Saturday, August 13, 2016

Fuzzy Memories

My brother and I at our grandparents in Kansas
As I get older, some memories seem to pull up less frequently, but given a nudge, they seem to explode.  

Last month, Honey and I took a weekend get-away to attend Niece's baby shower back home.  While there, we made a quick jaunt up to Mom's house to check on it.  Honestly, I dread going in there.  While it is cleaned up and pretty neat, there are still reminders and memories tucked in just about corner that flood my heart. Most of the time, I leave so sad.  My Momma should be there, hugging us when we arrive, her list of Do-projects sitting on the bar, standing at the door, waving as we drive away.  Now, all I leave are tears...  Alzheimer's just sucks.

As we were checking on  different areas of the house, I discovered her old Singer Slant-O-Matic 500 Rocketeer Sewing Machine shoved back in the corner of a closet.   It was the machine I learned to sew on a a very young child , Mom made most all my clothes, and my bridesmaid dresses were created on it. 
Mom's Rocketeer
Such great memories there!  Grabbing it, I started searching for the box of feet and accessories I knew went with it.  If I could get it running, I thought I'd give it to Only, since she doesn't have a sewing machine.  In my search, I came across a forgotten box of photos and slides shoved under some material.  Grabbing those, I added them to my growing pile of memories on the bar.  Behind the photos and slides I found the accessory box for the sewing machine! It was a great day for discovering! 

Honey grabbed a sturdy "vintage" 16' wooden ladder from the garage that was used out on the farm during the depression.  I wanted it to put my quilts on.  Because it was so incredibly long, we had to cut it into two 8' parts to get into the truck bed.  Since the smaller section was still too tall for the space I needed, I decided to put one section in my kitchen above the cabinet.

The forgotten Outhouse
My discovery in The old Outhouse, which Mom used to store tools, made me cry upon finding the old sled from my childhood, and begged Honey to let me take it home.  So many memories made on that during those cold Kansas winters. It should make it's decorative debut this winter on my front porch.   

Once home, I allowed myself an evening to venture into the box of slides and photos.  To my delight, I found this nifty Guild Mini-Master slide viewer and with each slide, memories came flooding back.  I found if I held up the Mini-Master up to the light and held my cell phone up to take a picture, I could awkwardly manage it.   Before I knew it, I was texting pictures to my brother and we spent a good two hours going back and forth. Many of the pictures that have Mom in them... She looked so incredibly young and, of course, she had this boundless energy that helped her to keep up with two active kids.

Boston Memories:  Santa was not a favorite of mine when I was younger, but I'm sure I was not alone in my fear.   I wish I could remember more of our time in Boston, but am thankful for the picture to fill in the blanks.  See the car in the background?   That dusty station wagon was our family vehicle until I was probably in middle elementary.  The dust would literally roll in through the cracks and windows on the old country roads.  I can almost feel the grit on my face.

Christmas:  If you look closely, past the cool toys that we got and some we still have (that doll and firetruck were AWESOME!), you might be able to see several Elf-on-a-shelf predecessors, that Mom put on our tree each year.   Since we had several of them, they really were just a decoration.  I'd like to say we were "perfect" children and didn't need Elf-on-a-shelf, but the spanking board and cut switches we had testify otherwise.

This one made me smile.

Time in Kansas
My childhood home
 At some point, we returned to Kansas briefly, to buy a house, start some renovations on the early 1900's home to make it livable.  We had no indoor bathroom, but an outhouse and cistern off the back porch served their purpose.  The 1970's avacado colored kitchen was about the size of a small bedroom, but the  suited us perfectly. Our baths were taken by hauling water from the cistern at the back of the house, heating it on the stove, and pouring it into a galvanized washtub.  It was always nice to be the first one in the tub!   The house doesn't even look like this now.  The two porches were remodeled for more bedrooms and a new kitchen, but the memories on those porches were priceless!  On days when we had summer thunderstorms, my brother and I would take our toys, games, and Barbie/GI Joe dolls, and play on the side porch.
side Porch and back of house

Hanging stocking on the door

Grandma and Grandpa Wilson

One of the best things about living in KS was having Grandma and Grandpa live directly across the street from us.   They had this huge tree in the front of their home with a wood swing under the front part and up by the trunk was a huge tractor tire filled with sand for grandkids to play in.  On beautiful days, one would find them sitting on the swing, just enjoying the day or resting from chores.

