The Summer Of ’16…

With autumn quickly approaching, I felt the desire to reflect on the summer of ’16 before it moves on.  I’ve been working on this post for several days, trying to find just the right words.  I’m not sure I ever did find them, but here goes…

I lived my first “summer of 16” many years ago.  Although I may not always recall what I ate for last night’s supper,  I can remember parts of that summer like it was only yesterday. It’s funny how age does that to ya’…or is it?

It was the summer of 1971, I was sixteen years old, and had already been engaged for about nine months. I was actually still quite young, but I felt old! I’ve always felt older in years than I really am.

That summer, in addition to working a summer job, I spent my days writing letters to, and receiving letters from Edward, the young man who would eventually become my husband in a few short months. Ed, who was serving in the army, had been overseas for nine months, but unfortunately, still had more than nine months left to go.  I had nine more months of high school left, as well.

I was about to embark on my senior year of high school, but I couldn’t wait to be finished with school, and become Ed’s wife!  My ‘hope chest’, in the corner of my bedroom grew fuller with each of my weekly paychecks.  At the end of each day, I anxiously crossed another day off of the calendar which hung on the wall, over my ‘hope chest’.  Life was waiting!

Flash forward another forty-five years, which really seem more like ten years.  Ed and I have been already been married forty-four years, have raised three children, and are now retired.   Our children are all married, with children of their own.  We have four beautiful grandchildren. The majority of our life story has already been lived.  We like to think we still have several chapters to go, but who ever really knows?

As autumn approaches, and I prepare to say goodbye to the second “summer of 16” of my lifetime, I have to say,  this one’s been quite different from the one of my youth!  For one thing, my body doesn’t look or feel anything like the body of the sixteen-year-old girl I used to be.  Today’s 16  refers to what year it is, not my age!

These days, I’m a “mature” woman.  I’m also a wife, mother, and grandmother, with years of life experience behind me, some good and some bad.  Oh, if only I could have possessed a small fraction of today’s knowledge, back in my first summer of 16, I’d surely have changed a few things along the way!  Wouldn’t we all?

This summer of 16 has been one of the most difficult and trying summers of my life.  There have been lots of personal struggles for me, even a few ‘ghosts of the past’ have come back to haunt me.  There’s been much turmoil and strife among our family since shortly after Mother’s Day, and it’s been tough on all of us.  Although we’ve tried several times, to get things reconciled, somehow, it’s never really seemed to work out.  There are days when I wonder if things will ever be normal again, but, I continue to pray, and turn it over to God. It’s all I know to do.

As if family turmoil wasn’t enough, we’ve experienced some religious turmoil, this summer, too. After five long years of being without a church to call our own, Ed and I thought we’d finally found our new church home.  Long story made short, we were mistaken.  After four months, Ed and I, along with several ‘long-time’ church members, suddenly found ourselves without a church, as it became painfully apparent some deacons of the church weren’t interested in heeding the biblical instructions of their pastor.  Those deacons now have “their church” to run, but they have no pastor, only a handful of members, and a bleak-looking future for the church.

Of course, the summer of sixteen hasn’t been all bad, though. There have been lots of good times, scattered among the heartache.  I’ve learned that life must go on, even through turmoil and strife.  Our family has celebrated holidays, accomplishments,  birthdays and anniversaries, even though all members weren’t present for the celebrations.

In addition, we’ve made some new friends, and we’ve enjoyed the company of some dear old friends, too. This summer, Ed and I were still able to grow another successful garden, and we were still able to can lots of food, even after Ed’s heart attack and my back surgery!  Praise the Lord!  And, although we felt we had to leave a church we loved, we carry lots of good memories from the time we were there, and we move on to wherever God leads us…

Yesterday’s gone, there’s no way to change it or get it back, but today is what really matters!  It’s our ‘present’, and we really need to make the best of it.  I’m trying, believe me, I’m trying.

Happy Monday!

 

 

 

 

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Published in: on September 19, 2016 at 7:29 am  Comments (5)  
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Memory Monday ~ The Jobs I’ve Had, Plus A Few Other Things…

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

 

Another Monday has rolled around, and the prompt for ‘Memory Monday’ is “Jobs”.  I’ve written about all of my jobs, at one time or another, but at the risk of repeating myself, I’ll briefly sum them all up again, for those who may not know.  I’ll be linking this post up @ Retired-Not-Tired.

My first job, and my all-time favorite, was the job of being a ‘gift wrapper’ in a small department store, during Christmas.  I was in my junior year of high school, at the time.  The job only lasted a couple of weeks, but oh, what fun it was!  You see, back then, I absolutely loved wrapping gifts, so to be able to do so and get paid for it was almost too good to be true!  Apparently, I made an impression on the store manager, because she hired me again in the spring, but this time she hired me to work as a sales clerk in the store.  I ended up keeping this part-time job until right before graduating from high school, the following year.  A extra ‘perk’ of this job came when the store manager eventually put me in charge of decorating one of the store windows!  It didn’t earn me any extra income, but it was an honor to be chosen for the responsibility, and I really enjoyed doing it.

My second job didn’t come along until a couple of years later, after marriage, when (with the help of Ed) I got hired as a receptionist in the radiology department of the large hospital, where Ed also worked (in Radiology). Fortunately, Ed and I worked the same shift so we could ride to and from work together, because I still didn’t know how to drive, at the time! I worked at this job for almost three years before I  quit.

I spent the next fourteen years of my life being pregnant, raising children, and keeping the home fires burning.  After our youngest child started to Kindergarten, I was able to get a job working at the local elementary school, as a first-grade paraprofessional.  I worked as a paraprofessional for almost fourteen years, before circumstances beyond my control caused me to quit.  I got assigned to a particular teacher, and could not, in good conscience, be a part of what was going on in that classroom– in other words, there wasn’t much teaching/learning going on.  I know, in my heart, I should have become a teacher, because I truly enjoyed working with children, and helping teach them reading and math.

I followed up my fourteen years of working in a classroom by working as a nanny. I kept twin baby girls, aged 5 months. Twins were a ‘piece of cake’ after working with twenty first graders! I worked as a nanny for almost two years, before I decided it was time to retire and come home.  By then, our first grandchild had been born, and I wanted more free time to stay home and enjoy her.  I haven’t worked outside the home since 2007.  Last year, I finally began drawing a small retirement pension, from my days as a paraprofessional .  At long last, I’m ‘officially’ retired.

