Pennsylvania 

We moved to PA when I was 10 or 11. I remember the day we stepped foot into the house. It smelled like Pine-Sol. It was big and I fell in love with it immediately! It was in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by hay and Timothy fields and woods and a potato field. 

It was so very quiet. Occasionally, you’d hear a semi going along the interstate just a few miles away. I remember many days sitting outside, alone, digging in our red clay driveway, in the hot sun… red clay makes fantastic mud pies you know…

I dug up some really neat rocks in the shade of one of the barns one day. I loved riding my bike back and forth along our desolate road. I’d spend hours wandering in the woods or through the fields. To this day, when I hear a small plane in the sky, it reminds me of that first summer there in PA. 

We had a water pump out front that pumped ice cold water all summer long. I used it often to quench my thirst, and to cool off, and for making mud pies 😉

I spent a lot of time alone. I was happy there. My mom loved baking and making butter and breads.. my dad hunted and we always had fresh eggs and fresh milk. One time the cows got out and got into a garlic patch. The milk the next day reeked of garlic.. we couldn’t drink it.

 I ate rabbit for the first time, in a pot pie, during our first winter there. Mom told me it was chicken. When the truth was revealed, I was NOT happy. I don’t like being duped.

I had to help my dad chop wood, as that is how we cooked and heated the house. Our neighbor down the road had a small saw mill. I used to help him, too. His grandson lived with him and his wife. His name was Scott Shives. Scott and I became good friends. I used to wander down through the field to their house often. There was a stream that was mostly underground, that ran through that area. In the middle of that field was a huge, deep hole. I used to sit some times, just listening to the water tinkling along. It had a lot more water in it in the Spring and Fall. It came above ground again right near Scott’s grandparents house. We used to drop toy boats in the hole and try to make it to the house before the boats. We never did beat those boats!

That field is now a full forest of trees. It blows my mind and makes me feel old. 

Scott’s grandparents are both gone now, as is Scott. He was killed in a car accident in his Senior year of high school. 

We had another neighbor, Clarence. He was a sweet old man. He had lost his wife just prior to us moving in. He spent a lot of time with us. His loneliness was evident..  He was my buddy, my friend… he never tired of my endless questions or my rambling on about anything and everything. I helped him cut and bail hay, helped him feed his livestock and round up cattle.. he’s gone now too. He lived to be 95. I found his daughter on FB and we chat. It’s nice. She looks just like him. 

School was a nightmare. Fifth grade was the worst. I had a teacher who, for whatever reason, singled me out and often ridiculed me in class. She would make jokes about my cheap shoes, or about my then ever-present cowlick. If I raised my hand for anything at all, she ignored me. She’d look me in the eye and move on.  She moved me to the front of the class one day because the boy next to me had taken my notebook and would not give it back to me, so I got up and took it from him, forcefully. She would stand directly in front of my desk while she taught. She spit a lot when speaking. It was unpleasant. One day, I accidentally kicked her while swinging my legs back and forth. My feet didn’t reach the floor and would sometimes fall asleep, so I’d swing them. She made a HUGE scene. You’d have thought I stabbed her! Off to the office I was sent.

I’d throw up every morning while waiting for the bus. She had me so riddled with anxiety. It was awful.  

I didn’t make many friends there. I had Scott. And my bestie there was Tina. I spent a lot of time with her and her brother George. In the summer, Scott’s cousin Dean was always around. He was cool until that summer prior to 6th grade. Dean followed me wherever I went. It was cute at first, til he wanted to kiss me all the time. At that point, boys were still icky to me. He tried to get me to have sex with him. I told him to go jump off a cliff. I was 11! He was 14 or 15. 😳

I started 6th grade and all was well. No anxiety! I don’t think we were more than a month in when I got a note from the office lady telling me to say goodbye to my friends. That was to be my last day at that school. 

We were moving back to Massachusetts. …..
To be continued…

Advertisements

It’s just a house…

That is what I keep telling myself, anyway.

My Nan and Pop bought the house in 1979 or so, and moved from Baltimore to Rowlesburg, WV.

It was long known as the ‘Dunbar House’ by all the old folks in town, as the Dunbar family had apparently built/owned the house for years.

The house was always clean. My Nan had a lot of stuff, but everything had a place. My pop had lots of plants. He was good at growing things.

If you came to visit, expect to eat. Nanny was a fabulous cook.

