping. She says to me “I need makeup.” So I text my sister and say “Mom says she needs makeup.” I ask because she sometimes forgets what she might have bought yesterday. My sister texts me back and says “She does! LOL.”

So off to shop with a purpose we go. Two people who use to be great shopping partners, but who now don’t do malls. First stop Ridgmar Mall. We didn’t even bother to get out of the car. It looks run down and slightly abandoned. We just made a big circle in my car around the mall and decided to head to Hulen Mall. On the way to Hulen Mall I remember the new Shops at Clearfork development. So once we get to Hulen Mall and park at Dillards I tell my Mom that we will definitely have to check out the new place before we head home.

We browse through Dillards and then head out into the mall. Just me and the women who taught me all I needed to know about skincare. The woman who took me to the Estee Lauder counters and the Clinque counters. As we head out into the mall, I know that she has already forgotten about the makeup. But I have not.

So we head to Macy’s Estee Lauder counter. We are browsing the different types of makeup when a young lady shows up to helps us. As she is asking my mother the usual questions about what she expects from a makeup I suddenly ask myself “What in the world am I doing?”

Arbonne! I have been an independent consultant for about a month. I have been spreading the word to friends and family. I have sent samples. I have handed out samples. I have shipped multiple samples. I am almost out of samples. I need to reorder samples!

Fortunately the sales rep color matched my mom and in a very surprising move, she offered a sample to take home and try before she buys. Just to be sure that the color matches and she’s happy with it in every way. REALLY!! I guess she was just really too busy to try and sell us product. My mother was excited and really ready to buy. But I have to say “Thank you!!” I said “Yes! Let’s take the sample and try it.”

On the way to the Shops at Clearfork I told my mother about Arbonne and told her we could her everything she needed and she would love it. I know she will. So I can’t really blame the young girl at the cosmetic counter. I also had overlooked my mother as someone who would appreciate the quality of the Arbonne skincare and makeup.

Then we went on to the Shops at Clearfork. Right now the only store there is Neiman Marcus. But it is going to be a very lovely retail development when it’s done. As we walked into Neimans I thought, “This is what a department store is suppose to be like. I bet if we had stopped at the Estee Lauder counter in Neimans we would have left with a bag of makeup.

If you are currently going to the department stores to buy you skincare, makeup, bath products, or even the healthfood store to buy nutritional supplements, I would like for you to at least check out what Arbonne has to offer. It truly is a great line of products. To visit my website click here.

 

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If you’d like to see some other roads I’ve been down concerning skin care just click here

 

Witnessing a Memory

At work we have several volunteers that help us in the office. This week we had someone on vacation so we used volunteers to sit at her desk and answer phone calls. All of these sweethearts are happy to help and I love having them in the office. It breaks up the monotony of the day to day work week. I find myself drawn to these golden agers.

This afternoon we had an 80 plus year old helping. She had walked into my office and spotted my computer wall paper. “Oh what a beautiful bird. That picture is just lovely!!” She said all of this with her trace of New York accent. She has lived here for years, but the accent lingers.

The picture was a bird sitting on a apple tree branch. The tree was blossoming. She just stood there for a moment really taking in the photo and really appreciating the beauty captured.

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Then she closed her eyes, smiled, and tilted her head back. The sun was shining though my floor to ceiling window and fell across her 80ish year old face and she began to recall:

“When I was a very young girl in New York my father would take us out into the country. It was out along an old dirt lane, that just rolled on. It curved and went up and down. We passed old fences that were falling down along the side of the rode. Then we would round the bend and there it was!” She opened her eyes and looked at me and said “The most beautiful apple orchard. Just rows and rows and rows. They seemed to go on forever. My father would ask the farmer, May we come in? The farmer would open the gate and let us in. My father allowed no running and screaming. There was no fooling around.”