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and now for a few other things…

Ed and I spent a quiet weekend at home.  We had a little bit of company, sprinkled throughout the weekend, but, over-all, it was quiet.  The only interesting thing we did was to plant some onions in the garden.  We’d planned to plant our potatoes, too, but the guys at the feed and seed store discouraged us from planting them yet.  So, we decided to wait until today!  It’s 7:30 in the morning, and Ed’s already on the tractor.  The gardening season of 2015 has officially begun!

Saturday night, I rented and watched the movie, Gone Girl.  Ed started watching, too, but got a phone call in mid-movie.  Yowza, what a movie!  I sure didn’t see that ending coming.

The dentist glued my temporary crown back in place, then told me he’d probably see me again, next week–when the permanent crown comes in.  Funny thing about my dentist–I’ve been using this same dentist since I was a teenager. I guess you could say, we’ve grown old together.  Unfortunately, me teeth have grown old right along with us!

On Friday, I asked for prayers for my sister-in-law (my brother’s wife), whose mother was very sick and under the care of Hospice.  Her mother passed away yesterday afternoon.  I ask for your continued prayers, for the family, in the difficult days ahead.

Have a good Monday!

Published in: on February 23, 2015 at 8:52 am  Comments (5)  
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Memory Monday ~ My High School Days

Today’s prompt for ‘Memory Monday’ is “School Days”.  Since I’ve already written about my experiences in elementary school, today I chose to concentrate on my high school experiences.

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seventh grade photo

Way back in the day, we attended elementary school for grades 1-6, and we attended high school for grades 7-12.  There wasn’t any pre-K , Kindergarten, or even a middle school.  At the end of sixth grade, I attended a formal graduation ceremony, then entered the strange new world of high school, the following fall.  I still remember receiving a set of red luggage, for a graduation gift, from my older brother and his wife.  I used those suitcases for many years, until they completely wore out!  The overnight bag came in especially handy for over-night visits with girlfriends, all through high school.

I remember the first few days of high school as being strange and intimidating.  There’s a lot of difference between a twelve-year-old and a seventeen-year-old, but, at certain times, we were all together in the hallways.  It didn’t take my twelve-year-old self long to discover b-o-y-s.  I had several crushes on those older high school boys over the next couple of years!  In fact, at one point, during my seventh grade year, I actually had a crush on [my future husband] Ed, who was a senior that year!  Ed never knew me, but I sure knew who he was.  Never, in my wildest dreams, did I ever dream we’d grow up and be husband and wife one day.

To this day, I still remember starting my first ‘monthly cycle’ during my seventh grade math class.  My math teacher was a strict old lady named “Mrs. Banks”, who looked to be about the same age as my grandma.  She was harsh and gruff and I was scared to death of her.  My heart skipped a few beats when I realized I was going to have to ask to go to the bathroom during class!  I still remember trying to figure out how to work the ‘napkin dispenser’ in the girls bathroom, and having to put on my PE shorts under my dress, that day.

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ninth grade

Speaking of “my dress”, in those days, all of the girls had to wear dresses or skirts and blouses.  The boys had to wear slacks, with button up shirts and belts.  There was a strict dress code.  Eventually, the school did ease the dress code to include ‘pant suits’ for the girls.  In 1970, following integration, the dress code went out the window, and everyone began wearing blue jeans and smiley-face t-shirts!

My eighth grade year of school was one of my best.  My home life was going great, and I worked hard and did well in school.  I was inducted into the Junior Beta Club that year.

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tenth grade ~ on my way to Ed’s army (basic training) graduation

My tenth grade year was my worst year of high school.  I met Ed during the summer, just before school started, and, as you know, he’d joined the army right before we met.  My tenth grade year was filled with the turmoil of Ed going away for basic training, returning home for a brief spell, then going away again for x-ray school.  Lots of ups and downs and upheavals.  My mind was not on school work!

Ed left for Okinawa, just before I began my eleventh grade year.  We became engaged before he left.  I was the only student in my class (or any other class that I know of) to be engaged, at the time.  This fact bothered some, and our school librarian even called me into her office one day, and told me she thought I was “wasting my life.”

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posing with the Firebird

During my high school years, after a little prodding from my older brother and me, daddy actually took leave of his senses, and bought a new sports car for our family car!  He came home with a 1969 three-speed (in the floor) Firebird!  I had the coolest ‘family’ car of any of my classmates, but I didn’t know how to drive it because it had a manual transmission!  I never did conquer my fear of ‘the clutch’, nor did I get my driver’s license while I was in high school.

During my senior year, I participated in a new school program, known then as VOT (vocational office training).  I attended school each day from eight until one, then worked sixteen hours a week at a job.  There weren’t enough office jobs in our town, to go around, so I was allowed to work in a small, local department store.  I worked two afternoons, after school, and all day on Saturdays.  I learned how to do a little bit of everything, from taking inventory to being in charge of the window displays!

I didn’t have a typical ‘high school experience’, since I was engaged.  I didn’t go on dates during my junior or senior years, nor did I attend any dances or parties.  I did have several close girlfriends, whom I spent a lot of time with, which helped pass the time.

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a senior at last

My high school experience ended, when I graduated in June of 1972.  Ed arrived home from Okinawa, just in time to attend my graduation ceremony–arriving home literally the day before!  Ed and I were married, less than three weeks later, and moved to the city to begin our lives together.  That was almost 43 years ago.  Boy, was that school librarian wrong!

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

***Linking up with Judy @ Retired-not-Tired for Memory Monday.

 

Published in: on February 2, 2015 at 8:59 am  Comments (6)  
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Monday Memories ~ Family Life

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

When I saw today’s prompt for ‘Monday Memories’, I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to write about.  ‘Family Life’ can be very different, depending on what phase of life you are in!  I ultimately decided to briefly write about my own experience with each phase of my family life, so far.

To be honest, my family life as a child wasn’t all that great for the first eleven years, or so.  Since both of my parents were alcoholics, life was unstable and down right tumultuous, at times.  On two separate occasions, between the ages of seven and nine, I lived with two different sets of relatives for extended periods of time.  Even after being reunited with my parents, we still managed to move five times within three years.  It was several years before I felt like I had any stability in my life.

me as a little tike

me as a little tike

My family life as a teen was much better.  My parents stopped drinking during those years, so life was pretty close to normal during that time.  Once in a while, a family crisis would arise, but, overall, I have good memories of my last six years at home.

