Rooting Cut Roses!

I love fresh flowers.  They are bright and cheery and make me happy.  Amoeba knows the surest way to see my face light up is to bring me flowers — and he does every now and then.   Sometimes he brings me cut flowers.  Sometimes he brings me a plant.  Either are guaranteed to make me smile. The last time Amoeba got me flowers it was roses. Peace Roses are my favorites and he bought me a long stemmed bouquet for Easter. I call them my resurrection roses because five of those stems are in planters on our deck and they are growing!

The roses lasted a remarkably long time and I noticed they were growing in the vase even though they had been cut. I pointed the phenomena out to Amoeba and he suggested I got buy some pots and rose planting soil and see if I could root the silly things. I planted 9 of the twelve stems. Five of them are still thriving. We will keep them in planters this year and transplant them into the yard next Spring after the fear of frost has passed.

Flashback Friday ~ Summer Vacation

Linda of Mocha With Linda has started her very own meme. This is how she describes it:

This new meme’s purpose is to have us take a look back and share about a specific time or event in our lives. It will be fun to see how similar – or different – our experiences have been!.

I am enjoying this meme a lot. Grab the button and the link and come play along. Linda’s theme this week is:

What were summers like when you were a kid? Did your family have any particular traditions? Did you sleep ’til noon or get up early? Did you attend camps? Spend lots of time at the pool? Was it a neighborhood pool or in your backyard? Did you take swimming lessons? Did you live near a beach? (And do you call it the beach or the coast?!) Did you attend VBS (Vacation Bible School)? Did your library have a reading program that you participated in? What types of prizes were available? Did you get to buy treats from the ice cream truck? Did your family go on vacations? If so, what is a memorable one? Do you associate any particular songs with summer?

I am willing to bet my childhood summers were waaaay different than everyone else’s. My mom died when I was three and my maternal grandmother raised me.  During the school year I lived with Gram exclusively.  In the Summer I enjoyed a variety of different homes.

Always I spent a week at Camp Ne Wa Lu on Lake Coeur d’Alene. The Camp was owned by the Camp Fire USA,   I understand some movie starowns the camp now and has turned it into a private estate.  That made me sad until I read that they have an even bigger, better camp.

I loved camp and used to sell boxes and boxes of Camp Fire Mints every year to earn my enrollment fees.  Gram told me I only had to earn half, but I worked hard and surpassed the full goal every year except the last one — that was the year it was decided that it was no longer safe to do door-to-door sales.

Another highlight of my Summer was spending two or three weeks with Aunt Flo in Portland.  I loved to stay at her place.  We would go yard sale-ing and visit cool museums.  My cousin Scoot and I would walk down to the Dairy Queen everyday for a free ice cream cone from my cousin, Jimmy who managed and then later owned the store.  And the next-door neighbors had a huge pool I would swim in every day.

The best thing about staying at Aunt Flo’s though was that she talked about my mom.  Aunt Flo wasn’t really my Aunt, but she had been my mother’s best-friend since birth (because their mother’s were best-friends).  Aunt Flo didn’t really tell stories about my mom — at least I don’t remember any — but she would tell me how my mom thought and felt about different things.  I know my mom liked Purple Flags (Irises) and Violets.  I know that she preferred pants to dresses and didn’t wear socks in her shoes, and much preferred not to wear shoes at all.  I know little things that made my mom seem more than a character in the stories everyone else told me.

My Summer usually included visits with a sibling or two, all older than me, married and with their own families.  I often stayed with my sisters, Caryl, or my sister, Jean, but because they lived so far away, visits to my sister Jackie, and my brother Harold only happened every three years or so and Gram always came, too. There was something different and fun to do at each place.

And I always spent a week or two, sometimes three, with my dad.  He would often be in a logging camp and there would be other families there, too.  When I was really young the logging camps were the old-fashioned permanent-building kind, but as I got older the logging camps became groups of travel trailers parked in a cluster.