Ugh, Easter Pictures and lace

Most of my early childhood was spent sharing this bunk bead with my brother.  We had the most fun with that thing!   I learned quickly that I could aggravate my brother to pieces by putting my feet on the underside of the top bunk and push up quickly.  Probably pay-back for all the torture he dished out.  That baby doll I had was one of my favorites, but Mom told me that after I got her, I somehow pulled her hair out, and she used a marker to "draw" hair on her.

Easter Egg hunts were fantastic in KS, especially with the cousins!  There were tons of hiding places, old trees, old tractor tire that was our sandbox, flowers, porches, and more.  Mom used to count all the eggs she put out, to make sure we found them all.

Life was pretty carefree for us.  We loved our school, have a wonderful choir and piano teacher, a block full of kids our age (we lived on a military base), we walked or rode our bicycles everywhere by ourselves (choir, swimming pool, movies).  We knew which yards had the wonderful friendly dogs that loved to be petted, and frequently got chewed out by officers for my brother making me ride on his handle bars when we were out.  I'm not sure if Mom ever followed us in the car on our escapades, but she somehow trusted us.  Mom made us take Judo lessons, which I hated, but my kids think it's pretty funny.  I wanted to take gymnastics like all my friends and wear the cute outfits and dance, not wear a bulky uniform (which I still have).  Notice that after two years, my belt is STILL white!!!  

Our Choir and Piano teacher

This was one of our first Christmases
there.  Can you spot the vintage toys?  They were a blast to have!  That Barbie plane, Viewmaster, GI Jim RV, Barbie Camper, Blythe doll,...The nativity set under the tree was always the first decoration brought out before any other. until close to 2008 when it became too much to have Christmas at Mom's home.

Pinball machine we loved. 

Mom had just had back surgery the second Christmas there and she had to sleep in the pullout couch in the living room.  It made the best place to sit and keep her company, playing games and dolls, and reading books.

Back in Kansas
Kindergarten Picture
 At this time, the side porch of the was converted to an extra bedroom, and my brother and I, for the first time, had separate bedrooms. I remember when a septic tank was installed beside the house and we actually had running water!  The back porch and storage room were converted to an indoor bathroom with toilet and shower, and the laundry room for a brand new washer and dryer!  No more laundry mat and outhouse!!!  Mine was yellow shag carpet, with a yellow canopy bed yellow sheer curtains with white embroidered daisies, and posters of kittens, horses, and puppies on the white paneled walls.  We had chores of feeding chickens and gathering eggs, feeding the cows, tending to the garden, and keeping our rooms spotless.  Mom would tell us that the minister was coming over for Sunday lunch and he would be checking our rooms. I can't believe I fell for that! If only that ruse worked now!


One thing I loved about being back in Kansas, was being close to the cousins again.  Our extended family was pretty close and nothing compared to a Saturday afternoon to play with Raine, while the parents got together.  I always envied her blonde curls, but I later learned that those curls came with a price - sleeping in hard plastic rollers with pins stuck in them.  A few years ago, we had a good laugh during her visit here, when we figured out that we have the exact same desk as children, except hers is white and mine is brown. Somehow, her white one always seemed so much fancier than my brown one.

Off to school! 

Thanks for stopping by and going on a memory journey with me.  Do you have a favorite memory from your childhood that you could share?  I would love to hear about it!

p.s. I was able to take the sewing machine to our local Sewing Machine Center and $90 later, it was in good working order.  Only was thrilled to have it when we delivered it to her a few weeks ago and is looking forward to learning to sew more using a 66 year-old machine that was her grandma's.  

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hello there dear cousin! I enjoyed reading your post and looking at the pictures you posted. Good times! Those were the days of innocence and care free days! I was recently remembering how we used to take off on foot, bikes or your horse and be gone all day while we explored the hills. It's a wonder we never got bit by snakes while climbing on those rocks. Your Mom would pack us a lunch and a drink to take with us. Since I was looking at your post while at work, my co-workers got a real laugh when I showed them the picture you posted of me. Lona says "Oh I bet you had a blast sleeping in those curlers at night didn't you?!" I think my Mom tried giving me her same style hair-do that she had at the time.... and still has.