I had an after-school job, during my last two years of high school, so I had my own spending money.  I was able to buy pretty much whatever I wanted.

I began dating early, and met my husband-to-be just four weeks shy of my fifteenth birthday. Ed asked me to be his wife just two weeks shy of my sixteenth birthday.  We got married three weeks after I graduated from high school.  I became Ed’s wife, and left home, two months before my eighteenth birthday.

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Bro. Wilton, Me, and Ed

Bro. Wilton, Me, and Ed

My newlywed phase of family life was wonderful!  Ed and I were so happy to finally be reunited, after being separated for most of our three year courtship!  Ed got a new job, we bought a mobile home, moved sixty miles away, to the city, and did whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.

As I’ve written before, Ed and I basically had our courtship after marriage, since our time together before marriage was limited due, to his army enlistment.   We bought a new boat, owned two different motorcycles, and bought our first new car during the newlywed phase of our lives, which lasted approximately six years.

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The child-rearing phase of life lasted quite a few years longer.  Our children, a girl, and two boys, were spaced three years apart. Our first child was born in 1978, with the last one being born in 1985.  These years were some of the most rewarding years of our marriage, but, also, some of the busiest and most challenging!  Often, I think back, and wonder how we did it!  I was a stay-at-home for thirteen years, but when our youngest child started to school, I went back to work.

Easter 1988 on the way to church--in front of our house

Easter 1988 on the way to church–in front of our house

another yearly Easter photo...see how they grow!

another yearly Easter photo…see how they grow!

During most of our child-rearing years, Ed worked two jobs to provide extra income for extra things, like vacations and vehicles. By then, my parents were in poor health, shuffling between hospitals and nursing homes, so we had to see about their needs, in addition to those of our three children.  Between working, seeing about my parents, shuffling children to after-school activities, cooking meals, helping with homework, and keeping up with laundry/ housework, there was never a dull moment, at our house.  I remember being tired–a lot, but I was so blessed to have Ed, who always pulled more than his share of the load.

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How can I not laugh around them?

early grand-parenting days – our two oldest grandchildren, several years ago

The busy days of child-rearing eventually made way for the quieter days of an empty nest.  Both of my parents passed away before any of our children left home, and Ed’s daddy died shortly after our oldest child got married.  Ed and I became grandparents, for the first time, right before our last child left home.  That was just over eight years ago.

With the children all grown, I soon felt the urge to quit work and return to the good ole’ days of being a homemaker.  It seemed like I was always tired, and I wanted to be free to enjoy more of life.  I quit my job, and Ed gave up his second job, soon afterward.

The care-free days didn’t last too long.  With his mama getting on in years, Ed soon inherited the responsibility of taking care of her needs, as her health began to decline.  Once again, we entered the phase of life where the child sort of becomes the parent.

Ed’s mama eventually passed away, and now Ed and I are back to concentrating on just the two of us, like in the newlywed days.  We feel like we’ve come full circle, except now we are the patriarch and matriarch of our family, and we know our days are numbered. It’s a strange feeling to realize you’re now the oldest members of the family!

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Although Ed and I have lost all of our parents, we’ve gained another son, and two more daughters, through marriage. God has also blessed us with four beautiful grandchildren, within the last eight years!  Our family of five has grown to a family of twelve!  It’s a chore to get all of us seated around the kitchen table, these days, but it’s wonderful!  It feels sort of like an old episode of The Waltons, and I love it.

our family of twelve

our family of twelve

Ed and I are enjoying our empty nest, but we always look forward to frequent visits from our grown children and their families!  We take great pride in the adults our children have grown up to become, and we enjoy their company very much.

We’re also enjoying watching our children raise their own families, and understand why those children are called “grandchildren”!  All of our kids are wonderful parents, and we love seeing many of our old family traditions being passed down through them.  This phase of family life is almost as much fun as being newlyweds–but not quite!  Can we turn back the clock forty-two years, or so?

Ed and I still  have a couple of phases of family life left to experience–retirement and living alone.  We’re about to embark upon the first of those, but that’s a story for another day.  As for the ‘living alone’ phase, I hope it will be many more years before we get to phase, but we just never know.  I think we should all live each day as if it’s our last.

 

Published in: on January 19, 2015 at 10:43 am  Comments (4)  

Memory Monday ~ More Vacation Memories…

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

 

Once again, it’s Monday, and time to join Judy @ Retired-Not-Tired for more memories.  This week we’re continuing our travels down the road entitled More Vacation Memories

Last week, I wrote about our family vacations with the children, and how we bought a camper, and camped for two weeks, every summer, while the children were young.  Some of my all-time favorite vacation memories are from those eight years of camping, but I have many other good vacation memories, as well.

One vacation habit Ed and I established, fairly early in our marriage, was scheduling our vacation during the week of our wedding anniversary.  This meant, for several years, we celebrated our anniversary while on vacation with three children–in a camper!  It was a ‘cozy’ celebration, but we didn’t mind.  Ed and I also established the tradition of eating Kentucky Fried Chicken on every anniversary, because that’s what we ate for our first meal as husband and wife.  So, no matter where we were, or what we were doing, we knew we’d be eating KFC on our anniversary night of the vacation!  Good memories!

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a recent anniversary picnic [alone]on the beach – notice the KFC boxes on the table!

After our children grew up and left the nest, Ed and I went on a couple of vacations by ourselves.  At first, it was strange being by ourselves, after so many years of being surrounded by our children, but it was good to finally have time alone to reconnect with each other.  We quickly adapted:)

The most memorable vacation trip that Ed and I ever went on, by ourselves, was a trip to Charleston, South Carolina, in 2005.  I booked a room for us in the historical section of Charleston, and we had a wonderful time exploring all that Charleston has to offer–and it has a lot!  You could say that our Charleston trip was almost like our second honeymoon, but Ed and I never even took a first honeymoon!

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me, at the hotel, before going sight-seeing in Charleston

Two or three years after the Charleston trip, Ed and I decided to go in together with our daughter and her family, and rent a condo at the beach together.  All of us had so much fun on that vacation, we vowed we’d vacation together again!  After that initial trip, a new tradition was born–vacationing with our grown children!

Anytime Ed and I rented a condo on the beach, we’d usually invite our children and families to come and join us. Often, our condo only had a couple of bedrooms and one bathroom, but we always made room for company. Our motto was “the more, the merrier!”

