Tuesday, August 14, 2018

My Family Part 10

When the alarm clock went off for my husband to get up for work is when I felt my first contraction. I was about to have my second baby.

I was hoping for a girl and I think my husband was too. I had a little boy and it just seemed right to have a girl next.

My husband drove me to the hospital. As always happened with me it did not take long for things to progress. By the time my doctor arrived I knew the time for delivery was close.

The doctor insisted I have a saddle block. That is when the anesthetic is injected through a needle inserted into your back and affects only the lower portion of your body. You sit on the edge of the bed and bend over while this procedure takes place. Rather barbaric if you ask me.

Then the doctor announced that he was going to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee! I told him the baby was coming now. He said; "Nonsense. It takes at least twenty minutes for the anesthesia to go to work." He left.

The nurses were bustling about. There was an intern getting ready to assist. He was slipping into his scrubs as I said; "The baby is here." He turned around and caught the baby just before he hit the table and said, "So it is.'"

From that first second my son was as beautiful as any baby you have ever seen. He had a pretty little round face. His complexion was fair with rosy cheeks. He had pretty blue eyes. He was perfect.

My baby would not wake up to eat for the first two days of his life. When he finally did want to nurse he was hungry all the time. A nurse would come looking for me. When she would find me in another mother's room it was always, "There you are Emma. Your baby is starving." He went from not eating at all to eating all the time.

My husband and I had not been able to agree on a name for this baby. My father came with my husband to visit me that first night at the hospital. He had suggested a name to my husband. My husband wanted to know what I thought of it. It was one of the names I wanted in the first place. So we had a first name.

I asked what we should do for a middle name. My father thought for a moment then suggested one. It was perfect. Daddy named my little boy.

I had not tried to explain much about a new baby to my first son. He was too little to grasp what that really meant. When we went home my brother was carrying the baby and my son ran to sit on my lap. He had missed me and I missed him.

I said, "Look what Mommy brought you." He looked up and tried to catch his breath. Finally he said; "It's a baby." He liked it.

My second son was quiet. Not shy, just quiet. He played and did normal little kid stiff but he did not yell and scream the way a lot of children do. But he had a temper. And such a big loving heart.

We moved to another state when my son was about four years old. In the house next door lived a little boy who was almost exactly the same age as my son. Their birthdays were weeks apart. They were about the same size with that blonde, blonde hair. Some people would call them tow-heads which is a nickname for blonde boys.

The little boy was at our house constantly which was fine by me. His grandmother lived at the end of the street and she took care of him while his mother worked. Several times she would come to our house when it was time for her grandson to get ready for bed. She would just pop her head in the door, grab him by the arm, and take him home. I do not know how many times she grabbed the wrong child and would be half-way down the street before she realized she had my son instead.

One time the two boys disappeared. I could not find my son and the grandmother could not find her grandson. We combed the neighborhood. Thankfully it was a short street but they were nowhere to be found. At the end of the street was a highway. No one had seen them up that way. We were about to call the police for assistance.

My oldest son tried to get my attention and was finally successful. He wanted to know if we had checked the house next door where the boy and his mother lived. Of course not because the mother was at work. The grandmother checked anyway.

There they were. They had gone in for a drink of water and could not get back out.

Money was tight for my husband and me. It was a real tough stretch right then. We were trying to make a go of a business and it was not going well. My son was about 10 years old.

My husband and I were leaving the house to take care of some financial things. My son jumped up and asked us to wait a second. He ran to his room and came back with something in his hand. He held it out to us and said, "Here. You need this more than I do." It was twenty dollars that someone had given him as a gift. Of course we refused it but what a generous act. That is my son.

After my husband and I separated and eventually divorced my children did not see as much of their father as they should have. I encouraged all of them (ex-husband included) to spend more time together but it just did not happen.

My second son sensed that his father needed some of his family close to him so he spent a lot of time at his father's house. There was the added bonus of there not being as much discipline as there was with me.

One time his father brought him home and told me that my son, his step-brother, and another boy had gotten into the liquor. He said' "Here's your son. You can have him. He's half drunk."

