Blog Archives

Childhood Pets

March 14, 2013

This Week’s Prompt: Did you have a favorite childhood pet? A crazy one? What were their names? Tell us a story about your animal companions or lack their of.

[caption id="attachment_1921" align="alignleft" width="250"]cats, black and white cat, tootsie, pet named tootsie, deaf cat, mites in cats ears Beth took this picture of Tootsie. I think he’s sleeping in a dress-up cheerleader pom pom.[/caption]

I’m allergic to cats, really allergic, but we had a cat for most of my growing up years. When I went away to college, I realized how much better I could breathe without cats. Coming home for holidays I had to be out of the house for chunks of time, the cats got to stay, I went out for air. Yet thinking back, I truly have fond memories of our childhood pets. Somehow, dumb as it sounds, I don’t really think we credited our kitties with how bad my asthma was, or we simply loved them too much.

Before the cats, there was Nicky, a husky, a sweet dog who would come to my grandparents with us sometimes, he was well-behaved and knew he wasn’t allow to leave the kitchen.

One day Nicky snapped at our neighbor, a boy my age. It was hot and he was throwing rocks at the dog, but after that incident, we had to give Nicky to another family with no children. My sister, brother and I spent many weekends at my grandparent’s house, and one day a dog that looked so much like Nicky showed up in the back yard. The details are all fuzzy, but my grandmother invited the dog in for a treat and he wouldn’t leave the kitchen! We were amazed, apparently the new family lived nearby and we were able to see Nicky a couple of times after he moved away from home.

Then the cats. We never had more than one at a time, yet since we had several through the years, apparently we didn’t have very long-lived cats. There was an orange cat named Ginger, I can’t remember his story at all, just a picture in my head and his name. Then we had a sweet black and white cat who we named after a favorite childhood story book character: White Faced Simmony. It comes from Master of All Masters, a book memory that makes me smile.

What Was Your Childhood Bedroom Like?

January 26, 2013

I love to document life, in videos, writing, art and photos so I am jumping on this thoughtful and inspiring project, Mom Before Mom, started by Carla at All of Me Now.
Carla explains the idea behind Mom Before Mom: “So much of memory keeping is focused on capturing our children’s experience but what of our own? Who will capture the mother’s journey as a woman? Who will honor our journey if we don’t honor it first?
My hope is to make this a community effort. To gather a group of women, writers, storytellers who are eager to write from the heart and share themselves. So I invite you to join me.”

I’ve accepted her invitation, this is my second post in the series. Last week was about how I got my name.
This week’s prompt is: What was your childhood bedroom like? Give a tour. How did it change as you matured?

[caption id="attachment_1549" align="alignleft" width="231"]sisters dressing up, kids playing house, girl dressing up as boy, sisters getting along, sisters laughing, siblings playing, pink suitcase, A favorite activity, Beth and I dressing up. I was 7, she was 5.[/caption]

I lived in one house, in one bedroom for my entire childhood. Until my later years of college, I even came home to that bedroom from school. (It was fair that I eventually got bumped, my brother had grown up with the booby-prize of a bedroom.)

Birth Hill Road in Newtown, Connecticut. A white colonial up on a hill and my bedroom was in the back corner, facing “the Big Rock” in the woods. My sister, Beth, and I shared that room when we were little, my Mom painted Raggedy Ann dolls over our beds in place of head boards. Each doll held a flower and faced the other.

Once, years after the Raggedy Anns were painted over, when we had redesigned the layout of the room and had our beds meeting in an “L” shape, our little brother was running from tip to tip of each bed and then tripped, perhaps on a sister’s foot if memory serves me, and launched into the corner of a windowsill. Hospital. Stitches. Angry Mother.

I’m not sure how old I was when Beth moved down the hall. Her new room was very cool. My Dad built cabinets and shelves out from the wall so her bed nestled into the wall. Book shelves and curtains made it a cozy nook.

My memories of when I had the room to myself are of tons of matching furniture, my parents had bought a double set for when I had my roommate. On my own, I loved organizing the shelves and my closet, I was neat and savored having my own space. I had forgotten until writing this, I had a bunny collection on one of those shelves, various ceramic bunnies in all sizes and poses, wonder where those are now.

As a teen, I got my own phone in my room for Christmas, it was just a house phone, connected to the one family phone number, but it was MY phone, in MY room with privacy! It had a really long cord and no cradle, it was 80’s hip and could be hung up on any of my many dresser surfaces.

I didn’t have much input into the decor or scheme really, which didn’t bother me, but I loved arranging the things I had and keeping my space organized. The colors were peachy and a green shaggy kind of rug, evidence of my 70’s childhood. The dressers had hutches attached to most of them and there were sweet little apricot flowers and a basket weave-type pattern in them. Not my style now, but I loved them then.

Over the years, it changed and my Dad even put in another window facing the woods in our back yard. He was always an awesome builder and woodworker but my Mom would attest (and complain) that he wasn’t big on prep or clean up work. He loved the demo part of the job and cut the hole for my new window without putting down a drop cloth. For months and months after that job was done we heard pieces of sheet rock going up the vacuum (remember, it was shag carpet, lot’s of room to hide plaster chunks!)

That room framed my ordinary everyday life: Late nights of homework, sleepovers with friends, talking with boys, posters on the back of my door. And that room framed the extraordinary life moments: Primping for dances, gowning for proms, talking with boys.

Years after I moved out, my bridesmaids and I stood in my old bedroom in front of an air conditioner in the no-longer-new-window, lifting our dresses to the cool breeze on that scorching July day. I was so thankful that Nick, my husband got to know the home and room I grew up in, but my kids never did.

When my parents sold the house and moved out not long before our first baby was born, the whole family was together and we walked room to room and everyone shared a memory for each room. Laughter, tears from laughter, tears from sadness, sadness from good-bye. Nearly three decades of family memories lived in those rooms, so many of them in my corner of the house.

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