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a family picnic, during one of our trips

One particularly memorable trip was when ten of us slept in a condo that had only one bedroom!!!   Talk about ‘togetherness’, we had it going on!!!  Some were on beds, some were on a futon, and still others were on air mattresses…  Our oldest son swears that my son-in-law and I had a “snoring competition” going on all night!  I guess it’s a good thing were both sleeping in the room away from everybody else! Ha!

 

100_1013enjoying the condo pool…

Another time, Ed and I split the cost of a three bedroom, three bath condo, on Fernandina Beach, with our two oldest children and their families.  The condo was huge and beautiful.  Everybody had their own bedroom and bath, which was especially nice, since we had a baby and a three-year-old vacationing with us.  (It also meant we couldn’t hear each other snoring!)  The condo came with its own grill, and the men really enjoyed that, while the women and children enjoyed the pool!

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just returning from a family vacation… and we all look tired!

The last time all of our family planned a vacation together was in 2010.  It’s our most unforgettable trip of all–but not for any reason you could imagine.

One July, our grown children, and their families, along with Ed and me, decided to rent a cabin in the mountains of Helen, Georgia, for three days.  Our youngest, Brad, hadn’t married Jennifer, yet, but they planned on coming on the family trip, as well.  It took forever to find a cabin that all eight of us could agree on, but we finally settled on one–and, best of all, according to some, was the fact that the bedrooms were far apart!

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traveling on our last family vacation together…

On the evening before our trip, everyone was packed and ready to leave on the six-hour journey, the following morning.  Unfortunately, our telephone rang very early, on the morning of the trip, and it was bad news.  It was our son, Brad, telling us that Jennifer’s mother had passed away, unexpectedly, during the night.  We were all stunned with disbelief!  How could this be?  It was absolutely unbelievable that Jennifer’s mother’s heart had simply stopped beating, while she slept, and now she was gone!

Once the shock of the news sank in, our family had a decision to make. The cabin had already been paid for, and it was too late to get a refund.  Everyone had already taken time off from their jobs.  There wasn’t a thing we could do, if we stayed home and forfeited the money we’d spent.  So, after much discussion, the rest of us decided to refund their part of the cost to Brad and Jennifer, then go ahead and make the trip to Helen without them.  Needless to say, it wasn’t one of our better vacations, but we did the best we could under the circumstances.  We stayed in constant contact with Brad and Jennifer, the entire time we were gone, and came back early so we could attend Jennifer’s mother’s funeral.

Helen Trip 2010 155a father-son game of corn hole, in the mountains of Helen (our cabin’s in the background) 

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relaxing beside the mountain stream

Seeing the picture above reminds me of something I’d nearly forgotten.  Some of us got an unexpected “bonus” from that trip to the mountains.  Our son and I came home with a bad case of ‘red bugs’, apparently, from sitting on those rocks beside that mountain stream!  Not a good souvenir to bring home!

We’ve all talked about planning another family vacation together, but, as of yet,  we haven’t done so. Our oldest son, our daughter, and their families have taken a couple of trips together, but Ed and I have stayed behind, so far. You see, these days, Ed and I are pretty much stuck at home, caring for ten chickens, twelve aging cats (and that’s not even counting ‘Trouble’), one very old, nearly blind and deaf, dog, and 167 goldfish who share the pond in our yard!   I guess, for now, it’s a good thing we have lots of vacation memories to sustain us 🙂

 

 

Published in: on January 12, 2015 at 10:47 am  Comments (8)  
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Memory Monday ~ Vacation Memories…

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

Once again, I’m joining Judy @ retired-not-tired for ‘Memory Monday’.  Today’s prompt is vacation memories.

Vacation.  Now there’s a subject that’s near and dear to almost everyone’s heart!  However, growing up as children, neither my husband, Ed, or I experienced a lot of  family vacations.  Ed’s vacation experiences consisted of, occasionally, visiting family in Florida, and my vacation experiences were… well, actually my vacation experiences were very similar to Ed’s!  We wanted life for our children to be different.

After Ed and I were married, at first, there wasn’t a lot of extra money for vacations.  We’d take an occasional two-day trip somewhere, but not very often.  One trip to Daytona Beach, Florida, with friends, comes to mind, as well as a short trip to the mountains of north Georgia and Tennessee, with a different set of friends.  Both of these trips were taken before we had any children.

Ed and I had been married for about thirteen years when he first brought up the subject of buying a camper.  He’d seen a good used one, and thought he might could buy it for a decent price.  At first, I balked.  When I heard the word “camping”, staying in a tent immediately popped in my head!  I didn’t like that idea, at all.  Then I looked inside of a camper, saw it had all the comforts of home, and changed my mind.  There was a stove, refrigerator, twin sinks, air conditioning, even a shower!  Ed bought that camper he’d seen, and our camping adventures began!

Keep in mind, I’d been a stay-at-home wife and mother for about eight years when we bought our first camper.  We had three children–a seven-year old, a four-year old, and an eleven month old.  There were not a lot of activities we were easily able to do, at the time.  I felt like I’d been let out of jail, that summer, when we took our first vacation trip to Jekyll Island, Georgia!

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early camping adventures…

We camped that first summer, and for the next seven summers, afterward.  Every summer we would take two ‘week-long’ vacations to different destinations, which were usually within a couple of hours of home since none of us liked to ride long distances.  Even after seven full days of camping, I was never ready to go home at the end of those vacations, and, sometimes, I’d convince Ed to stay an extra day.

Staying in campgrounds was relatively cheap, back then, so we could afford to do more activities with all of the money we saved on lodging.  In addition to enjoying campfires, playgrounds, fishing, and swimming, we’d play putt putt golf, and visit all of the near-by tourist attractions.  Our children greatly enjoyed just watching cable television in the camper, too, something we didn’t have at home.

Sometimes, we’d invite our parents or other family members along to go camping with us.  We always had a lot of fun during these times, and still have lots of great memories.  The saying, “The more, the merrier”, always proved to be true, for us.  It’s funny, but a lot of our good times centered around eating!

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sharing camping adventures with family…

While camping, we stayed on Jekyll Island, several times, as well as on Blythe Island, in Brunswick, Georgia.  We went to St. Augustine, Florida, to Fernandina Beach/Fort Clinch, Florida, toured many of the Georgia State Parks, in the upper part of the state, stayed on Hilton Head Island, and in the Stone Mountain Campground, near Atlanta. One summer, we even left our camper at Clark Hill Lake, near Augusta, Georgia, while we traveled, by car, to Dollywood (Dolly Parton’s amusement park) in Tennessee.