My favorite thing about those weeks was being free to run the mountain at will.  The other kids and I would pack sandwiches and head for the creek or river to fish and swim.  We’d swim down stream, and fish upstream.  For fishing poles we just used sticks with fishing line tied on the end, then we’d add a hook and a worm.  The poles worked really well — and, (especially when we were old enough that we should have had fishing licenses but didn’t) the poles could be dropped if the game warden’s rig came into sight.  Just a bunch of kids tossing stick in the river …

Some of my most treasured memories of summer come from long days spent at the city beach in Coeur d’Alene.  My friends and I would bike to the beach in the mornings for our swim lessons, then we’d stay in the afternoons for free swim.  At 5:00 o’clock when the life guards went home, we’d get on our bikes and leave.  Gram gave me 50 cents every day to get a soda and a hot dog.  My friends would do the same.  Sometimes we would pool our money and buy hamburgers and share them.  A half a hamburger was about as much food as one hot dog, and we’d have fries with it, too.

I have a lot of warm, fuzzy, happy childhood memories.  I’m certain, given some of my tales, it is a relief for all of you to know that.

Flashback Friday ~ My Senior Year

Linda of  Mocha With Linda has started her very own meme. This is how she describes it:

This new meme’s purpose is to have us take a look back and share about a specific time or event in our lives. It will be fun to see how similar – or different – our experiences have been!.

I am enjoying this meme a lot. Grab the button and the link and come play along. Linda’s theme this week is:

Tell about your senior year in high school. Were there any special traditions such as getting a senior ring? Were there lots of activities and parties as you neared graduation? Were you in any extra-curricular activities that had traditional “rites of passage” or “passing the baton” too the next class? Were awards given out – either serious or fun? Did you send out graduation announcements? Did your school have a Baccalaureate Service in addition to the graduation ceremony? If you attended church, did your church recognize/honor Seniors in any way? Did you keep your tassel – did you hang it from the mirror of your car or do something else special with it? What sorts of things did you get for graduation gifts? Was it a tradition to display the gifts in your home?

I grew up in a small town. From first to 8th grade I went to school with the same group of kids. My family moved away for one year, then in the 10th grade returned to the area and I was once again in school with kids I had known since 1st grade.  I was happy to be back in the right school but at home things kept getting worse and worse and worse. Finally, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I will skip the ugly details and just tell you I ended up living 600 miles away with my elder sister and her family. I was expected to finish the last half of my senior year with total strangers. I didn’t handle it well.

In fact, I created much unpleasantness and misery for everyone involved — to the point of running away from home.  Since I was almost 18 the police wouldn’t intervene and I refused to return home unless I was allowed to live with my grandmother and attend the school of my choice.  About that time my step-mother passed away and my dad relented.  I returned to my high school for the last 6 weeks of my Senior year.  (This explains why, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I wasn’t allowed to walk at graduation.  I passed with honor grades, but less than exemplary behavior.)

To answer the meme questions: — yes, I had a class ring.  Gram purchased it as my graduation gift.  I participated in Senior skip day, but thanks to a faulty carburetor, had to ride the bus to school that day.  The school officials were policing the parking lot.  My friend Susan and I spent the better part of an hour crawling on our hands and knees between parked cars trying to avoid the VP.   We managed it, then went to her house for showers and clean clothes — then we went to McDonald’s.  It was grand opening day and we wanted our free burgers!

Since I didn’t walk for graduation, I didn’t send out announcements.  I did have a party.  Gram went to my cousin’s graduation in another town.  I was left home with the instructions that I could have a couple of friends spend the night.  I did.  Ann, Sue, Mary, Dave, Frank, Rex, and Tom.  We played records, danced in a bowl of potato chips (that was an accident) and laughed and giggled until the sun came up. (We all remained fully-dressed and sober and reasonably well-behaved.)

We did have two bottles of wine.  Just enough for us each to have one glass and drink a toast to our “independence.”  Then, as the sun was coming up, the boys left and the girls scrambled to clean the house.  When Gram walked in about 9 a.m. the place was spotless and we were mostly looking like angels — although as Gram was walking through the front door my friend Ann was dropping the empty wine bottles out the kitchen window and into the backyard bushes.

