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.