Well… I woke up Saturday morning dreaming of my childhood and all the memories came rushing back to me. One was triggered by a trip that I took with my BFF Mary just last weekend. We were driving down Mission road on our way to a day of shopping and girl time. As we drove, we were admiring all the beautiful houses and scenery we were passing. I happened to glance to my right and there in a huge picture window, I saw a sock monkey. He had been posed on the back of the sofa with his legs crossed and his hands resting on his knees. Too cute! This made me think of my Granny. Each year, Granny would make a new sock monkey for each of her grandchildren…and she had a lot! She had 3 daughters who lived fairly close and each of them had children, totaling 21!
Saturday morning, I was dreaming of our Christmases and the sock monkeys. This made me think of my Mom and the wonderful gift that she gave me one summer day. I must have been about 5 or so, because my Sister had not yet arrived in my life. My Mom was always sewing something because she had to keep up with the 3 boys, me, and my Dad. She made clothes for all of us and herself. I don’t really remember having anything bought from the store until I was at least a teen. So, because she sewed so much, I had not paid attention to what she was working on. This particular day, I remember coming out of the house and walking over to where she was working in the cool shade of the maple tree. She had just completed her work and was cutting her thread. As I walked over, she held up the prize…. my new Sally doll! This doll was as big as I was and made completely out of left over fabrics from all of our clothes! She was my new best friend. I remember receiving 3 dolls my entire life… this one at 5, and jointed doll named Molly when I was about 7, and then a really cool chick who came on my jewelry box when I was in my teens. Of these dolls, Sally was the most important to me because she was hand made by my Mom just for me.
That poor baby girl went everywhere with me and finally became so decrepit that we had to bury her out in the back yard. That was a terribly sad day for me. But by that time, I had a real baby sister who helped replace my old friend.
As I look back now, I can remember thinking we had everything that we ever wanted. The reality was that we were very poor. My Father worked hard for the money that he brought home each week. My Mother did things for people in the neighborhood to earn extra cash for the family. One of those jobs was taking in ironing for which she would earn $0.10 per piece. As I grew older, she allowed me to take over that job and keep the money that I made for some pocket change. I resented it at the time, but can see now that it was quite a sacrifice to the family coffers.
I also remembered special things that my brother, Chuck did while I was younger. Chuck was the oldest. I always thought that he looked like Paul McCartney, so I was in awe of him. On one trip back home when I was just going into Junior High School, he taught me how to dance. We stood in a 3′ x 3′ tiled square at the front door twisting and shaking. I had never had so much fun in my life! Now I would be more confident when I went to my first dance. I also remember when I was stuck in my driveway one morning and couldn’t get out to go to work. Hysterically, I called my big brother, who had just finished a long night shift. He calmly came to my rescue and told me what I was doing wrong that caused me not to be able to get out.
I remembered sitting with my Daddy late on Saturday nights and watching scary movies. He would let me snuggle and cover my head when something bad came on the tv. The best part though was being able to share his big bowl of popcorn! My Dad was a quiet man who was more times than not, asleep in the recliner. But if you needed him, he was there.
As I look towards Christmas this year, I think of those who have passed from my life and are missed deeply. I also look towards those who are still here keeping my family as one of the strongest, safest places that I know. I appreciate my sister, Laura and my brother, Eddie more and more as we grow older together. Siblings are something that you can’t replace, nor would I want to. My son, Eric is always here with me. He provides me a sense of security and companionship that I wouldn’t have without him. I have much to be thankful for in this life… family, friends, health, job… and just the serenity of knowing that I will still be here tomorrow and on into the future.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this long, emotional blog. I’ve cried the entire way though… but now I feel much lighter in the sharing of my thoughts with you.
I hope that you have a wonderful week!