My Earliest Memory #MFRWAuthor

Welcome to the second week of the 52 Week Challenge – My Earliest Memory.

My earliest memories are like a series of old movie clips that occasionally play in my mind but without sound or a connection to other moments, they are a little disjointed and hard to say how much is a true memory and how much is my imagination filling in the gaps.

At the time, my parents lived in a trailer park in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. Being 3 or 4 years old, everything felt big to me even though logically now I know space was likely cramped. I remember my bedroom and my bunkbed. I slept on the top bunk and from there, I felt like the ground was miles away.

My dad worked second turn as a truck mechanic so my days I spent with my mom and our little terrier named Flea. But occasionally, my dad would take to the woods behind our trailer where we would sit on a huge hill drinking chocolate pop and watching the trains pass by in the valley below. I was fascinated with trains and of course, I loved special time with my dad. I remember one afternoon, however, I must have sat in an anthill and there were dozens crawling all over the place. I didn’t want to sit down.

Then, another flash of memory. Nighttime. I was standing at the screen door in awe because on the street outside our trailer a car had caught fire. I remember my parents being panicked, rushing. I remember being taken down the road to my aunt and uncle’s trailer for the time being. But to this day, I always wonder how that car caught fire and whether or not the driver was okay. In my memory, I see him in the car but I don’t know if this was the case.

I remember kids who lived in our trailer park. Next door, I think? They seemed so much older than me even though probably the oldest was around 10. I remember one time they kept telling me to calm down and stop crying because they knew if my parents saw me they would get in trouble but I don’t remember why I was crying. I just kept wondering if the older one was a girl or a boy.

I remember my parents bringing home my baby brother, wrapped up in so many layers. And then, not long after, they bought a house and I remember running around the empty living room the day it became ours. I remember being in the car as we pulled up to the trailer for the last time and thinking that it wouldn’t be my home anymore. I felt a little sad but I was eating a McDonalds Happy Meal with a milkshake so – not too sad. 🙂

Thanks for reading my post on the 52 Week Challenge Blog Hop. Click the link to read memories from other authors participating in this challenge.

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Saying Goodbye

GrandmaLast week was a very long and difficult week for my family. Earlier in the month, my grandma had suffered a silent heart attack. Despite all the efforts at the hospital and the initial optimistic views that she would be going home in a few days, it never happened.

Sunday the 15th the hospital suggested that all the family come to say our goodbyes.

My grandma had six children, including my dad. Most of those children married giving her many grandchildren and even great grandchildren now as well. It’s a big family!

From Sunday to Wednesday, my dad and his brothers and sisters lived at the hospital. No one wanted to leave Grandma’s side for fear that when they did, the worst would happen. Sleeping on chairs or waiting room couches took its toll on her children but everyone else pulled together to be there and offer support in any way we could. There was always a full crowd in the waiting room and people ready to make a run to get food.

The hospital staff bent the visitation rules because there were so many of us there to see her. Instead of only allowing two to three visitors in her room at a time, there were as many as ten at a time.

It was during this time I realized how blessed I am to be part of such an amazing family. It was a sad experience to know that I was there to say goodbye to someone I loved but at the same time, it was amazing to watch everyone come together and just be there for each other – no questions asked. Sometimes we just sat, each lost in his or her own thoughts staring at the wall or with head in hands but it wasn’t always sad and serious either. The days sat by Grandma’s side were filled with reminiscing of the happy times and remembering other loved ones that had gone before her.

Tuesday night her children spent a sleepless night by her side and Wednesday morning she passed away.

Those six children are living proof of the good person my grandmother was. They are six people who will always be there to support each other in any way needed. They didn’t turn out that way by accident.

I’m sad to say goodbye. I can’t imagine the holidays without Grandma. I can’t imagine not having her around. But I am also very honored and grateful to be a part of this family so if there is any good that comes out of an otherwise painful experience, it’s knowing how much love we share and that we’re never alone.

RIP Grandma. I will always have fond memories, especially of all the fun camping trips that we shared while I was growing up.

Grandma is pictured above on my wedding day with her youngest son, my Uncle Tom.

When All Else Fails… Just Dance

What are the words that every mother dreads to hear?

“Please, Mummy, can we listen to Lady Gaga?”

It’s my fault, I suppose. I can only blame myself. I may not be a huge fan but I do own two of her CD’s and often when it’s ‘dancing time’ in the living room, I will reach for The Fame. There are quite a few songs on that CD that I like.

Apparently, there are quite a few songs on that CD that my kids like as well and they have made it quite clear that while we’re in the car, the only music that we should be listening to is Lady Gaga.

There are only so many times that I can listen to Lady Gaga before I start engaging in road rage behavior. I know the words to every song.

So do my kids.

Let’s have some fun,

This beat is sick,

I want to take a ride on your disco stick

 “What’s a disco stick, Mummy?”

“I don’t know. Perhaps, we should listen to some REM this morning. We need a break from Lady Gaga, don’t we?”

Was I just exceeding the speed limit?

(roughly two minutes later…)

“I don’t want to listen to REM. This music is boring.”

“Mummy, can we listen to Lady Gaga?”

Just like a chick in the casino
Take your bank before I pay you out
I promise this, promise this
Check this hand cause I’m marvelous

 “She said ‘chicken’” (laughing hysterically) “She said, ‘chicken’, Mummy!”

“Right… ‘chicken’… of course, she did.”

I’ve given up on my chances for the Mother of the Year Award. Even still, Just Dance wins the prize as our all-time favorite dance-in-the-living-room-song so we shall heed the advice of Lady Gaga…

Just dance. Gonna be okay.
Da-doo-doo-doo
Just dance. Spin that record babe.
Da-doo-doo-doo
Just dance. Gonna be okay.
Duh-duh-duh-duh
Dance. Dance. Dance. Just dance.