She closed her eyes again and said, “When I close my eyes it all comes back to me. The beautiful canopy of flowers. Just a sea of beautiful pinkish white blooms. The chartreuse leaves, the golden sun spilling down through the branches. AND THE SMELL! Very pungent, but lovely.”

“We would walk quietly among the trees. A gentle breeze would come and the petals from the trees would fall like snow. It really was something. But you only had a short time to catch it. Some years we would ask, Can we go to the apple orchard? and my father would say, It’s too late. At the time I never realized how that memory would stay with me.”

She’s talked to me about her father before. He was a very hard working man that provided for his family. But there didn’t seem a lot of affection from him towards her or her sister. But the apple orchard was special to him and he passed that on to her.

Before she left my office, I told her “How wonderful that your father shared that with you!”

Idioms From My Grandmother

A group of us from work were going to lunch last week. As usual, it becomes a crazy, silly conversation on the way to wherever we’re going. I can’t even remember how it started. I think it began by someone bringing up an episode of “Say Yes to the Dress”. Maybe it had something to do with the color of the wedding dress. But I found myself blurting out, “Married in blue, your lover is true.”

Someone said that they had never heard that before. And that was all it took.

Married in green, you’ll live like a queen

Married in red, you’ll wish yourself dead

Married in yellow, ashamed of the fellow

Married in brown, you’ll travel around

Married in pink, you’ll live in a stink

Married in white, your choice is right

Married in black, you’ll wish yourself back (or you’ll ride in a hack)

I was young when I learned these from my grandmother. She told me these were true, whether she was just keeping me entertained or she truly believed them, I’m not sure. She was rather superstitious. She said her mother was married in brown and she never lived in one place for very long. Ma told me that she was married in pink. “Just look at this place!”, she said.

Later in the work week, someone said their palmed itched and that meant that they would be getting some money. Again, my grandmother popped into my mind. “No”, I said. “Only if it’s your left palm. If you right palm itches that means you’re going to meet a stranger. If the bottoms of your feet itch that means you’re going to walk on strange ground.” The receptionist just looked at me and shook her head.

My grandmother was superstitious, I suppose. I remember once being at my mother’s and Ma was in the kitchen doing something. As i was talking to her, I began to spin a chair around on one leg. She stopped what she was doing and said “Don’t spin that chair around like that. Someone will get hurt later in the day.” I continued to spin the chair on it’s leg and told her “That’s just silly.” A couple of hours later some of my aunts came over. They decided they wanted to come see my apartment. I left and they followed me. When we got out of the cars and started up the sidewalk my grandmother fell and broke her elbow.

After she got home from the emergency room, I told her that I was so sorry and that I would never spin a chair around again on one leg. She said, “Oh honey! Don’t be silly, that’s just an old wive’s tale.”

I keep my eye out for black cats crossing my path.

I don’t open umbrellas in the house.

I don’t walk under ladders.

I put my right shoe on first.

I don’t put hats on the beds.

When my ears ring, I wonder who is talking about me.

I don’t pick up coins unless they are heads up

But like my grandmother, I’m not superstitious either.

Strolling down memory lane

My mom is spending the weekend with me.  I am enjoying my time with her and I think she is having a good time as well.  We spent last night talking about her childhood and my own childhood.  Family members we’ve lost and those memories of them that we still cherish. We laughed and laughed. My only regret is that we didn’t have these types of conversations years ago.  I regret not having these conversations with my dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who aren’t here any more and whose memories are lost to us. As you grow older your priorities change, as does your perspective. What seemed unimportant ten years ago, is now a quest. But I still have my mom and some other older relatives around that maybe will allow me to pick their brains. Ancestry.com is a useful, interesting tool. But for now I try to talk to my mom and jiggle her memory and see what happens. I have so many questions, and there really isn’t anyone left with the first hand knowledge I seek.