My son staggered and looked at his father and said, " I'm not half drunk old man. I'm all the way drunk." I sent him to bed and dealt with him in the morning. Then I grounded my ex-husband for not taking better care of our child.

Then there was the time I went to pick up my son from his father's house. He had been there for a couple of days and it was time to come home. He was not there.

As a matter of fact his father thought he might have gone with some older friends. He thought they might be out of state. I was furious.

The good thing was that if you would talk to my son and explain the logic to what you are saying, he is receptive. I told him how much it worried me that he had gone so far away and not only did not tell me but that I had no way of contacting him. He nodded his head in a thoughtful way. Then he told me he would not do anything like that again. Of course he kept his promise. My son never lied to me, not ever.

This son is the one who always seemed to be in trouble. Not all of it was his fault. When he was in first grade I was called to the school. He had wet his pants. He had not done that since he was potty trained.

I took a dry set of clothes with me and went to his classroom. His teacher was indignant. She had told the students to reach as high as they could and try to touch the ceiling. My son knew he would be closer to the ceiling if he was on his desk so he climbed up and reached high.

The teacher became angry and punished him by having him stand in the corner.  She did not say how long he was in that corner. What she did say was that he had raised his hand and told her that he needed to go to the bathroom. She refused to let him go. "He wet his pants just to spite me!" I took him home then made a "friendly" visit to the principal.

One night I realized my son who was in the second grade could not read. I marched up to the school the next day. His teacher said she was very happy to see me. I asked her why she had not contacted me about his inability to read. She said that a lot of the parents do not want to be bothered. I said. "Bother me. I cannot help with a problem I am not aware of."

Then she explained that when she would tell the class to take out their workbooks my son would cross his arms and glare at her. He scared her.

I said, "He's seven years old! Tell him to take out the workbook!"

I offered to help with his reading. If she could give me a copy of their reader I would work with him at home. Done.

Within a week I also had copies of all the other textbooks from his class. If I had wanted to be a teacher, I would have been. Off I went to visit the principal again.

The principal listened to my complaints and sympathized. He was good at that. Then he explained that I needed to allow the teacher a little time. She was going through a nasty divorce and it was affecting her teaching. Well, excuse me. If she is having personal problems she has no business taking them to school with her. In a factory a worker is not allowed the luxury of an unhappy home situation affecting production. Then I found out that her divorce happened 10 years earlier. Instant smoke from my ears.

We reached an agreement. I was not happy with it because I did not get my way for the whole thing but it was better. And I continued to work with my son at home. The thing is that all of my children are extremely intelligent. My second son is the quickest of all of them. All the school needed to do was try. He now can read very well thanks to me.

My son got into a fight at school. I have no idea who started it and do not care. The principal called me at work. He informed me that my son had been in the fight and refused to accept his punishment.... a paddling. The principal asked him why he could not paddle my son and my son said, "Because my mom said so."

Now the principal knew that he was not to touch my children. Every year at the beginning of the year I would talk to him and make that point clear. I believe in discipline. I will back a teacher if she needs to punish my child in order to maintain order. But no one, and I do mean no one, is ever under any circumstances to hit my children. Then they would have to deal with Angry Mom.

So my son was suspended from school for several days. I took him home where he was promptly put to work. Hard labor.

In junior high school my sons were there at the same time. It was a public school that only the most intelligent children were allowed to apply. They were accepted.

Studies had been done that showed the most unproductive time at school was the last two hours on Friday.The children were just passing time before the weekend started. The school instituted what they called "flex" classes. For the last two hours on Friday the students would do something a little more interesting. They would sign on for a semester then change to a different "flex" class the next semester.

Both my boys had chosen a class where they would build model cars. They usually sat at the same table across from each other. One Friday they were sitting at the table with their papers in front of them waiting for the teacher to come.

My son was known for having a hot temper. It was easy to pick fight with him because he saw no need to control himself. This particular day some boys sent the smallest of their group in to make my son angry.

The boy walked up and made a remark to my son then pushed his paper off the table.

My oldest son saw what was happening. He knew what was going to happen. He jumped up to grab my second son. He reached across the table but my son was gone! He grabbed the other boy by the front of his shirt and raised him up against the blackboard. The boy's friends had disappeared. My other son managed to stop the rest of it before the teacher came in. He may have saved that boy's life. (That is a joke.)