My Pop went to bed at 8 p.m. and my Nanny would settle in to watch a show or two on tv. The dishes from dinner would be soaking in the sink, and around 11, she would do them, quietly, by the little light under the cabinets to the left of the sink.

I loved that time with her. We always had such good conversation. Being there was the same as being home. It was warm and comfortable. I loved being there.

Sometimes we’d throw some sleeping bags down on the living room floor to watch a movie together. She would make popcorn, and when that was gone, out came the ice cream.

We had big family meals together often. Holiday gatherings were filled with food and laughter and LOTS of love. And you can’t speak of Nanny and Pop’s house without mentioning the porch. It was a wonderful place to be!

They are both gone now, as are all of my aunts and uncles, except for one.. and we were given the opportunity to move into the house. We left life in FL behind and headed for the mountains.

It was odd to be in there with all of our stuff, and not Nan and Pop’s things. Odd, yet it felt like home. It was wonderful and bittersweet, and I am so very thankful to my cousins for all of it.

I had a falling out with the cousins, and after 10 months, we moved to a neighboring town.

I learned recently that the man who lives beside the house, purchased it from the bank and intends to tear it down. 😧

I have no control over the situation, and I’ll always have my memories (hopefully!) so I’m trying not to dwell. It makes me so sad, though.

While sleeping today (trying to rid myself of a major sinus gig) I had an awful dream in which my mom and I were in the house. It had been sitting vacant for many years and was about to collapse in on itself. We kept finding stuff that was Nan’s. We were trying to save it all as the house crumbled around us. It was so very unsettling. It’s what got me really remembering all the good times, and even the times that weren’t so good.

I miss them so very much.. 💕

I think I’ve kind of attached myself to every place we have ever lived. I’m overly sentimental…

 

The Blue Bike

I do not remember actually getting the bike, you know, the actual moment of receipt. I do remember that my Nanny and Pop got it for me. It was blue, had a smallish banana seat and big, deep handlebars. Oh, and training wheels. I think it had a horn, too.

I can remember riding it around on our driveway, which was difficult, as it was narrow and sloped towards the road.

I don’t remember getting rid of it. We moved to another house, and I got another blue bike. This bike was used, and a bit bigger than the original. It did not have training wheels. My dad taught me to ride it along a worn path in the grass that ran along side our very long, stone driveway.  Before I knew it, I was riding around in the neighborhood with my friends, shooting down hills as fast as it would take me.

The brakes started to not work so well, and one day as I was barreling down the hill towards the main road, I panicked. I hit the brakes and nothing happened.

I bailed.

My bike sailed across the main road, and on into our driveway amidst screeching tires and a blaring horn. I could see the drivers face as I rolled and skidded to a stop in a rather large pile of debris from construction of a nearby home.

He shouted a few choice words in my direction and kept going. I sat there for a few minutes, scraped up, covered in dirt and blood, and trying not to cry as my friends came racing down the hill.

I had new brakes, seat, handlebars, and tires by that weekend, thanks to my dad. I was able to once again speed down hills with confidence. 😌

We moved, again. The bike, for some reason, did not make the move with us. For Christmas that year, I got another blue bike, used, and HUGE. It was an adult bike, cruising style, with a ginormous seat and a basket on the front.

I had really wanted a BMX style bike, but I knew my dad painted this thing and worked to make it nice for me. I was glad to have a bike, period. It was tough to ride at first, as it was a bit big for me. I did take the basket off after a day or so..

The day after Christmas, I was riding it and I ran into my cousin and some of his friends. He asked to give it a spin, so I let him. They were all going on about what a nice bike it was (it was nice) and next thing I know, my cousin tosses it off of the bridge we were near, and into the freezing creek below.

We laugh about it now. But I was pretty darned mad. I went home and told my dad, he was way more than mad.

He went and found my cousin, and made him go into the deep (at least 15 feet or so) freezing water to retrieve my bike. I wasn’t there to see it. Sure wish I had been, though. 😬

It became a long running joke between cousin and I. That is, until he stopped talking to me.

😕

 

 

 

 

The rink

My dad was awesome in so many ways. I miss him so very much. Often times I will find myself deep in thought, memories flashing through my mind like a film reel.. I get angry that time has just kept on. I mean, that’s just the way it goes and I understand that.