I don’t remember anything special happening at church.  I did get a tassel even though I didn’t have a mortar board.  I kept my tassel on the rear view mirror of the car.  It could still be hanging there for all I know.  The car is in a field of weeds on my uncle’s farm.  It’s been there since 1978, a year after I graduated.

I did attend my high school graduation.  I sat in the bleachers while all of my classmates were down on the floor. They had all been forbidden to throw their hats, but I am proud to say they did it anyway.  There was also a big stink over what color of dresses the girls could and couldn’t wear and how long they could be.  The idea was that nothing was to hang below the graduation gowns or clash with their lovely royal blueness. Everything was to be elegant and dignified.  The senior English teacher had to approve very girl’s clothing before she was allowed in the line up. (There was much controversy over this in the weeks before graduation and many girls had to exchange their dresses in order to comply.)

The boys got even.  When it came time to walk across the stage boy after boy went up with their pantlegs rolled up and shoeless, showing off the wildest, most psychedelic socks you have ever seen (remember, it was the 70s).  Each new pair of socks was greeted with whistles and cheers and clapping and laughter.  It was probably the rowdiest and least dignified graduation on record.  The topper on it all  was the last young man (I wish I could remember his name) who took his diploma from the sour-faced, disapproving, English teacher that had tried to make it her graduation rather than ours.  Said young man swept the teacher into his arms, dipped her over backward and planted a huge kiss on her.

Everybody was out of their seats cheering and laughing.  The senior students were stomping their feet and wolf whistling, and even the principal cracked up.  When the young man stood the teacher back on her feet he just sauntered away as if nothing had happened.  It took the principal awhile to calm everyone down enough to formally present the graduating class of 1977 and end the ceremonies.

Assorted Announcements, Idiocies, & A Major Thank You

I would like to thank Thom for helping me out while I was away soaking my boots in ocean tidepools. Without him you would have all missed that fun-filled Punny Monday and my “plan-ahead” Microfiction Monday post. Thom is the best and I love him!

3WT will be up this evening, along with a new set of words.  I am waiting to put the finishing touches on the post.  Today I have to place my Avon order, deliver a couple of orders, visit the bank to deposit my earnings, meager though they are.  AND, I have a mound of sandy clothing to wash.

I’ve already wasted the morning trying to figure out where my kitchen rubbish bin is.  As we were leaving to go camping I emptied the trash, not wanting to leave anything that might stink up the house.  With that same thought in mind, I left the rubbish bin in the garage — at least that is the memory I hold and the intent I had.  The thing is, the rubbish bin wasn’t in the garage.  Nor was it in the kitchen, or any other room of our house.  How odd.

I refused to believe that anybody came into my home and stole my rubbish bin and left the computers, TV and other good stuffies behind.  That meant I did something with it — but what?! I checked both decks.  I checked the garage AGAIN. I searched every room and closet in my house.  I walked the parameter of my backyard, thinking that if I’d left it on the porch it might have blown into the wild bushies.

It hadn’t.  I wrote the trash bin off in my mind.  It ran away from home. I supposed it had gone off in search of higher quality rubbish.

I decided to water my plants — and couldn’t find the watering can.  It was missing, too.  This is just incredible!  I stood in the middle of the deck and made a slow turn — and that’s when I saw them both.  The rubbish bin and the watering can, cuddled together in the corner behind the soil sacks.  It just wasn’t natural!  shudder How totally against the laws of nature.

I’ve separated the two of them.  The rubbish bin is back in the kitchen where it belongs and the watering can is out with the plants and pots.  All things are again as they should be.

Blast From the Past

I bring you this story by special request. My last Random Dozen meme inspired requests for, The Coolest Kid, a true story from my childhood which was originally posted on my now defunct blog, The Grownups Wanted Us Dead. Enjoy reading about the time I rode my bike off a cliff.

The Coolest Kid

1967 Schwinn Sting RayFor my 9th birthday I received a brand new bike. It was a pink and white Schwinn Sting Ray complete with banana seat, flared handlebars and hand brakes. It was the coolest bike in the neighborhood — which, of course, made me the coolest kid.

Mr. LaBeau, my baby-sitter’s husband, insisted that I try out the bike in his driveway before he would allow me on the street. That is probably a good thing, because I used the side of the garage as brakes several times before I learned not to pedal backwards, but squeeze the hand grips instead.