10688112_10202721139490323_793152926169769438_oThe picture above I posted to Facebook last night.  It began a conversation with my cousins on Facebook. Everyone was happy to see the pictures. We are fortunate that the picture isn’t so old that we didn’t know who the faces were. The good news is that we know these people. They are our connection to the older bearded man. A great grandfather that we never met. Someone we have only heard stories about. One day we will be like my great grandfather in this picture. Our children’s children children will look at pictures of us and wonder what our story is. It is important to me to discover as many of these links as I can to the past.

But my own story is important too. I have no children of my own. But my mom talks about her memories of her aunts and uncles. Last night we talked a bit about an aunt I had never heard of. All of our stories are important. All our memories need to be recorded and shared.

My grandfather passed away in 1976. I was 14 years old. it was my first experience of death of someone important to me. We spent Spring break that year with my grandparents. One of my last memories of my grandfather is him walking down the hallway of their house. He was wearing overalls, he always wore overalls. No shirt, one strap of his overalls was hanging, and he had a hand rolled cigarette in his hand. And he was singing. He was singing a song I had never heard and I’ve never heard since.

I don’t know who he heard sing it originally. His mother, his father? Maybe Bing Crosby.  After looking at Youtube, I’ve found that it was done by various artist over the years.  This memory has been with me for a long time, yet today was the first day that I searched for a recording of it.  The verse has been stuck in my head all this time.  When I typed it into Youtube, this is what I found.  “Red Sails in the Sunset”

My Favorite rendition is by Fats Domino.

Possums Running Amok

possumWe’ve all dealt with vermin in our home. Doesn’t matter if it’s mice, roaches, ants, flies, etc. Whatever finds its way into our house, we are determined for them to leave only one way, dead. Once while my parents were living in Boyd, they were infested with possums.

I was there visiting one weekend. It was a Friday night and I was sitting on the floor watching television with them. Out of the corner of my eye I saw movement. As I turned my head towards the movement I saw what I thought was a mouse running away from the living room. I yelled, “MOUSE!!!” My dad jumped up and we looked, but of course we could not find it. We sat back down and in just a few minutes I saw movement again. I slowly turned my head towards the movement and saw a “rat” sitting calmly against the wall. Apparently he wanted to watch television as well. Because that’s exactly what it appeared that he was doing.

“Pssst Pssst Pssst” I finally got my dad’s attention and he looked in the direction that I was looking and said “Well I’ll be damned!! That’s no mouse that’s a possum.” Of course by this time the possum had taken off again. We were lucky this time and my dad cornered it in the hot water heater closet. He put it in a cage outside. My dad said, “It’s a baby possum. There is probably another one. They only have babies in even numbers” Now where he got this information, I’m not sure. But my mother and I were not happy to hear it. One possum in the house is bad enough, but the thought that there could be more didn’t make for a very restful night.

Off to bed we went. I found myself to be a little jumpy. After a couple of hours we had all fallen asleep. That’s when I was awoken by my mother screaming, “Something just ran across my legs!!!!” We were up and the possum was taken alive. The baby possum was taken hissing and wiggling to a cage outside with his sibling. Just like an episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies” my dad said, “That will make some mighty fine eating once he is fattened up.” Yucko!! I know he said this just to gross me out, but I know for a fact that he had eaten possum before.

Now it’s Saturday afternoon and I’m still a little jumpy. But the nights misadventure is starting to recede in my mind. Dad says they have babies in even number and we caught two, so all’s well that ends well. So I’m in the kitchen doing something and I open a drawer to get something. There just laying in the drawer likes it’s dead is another baby possum!! I scream and slammed the drawer shut. My dad opened the drawer the possum was still there, but was no longer playing possum. He joined his other 2 sibling in the cage outside.

“I can’t take this!!”, I said. So I just hopped in my car and went back to my possum free apartment in Fort Worth. Before it was over they caught 6 baby possums. There was a room that opened off of the kitchen that was not used. My dad thought that maybe the mama possum got into that room somehow, left her babies there, and something happened to her. It’s a mystery. The good news is my dad did not eat these possums. He did feed them. He told me that they all died, but I have a feeling that he might have set them free once they were bigger. I’m not sure.