The children were standing in line waiting to have lunch. My son's locker was right there. Another boy opened it and started rifling through it. The assistant principal was there and did not stop him. Suddenly the boy cried out that there was a gun in my son's jacket.

The principal went to take a look. There was no gun of course. But there was a knife. My son's jacket was one of those that had zippered pockets everywhere and the knife was in one of those.

I was summoned to the school. When they told me on the phone what the problem was I said, "That's where it is. (Meaning the knife) He uses that to cut the hoses for the car radiators when he is helping his dad. He has been looking all over for it."

When I got to the school the police were already there. The principal was reasonable. He told me that my son had also told him that he used the knife when he worked with his father and that he had been unable to find it. As a matter of fact the assistant principal had placed it back into the same pocket to show the police and he could not find it again.

They had no choice but to suspend him from school. They would not press criminal charges so the police left after giving him a good talking to. I was told that the school was under no obligation to allow him to return and they would discuss what they wanted to do during the suspension.

I asked them how they felt about letting him return. The principal softened a bit and told me that because my son was a good student and never caused any problems(?) he would be in favor of a return.

My son grew up and became involved with a woman who was older than he was. She had three children. Each one had a different father. Eventually they married.

Now she came from a strange family but I always said she was the sanest of the bunch. She treated me with the utmost respect. And if I ever needed a favor I did not even have to ask. She would break her neck trying to help me. I liked her.

The problem was that she and my son were not good for each other. I am not saying not right for each other. They were not good for each other. My son was as much at fault as she was.

Her children were very dear to me and still are. They are all grown now and they are parents themselves.

My son and his wife divorced after several years of marriage. I still hear from her. She seems to be doing well.

From other relationships my son has a step-daughter that he is very close to. She is special to me also. She is a lovely young woman, very pretty with a good head on her shoulders. She seems headed toward something in the medical field. She graduates from college this year. Now she is talking of becoming a polive officer. She will be successful at whatever she does.

He has a daughter that is 15 years old. She is like her father. Sometimes they are both too smart for their own good. She lives wirh her father She is in high school. There are times when I see features in her that look like me.

And he has a 13 year old son. What a precious guy he is. So smart and so shy. He looks like his father and he will be tall like his dad. My son is several inches over six feet tall. He is already bigger than his baseball coaches. He keeps assuring me that he is doing well in school.

My son looked so much like his father when he was little. The strange thing is that the older he gets, the more he looks like my father.

And he continues being a kind-hearted person. A few years ago he dated a young woman whose younger sister was rather a loner. The younger sister was not as attractive or outgoing as her sister. Her family did not treat her very well and belittled her. My son liked her so they remained friends after he stopped seeing the sister.

The girl's grandfather died. Her mother told her that if she could not manage to look respectable she should not bother attending the funeral. She looked to my son for solace. He decided to help her.

My son sent the girl with his newest girlfriend to shop and buy her a nice outfit. Then he had the girlfriend help her get dressed and all made up. They did her hair. She felt beautiful.

As she was getting ready to leave for the funeral, my son handed her the keys to his sports car. He told her to tell her family that she had won the lottery and had a lot of money now.

When she came back after the funeral she was so happy. She said it was the only time her family had been nice to her. My son was just glad that they had not treated her bad. That is the kind of person he is.

Friday, August 10, 2018

A Bug In My Ear

I read today about an umpire who had to stop the baseball game to have a moth removed from his ear. And my blogging friend Rick at Life 101 in his post titled The Eye Has It wrote about the small creature that invaded his eye.  Insects seem to be more aggressive all the time.

None of us are immune.  They can attack at any time.

I was sitting here at my computer a couple of nights ago. I heard a buzzing noise near my ear. What I thought was a moth flew against my ear.  It then crawled right in! Rather forcefully I might add.

I tried to wait patiently for it to back out. Do you know how hard it is to be patient when something has breached your ear canal?

Needless to say it did not back out. I tugged on my earlobe trying to do who knows what. It was still in there.

My son looked and could not see anything there but I could feel it moving. He wanted to take me to the doctor.