And when things get a little too crazy in the car, I reach over and switch to the trusted radio because you can’t wrong with that, right?

“Mummy, why do you have to fight for your right to party?”

Any thoughts on this one, Beastie Boys fans? 😉

Six Sentence Sunday and Blog Challenge – Year 7

Oh boy, maybe I’m getting in a bit too deep with all these challenges and things to remember. Pretty soon I won’t know whether I’m coming or going. It’s Sunday and I have two wonderful things to share with you today. First of all, one of my all-time favorites, Six Sentence Sunday, where I get to share a snippet of whatever I happen to be focused on for the moment, and secondly, my newest Blog Challenge, where I get to reminisce about my life one year at a time. I skipped age six but it’s just as well because I couldn’t come up with anything significant to say about it, and per the challenge, I need to write at least 25 posts during the month of October so it doesn’t hurt to skip one here or there. Today I focus on age seven.

Six Sentence Sunday, you go first. I’ll keep this brief. If you are interested in checking out the other participants, click HERE for the list. They are always fun to read.

So, pick a page, any page?? Pick a story, any story?? This is, indeed, the difficult part of the challenge. I’m going to hop back over to Nathanial and Sarah’s story even though I’ve not written anything new to add to it recently. I’m still stuck in la la land with no idea which way to run. Don’t you hate when that happens? There is so much from their story that I still haven’t shared, however.

If I have learned anything from my participation in Six Sentence Sunday over the weeks, it is the fact that I generally write really short sentences and a lot of dialogue. But here you go, I came across this little segment which I hope you will enjoy. Grandmamma had been kidnapped by the angerroots but now she’s inexplicably back and Sarah has a lot of questions about how and why, not to mention how their new (albeit handsome) neighbor Nathanial fits into the equation. We can assume at this point that Grandmamma is a lot more than she seems…

***

Grandmamma accepted the tray quietly and began eating with an appetite that Sarah was not accustomed to seeing in her. She lingered, trying to busy herself with cleaning up as she tried to find the right words to phrase her questions. It was a delicate subject to broach.

“Grandmamma,” she said at last, “Do you remember our nice neighbor Nathanial?”

Her grandmother stopped mid-bite and set down her spoon. She looked suspiciously at Sarah as though she had just said something illogical and when Sarah did not continue she huffed and went back to eating.

***

Next up, it’s the October Blog Challenge courtesy of Jane McLachlan and I’m focused today on years six and seven. Awww… look at me, growing up so quickly! It seems like only last week that I was just a baby and here I am in first … and second grade. Where does the time go?

First day of school, first grade. We sat in desks that had metal loops on the front. Not sure what the purpose of the loops would have been but several of the other kids were being silly sticking their feet through them while we waited not-so-patiently for the teacher to enter the room. Being the silly girl that I was, I stuck my feet through the loops as well, only mine didn’t slide right back out like the other kids’ did. My first introduction to my new teacher involved her taking off my shoes and disconnecting me from my desk. Enter embarrassing memory, number one!

Second grade I’d had enough of school so I quit. Well okay, I tried to quit. Actually, I remember it as first grade but my parents still insist that it was second grade, the infamous bad year for everyone in my family. They are probably right. I don’t know what possessed me to want to quit school. As far as I can remember, I’d always enjoyed it. I don’t remember having trouble with the work or any of the other kids at that point. I guess I just woke up one morning and said, nah, I don’t feel like it. Besides, baby brother got to stay home all day and play so why shouldn’t I? Being the Aries that I am, once I’d set my mind on it, that was it. There was no convincing me otherwise.

Therefore, second grade meant a torturous year of my parents trying to send me to the bus stop and me turning around midway and walking back to the house. My parents driving me to school and dragging me to the classroom kicking and screaming my head off. I held my own and insisted but I guess eventually they wore me down because in the end, I finished second grade and went on to third.

Later on down the road when my brother started second grade, he went through a similar experience. At this point, I’m hoping it’s not genetic and if it is, please tell me that I didn’t pass it along to my own kids. I have #1 starting second grade next year and I know I don’t have the patience that my parents had when they dealt with me. I am reminding time and again that my second born has inherited my stubborn streak. Perhaps he will be the one to carry on the family curse? Ah, the joy.

We shall see.

Thanks for stopping by to share my six and reminisce about my early years. It’s been fun. Come back tomorrow for year 8. (Another year closer to when I started writing!)

Tuesday Photos – Fall at Morraine State Park

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m dangerous with a camera in my hands. Plant me in the midst of a pretty day during my favorite season and you’ve got a recipe for a photo extravaganza! I’ve always had a fascination with taking pictures of people and places and in the past, I’ve shared some of those here on my blog. Today, I’m planning to share a couple of my favorites from Morraine State Park.

Every year we make it a family tradition to enjoy a picnic there with my parents at the beginning of October. These photos are a few of my favorites from last year’s adventure. (Perhaps I’ll soon have some new faves to share from this year?)

As a matter of fact, I am starting with one of my favorite photos of all. I love this one so much that it’s been my desktop wallpaper since I downloaded it. I smile every time I look at it…

Don’t you love those brilliant colors? When you look at a photo like this, how can you not fall in love with autumn in Pennsylvania?

Same place, slightly different, but just as beautiful…

Take my hand and walk with me?

Do you see the moon?

Thanks for taking a walk with me on this beautiful fall day. I hope you enjoyed looking at my photos as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing them. 🙂