Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday Memories: Family Life

Hey, y'all! Monday which brings us one of my favorite memes and it's all about sharing memories! Y'all know how much I appreciate memories so you can imagine how excited I was to hear of a meme all about writing our memories! How wonderful it is to have a platform for sharing our precious memories with friends and family.

Want to join in? Just click the button and link up to Memory Monday at Retired, Not Tired!

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

This week's prompt is: Family Life 

I was an only child for the first 12 years of my life. My parents did not adopt my three brothers until that time so, family life was, more often than not, lonely. Looking back, however, I realize that those times were probably more alone than lonely and gave ample opportunity for me to discover my creative side. Both of my parents worked outside the home and I believe that is one reason I decided to stay home and raise my 
Our first picture as siblings. 
A lot of what we did as a family were the same things that other families of that time did- Sunday dinners either out or at home with a pot roast that cooked while we were at church; Sunday afternoon football games on TV; weekend camping trips or Saturdays at the lake in the boat; a sit-down family meal every single day of the week...

All set to go to the lake. 
Some of my fondest memories are of family game night when my dad's mother and other family members gathered at our house for a game of cards or Scrabble or whatever. These people LOVED to play games and, to say that there was a competitive soul or two there, would be an understatement. I loved to hear them yelling (good-heartedly) and laughing. Our game times now remind me just of those times. I'm glad this tradition lasted!

When I was growing up there were plenty of kids all around the neighborhood. And, right across the street were my dad's sister's kids- all four of them. Being an only child for the first twelve years of my life, having my cousins close by was a treat!

I loved to go over to their house or have them over playing at my house. When we all got together we would play football, softball, hide and seek, freeze tag, Simon Says, Mother May I, Pickle--and there wasn't a tree in the neighborhood that we hadn't climbed or at least made the attempt--all the fun, active outside greatest games of all time! 

The four big kids belong to my aunt. The little one belongs to my uncle. 
Of all the games we played, freeze tag was my favorite. And I'm not sure why. Maybe it was the fact that we were all out there just running around like a bunch of wild things while our parents sat in lawn chairs chatting about whoknowswhat holding cigarettes in one hand and drinks in the other with the ice clinging against the side of the glass every time they took a drink or laughed hard surrounded by the off and on flashes of light from the lightening bugs and the summertime calling of the cicadas...

These were some of the most fun days of my childhood. Days spent with friends and family, outside, enjoying each other. Feeling good about ourselves and each other. Safe. Happy. It was great!

My cousins and I had a stint where we were really into playing the Ouija board and having seances.  We just couldn't get enough of calling forth the spirit world because it scared us and for some inane reason, we liked being scared.

One day we went to the house of the girls who lived behind my cousins- Beth and Hope-  to play.  These girls lived in a huge two-story house and the closet in their bedroom was as big as most people's rooms.  After just goofing off for a while, we decided to use the Ouija board to call up some spirits which was NOT a big surprise, we always ended up doing this, so we all went into the closet.

I seem to remember us all in dress up clothes, looking like gypsies.  We carefully place our hands onto the planchette (don't be impressed, I Googled it) and Beth or Hope began to call the spirit of Mary Todd Lincoln (I don't know...maybe we were into history also--or maybe she's the one we heard the story about who was buried alive because her fingernails had grown and there were scratch marks on the lid of her coffin--Geez, we really WERE weird).

We had also heard all the stories about people going into trances and not coming back and hearing the voices of the spirits they called forth, etc.  Well, as we were all concentrating, we heard noises coming from the bedroom and started getting a little bit scared.  We looked at one another with wide eyes and whispered things like, "What was that?"  "Did you hear that?"  "What are we going to do?"

About that same time, we noticed that my cousin D's eyes were closed and she was ever so slightly moving from side to side.  CRAP!  Was she in a trance?  Our eyes got wider and our whispers ceased.  We were too scared to move or speak.  This was creepy and we had no idea what to do about any of it.

The next thing we knew the closet door burst open my stupid cousin T (a boy of course) is standing there going, "Boooooo" with a sheet covering him.  First we screamed.  Then we laughed.  And then we tackled him and pounded him a few good ones.

Oh, and the trance, that was just to throw us off from the noises in the bedroom.

Of course, this was NOTHING compared to the seance we had at a Halloween party when we were in fifth grade.  But, that's enough of those kinds of stories. 

Whether we were just running around like wild, crazy things or putting on plays in the garage of someone down the street or laughing at the teen age girls being silly over boys, sledding when it snowed and making snow cream, we kids had fun. I don't recall us noticing the summer time heat or the winter cold. But that was because we were so busy enjoying every second of every day.

Christmas 1959 with the cousins. That's me in the red overalls.
My favorite thing to do at lunch during the summers was eat at my cousins' house. There were four of them and, until I was 12, only one of me so, going to their house was pretty awesome. But lunchtimes over there were there best because they had KOOL AID! WHAT?! It was so great! (Of course, that was before we were told that white sugar is bad for us. And before we ingested so much white sugar in our daily diets that it led to the discover of its killer ability).

The cousins at my third birthday. I think it was the third. I can't see those candles well enough. Ha!
I spent quality time with my grandparents every opportunity I got learning how to bake, peel apples without breaking the peel so that it spiraled down until there was none left to cut off, put salt on a slice of water melon and spit seeds, take afternoon naps on the porch... To appreciate time- taking time to do things right, to see things, to understand, to teach, to learn, to make real, personal connections and to just be.