It was night time. Only emergency rooms are open at night. The nearest hospital is about 25 miles from here. It was not the best option. But I realized I might have to go.

I asked him to bring me a bottle of hydrogen peroxide. I poured some into my ear trying to float it out. I could not tell if it was working or not.

Suddenly I felt something crawling on the back of my neck. I had felt something crawling on the top of my ear when I was pouring the peroxide in. I was being attacked!

 My son saw something crawling on the front of my blouse. I brushed it away the best I could with an ear full of liquid.  It fell to the floor.

It was a black bug of some kind. My son grabbed a shoe and squashed it. 

I held a tissue near my ear to catch the liquid and whatever might be in it. There was only liquid. I put more peroxide in my ear to see if that would do it. I could no longer feel anything moving. I certainly did not want a dead or dying critter in my ear.

Again only liquid was expelled. I still felt nothing in my ear.

Apparently the squashed bug had been alone and very active. I am happy to report that there is no longer anything in my ear except what belongs. There are no more suicide bombing bugs. All is right with the world.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Dog Bed

The first Christmas I was here living with my son I was still getting to know his dog. I am not what you call an animal lover. I would never mistreat any creature but I do not need or even want a pet.

I felt bad because the floors were cold in the winter. The poor dog was sleeping on the floor. I got her a dog bed for Christmas.

It is a nice one. It is firm and big. The lining is rather plush. The cushion has a washable cover which is good because after all she does tend to smell like a dog.

Her bed stays in my son's room because he is her owner. That is where she sleeps at night.

When we first opened the box and let the bed stretch out she was so excited. She knew it was for her. She jumped right in and made herself comfortable.

That bed is pretty well used in the seven years she has had it. The cushion is flattened and not nearly as soft as it was. She has had a few accidents in there when she was sick. Even though my son constantly washed and sprayed it the smell sometimes gets stronger than it should..

The other day my son received an offer for a dog bed online. The price was greatly reduced. The bed is a large size so he ordered it. He has been trying to decide what to do with the old one.

The new one came today. It is not nearly as big as the first one. But the dog likes it.

She rolled around on it. She nuzzled the sides and the cushion. She laid on the edge. She flopped paetwayon it. She tugged and pulled on it getting the feel for it.

We decided to find a place for it in the living room. The dog has been happily alseep in heer new bed for several hours now. And the old one is still in the bedroom for now.

Friday, August 3, 2018

My Nephew

I have bunches of nieces and nephews. Many of them have children and even grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It is one of the glories of having a large family.

I was especially close to my husband's brother's children. We all lived in the big city away from the rest of the family.

His youngest son was only a couple of years old when my first child was born. My son has often said that his cousin was the closest he had to a big brother.

The kids spent a lot of time together. My older two boys would spend nights at their aunt and uncle's house. My niece and nephews spent nights at our house.

My nephew was an ornery child. He always had that gleam of mischief in his eyes. He had a knack for troublesome behavior.

I am not saying he was a bad child. He was just adventurous and did not always think things through.

He taught my boys to swear and what the swear words meant. It is not the thing to do but I admit I washed their mouths out with soap. They still used those awful words.

When my nephew started school my sister-in-law had her last one in school. (She had two more daughters a few years later.) One day she was at the kitchen sink washing breakfast dishes. She looked up and out the window.

There was her 5 year old son running down the alley with about a half dozen older children including her other two. She ran out and chased them down.

My nephew did not like school so he formed a "skip school" club. He talked all those older kids into skipping school with him. It turned out that those children had not been in school for much of the year.

When he was older my nephew and I worked together. A friend had a scrap yard at several locations. The two of us worked at the smallest of the three.

We worked well together. The work was done and we had fun doing it. He could make me laugh so hard.

He married and had two children, a boy and a girl. As happens he was busy with his family and we did not see as much of him.

His wife died of cancer. I am not sure who raised his daughter. He had his son. My sister-in-law helped take care of him.

Unfortunately my nephew started using drugs. I do not know how bad it was. By that I mean that I do not know whether he was addicted. I suspect he was.

He spent a couple of years in prison for auto theft. At least he had no access to drugs.