I know possums are marsupials (they carry their young in a pouch). These young possums were probably too big to be carried around in her pouch, but they may have been still clinging to her back.

After remembering this story, I went to the internet to see if possum do have their young in even numbers. I’m sorry to say, my dad was wrong. I found the following:

A female opossum can give birth to up to 25 young at a time, but as the female only has 13 teats, only the first 13 babies to make it into the pouch will survive. I found the information here.  This website also had this information:  Wildlife rescue groups recommend that anyone who finds a dead female opossum immediately check her pouch. Often the young will have survived the event that killed the mother. Anyone who does find surviving young should remove them from the pouch, keep them warm, and call the nearest wildlife rehabilitation center. If there is no rehabilitation center in the area, a vet, a zoo, or even a local animal shelter may be able to help

I don’t know about you, but I won’t be checking any possum’s pouch.  Sorry.

 

Mom and Elvis

elvis2It’s hard to picture your mother as a young girl.  Especially when you both have reached an age where the roles reversal begins.  But yes my mother was once a girl, even a teenage girl.  She came of age in the late 50’s.  She graduated high school in the Spring of 1959.  I’ve seen her school annuals.  They are filled with pictures of that era.  She was there for the birth of Rock & Roll and the starting point of Elvis Presley.

If you spent a day listening to music with her today you would not know that.  She enjoys Gospel and classic Country.  But there was a time that she was an innocent, bright eyed girl.  She thought about her future.  She wrote letters to her brother’s friend who was serving in the Army and stationed in Berlin (my father).  She had a couple of this new guy’s records.  His name was Elvis.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been listening to the Elvis station on my satellite radio on my way home from work each night.  His body of work is astounding.  I am amazed when they play his rendition of someone else’s song.  For instance “Hey Jude.”  They play “takes” where Elvis or someone messes up.  They play “takes” where Elvis has the giggles.

When I’m making that drive to work and back, my mind tends to wander.  Especially during the evening drive.  So while I’m listening to Elvis, my thoughts sometimes stray to other thoughts and memories.  Last week I was thinking about when Elvis died.  It was August, 1977, I was 15 years old and we were at my grandmother’s.  It was a big deal.

My mother didn’t cry.  At least I don’t remember her crying.  But I do remember her saying that she wished she had her Elvis records.  When I asked her what happened to them she said that right before she got married she threw them in the trash.

Why? you ask.  She said that she was getting married and she thought it was

My mom (18 years old), shortly after she married my dad.

My mom (18 years old), shortly after she married my dad.

time to throw away her girlhood things.  Crazy girl!  Of course in 1959 she knew Elvis was popular, but she had no idea what an icon he would become.

So she grew up.  She fell in love with the likes of Ray Price and Faron Young.  But even at the age of 72, Elvis still plays a part in her life.  Recently we had to call the phone company.  In addition to the usual questions they ask to verify you identity they asked “Who is your favorite singer?”  Well the answer was Elvis of course.

I could tell you about the time Buck Owens hit on her at Panther Hall.  But I’ll save that for another day.

Telling Your Story.

After writing my nine day post on my first marriage, I have had a lot of feedback.  The majority of the feedback has been very positive.  I’m glad that I took the time to tell this story.  I was hoping for a feeling of release.  But the feelings of sadness and failure are still there.  They were rubbed raw over the last several days.  But at least this part of my story is out there and I learned a few things as well.

Who is she? Is she someone's sister, mother, aunt?  Is she part of me?

Who is she? Is she someone’s sister, mother, aunt? Is she part of me?

I think we all have stories to tell.  Sometimes when I’m with a group a people I’ll look around at them and wonder what each of their stories might be.  Even in the grocery store I’ll come across someone and wonder what their story might tell.

Everyone started out as someone’s child.  Sometimes I’ll see someone and wish that I could just sit down with them and listen about where they’ve been and what they’ve seen.  Sometimes I’ll look at a child and wonder what their story will be.

