Archive for category Days Gone By
My grandmother was an interesting lady. I believe I’ve mentioned before that my family is Irish. Well, my grandmother was definitely a good Irish gal. She was full of personality, had a temper, and was red-headed to boot.
Her name was Charlene. She would fuss if I tried to lift something she felt was too heavy for me and point out that it would give me a pot belly like her. Her mother made her lift heavy things all the time. She looked out for her daughters and granddaughters that way.
But she didn’t think twice about spanking my bottom with a flyswatter when I needed it or pinning a sock (tattle tail) to my jeans if I became a bit of a, well, tattle tell.
She was also a most excellent cook. She baked heavenly bread. I cannot eat homemade bread without thinking about my grandmother. She made and decorated cakes. She made enormous pots of spaghetti. Enormous pots! Of course, she was usually feeding masses of people. She only had nine children of her own, and at the moment, I lose count of the grandkids. There were a lot.
And I was the oldest.
Back to the cooking for a bit…
Whenever we had family get-togethers or holiday parties, my grandmother, without us really knowing it, supplied most of the food. We knew she cooked a lot, but everyone else always brought a dish. My grandmother died in the spring of my junior year in high school. It was very sad and unexpected.
Shortly after, for Father’s Day, I believe, the family had gathered at my grandfather’s house. It was pot-luck, so everyone contributed a dish. After about half the people in attendance made it through the serving line, we noticed something. We were almost out of food! There wasn’t nearly enough to go around! We had been so used to grandmother’s many dishes added to the buffet and no one considered what her contribution had been to serving our hungry horde. She had obviously been feeding about half the family!
Most of my life was spent living next door to my grandmother.
My mother’s youngest brother is only two years older than I and we were often playmates…and often managed to get into heaps of trouble. Like the day we were supposed to play out in the yard so we would be out of the grown-ups way. We raided the shed, got the tools we needed to “break-in” one of the bedrooms, and spent the afternoon reading. Which doesn’t sound so bad except for the damage we did to the house breaking in. I don’t think it was minor.
Or when we found a razor and decided he should give me a haircut. A few minutes before time to get ready for church. He gave me the lock he lopped off the top of my head so I could show all my friends at church! I was so excited…I thought that lock of hair the coolest possession. Neither my mother, nor his, were much impressed.
My grandfather was a truck driver for most of my life, although he did many sorts of jobs. He was often gone. When grandma happened to be home alone at night, she would often invite me over.
So, I spent lots of time at grandma’s house.
Sometimes she and I would watch movies together…like The Bear. She would make me hot chocolate or chocolate milk.
Sometimes we baked. We baked lots of bread. We baked cakes. And once, she looked up a recipe for Black Forrest Cake, because I had tasted a Sam’s sample while shopping with her and thought it was good. She helped me cook it.
Sometimes we would plant things. She really liked cedar trees and cactus. I remember helping her with cactus on several occasions. She didn’t particularly have a green thumb (which is probably where I inherited my lack of green thumbiness). But she tried anyway. Maybe that’s why she preferred heartier plants.
And then, she would show me things. One time, she showed me a diamond she had. It was teeny, teeny, teeny. It wasn’t set in any jewelry. It was in a velvet bag. I thought it must be the coolest thing in the world. She told me when I was older she’d have it put in a ring for me. I was in awe of that diamond.
Then there were the cameos. And really, my grandmother loved cameos. She had rings, and necklaces of all sorts with cameos. She thought they were beautiful.
And often books were what we looked at. She worked in a college bookstore, and was an endless supply of those books that come with the “magic” pen with an orange cap. You know, with the invisible ink…you could play basketball in those books. I have NO IDEA what they are called. Sorry if I’ve confused you. I loved those books though!
But one day, she showed me a songbook. It was a songbook full of music from the 20′s. It was orange, and brassy. It has large black lettering and a blond flapper chic on the cover. I would pour over the pages of that book. I never heard the songs sung. I was just amazed at the lyrics of the songs. They seemed so funny! I could read that songbook for hours.