When I remember all those years of camping, one thing always comes to mind–we took everything with us except the kitchen sink!  ‘Everything’ consisted of seven outfits of clothing for five people, a week’s worth of groceries, five bicycles, five lawn chairs, a large piece of outdoor carpeting, some party lights, and even our pet parakeet and guinea pig!  We’ve even been known to throw in a kiddie pool, occasionally!

Our camping vacations lasted for a total of eight years, before they eventually came to an end.  By that time, our children had grown older, and no longer enjoyed camping as much as they once did.  It was about this time when I first became sick with rheumatoid arthritis, as well.  Camping activities weren’t as much fun for me, either.  Ed and I ultimately decided to sell our camper and put in a swimming pool and satellite television, at home, thus ending our camping vacations.

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Ed and I owned three different campers before officially retiring from camping, for good.  Although, our next-to-the-last camper was much larger and nicer, we didn’t have nearly as much fun in it as we did our first camper.  I think, by then, the magic of camping was beginning to wear thin, even though we had a bigger and better place to stay.

Several years later, after most of our children were grown, Ed and I purchased one last small, pop-up camper.  We only used it a couple of times, then ended up selling it.  We found that camping, just like lots of other things in life, wasn’t quite as much fun without our children.

We can’t complain.  We managed to keep, and use, our campers for several years, and still get all of our money back (plus some extra, on the first one) when we sold each one of them.

Published in: on January 5, 2015 at 9:28 am  Comments (8)  
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Memory Monday ~ More Christmas Memories…

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

Ed and I just celebrated our forty-second Christmas as husband and wife.  On Christmas Day, we both agreed, we feel that we’ve never had a truly ‘bad’ Christmas during all those years.  What a blessing!  Today, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite Christmas memories from the past forty-two years, and linking them up over at Retired-not-Tired.  After all, it’s Memory Monday!  I’ll be back, later in the week, with some highlights of the Christmas of 2014, but for now, let’s step back in time–way back to the 70’s!

Of course, spending mine and Ed’s first Christmas as Mr. & Mrs. was awesome, but celebrating the first Christmas with our new baby daughter was even better!  I bought enough toys for ten children, even though our daughter, Brandy, wasn’t even quite three months old on her first Christmas!  I guess you can safely say that I spoiled her.

Then there was the following Christmas, when I ended up putting up three different trees, over a four-week period–all in the same room!  We put up our first live tree, then discovered–the hard way–that  a Buck Stove (wood burning heater) can quickly kill a live Christmas tree!  By the time we needed that third, and final tree, all of the pretty trees had already been cut.  Our tree cutting experience reminds me of a scene out of the movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  The tree we ended up with was bigger than our car, and would barely fit through the door of our house!

The year our daughter woke up and walked into the living room, while we were busy assembling ‘Santa’s Gifts’, was another memorable time.  I almost had a heart attack, right then and there!  Fortunately, Brandy was still very young, and was half asleep, too, so she didn’t realize what was happening.  Crisis averted, when I quickly herded her back to bed!

Another memorable Christmas involved a Barbie Dream House with about a million tiny pieces, each requiring a tiny sticker to be applied to each tiny piece.  That “Dream House” ended up being one of Ed’s biggest nightmares!  He stayed up almost all night Christmas Eve, working on it.  That was also the Christmas that I was pregnant with our oldest son, and the Christmas my parents decided to spend the night with us, so they could watch our daughter find her gifts from Santa.  There was a lot going on that year!

Then there was that Christmas when the children asked for a trampoline.  It’s always tricky trying to assemble a trampoline, in the dark, late at night!  Enter one ‘tipsy’ brother-in-law, who showed up to help assemble the trampoline, and it’s a recipe for disaster.  Things went pretty good until the ‘tipsy’ brother-in-law decided to try out the finished trampoline, and hit himself in the nose with his knee!  He went home with a bloody nose, and never even got into a fight!  That trampoline provided even more free entertainment, the following day, when my mama decided to jump on it, too!  Fun times.

For many years, our family would spend Christmas Eve with Ed’s family, then come home, put the children to bed, and spend the rest of the night putting toys together and arranging things around the Christmas tree.  As a result, Ed and I got very little sleep on Christmas Eve.  Because of this, we always had a rule that the children couldn’t get up before sunrise, on Christmas Day.  I suspect, sometimes, the children often got out of bed before sunrise to sneak a peek, then crawled back into their beds to wait for daybreak.  My suspicions were confirmed, one Christmas, when I heard My Pal 2, the talking robot, go off in the middle of the night!  The children didn’t know that My Pal 2 was motion activated, so imagine their surprise when the toy suddenly began talking, in the silence of the night!

Other favorite memories include the one and only year it snowed just before Christmas (1989), making travel treacherous, here in the south, but making things so much fun for the kids.  That same Christmas Day, Ed had to drive 55 miles, in the snow, to pick up his brother from the airport–the same brother who banged his nose while jumping on the trampoline!  While Ed was at the airport, he bought me a copy of Time magazine. I’d been searching for that particular copy of Time, with Tom Cruise featured on the cover, but had failed to find it.  I was thrilled when Ed presented me with the magazine, and it was my favorite Christmas gift, that year!

Last, but not least are all of the fun memories our family has had over the years with a huge pair of “Christmas Panties”!  Way back in the 80’s, my late father-in-law found a huge pair of pink ladies underwear in a dumpster, and brought them home to his wife as a joke.  Thus, the saga of the “Christmas Panties” was born!  Since then, every year, the gigantic pair of panties gets passed around to a different family member–either a man or a woman.  The recipient must keep the panties for an entire year, write a note to the next recipient, then pass the panties on, the following year.  Every note written, since the mid-eighties, is still attached to the top of the gift box!  Some of those notes are hilarious!