The back of this one is signed "Lots of Love - Daddy."  Is he a great grandfather? A great uncle?  Is he part of me?

The back of this one is signed “Lots of Love – Daddy.” Is he a great grandfather? A great uncle? Is he part of me?

Not everyone likes to share their stories in such a public way as a blog.  But I would encourage you to write down your stories.  Your children, grandchildren, all of those who come after you will look at pictures of you and wonder what your story is.  I know that I do that with pictures that I have.I have old pictures that so far I have not been able to identify.  But I can’t get rid of them, even though I have no idea who they are or what their connection to me is.  All I know about these pictures is that they were important enough for a grandmother, a great grandmother, a great uncle to hold on to.

I would encourage you to identify who people are in pictures on the back.  I would encourage you to write you story for the day when you are no longer around to answer questions.  Years from now someone will hold your picture in their hand and wonder what your story was.

I would love to know this person's story.  Was he married?  Did he have children?  Where did he come from?  What happened to him?  Is he part of me?

I would love to know this person’s story. Was he married? Did he have children? Where did he come from? What happened to him? Is he part of me?

Who is this little baby boy? It was taken at Bryant Studio in Fort Worth, but sadly that's all I know.  What kind of man did he become?  Is he part of me?

Who is this little baby boy? It was taken at Bryant Studio in Fort Worth, but sadly that’s all I know. What kind of man did he become? Is he part of me?

Why those dirty little…………………………………

I recently told a story about my mother and her grandfather.  When she told me that story, she told me a couple of other ones.  I am guessing that this is all she has since she was only about four years old when her grandfather passed away.

My great grandfather and his brother immigrated from Sweden when they were young and eventually found their way to Western Oklahoma and helped settle that part of the country when Oklahoma was still a territory.  They were not wealthy, but I believe that they did farm a large piece of property there.  I cannot pretend to know my great grandmother’s thoughts, but my mother’s feelings and in a way, my own grandmother’s feelings were expressed to me on that day a couple of weeks ago.

My mother believes that her grandmother looked down on her mother, my grandmother.  She treated my mother and her siblings different than she treated her other two grandchildren.  Maybe it was because there was so many of them.  I guess she blamed her daughter-in-law rather than her own son for the responsibilities of so many children.

Whenever my grandmother would take her brood to her in-laws, she always was sure that their little faces were scrubbed and their clothes were clean.  Invariably they were kept separate from their only two cousins.  They had to sit on one side of the room, apart from the other two.

Now I have seen pictures of these children when they lived in Oklahoma.  They ran barefoot and their hair was generally in a mess.  Maybe they were not as clean as their cousins were.  However, these cousins were the only child in their homes.  When my grandparents packed up their vehicle and moved to Texas, they had eleven children.  I think that maybe my grandmother was just overwhelmed.  She was an only child herself.  Her mother passed away shortly before my mother was born.  So, she really had no one that she could reach out to for help.

Just maybe these children weren’t the cleanest and they probably weren’t the best dressed.  But, when I look at these old pictures, I see happy, smiling children.

When my Mom was telling me all of this, she told me this final story.  She started it off with “I’ve never told anyone this.”  She said that the night her grandfather died she wanted to get up on the bed and be next to him.  She said her grandmother wanted her out of the room all together and may have even said something derogatory.  But her grandfather firmly said, “Let the child up here by me.”  She climbed up onto the bed by him and he patted her on the leg.  She said just as hand stopped patting her she saw a ball of fire come across the room, across the bed, and out the window.  No one else seemed to notice.  She knew her grandfather was gone, because everyone in the room started to cry.

She said she never told anyone about the ball of fire because she didn’t want to be made fun of.  She remembers it vividly.

My Cousin Anita

I never had children of my own.  It use to bother me when I was in my 30’s.  Once I reached my 40’s I put it behind me.  My life has been full of children.  Nieces, nephews, cousins, etc.  I come from a rather large family on my mother’s side.  For a while every time you turned around someone was having a baby.  But now the well seems to have dried up and I am patiently waiting for the next round to begin.