My nephew got out of prison last Thursday. He was released to live at a girlfriend's house. She is a drug user and my brother-in-law did not want him to go there.

Over the weekend my nephew overdosed. It happens to a lot of prisoners who were drug users. After about a day he was pronounced dead.

I will miss that cute little boy who lived life to its fullest. He made a stupid decision and broke a lot of hearts.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Niagara Falls

My mother and I worked for the same company for a time. We taught people how to paint on cloth and almost any surface. Then we hoped to sell them the paints and other materials needed to do the painting.

The company was having a convention in Niagara Falls, Canada. We decided to go. My husband would care for our children. My father decided to go too so my youngest brother and sister also went because they were quite young.

Niagara Falls was not far from where we lived so we drove. Of course. And Daddy drove the whole way because Daddy always drove. And when Daddy drove what we did was get in the car and he would start it up. Then he would aim it and off we would go at top speed.

My father was a good driver. He just did not want to mess around. No bathroom stops unless absolutely necessary and who needs food anyhow? We were there in practically no time at all.

My family did a lot of road time as I was growing up so we had road games to keep us occupied. One of the favorites was watching license plates. Each new state was added to our list. It could be played while we tried to be the first to spot a haystack, a billboard with yellow on it, or a scarecrow. We watched for unusual names for towns and funny signs. It was fun.

We made the decision to go at the last minute so our hotel was not the same one where the convention was being held. That was about a block and a half away. But it was a nice place.

We were right next to the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum. They had oddities on display. My favorite is the giant faucet that is suspended from wires but not connected to a water supply. Yet water flows constantly from the faucet. Even though I know the secret of how it works it fascinates me.

Roughly two blocks away was Niagara Falls itself. All we had to do was walk across the park in front of the hotel, cross a little street, and there we were.

There is a viewing platform with guard railing to protect you from getting too close or falling in. You can walk right up to stand beside the spot where the water falls over into the pool below. Standing in that spot you can be hypnotized by the amount of water. It is almost like a crowd trying to get out of a crowded theater that is on fire.

It falls into the pool below and splashes halfway back up just from the force. Down there it bubbles and churns constantly.

There is an observation area behind the falls down there. We were not able to see it because they were working on it while we were there.

We did take a ride on The Maid Of The Mist boat. They provide each passenger with yellow rain slickers and hats to protect clothing. Then they take you right up next to where all that water lands after it falls from above. You are in the midst of the thickest mist ever.

After the ride you have to climb a steep set of steps to get back up where you belong.

In the near distance you can see the Horseshoe Falls. They are part of the Niagara Falls complex. We never did get down to see them because we were busy with meetings and workshops.

So during that trip we saw few of the sights. For myself I was happy to just stare at all that water roiling over the edge and down into the pool below.

All the way home my youngest brother and I drove Daddy crazy by making weird noises. Until he coould take it no more and yelled at us anyway. It was kind of fun being a kid again.

My mother and I stopped in Niagara Falls again many years later when we were on vacation together. It has changed so much.

There is a little strip mall type of place on the street we crossed to get to Niagara Falls. Most of the shops were closed while we were there. We did not go on Maid Of The Mist because Mom was not crazy about the water. But I did stand and watch that immense amount of water charge over the edge to the pool below.

Friday, July 27, 2018

My Family Part 9

My first son was born the day after Mother's Day. It was an easy delivery. Doctors did not tell you in advance whether you were having a boy or a girl. I was hoping for a boy. I wanted him to have the same name as my favorite singer. When my husband mentioned that as a possible name I jumped at it. His middle name is his father's first name.

As I was lying there in that particularly attractive position one assumes while giving birth the doctor told me I had a son. Then he held him up for me to see. That was the ugliest baby I had ever seen!

Admittedly I had never seen a newborn before. But his features all seemed to come to a point in the front of his face. Remember the old cartoons of Heckle and Jeckle the two stupid ugly crows? That is what he looked like. I remember the exact words I thought were "Oh my God. I had a buck-toothed idiot."

But I loved that ugly little thing so much. I had read in a magazine just a few days earlier that all mothers want to know the number of fingers and toes of their new babies. I had decided to ask just to be a smart aleck but I was so happy and so in love with my new baby that I did not ask such a stupid question.