The years passed too quickly, and all-too-soon, our children grew up and ‘Santa’ no longer came to our house.  Our parents began passing away, one by one.  For many years, Christmas came and went, without the magic of ‘Santa’ in our house. Our house was filled with teenagers and adults.  As you can imagine, I was thrilled when some grandchildren finally began arriving, so we could experience the magic of ‘Santa’, once again!  Throw in the antics of “Buddy”, our granddaughter’s elf on the shelf, and we’re having lots of fun, again, watching new memories being made with our next generation!  The magic of Santa lives on…

A couple of years ago, I compiled a lot of our old Christmas pictures and made a Christmas memory montage.  It’s at the bottom of this post.  The pictures are in chronological order, beginning with mine and Ed’s first Christmases with our families, Christmases with our children, and ending with our oldest two grandchildren, at Christmas.  There’s Brandy with all of her toys on that first Christmas, Ed putting toys together, the trampoline that provided so much entertainment, the Christmas snow, and, yes, even some pictures of those pink Christmas panties!  Oh, how I do love a good Christmas memory!

Published in: on December 29, 2014 at 8:40 am  Comments (5)  
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Memory Monday ~ My Children

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

Once again, today’s subject is one of my favorites!  I’m proud of the people all of my children have grown up to be, and, next to Ed, there’s nobody I’d rather post about–well, except for maybe ‘the grands’…

My husband, Ed, had joined the army shortly before we met, and left for duty not long afterward.  Due to this, he and I had a limited courtship, between army assignments, but it still didn’t take us long to realize we were meant to be together.  Once Ed got out of the army, and I graduated from high school, we immediately got married.  I guess you could say Ed and I married, then had our courtship afterward!

For the first five years of our marriage, Ed and I went to the movies, to concerts, dancing, out to eat,  on vacations, rode our motorcycle, and enjoyed going out in our boat.  We had a great time doing whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.  Having babies was the farthest thing on our minds.  In fact, both sets of parents had already given up hope of us having any grandchildren for them, when we finally decided to have a baby!

I became pregnant, with our first child, about five and a half years after our wedding day.  After six positive pregnancy tests, and a family practitioner who couldn’t figure out if I was pregnant or not, I was referred to an OB/GYN, and had an uneventful pregnancy.  Unfortunately, the labor and delivery wasn’t uneventful, but, none-the-less, our daughter made her way into the world, kicking and screaming– or should I say she was dragged out, with forceps, kicking and screaming?  She weighed eight pounds, we named her Brandy, and I was scared to death of her!

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Brandy, age 5 weeks

I’d never had much experience with babies, and was afraid to even change her diapers, at first.  It didn’t take me long to get over my fears, but then poor Brandy came down with colic, so it was a long first three months for both of us!  A baby swing is the only thing that saved our sanity.  The gentle rocking motion seemed to quiet our screaming daughter, until she finally outgrew the colic.

I always knew I wanted more than one child, because one is a lonely number.  (My brother left home when I was just eight, and I’d grown up alone and lonely.)  My only stipulation was to get one child out of diapers before giving birth to another.  Ed and I found out we were expecting our second child shortly before our daughter’s third birthday, and we were thrilled.

Our first son, Brett, was born in the wee hours of the Monday morning, following Mother’s Day.  His was my easiest birth of all.  My total labor, from the first pain until delivery was only five hours.  Brett was a good baby and a delightful toddler, who loved to sing.

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Brett, age 6 months

With two children, a girl and a boy, many thought our family was complete, but I wasn’t so sure.  I had plans in the back of my mind for a third child, to be born after the first two started to school, but you know what they say about best laid plans…

I found out I was pregnant with child number three, when Brett was just over two years old.  Ed and I had recently changed our healthcare coverage, and were in the ‘waiting period’ before becoming eligible for maternity benefits.  Surprise!  But what a delightful surprise our third child turned out to be!

Our second son, Brad, was born two weeks after his due date, weighing ten pounds, nine ounces!  I delivered him naturally, and thought I was going to die!  Labor took 21 hours, and the birth?  Well, I hate to even think about how the baby got stuck, halfway out of the birth canal, but all’s well that ends well, right?  When I looked over and saw Brad, I simply couldn’t believe that much baby had been in my belly, and exited through such a small opening!  My body hasn’t been the same since.

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Brad, age 6 months

With the arrival of a third child, our family quickly discovered that two’s company, but three is often a crowd.  Oldest son, Brett, didn’t take the arrival of his new baby brother well, at first.  A day or two after we brought Brad home from the hospital, Brett cried all night long!  Brett cried so long and so hard, Ed took him to the emergency room, but they couldn’t find anything wrong with him.  Although Brett loved his brother, the sunny personality Brett used to have, quickly disappeared, replaced by ‘middle child syndrome’, I suppose.  At our house, there was often an odd man out, during playtime, which usually became our daughter, once the boys got old enough to play together.

Daughter, Brandy, has always been a ‘mama’s girl’, while the boys tended to gravitate toward Ed.  Our boys always shared a bedroom, and became very close–even after Brett’s initial disturbing display of disapproval of the arrival of his new brother.  Brett quickly became the ring leader, with Brad happily playing whatever Brett chose to play.  Brandy would join in, whenever they would let her.

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Easter, 1988 (I think)

All of our children were good students, and did well all through school.  Both sons are gifted, and were honor graduates, without actually putting forth a whole lot of effort. Two of the three adolescents gave us little-to-no trouble as teenagers, but our oldest son often kept us on our toes!  Brett liked to bend the house rules–or claim he forgot them–and, therefore, caused us more than a few sleepless nights.  We’ll blame it on middle child syndrome.

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Brett’s 21st birthday

Of course, like most, all three children experienced different kinds of ‘growing pains’ as young adults.  Our daughter experienced a ton of heartbreak before finally finding ‘Mr. Right’ (including a broken engagement, amidst wedding preparations).  You could say, she went through a couple of toads before finally finding her prince.

Our oldest son, Brett, grew up among neighborhood friends, who later made unwise decisions and became bad influences on him. One particular boy chose the wrong path in life and, but for the grace of God, could have dragged Brett along with him.  It took Brett forever to realize that this boy was bad news!

Last, but not least, at different times, both sons went through this crazy transition period, when they dropped out of college, and didn’t want to do much of anything except hang around the house, eat, and sleep!  During these crazy transition periods, Ed’s mom gave both boys [at different times] a place to live until they got their lives back on track, ’cause this mama wasn’t having it!  Both sons eventually got back on track, earned college degrees, and found jobs!  Hallelujah!

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photo taken for Mother’s Day 2013

Our daughter, Brandy, briefly attended college, then worked in several business offices, before and after marriage.  At this time, Brandy is currently a stay-at-home wife, and home-schooling mom, no doubt the most important job she’ll ever have in life.  She has one daughter, Madison.

