Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What a neighborhood to grow up in!

In retrospect, I don't think life could have been much better than our little community. It seemed short in coming, but as my "Dad" built houses, so they came-those that bought my father's newly built houses (soon to be adjacent to the I-5 corridor, heading from the Canadian Border to Mexico. As children, we were somewhat isolated and formed a tight little community, being a mile or so from the business district, but as I too grew, the distances grew shorter and the neighbors more endearing. ]

But, I'm rushing ahead,,,,so beforehand:

At the age of 4,,,I "left home." To walk of COURSE,,,,to the local grocer, about a mile away. I alway had a sweet tooth,,,and the grocer provided a free piece of candy when I came, accompanied by my mother. But that held no special regard or reference when I apparently decided that candy was in order,,and I merely headed the distance towards the local merchant to obtain promised confection. I vaguely remember the call to my mother, "Shelly is here, for her candy."

I was not punished, but apparently there WAS a reprimand or words,,as I never attemped a similar transaction alone on foot.

I had older brothers,,,,,,,,Ross, 10 years older seemed nearly grown, although he teased me incessantly. He'd carry me out and over the garbage can by my ankles and threaten to throw me in... We'd build boxes of cereal on mornings when he'd appear at the breakfast table, they were tall, like fortresses around ourselves in the morning to keep the other at large. I'd read of contests and giveaways on the back of the boxes and keep them armed against his grasp. I also had two older "brothers," who were not truly related,,,,15 and 16 years older than me, who left for school in starched white shirts, skinny ties and whom shortly therefter left to either join the military or attend college.

My youngest brother Ross, would somewhat ethereally disappear off on a bus to a netherland,leaving me to wait on the corner with mom-already dressed for work and me to to be escorted to the first days of grade school. Me,either lunch money-which was relatively rare-as most had a homemade lunch,,,OR I had some weird epicurean specialty that spoke of my parents immigration/past. What other kids had liverwurst? What other kids had even, in those days, whole wheat bread?

That said, the stigma of either buying a lunch or having it hand made using foods that others only ridiculed or scorned.

And,in retrospect, their were a LOT of oddities in my childhood that I took for normal, for they truly were MY norms. And there were a lot of advantages as well. Who else had parents in their 40's? Who else was a child of an immigrant? (My mom) Who else's mother had a career/vocation/profession? Who was always dressed fashionably in a community where little thought was given of dress? My mom. Who else had extras in life because her mom worked and her father was a sucessful business man? Moi,,or at leat I thought,,,,but that is another chapter/post.

I wasn't normal. My family wasn't normal. My mother worked,,,which wasnt normal for women in the 50's and 60's. I wasn't treated specificallylike a girlchild, to cook, sew, clean, marry,,,,which was the norm of the times.,,I was basically taught that I could DO or be anything- I fished, learned to shoot a gun, hammer a nail AND sew and bake and entertain, etc. I feel pretty thankful that I wasn't raised to just be a girl/woman,,,,,but to be me.

My household was large,,,with all the comings and goings of my older brothers and their friends from work and/or church activities. We always entertained. Regardless of my age,,,,I was always included...

But we didn't have a "normal" family of the 60' SO many ways, and yet it was the best of times for me........More to follow if you'd like!


1 comment:

  1. More and more I think we're soul sisters. Although your story is different in many ways from mine I too had a unique mother and was raised to know that I could be anything I wanted. Can't wait for the next installment!