When they took me to my room my husband was allowed to visit me. I was so happy to have given him a son. He looked nervous.

He began by telling me that he was not sure if he should tell me or not but...  In that instant I knew that something was terribly wrong. My baby had died or was extremely ill and dying. You do not realize how many thoughts can race through your mind in the instant between two words. But the baby has two thumbs.

The relief that washed over me was instantaneous. I looked at him and said, "Is that all?" He thought I was nuts.

My son did indeed have two thumbs on one hand. They were both real thumbs bent together to look a bit like a lobster claw. I had watched his hands and feet as the nurses were measuring and weighing him. They were so much bigger than his little 6 pound15 ounce body seemed to warrant. I did not notice the extra thumb.

As a matter of fact neither did the doctor or nurses. My husband had found it when they showed him his new son. He actually called his mother to ask her whether he should tell me. She told him that I might notice so it was best to tell me.

After a few hours they finally brought my baby to me for a feeding. His face settled into place as it should be. He was beautiful.  No more Heckle and Jeckle.

I knew I wanted to breast-feed. It is the natural way and healthier for the child and the mother. So I did. The nurses tried to discourage me. It messed up their schedules you know.

My husband worked for a candy company. He brought me a yard long box of chocolates instead of flowers. When the nurse came in to get the baby after a feeding I offered her a piece of candy.

"Emma! You can't be eating that if you are nursing! Don't you know what it will do to the baby?"

Apparently chocolate has been known to give babies diarrhea. Nobody told me that. (After my first baby I relaxed a bit and did not worry as much. I would have eaten the candy then.)

My son grew normally. I had all the time in the world to spend with him. Early in the afternoon was the time we spent with no one else allowed to intervene. I would prop him into the corner made by the arm of the couch and the back. I would look at him and sing or tell stories. I would tell him how much I loved him.

When he was four months old he began to answer me. It was real words. People thought I was exaggerating but I knew what I heard. Other people who were there saw and heard him. He was talking.

I wrote to tell my mother-in-law all the things he could say. She chuckled to herself, knowing that I was just being a young new mother. Then she came to visit.

It was time for my son and I to be together so my mother-in-law and sister-in-law sat across the room and talked to each other. Suddenly Mom's head snapped up and she said, "My God Emma. That kid can talk!"

My son had an extraordinary memory. One time after he was grown he reminded me of an incident I had completely forgotten. We lived in an apartment building on the third floor. It was a bad neighborhood but I watched my son very closely.

He was a little past his first birthday. I was washing dishes in the kitchen and he was playing in the front room. When I went to check on him, the front door was open and he was gone!

Needless to say I was frantic. I ran out hoping he was in the hall. Not there. I ran to one end hoping he had not fallen down the stairs. Not there. I ran toward the stairs at the other end.

On my way I noticed one of the other apartments had its front door slightly ajar. I called out hoping whoever was in there might have seen my baby. No one answered. I went over and gently pushed the door open wider. I wanted my child.

There inside was my little boy wandering around looking at everything in the place. No one was home. With a huge sigh of relief I took him home after firmly closing their door.

My parents had moved to the big city to be nearer to us and for my father to find work. They rented an apartment on the first floor of the same building we lived in. My father adored his first grandchild. The feeling was mutual. One of my favorite photos is a snapshot of the two of them.

Daddy sat with his legs crossed in that figure four that men do. My son often sat in the space it created on Grandpa's lap. That day Mom got a picture of the two of them fast asleep. Daddy's head is slightly back and my son is sitting in that space with his feet toward Grandpa and his little head rolled slightly to one side on Grandpa's knee. It is a picture of love.

As I said it was a bad neighborhood. Often in the evenings some of the tenants of the building would congregate on the front steps of the building trying to keep cool. Across the street was a small hotel. The only occupants of the hotel  stayed there for only short intervals. They were the ladies that stood on the corners and invited their gentlemen callers inside for a short while.

Half a block away on our side of the street there was a fast food place. My son was fascinated by, of all things, the legs of the ladies from across the street. One day a couple of them sashayed on our side of the street, right in front of us, on their way to get something to eat.