Finally I was declared street worthy and I zipped to the homes of all of my friends, cajoling each of them in turn to join me outside on their own wheels. There were about eight of us zooming through the neighborhood in follow-the-leader style. Me — the coolest kid in the neighborhood — being the leader, of course.

They followed me around the block, through the empty field, across the playground, around the school building, and then — knowing I would loose the cowards — I headed straight for Dead Man’s Trail, an almost vertical drop into the big gully behind the school house. At the bottom of the drop where the trail leveled out it passed between two pine trees and immediately made a 50 degree turn. Bikes that didn’t make the turn ended up about six feet down in a narrow stream. Riders flew several feet through the air and landed in a tangle of wild raspberry bushes. Very few of us had the guts to take that trail on our bikes.

Some say that dare-devil bravery is not really courage. It is, instead, a form of hubris birthed by lack of fore-thought. I’d like to argue that point. I’d like to, but I can’t.

I took the trail at top speed. Both wheels left the ground and I soared several feet, landing smoothly. I rocketed down the trail, standing on the pedals with my long hair streaming in my wake. I imagined my friends all standing at the rim, watching me in awe. Unfortunately, I couldn’t look. Coming up fast were two huge yellow pine trees. It took a steady hand to maneuver between them. More than once when riding my “baby-bike” I had left the back of my knuckles on the bark of one of those trees. The best thing to do was let go of the handlebars and just steer with one’s fingertips. That way no skin was lost. The passage only took a fraction of a second, so the bike never had time to go out of control.

I was an expert at fingertip steering — in fact, I was an expert in hands-free steering, but not with a 50 degree curve ahead of me. I let go of the handlebars for a nanosecond. My bike shot into the gap between the trees. Those fancy new, flared out handlebars scraped bark from both trunks. I jerked my hands to my chest as the bike jolted to a stop. Like a rocket, I flew ten feet through the air, sailing over the embankment and the stream, arching over the raspberry patch and landing upside down in it’s southern-most branches. Unfortunately, despite their tenacious grip, they weren’t strong enough to hold me. I crashed to earth flat on my back, staring up at the sky. Stars burst behind my eyes, and I swear I heard little birds singing my death chant.

My friends left their bikes at the top of the trail and clambered down. They had to climb the embankment, circle the raspberry patch and fight through a Pussy Willow thicket to get to me. By the time they arrived, I had regained my feet and rid myself of most most of the raspberry branches. Some of the thorns, however, stayed with me throughout the summer.

I heard my friends crashing through the underbrush and braced myself for the onslaught of their teasing. They greeted me instead with joy and concern. Sugar and Cheerleader began searching for my skin beneath the blood. Handsome insisted on checking for broken bones. Amazingly, aside from being a bit crumpled and scratched, I was fine.

My friends wanted to take me home. I insisted on being taken to my bike. It stood right where I’d left it, wedged between the two trees at the bottom of the trail. Handsome freed it with a tug, and aside from a mangled right handgrip, it was none the worse for wear.

With Handsome helping me, and Stretch and Sugar on either side of my bike, we climbed the hill. The boys refused to return my bike at the top. They insisted on delivering me to the tender mercies of my grandmother. They escorted me all the way into the kitchen.

Gram was cooking lunch. She stood in front of the kitchen stove and looked me over from head to foot, tangled hair, tattered clothing and blood smeared skin. She sighed, shook her head and said, “I swear, one of these days you’re going to kill yourself. I ought to just get it over with and do it for you.”

I would have felt a lot better at that statement had she not been holding a wooden spoon. However, Gram didn’t spank. Her punishments were much more subtle. She stood me in the bathtub, scrubbed me with a stiff-bristled wooden brush, painted me in Mercurochrome, and made me sit on the kitchen stool for days on end — well, at least one.

By the time I made it outside every kid within five square blocks wanted a look at my cuts and to hear my Dead Man’s Trial survival tale. Really, it wasn’t anything special. Just pretty much what you’d expect from the coolest kid in the neighborhood.