It’s cruel, though. To lose someone so very important and so deeply loved, to have my world thrown upside down like that, and yet being forced to keep going. I didn’t WANT to keep going. I wanted my dad.

ugh.

When I was three or four, my dad built an ice rink in the back yard for me. My sister used to take me ice skating and I loved it. So, he built me a rink. When it was done and frozen over, my mom bundled me up and off I went. I got on the ice, and froze. Literally froze in fear. Of what? I cannot remember. I just remember not being able to move, paralyzed with fear. It was ridiculous, to be honest. My dad stood there, hand extended towards me, and I would not move.

He was understandably upset.

I remember all of that. I just don’t remember why I was scared to move.

It is the first thing that comes to mind when someone asks, “If you could go back and change something, what would it be?”

 

 

Memories

I have been thinking a lot lately about my earliest memories. My mom tells me that there is no way that I can remember certain events, because I was too young.

I assure you though, that I certainly remember the time I was trying to climb up on the back of Roberta’s (my mother’s friend) car, and my foot slipped. My mouth connected solidly with the bumper. There are no pictures of the event to remind me. It gave me my first fat lip!  The pain I felt was reminder enough. I was barely 3.

I remember when the kids next door would not let me help them build their igloo in the snow. They complained that I was too little, and I’d just “mess it up!” I was so sad. I just wanted to play with them. I wanted to help. They shunned me, repeatedly. So, I went back inside, and I waited. I waited until they went inside.

Then, I had my mom bundle me all up, and I went outside, and I climbed the fence between our yard, and the neighbors.

I then did my 3-year-old version of the Nestea plunge ( Google it!) off of the fence and into the top of their precious igloo. Afterwards, I calmly walked back into my house, fully prepared to face whatever the consequences were. I got a scolding about how what I did was not nice. I stood my ground that they had it coming!

I remember being in my bed at night (I loved my comfy bed, with my soft Raggedy Ann and Andy sheets….) and being scared of the random shadows that moved across the wall (headlights from passing cars), and also being scared of the weird horn-thing that I would sometimes hear. Once my dad explained that  it was only a car going by, and the foghorn out in the bay making that noise, all was well in my world again.

I remember when we had termites. I was sitting on the floor, watching something like Merv Griffin, or The Price is Right, when I noticed that our shag carpet was MOVING. My mother freaking freaked out. Again, I was barely 3.

I remember Christmas morning, when I was four. I got a green Playskool desk with a chalkboard too. I loved it. My dad got the Pong video game console. We had so much fun with that! I still have it. 🙂

I remember my pool, digging under the fence to get to my friend Blanche, and the Forsythia bush beside the house, that was infested with ants. I hid in it while playing hide and seek, and ended up covered in ants. Thank God they weren’t fire ants. 😳

All these little bits of my life help make me, well… ME. These are things I wish people would share. ☺️

 

 

 

 

One.

I miss blogging. I have for a very long time. I tend to blather on and on over on FB, and that is apparently frowned upon.

So I have decided, again, to dust this place off.

It won’t be a ‘niche’ blog, because I have lots I want to blog about, not just one specific thing.

I was never popular back in the blogging heyday, even though lots of people told me they enjoyed my stories and posts.

I won’t be popular this time around either. The difference is that this time, I don’t care. I’m going to get out what I need to get out.

I DO hope that someone, somewhere, can relate. Or maybe feel less alone, or maybe they just chuckle and smile and go about their day.

I have attempted to blog daily in the past, only to fail miserably. I am going to try, one more time. I am hoping not to fail this time.

We shall see…

 

Day 83

Slacker. That’s me. Lol.

I’m craving roasted beets. There is clearly something wrong with me. Hah! I’ll be picking some up today while out running errands. Gonna have lunch out with the momma. I plan to have a big salad and then stop by a local cafe for a cappuccino. 

It’s rainy and chilly here. Lots of chirpy birds this morning. It’s time to bring out the patio furniture. Coffee on the porch, while wrapped in a blanket, would have been awesome this morning. 

I have a lot to do today. Then later, it’s game night with friends. 

Hoping tomorrow to take a trip down memory lane with the family. Gonna take a ride to PA, and hopefully see an old friend …  

I’m feeling very grateful this morning. I am not letting gray skies and rain dampen my mood. I’m too fortunate and too loved to be a sourpuss. 

👍🏻😊