My son set off behind them with his eyes glued to their legs the whole time. I was laughing and decided to follow at a short distance to see how far he would go before he realized I was not there. Apparently mothers cannot compete with legs. I had to run up and grab him shortly before they got to the corner.

My son has always had an extreme view of right and wrong. There are no gray shades for him. Unfortunately he expects every one of us to live up to those standards too.

When my son was about 8 or 9 we lived in a house. His father was home with the other children while my son and I went to pick up some groceries. When we returned I parked our van. Then we saw my 6 year old and 2 year old come running around the corner with a group of bigger boys hot on their tails.

The bigger boys lived in a multiple family building behind us. They were constantly teasing and picking on my children.

My son threw down the bag of groceries and screamed,"THAT DOES IT!" He took off after those much bigger boys. I grabbed my other two and told them to get their father.(He had fallen asleep and had no idea of what was happening)

In the meantime I could hear my son in the alley daring the boys to come fight. I started that way because there were several of them and they were several years older. Near the end of my backyard, here came their mothers.

Now is when I should tell you that I seldom get angry. My husband after all those years of marriage had never seen me angry. Out of the corner of my eye I could see him coming to take care of the problem. I also saw his jaw drop and him stop in midstep with one foot in the air as I said to those mothers, "You hold it right there!"

I gave them a good tongue lashing. When they would try to come back with a feeble "but..." I shut them right up. These were my babies they were attacking! I finally sent them home and there was an uneasy truce after that. My husband stood frozen in place with his mouth open and one foot in the air the whole time.

My son did very well in school. There was another boy who had been top dog at school before my son started there. Naturally there had to be a fight.

I had picked the boys up at school because I had a quick errand to run. My son insisted he could not go with me because he had to fight this other kid. I finally told him I would run my errand and we would be in time for me to drop him off at the designated spot. My son insisted I could not stay.

When we arrived at the meeting place no one else was there. I felt confident that the other boy would not show so I left. It was only a block or so from home.

When my son came home he said the other boy had decided not to go to the fight. The strange thing is that they became fairly good friends after that.

Some of the students in my son's class had misbehaved. The teacher decided to hold all the children after school to write some sentence 100 times as a punishment. My son took his blank sheet of paper up to the teacher. He told her he had done nothing wrong and was not going to be punished for what others had done. He left the classroom and came home.

When he told me about it I suggested he could write the sentence at home and turn it in next day. He looked at me like I was daft and again said he was not going to be punished for something he did not do.

I did go talk to the teacher, Her response was that she was proud of him for sticking up for himself. She told me that he was an honest child and if he felt he did not deserve to be punished she respected that.

My son was the kind of kid that could get into a fight right in front of the principal and the principal would pat him on the head and tell him it would be taken care of. Then he would suspend the other participant from school for a few days. His honest reputation followed him.

My first child decided at a very young age he did not want to marry or have children. No mother wants to hear that. I explained to him how good he is with children and he would probably change his mind.

He said that he had younger cousins to spend time with. When I explained that those cousins would grow up someday he countered that by that time his brothers and sisters would have children. He was right of course. So he has never married and never had children. He has never indicated to me that he regrets his decision so I respect that.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

On The Porch

Some of my fondest memories are of sitting on the porch. Some are not quite as fond .

From the time I can remember I would sit on the porch listening to the grown-ups laughing and telling family stories. They were all fascinating to me even if I had heard them before.

Grandpa would light his pipe. He was a quiet man but once in a while he had a good story to tell.

Great-grandpa with his leprechaun (or so I thought) voice had some good family stories. I thought he was talking about the "old country" but he was not. He came to the United States when he was a baby after his mother died. He was talking about growing up in Nebraska.

The one I really loved to listen to was Uncle Harold. His voice was hypnotic. I could listen to him all day.

Great-uncle Elmer was called Unc. He also told good stories and was almost as good as Uncle Harold.

After the kitchen was cleaned the women would join the men on the porch and the talk turned more to family things. There would also be more than one conversation at a time. Sometimes confusing.

While the other kids were off playing I could be found sitting quietly on the porch listening. I knew better than to join in because they would shoo me away.

It was all so tranquil. Sometimes we would all just sit and watch the sun go down.

