A Trip Down Memory Lane

I picked this meme up over at Barbara’s.

Reading her answers sparked me to think about my own. My childhood might have looked different from yours. Shall we see?  (Warning, this is LONG. You’ve been altered Dr. John.)

Who was your first “best friend”?
Marlene Jensen was my best-friend from 1st through 5th grade, then her parents up and moved away and I’ll be danged if they didn’t take Marlene with them. Now how selfish was that?

What was your most memorable birthday as a child?
Fourth grade — my 10th birthday party is with me still. Mrs. Rasmussen was my teacher. Roy Shones was in my class and our birthdays were very close together. Roy and I had something else in common; we both lived with our grandparents. My mother was dead and my father lived in logging camps — no place for a kid. Roy’s parents were missionaries somewhere they didn’t consider safe enough for their child.

One April morning Roy and I arrived at school only to discover our friends and classmates whispering and talking about us and taunting us with things like, “I know something you don’t!” I asked my closest friends what was up. They wouldn’t say, but assured me I would like it. Roy’s friends gave him the same encouragement. Roy and I got together and decided it had to be something about our birthdays.

Near the end of the school day, as we were returning to class from the last recess, I turned to Christy Gilbert and said, “I’m so excited. I have been waiting for this all day!” I meant I had been waiting to find out what the surprise was. Christy misunderstood and blurted out, “Who told you we were having a birthday party?!” I laughed at her then and said, “I think you just did!” Then she was really upset and begged me not to tell anybody because they’d be mad at her. She said they’d all swore to keep it a secret. Right up until this day I never told a soul that I knew for certain that birthday party was waiting for Roy and I.

The classroom was decorated with balloons and streamers. There was a huge sheet cake from a bakery and it had a princess and a fairytale castle on it. Not only that, there were tons of presents. One from every kid. It was so cool, except …

They sat Roy and I together and surrounded us with presents. I think both of us experienced these emotions in tandem — surprise & shock, joy, then realization. We looked at each other. I could tell by his eyes he knew what I was thinking. There had never been a party this grand for any other kids. Roy said, “It’s because we don’t have parents.” I nodded my head. We were sad. That was the very thing they’d been trying to prevent, but some things just don’t have cures.

Who was your first “crush”?
Uhm, Roy Shones — 1st through 4th grade, when his parents came and took him away. I was very happy for Roy, but sad for me for a couple of years after.

Where was the best vacation your family took as a child?
No family. No family vacations. Now, don’t go thinking I wasn’t loved and feeling sorry for me. My summers were probably more full of fun and life than any other kid’s in the neighborhood. In the summer I always went to Portland, Oregon to spend a couple weeks with Aunt Flo, who was related to me by her brother’s marriage to my mother’s sister. Aunt Flo had also been my mother’s best friend. She told me stories about my mom.

I always spent some time with my dad in one logging camp or another. These summer camps were generally made up of travel trailers. Lot’s of logging families spent their summers this way and it was always a blast — a ton of kids to play with, a forest to run in, creeks for fishing and swimming. It was great.

I usually went to camp for a week or two and, occasionally stayed with one of my older sisters (Caryl or Jean) and their families. Summers were grand and wonderful adventures.

What was your favorite pastime as a child?
Riding my bike!

When did you learn to ride a two-wheel bike?
I was five, the bike was too big and a boy’s bike at that, but I conquered it! Then when I was six Gram bought me a bike more my size and I had to learn to ride all over again! LOL!

What is your most traumatic memory as a child?
My first step-mother. Another Cinderella Story

What age did you learn to swim?
I took lessons when I was six, but I am a water-child and pretty much grew up in Lake Coeur d’Alene.

What smell automatically takes you back to your childhood?
Homemade chicken noodle soup.

What was your first pet?
A little brown and white Boxer named Bootsie — at least she is the first pet I remember, though I was told that as a toddler the family had a cat named Smoky whom I loved. Gram told me a story about Smoky insisting on sleeping with me all the time and having kittens in my hair because she loved me, too. I wish I remembered!

Who impacted your life as a child?
My maternal grandmother made me who I am today. She set a shining example of who and what I wanted to be in life. I am never more proud than when people tell me I remind them of Gram.

What is the most exciting Christmas gift you received as a child?
So many marvelous choices! But, if pressed to choose one I guess it would have to be my rollerskates. I spent most of the winter in the basement rollerskating around in circles and wishing the snow would melt so I could go outside!

