Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Happy Birthday, Janet

Written early in the morning from the RSF home of James and Camber.

It is just about 81 years to the exact moment I was born.  My mother wrote it was early on a Sunday morning and Dad had to shovel the snow away from the driveway before they could go to the hospital.  It was the depression, everyone was poor.  It cost my parents $25 for my birth.  What a great investment!!!

I don't feel 81, sometimes I feel 6, sometimes 16, rarely do I feel 80 although I often feel like an old lady as my knees hurt when I have to stand from a low chair, or my back aches as I get out of bed or my legs ache as I walk a little ways.

What ponderous thoughts do I have as I face this new year, this morning it was Which is the right side of the bed?  Is it your right side as you are laying in the bed or your right side as you are at the foot of the bed looking at the bed?  I was wanting to tell Camber what side of the bed I slept on--actually which edge of the bed I slept on as one or two dogs got as close as they could to where I was supposed to be sleeping.

And where is the most perfect place in the world?  I finally decided it was when you were sleeping in your own bed.  What is it that is so wonderful about your own bed, even if it is not as luxurious as a grand hotel?  I don't know but it surely is the most perfect place in the world for me.  My bed is actually probably over 40 years old  because I remember we bought the electric mattresses at the San Diego Fair in the 70's because we thought it would help my back problem.  It was actually a godsend to both of us as Richard needed his head up because of his throat problem and I needed my feet up.  I should probably write a testament to the mattress company for the great longevity of their mattresses . Of course, I have since covered the duo with the thick foam pad from Costco which makes it more comfy, too.

It seems we made some of our best purchases at the San Diego Fair, we were both together, relaxed and had time to hear the sales pitch.  We bought my Singer Sewing Machine that served me well for so many years and we bought the first large, large, projected screen TV for our play room.   They always had fabulous prices at the Fair for big items like that.  For some reason we never bought the expensive blender that we watched the demonstration on so often.  Now all the children have them for their smoothies it seems.

Another thing I was pondering this morning is the great life we had as children and high schoolers in Glendive, Montana.  I think my childhood and youth was far superior to my children, grandchildren or great grandchildren.  Yes, they have the techy age with all the wonderful TV and games but nothing can be as wonderful as the freedom we had to explore and find joy in very long term friendships, hiking, imaginative play, swimming, sledding, ice skating, bowling, dancing, sports--just about everything all without needing to be transported by our parents, we just had to walk out the door and down the block or over the tracks to hills and creeks--all with little or no supervision.  We had wonderful home cooked meals on a regular basis and home made ice cream, cinnamon rolls, root beer, bread.  We wanted for nothing that we knew of...

As children we never had home work until we were in high school and we could usually do that in study hall. The afternoons were ours to do as we please and it was spent with friends, what a great life we had with nobody wanting us to do too much but keep our rooms clean, the lawn mowed, dishes, the living room dusted or vacuumed, etc. Life was simple.  School started at 9--we had 1 hr 20 minutes to go home for a big dinner and then could play from 4 to 6, usually outside with Annie I Over, tents, push cars, sledding, running and hiding games (can't remember the names) or maybe inside with jacks, paper dolls but we always had plenty of friends, could walk to each others houses or the pool or the ball fields or or or...what a great life with no TVs, computers, cell phones, tablets.

And, yes, our parents only had a general idea where we might be at any given time but nothing tragic happened to us with all our freedom.  Well, there was the train accident, and a few drownings, and car accidents but it was mostly to older kids who should have known better or were drinking...something I never chose to do.  Oh, yes, and the library was always a favorite of mine to go to anytime and take home books or sit and look at the photos.  What were those gadgets called we put up to our eyes?  I can't remember.   In high school our hours were more like 8 to 3 so more time for work or play in the afternoon.  We would always go to a gas station where a boyfriend was working or a the drugstore for sodas and ice cream or the bakery for apple turnovers or doughnuts. Oh, yes, but Mom made doughnuts, too, so good.  And later we did have the drive ins for movies, hot dogs, and eventually hamburger drive-ins, what good hamburgers they were, the real deal.  It was easy to find an after school job, too, for extra money for buying records and such.  I worked at our store Anderson's but I also caddied at the golf course, and worked as a soda jerk till they found I was only 15.

My Mom had six children to raise but she always had time for her golf, grey ladies, bridge, dancing at the Elks Club, fishing, going to Silver Gate.  My parents did not appear to be weighted down by life but really enjoying it.  They attended all the games and dances, etc at the school.  Dad was in the Chamber of Commerce, on the School Board, Elks, lots of activities besides running our little church meetings.  I think they had a very rich life...just wish Dad had lived longer and Mom not quite so long.

In high school we did a lot of driving around, gas was cheap, it was a part of our social life, dragging main or riding around town or out in the country.   We actually had a lot of exercise without jogging, too, we were all very fit I think.

Johnny Manning taught most of us to drive in his car.  I don't remember it ever being my parents job to do that, of course, we had the Drivers Training at school, too, and Auto Shop where the boys learned to take care of cars and Home Ec where we learned to sew and cook.

Oh, well, that is the nice thing about old age, the past always looks great but aren't we lucky to have such happy memories, even though we have been through depressions, wars, heartbreaks, and hard times, the happy memories or family and friends enjoying life together is what comes through.  Very little of our life was spent in singular pursuits on techy things.  We read alone, or listened to our music alone sometimes, though it was usually with others, too.  Our records, house parties, games, lots of talking, plenty of time to talk face to face.  There was a lot of face to face with lots of friends.

It seems I have had the best of all worlds in a small town till I turned 18 and in the city when I was a young adult, living on the plains, by the sea and then in the mountains.   And always having Church as a big part of my life with wonderful associates and leaders there.  Yes, it would have been nice if Richard had lived a little longer and I would not have been alone for so long, but I did have many different experiences, travels, living arrangements to mix my life up a little when I was alone.  Now I am just ready for a slow down, peaceful pace enjoying hearing about the pursuits and successes of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren but not actually in the day to day frey...I love that my children let me stay with them awhile in Southern California and the beach life and then off and way to the mountains and lake and quiet.   It's been a great life.

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