I was about 5 years old. My mother gave me permission to walk to the end of the street to play with my friend who was a little older. No one was home there so I decided to wait. I was enjoying my freedom.

To amuse myself I jumped off the steps of her porch. First I stepped onto the first step and jumped to the sidewalk. Then I went to the second step and jumped off. One step at a time I jumped and climbed one more step to jump from.

I made it to the top and began in reverse. First to the top step then the next from the top. At the next to the top step I saw my friend's mother pull her car into the driveway. I waved happily and jumped.

Unfortunately I landed in the grass instead of on the sidewalk. There wa a broken fruit jar there. I landed on a piece of it with my hand.

It was a deep cut so my friend walked me home. Mom stopped the bleeding and bandaged me right up. I still have an ugly scar on the heel of my hand.

My youngest sister was afraid of everything. The vacuum cleaner, the blender, basically anything that made a loud noise. Usually my mother and I teamed up. One of us would vacuum while the other held my sister close. The screaming was not as loud.

The lawn mower fascinated her. She was terrified when Daddy or one of my brothers would start it up. But she liked to watch it cut the grass. Go figure.

Once we were at Grandma's and the boys were going to mow the lawn while Daddy supervised. The lawn mower roared to life and my sister screamed for her life.

I quickly grabbed her and ran through Grandma's house and onto the screened in porch. I held my sister tightly. She contentedly watched the rest of the process.

On rainy days we played on our porch. Jacks were fun as long as we played where the ball could not bounce out into the rain. Board games were played or maybe I would just lean back with a good book.

Grandma and Grandpa had a porch that went from the front of their house all the way around one side. Part of it was screened which I found so luxurious. There was actually old furniture to sit on. I liked playing out there even in the winter. Grandma let me because I did not track snow into her kitchen.

I have a picture from the early 1950's that I really like. We were at Uncle Gerald's house. We had taken Grandma with us. After we ate we all went to the porch to relax.

It was obviously a hot day. All of us were looking wilted and squinting at the sun. There we all are sitting on the porch. I have no idea who took the picture because no one is missing.

When I was grown and had my own family I liked having a porch. At one house on a busy street my porch was sort of small. It had room for my three old wooden rocking chairs though. I would sit and watch my children play in the afternoons.

I could see the neighbor with his friends all sitting at a table in their front yard. They would drink and talk about mechanical things.

I watched our dog race motorcycle riders who drove by.

One day a neighbor child came to play. He would only play with one of my sons at a time. He tried to pit them against each other which upset me but I tried to let them work it out.

One day he decided to play with my oldest son. My second son was fine with it. He was watching ants climb a tree. The neighbor kid started to yell at my second son to try to start a fight between my sons.

My son tore himself away from his ants. He stood and watched the neighbor. I was behind my son but I saw him cock his head to one side. Then he cocked his head to the other side as if he was trying to solve a puzzle.

All of a sudden as the neighbor was still yelling my son just reached out and punched him. First the kid had a shocked look on his face. Then he started to screasym. Even though he was older than either of my boys he ran home crying.

The thing about my children is that they may fight with each other but no one else is allowed to. Both my boys took off after the kid. He made it home safely because he had a good head start.

One day the kids and I were coming home from the store. I was tired and looking forward to relaxing on the porch. I saw a car with some rocking chairs in the trunk. I mentioned that I would like some more rockers for the porch.

When we got home I discovered that I had seen my rockers driving away!

I was visiting my youngest son. My grandchildren were out playing while us adults were just sitting around talking.

My granddaughter came in. Very shyly she said, "Grandma, I smell rain in the air. Do you want to come on the porch and watch it with me?" Of course I did! It was a glorious rain.

My second son's wife and I were sitting on the porch late one afternoon. My sons were messing with a car. As we were talking my sons suddenly and without a word walked past us and went into the house.

After the surprise of it was over I began to laugh. My daughter-in-law looked at me like I was crazy.

I had to explain. The street lights had just turned on. When they were younger the rule was that when the street lights come on they were to come in the house. It was just a habit.

My children are now in their 40' and 50's and they still go in when the streetlights come on.

See what a joy a porch can be?