I am about eleven years older than my cousin Anita.  She is the very first baby that I can remember laying eyes on and falling instantly in love with her.  She had a brother, Adam, that was a year older.  I loved him as well, but as a baby he could take me or leave me.  When she was small and tiny, she loved me as much as I loved her.  Not to say that she loves me less today.  But today she is a grown married woman, with children and responsibilities of her own.

But there was a time when she squealed when I walked into a room and reached for me to pick her up.  I specifically remember her staying with us one weekend while her parents and her brother went to Lake Whitney.  She was my very own living doll that weekend.  I dressed her, feed her, and played with her the whole weekend.  She would crawl after me if I left the room.  Her gown would tangle around her feet and she would sit up and cry until I picked her up.  It does the heart good to see  a child’s face light up when they make eye contact with you.

As I got a little older I would baby sit her and Adam some weekend nights.  Sometimes at their house, sometimes at ours.  If you sit and chat with Adam he will tell you that we (my sister and I)  “abused” them by locking them up in the dirty clothes closet.  I hope he’s kidding, I think he is.  They went in there willingly after all.  Who wouldn’t want to close the door and be in a rocket ready to take off to outer space??

I married when I was 20.  Anita was 9 or 10.  I think she was as much in love with my ex as I was at the time.  I think she practiced her flirting on him.  I guess the ages of 10 and also of 20 are stages of changes.  I was becoming an adult, a married woman.  She was coming into her own transition of life.

That’s the hard part of looking back.  Sometimes you wonder how things changed so quickly.  But they don’t change quickly.  They change slowly.  Hour by hour and minute by minute, until suddenly you are somewhere else and the relationship is different.  Not in a bad way.  But just different.

Do NOT touch the pocket knife!

My Dad had a pocket knife that he always kept with him.  I wish I knew where he got it, but I don’t.  Its one of those questions that will never have an answer.  The handle was made of bone and I remember him always sharpening it.  He often said a knife was of no use if it wasn’t ready to use.  As a child I remember it laying on the dresser along with his wallet and pocket change.  We were told never, ever to touch the pocket knife.

One Saturday when I was about five years old, I was very bored and I touched the pocket knife.  I had watched him open it and close it, so I thought I knew what I was doing.  So I was able to open it.  I was very proud of myself and I was very careful while holding it.  But after smiling to myself and looking at it, I decided it was time to close it and put it back.  That’s where the trouble began.

I didn’t realize at the ripe old age of five, that there was a little thing on the handle that had to be pushed down to release the blade.  So I tried and I tried and I tried to close it.  I began to panic and to sweat.  I tried again to push it close and it slipped, cutting my right index finger.  “Oh No!!!”  Now the knife was still open and I was bleeding.  Bleeding and bleeding and bleeding.

I don’t know where everyone was.  I ran to the bathroom and grabbed tissue paper.  Still it bled and it began to throb.  OH NO!!  I am going to be in big trouble!  I am going to get a spanking!  I know that I wasn’t suppose to touch that knife.  But I did and now I was bleeding.

What did I do??  I grabbed a towel and ran to my room and hid in the closet.  I don’t know how long I was there.  But after a while I heard my parents calling me.  “Kathy!!!  Where are you???”  Calling me and calling me and calling me.  All through the house, out into the yard and up and down the street.  Calling me, calling me, calling me.

I had been crying quietly, but now I began to sob.  Sobbing, crying, snot running down my nose.  I was a mess.

My Dad opened the closet door and found me huddled in the corner.  He picked me up and patted me.  He washed my finger and put a band aid on my finger.  He scolded me, but didn’t spank me.

To this day I’m a little leery of that knife.  He’s been gone 15 years, so I don’t think its as sharp as it once was.  But I’ve got the half inch scar on my finger to remind me.