Then, in sixth grade, I took one year of band and piano. (I was a clarinet player). I learned to read music well enough to get an idea of what the tune would be to the songs. This added an new level of interest to the songbook. Songs written and performed years before my grandmother was even born!
And what songs they were!
I can’t remember many of the songs, in particular. I do remember one about a baby growing up in the woods and being fed by the birds.
But there was one song that stuck out. And after all these years, I not only remember the title, but remember most of the lyrics, and have a good idea of the tune.
A few nights ago, I asked my husband a dumb question. (It was late. Give me a break.)
I asked him if he thought Google was named after Barney Google and his googly eyes. Josh thought I had lost my ever-loving mind. What, pray tell, was I talking about. About that time, I remembered that the word google is a real word, and a number word, and made better sense than googly eyes.
But an idea came to me. Google. The internet. Barney Google. A song I never heard before except in my head. I bet you anything it is on YouTube.
And guys, I was not disappointed.
I give you, with all my heart, a song that took up hours and hours of my childhood. That I have only recently heard sung for the very first time. I hope it amuses you as it did me!
I give you Barney Google. I song that reminds me of my grandmother since she first introduced me to it!
Okay, this sounds like fun. I really don’t have a picture, so I may be disqualified! But the prize is cool, so check it out!
I was an elementary school bully.
Really, I was.
My mother was a teacher. A very dedicated kindergarten teacher. And I often spent lots of time playing with the other teacher’s kids after school. There were several of us. five to ten according to the year.
Those days, teachers kids had the run of the place after school. Our parents would be working in their classrooms and we would hit the hiking trail or one of the playgrounds.
And I was the bully.
I wasn’t always a mean kid. I just had mean moments. And for some really strange reason, I got a kick out of being able to beat up boys. Now that I understand the development of kids, and realize that girls are often bigger than their boy peers in their elementary years, I see how this worked. But at the time, I just thought I was super cool and tough.
The thing is, these boys I used to beat up, were really my friends. We would play games. And enjoy spending time together, and then, sometimes, just for fun, I would beat them up.
Honestly, I don’t really remember any reasons for doing so. We’ll just have to conclude that I was terribly evil.
Anyway, my sixth grade year was my last attempt at this. And, interestingly enough, the only time I ever fought one of these boys for a really good reason. One of the boys I distinctly remember at one time threatening to beat up if he didn’t give me candy (around the fourth grade) turned out to be a bit of a bully himself as he got older. (I wonder why???) He began mercilessly teasing a younger cousin of mine that was going home with us that afternoon. I told him he needed to stop or I was going to beat him up.
He didn’t stop. I began the fight.
Funny thing is, this guy had gotten stronger. And it was obvious. I was still getting in pretty good punches, but he was hitting me and it hurt! This was all very new.
Lucky for me, his little sister went and got my mother. My mother who didn’t realize until my adulthood I had ever been involved in more than this one fight. She broke it off before I got really embarrassed…or hurt.
But I had learned my lesson. I think. I never did threaten to, or beat up anyone ever again. Nor did I ever have a need too!
The funny thing about this is I was pretty shy. I was almost always well behaved in school. I rarely got into trouble. My parents always claimed I was an easy child to raise. I liked being good and was often accused of being a goody-two-shoes.
I guess I just had some inner rage going on. I don’t know. I guess those guys didn’t think I was so nice!
One thing I know, it that my kids are banned from running around the school at the end of the day. If I work late, they must entertain themselves in my classroom. I can’t imagine them ever being the bully, but I sure pulled one over on my mom. And got away with it for years. I don’t really want them sharing with me at a Thanksgiving meal one day, when they are in their twenties, the number of teacher’s kids they’ve beaten up.
I let them surprise me with some other unknown fact that they manage to keep hidden from me for years.