Who was the neighborhood bully when you were growing up?
Butch — and he wasn’t a nice kid. He terrorized us all from 3rd through 5th grade. Finally, in fifth grade, a group of us took him behind the school and convinced him it wasn’t a good idea to beat us up anymore. After that he got a whole lot nicer and I even played with him sometimes.

Who was your best friend as a teenager?
Only one? You’re kidding right? There were four of us; Susan, Ann, Mary & I. The teachers called us, “The Lady & Her Entourage. Of course each of us thought herself the lady. LOL!

What is the first car you can remember your family owning?
My grandmother had a humongous DeSoto that could hold every kid in the neighborhood, all their beach gear, and a half-dozen pets, too!

What was the first award you ever received?
Perfect attendance every year from 1st through 4th grade.

What is the name of the first sports team you played on?
I have no clue. It was a sandlot team and I don’t know if we even had a name. We also didn’t have uniforms. One of the neighborhood dads was our coach. I don’t remember his name, either.

23 thoughts on “A Trip Down Memory Lane

  1. Sandlot teams didn’t have PARENT coaches! That’s crazy! No wonder you don’t remember his name! LOL!

    See? I can tell you WERE well loved and very happy in your childhood – BECAUSE you remember it all! (or a goooood bit of it!) I dunno… maybe that’s not why. Thom said he doesn’t remember, and I have a feeling he was well loved and happy too… Anyway… I really enjoyed this Quilly! Long is AOK!
    .-= Melli´s last blog ..Ruby Tuesday… =-.

    • Melli — our neighborhoosd had “block teams”. A few dads ran the show. We played a couple of games almost every weekend one summer. Then the businesses got all involved and things got formal and more serious and less fun and I dropped out. I know a lot of the kids from my team when on to play for Gibbs Mercantile. I was picked up by a furniture store, but we didn’t play long!

  2. Quilly, what wonderful answers. I resented getting off the computer to go make school lunches! On the other hand, now they’re gone and I’ve been able to finish mine. Thanks for always having something on your blog that gets me thinking, remembering, laughing or crying! You’re NEVER boring!
    .-= Southlakesmom´s last blog ..Questions About the Old Days =-.

  3. These memes are triggering more memories — I make share them in future posts.

    Your answer and mine about grandmothers encourages me — I hope to be a loving, positive influence on my grandkids. But I’ve been thinking, too, after our ladies’ meeting last night about the influence we all have any various people, many times without ever knowing it.

    The birthday party story was sad. I hope the party was enjoyable even with the realization behind it. They did evidence their love and care of you both.

    Your summers sound fun!
    .-= Barbara H.´s last blog ..God’s Chisel Videos from The Skit Guys =-.

    • Barbara — the difficulty comes because we cannot read minds! For instance, two sisters, one grandmother. I remember the grandmother I described to you. My sister, 10 years older, will tell you of a very different Grandmother even though they are the same person. My sister remembers my grandmother and angry, judgmental and unbending. But my sister lived with my grandmother during the time that her two eldest daughters were both sick and dying.

      My grandmother had a blind husband, two very ill grown daughters and a passel of kids, as well as a job. I am not surprised that she was very different from the Gram I lived with — just her and I — in the little red house by the school.

  4. What great memories and answers; I really loved this post!

    I was opposite to you growing up; I had (really old) parents but no grandparents. When others spoke of their grandparents, or at Christmas when cousins left our house to go to their ‘other’ grandparents house for even more presents and turkey, I was never envious, but I did feel a little empty, a bit sad. My brother died when I was three, so while my sisters can all remember him, I can’t, and for some dumb reason that always left me feeling like less of a sister somehow. That insight you and Roy had together hit home.

    My favourite answer was Bootsie… I had an AUNT named Bootsie! LOL

    • Susan — because my brother and sisters are so much older than I, we don’t share the same memories. Sometimes that leaves me feeling like an outsider. And when it was time to do father-daughter things, more often than not I just tagged along with the neighbor man and his daughter. Somehow that only made me feel more left out. About the time I reached 10, I just refused to participate in anything father-daughter related.

    • Akelamalu — my grandfather died when I was six. My grandmother raised me and pretty much supported me. She was an incredibly strong, persevering woman and totally dedicated to serving God. Her Bible was never far from her hand and she lived what she believed.

  5. This is a great meme, Quilly. I’m glad you had such a loving grandmother. Were those logging camps in Alaska? I’ve seen some of those when our youth group did mission up there. We’d pull in to the dock and everyone would gather at the community center for the entertainment (us). It was fun!
    .-= kcinnova´s last blog ..WWC #101: Handle & Pound =-.

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