Oldest son, Brett, is a married father of two young sons, Caden and Chase, and currently works [with computers] at a large university.  Brett also spends much of his free time sharing the gospel with others, and continuing his education.

Our youngest, Brad, is married, lives in a nearby city (much to this mama’s dismay), and has a one-year-old son named Evan.  Brad earned a degree in accounting, but is currently working out of his field, installing and programing industrial heating/air conditioning controls.

Raising children wasn’t always easy, but I’m SO PROUD of (and thankful for) the up-standing, responsible adults our three children have grown up to become!  I’m thankful all have found loving, supportive spouses, and I’m especially thankful all have been blessed to experience the joys (and, sometimes, heartaches) of being parents themselves.  Praise the Lord!

***Linking this post up with others @ Retired-not-Tired for Judy’s Memory Monday meme.

Published in: on December 22, 2014 at 10:18 am  Comments (3)  
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Memory Monday ~ My Husband

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

Finally, a subject I can write about without absolutely no sadness or remorse!  If you’ve been reading my previous Monday posts, then you know that my childhood was less than perfect, and downright painful, at times.  However, all of that was before I met my future husband, Ed!

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Edward, as a baby, 1950

My husband, Edward, now known as “Ed” or just plain “E”, was the second born of five sons.  Ed’s older brother, Allen, and his younger brother, Dale, were both born shortly before and after him. Unfortunately, both of these brothers died from Cystic Fibrosis, and Ed doesn’t even remember them now.  Allen lived to be three, but little Dale barely made it past six months old.  For a while, after the death of his two brothers, Edward used to ask his mother if he was going to die, too.  I can’t begin to imagine the heartbreak Ed’s mom must have gone through, in those days!

Edward was a sickly, only child for several years, until, finally, another baby brother was born.  Fifteen months later, another baby brother was born, too.  Now, Ed’s mama really had her hands full!  She was an older mom, and depended on Ed to help her, quite a bit, which probably helped shape him into the husband and father he would later become.

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Edward and his family, 1960

As a child, Ed took piano lessons for many years.  He became an accomplished pianist, performing in many recitals and receiving several awards for his performances. I recently learned that Ed learned how to play the organ, as well!   Ed was the only one of his brothers to take any formal music lessons.

At age 17, Ed graduated from high school in 1967, and attended Georgia Southern College (years before it became a university), where he says he wasted his parents hard-earned money by not applying himself.  The following year, Ed attended Vocational-Technical College for a year, but failed to return the second year to complete the electronics course.  Instead, Ed and a friend of his, decided to join the army and see the world!  Ed and his friend signed up to go into the army, and attend x-ray school.  Soon the two found themselves immersed in the world of anatomy, physics, and techniques!

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Ed, with his younger brothers, 1969

Shortly after Ed signed up for the army, but before he and his friend were called to report for basic training, Ed and I were set up, on a blind date, by a mutual cousin.  Yes, I said “by a mutual cousin”.  Ed’s mama’s sister, married my daddy’s brother, and the couple had two children.  Susan, the oldest cousin, paired me up with Ed, so she could go out with his friend.  The four of us went on a double date to the drive-in.  Susan and Ed’s friend didn’t hit it off, but Ed and I sure did!  I was just three weeks shy of my fifteenth birthday, while Ed was three months short of his nineteenth, when we met.

When I first met Ed, he was working a summer job, of mowing grass at a nearby army post.  Ed was lean and tanned, and he quickly stole my heart.  What a gentleman he was!  Ed told me he’d recently joined the army and would be leaving for basic training, in just a few short weeks. By the time those few weeks rolled around, Ed and I were already in love, and committed to each other.  I told him I’d wait for him. Much of the rest of our courtship came in spurts, between Ed’s army assignments.

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Ed and me, taken shortly before he left for Okinawa, in 1970

 Ed completed his basic training on an army post about three hours from where we lived.  We didn’t see each other for the first three weeks of training, then the army let all of the new recruits go home for Christmas break! After the Christmas break, basic training quickly resumed, followed by four months of x-ray schooling at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas.  About three months after completing x-ray schooling, in Texas, Ed shipped out for an eighteen month tour of duty (which turned out to be twenty-one months) in Okinawa.  We’d been dating just over a year, by this point.  Ed gave me an engagement ring, and officially asked me to marry him, shortly before he left.

Ed’s friend, who joined the army with him, had gotten married that summer, and was taking his new wife along to Okinawa.  Oh, how I wanted to marry Ed and go along, too!  However, Ed pointed out that I needed to stay at home, and finish high school, while he finished his time in the army, then we could get married.  So, that’s exactly what we did.  Now, I know it was the right thing to do.

Ed returned home on May 30, 1972, just in time to attend my high school graduation!  He quickly landed a job, working as an x-ray technologist, in a big city hospital, about 55 miles away from our home town.  At first, Ed thought about moving to the city alone, and working for a while before we got married, but I had other ideas!  I was tired of waiting, and I told him so.  He agreed that we would get married.

Ed and I found a place to live, moved our things, and planned a wedding–all within three weeks! We got married on Sunday,  June 18th, on the birthday of the mutual cousin who introduced us.

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Our wedding day

I’ve heard many couples say that marriage is a struggle, and it takes a lot of work.  I’ve never felt that way while being married to Ed.  I do remember the first year of marriage was an adjustment, being away from home and everyone I knew, as well as trying to learn how to cook, but it was never a struggle.

Ed and I had lived in the big city for just over five years, when the urge struck us to move back to our hometown.  By then, we were thinking about starting our family, and we had no desire to raise a family in the city.  (We’d already been robbed twice!) We moved back home, to the family farm where Ed grew up, and we’ve been here every since.  Ed commuted back and forth to the city, over 115 miles per day, for almost two years, until he finally got a job closer to home.

Ed and I eventually became parents to three children, first a daughter, followed by two sons, all born three years apart.  Ed has always been a fantastic father, just as I knew he would be, from watching him with his younger brothers. He changed diapers on our first born before I did!

When the children were babies, Ed always helped feed them supper and give them baths.  As they got older, he helped each one with their homework, if needed, and tucked them into bed every night.  Our children will tell you, Ed was never too tired or too busy for them.