Sitting on Granddaddy's car. 
My dad's mother, GrandMoore, was the librarian in the town where I grew up. There were many days spent at the library with her. Sometimes I got to help make bulletin boards and shelve books but, mostly, I spent hours lost in book upon book upon book throughout the year! How I loved to read! Something I still enjoy today. 

GrandMoore at the library. This picture was in the paper- I think it had something to do with some donations. 
It seemed that an afternoon thunderstorm paid us a visit every single day during the summer. They only lasted about thirty minutes but they were amazing! With no air conditioning, all the windows were left open. I knew a storm was coming when the sheers in my parent's bedroom window would begin to flow, slowly into the room. As the storm got closer and the winds built in intensity, the sheers would billow into the room and I loved lying on their bed beside the windows watching those sheers billow up and over my head and back down again. The feel and smell of the air became cooler and thunder rumbled in the distance. And you could smell the rain long before it began to fall.

Me with my parents sometime around 1964...maybe???
As the sun went down and darkness begin to change the shape of daytime objects into curiosities and scary things that made you close your eyes and peek through slit eyelids just to make sure it was ok, we chased lightening bugs. We put them in jars with holes poked in the lids so they wouldn't die. I always let mine go quickly though. I didn't want to be responsible for killing something that brought so much simplistic joy to our lives. 

Every winter we had just enough snow to be out of school a few days here and there and to get sleds for Christmas. I lived on Main Street and, just across the street from my house, was a street with an AWESOME hill. It was so steep and it curved! Some of our best sledding took place on that street. Afterwards, there was always hot chocolate to drink in front of the fireplace.  

We had relatives who were mill workers AND farmers when I was growing up. Every summer, my grandmother and I (and my brothers when they came to join our family), spent weeks 'putting up' fresh off the farm vegetables for the winter.

We put up corn and green beans and peas (of all sorts) and tomatoes and pickles (cucumbers) and water melon rind pickles (so good!). And then there were the preserves- strawberry, peach, fig. And the fruit- peaches, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries.

Laughing with GrandMother on my 13th birthday. 

Our early summers were filled with canning/freezing these summer delights that we enjoyed year 'round thanks to Grandmother.

We would shuck bushel upon bushel upon bushel upon bushel of corn and Grandmother would scrape the kernels off the cobs. Her glasses and kitchen windows would be covered in corn spittle. It was hilarious! She put up the best corn I've ever eaten in my life to this very day. No matter what veggie or fruit she was working on, Grandmother took care and stayed with it until the job was completed to perfection. All the while humming her favorite hymns.

No, not every day or every season was nothing but fun and games. But I like to edit and, through editing, I prefer to keep the good ones. The memories that remind me fondly of my childhood. I tend to internalize the dark moments- though none were so dark as others I've read and heard tales about. And, for that, I am truly grateful. My darker memories have to do with abuse outside of the home in the form of bullying and manipulation. Inside the walls of my family, we had none of that. 

So, the memories today are edited clips of the good times. The best times. The ones worth keeping and sharing. Luckily, those are the ones that made up most of my family life.


  1. Great story telling. "lightening bugs and the summertime calling of the cicadas" - I sure remember that. Just two summers ago we had visitors from Ireland. They had never seen nor heard cicadas. We showed them shells that were easy to find. They were amazed by it all.
    I definitely believe in sharing the good fun stories on a blog. The dark stuff can be recorded in other places.

    1. Cicadas are a summer time staple. Although, these days, there are times that they seem a bit too loud.

  2. I skipped today's memory meme, but may have to play catch-up next week, since the subject is the same. I've written about my growing up years so often, it seems like many of these Monday Memory memes are just repeats of things I already posted. There isn't much exciting about Joe and me, without little ones around and all of our family so far away. I've already written about the special times when we have been gathered with family for a special occasion. I really enjoyed reading your post, Pam, and love the photos you shared!! You really are a good storyteller!!

    1. A lot of mine is repeat stuff too but I like having it put together in one place. There's nothing exciting about us either. I just really enjoyed my childhood and raising four daughters. Other than that, blah. Thank you, Terri, for such kind words. :)

  3. Oh such awesome memories I truly enjoyed this post

  4. I always enjoy reading your childhood memories! You're a great story teller, Pam, and blessed to have such great memories to look back on :)

    Kathy (from Reflections by Kathy)

    1. Thank you! I just really enjoyed my childhood. It sure went by in a flash though.

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you! Keeping you and yours in my thoughts and prayers. Hope everyone is holding up.

  6. Sweet memories! I'm glad I was a kid when I memories are different than yours, yet yours feel familar. A great time to be a kid.

    1. I'm glad too. I feel that it was just the right time for being a kid. Before things got all weird. Thank you!

  7. We did grow up in some very awesome times didn't we? I wouldn't change that part for the world. Being the youngest of 5 with large gaps in between siblings, I often spent a lot of time alone as a kid. I read, rode my bike, swam, waited for my girlfriends to finish their chores so we could go off and explore the area. We lived in a fairly rural area that was just starting to build up so we still had some fields and train tracks and creeks around. Loved reading this post and love you!! XX

    1. We did. Except for the teenage years when I went way off the path. Holy crap. It's amazing I'm still alive. LOL Thanks, Barb! Love you too!

  8. Enjoyed reading this post and loved all the photos.


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