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Ed and family, Easter in the mid-eighties

As for being a good husband, I could have searched the world over and I’m positive I couldn’t have found a better man to share my life with!  Ed’s always been my friend, my lover, my soul mate, and, at times, even my care-taker.

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celebrating our 42nd anniversary, on St. Simon’s Island

When I became sick with rheumatoid arthritis, over twenty years ago, Ed may have felt like he got a little more than he bargained for, but he’s never let me down.  Ed’s been to the majority of my doctor’s appointments with me, gets my prescriptions filled every month, and has taken over the household duties, many times, during my bouts with this illness. I have been blessed beyond measure, and I thank God, very much, for my wonderful husband, Ed!

*I’m linking this post up, along with others, for Memory Monday, over at retired-not-tired.

Published in: on December 15, 2014 at 8:30 am  Comments (9)  
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Memory Monday ~ My Christmas Memories

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

When I saw today’s prompt for Memory Monday, I had a lot of mixed emotions.  For the past forty years, or so, Christmas with my husband, Ed, our children, and now our grandchildren, has been a happy and memorable time, but this wasn’t always the case when I was growing up.

You see, when people have ‘issues’, sometimes the holidays tend to make those issues worse.  You may recall, from my previous posts, that both of my parents had a problem with alcohol.  Often, they chose to drink during the holidays.  Need I say more?  More than a few family Christmases were spoiled by alcohol.

Hard times…

Due to alcoholism, and all of the problems it brings, money was often scarce for my parents during my early years of childhood.  At one point, they were deeply immersed in alcoholism and deeply in debt.  That year, I got a doll/layette set, (that I’m told daddy picked up from the grocery store, at the last-minute) and a little round suitcase (sort of like a hat box with a strap) filled with some Christmas candy and a little necklace.  I didn’t know it, at the time, but some of daddy’s co-workers had taken up donations to buy the little suitcase, candy, and necklace for me.  This would be the first of three “Hard Candy Christmases” for me and my family.  I have a brother, who is almost nine years older than me, but, strangely, I have no recollection of him on this particular Christmas.  We didn’t know it, at the time, but this would be the last Christmas our family would spend together in this house.

The next year, money was incredibly tight, even though mama had taken a job, too.  My parents had moved from Florida to Georgia, after losing their home to foreclosure.  My older brother had gotten married to his high school sweetheart.  My parents and I were living in a small rental home.  That year, I asked Santa for a Tiny Chatty Baby doll.  My brother’s wife (they’d only been married a couple of months) saved her S&H green stamps and got me a doll stroller to go along with my doll, even though I’m sure there were many things she needed for herself.  Unfortunately, that year, mama and daddy went to bed without putting out my Christmas presents, so I woke up, the next morning, to find nothing under the tree.  Sadly, I went back to bed.  A while later, I heard my parents scrambling around in the living room, and when I got up, for the second time, my gifts were beside the tree.  This is how I learned the truth about Santa.

By the next Christmas, my family was still struggling. By then, we had moved to another town, closer to daddy’s job.  Daddy was working at the Georgia State Prison.  The thing I remember most about this time was the fact that we had no car.  We relied on friends and neighbors (and our feet) for transportation.  For Christmas, that year, I got a Barbie doll, two Barbie outfits, and a doll crib, that daddy had asked a prisoner to make for me.  I was ten, and no longer played with baby dolls, but I really loved my Barbie and her new clothes!  In fact, I still have her, as well as the old doll crib.

Better times…

Thankfully, things were much better with my family, by the following Christmas.  I was in the sixth grade, when mama and daddy stopped drinking for several years.  Money was not in such short supply anymore, and we had a nice Christmas that year.    My brother and sister-in-law came from Florida to have Christmas with us, and brought me my first bicycle!  We had lots of gifts and good food to eat.  That particular Christmas is the best Christmas I can remember, as a child.

The next few Christmases were good, with the exception of the year my maternal granddaddy died, just a few days before Christmas.  I was in the ninth grade.  Mama took granddaddy’s passing hard, and barely got out of bed that Christmas Day. Most of our Christmas money had to be spent on new clothes to wear to the funeral, as well.

Somehow, we always managed to have a Christmas tree, in good times and in bad.  Most of the time, daddy would go to the woods and cut down a cedar tree.  Sometimes, we did this as a family, and that was always memorable.  We trimmed our tree with colored lights (the big ones, not the miniature ones), glass ornaments, garland, and, of course, icicles!  By the end of Christmas, those icicles would be all over the house!

When I was sixteen, on the first Christmas after Ed and I became engaged, he was deployed overseas.  For Christmas, Ed sent me a Japanese Geisha doll, along with a large glass case to keep it in. When my gift arrived from Okinawa, Japan, every piece of glass, for the case, was broken, except one!  Ed’s daddy had all of the glass replaced, and even put the case together for me!  Ed’s parents also bought a huge red and white stuffed dog, that I’d been admiring, and gave it to me for Christmas.  My future in-laws helped make Christmas more bearable for me, that year, in the absence of their son.

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Christmas 1970

Good times…

Christmas was good the last two years I lived at home, with my parents, because I landed a job and had my own spending money!  The first year, I worked as a gift wrapper in a small department store.  I had so much fun wrapping all of those gifts for everyone!  By the second Christmas, I’d been promoted to working as a sales person, at the same store.  I was amazed that so many people waited until an hour before closing, on Christmas Eve, to do their shopping!  The store manager actually had to turn people away and lock the door at closing time.

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Our first tree

By Christmas, 1972, I was an eighteen-year-old newlywed.  One of my all-time favorite Christmas memories is still the one of Ed and me shopping at K-mart for our first tree and all of its decorations!  We were so young and in love, and were thrilled to be finally spending our first Christmas together, in two years!  The fact that we were husband and wife made it all the better!  Some of those first tree decorations still hold a place of honor on our Christmas tree, today.  Every year, when I hang those ornaments, I can’t help but marvel at all of the wonderful Christmases they’ve presided over!  Forty-one Christmases and counting…  Oh the stories those ornaments could tell, if only they could speak!

Oh, and by the way, I have one lone Christmas ornament, that belonged to my parents when I was growing up–a tiny red glass pine cone.  Somehow it survived all of the moves, and hung on my parents’ tree for many, many years.  I hang it at the top of my Christmas tree, every year, as a reminder of years gone by.

*I’m linking my memories up with Judy @ Retired-Not-Tired.

Published in: on December 8, 2014 at 11:22 am  Comments (9)  
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