Loss (Again)

I went to lots of funeral and visitations when I was a little girl; that’s what you do  to pay your last respects.  People got really down in the dumps at funerals.  Sometimes people said stupid things like “doesn’t she look so peaceful’, or “he just looks like he fell asleep.:  Sometimes people just say stuff like that to fill up the quietness that comes with sadness.  I never thought those dead people even looked a bit like there real selves, let alone peaceful and asleep.  They looked like store manikin, all dressed up in the dead person’s clothes.  Once I asked Mom why people got so sad when they knew the dead person was in heaven.  She said they were just sad for themselves, ’cause they were gonna miss that person so much.  All the people I knew who died were old and had a pretty good life.  They probably looked down from the pearly gates and wished they could wave or something, so the people they loved would stop all the crying.

Mom told me that sometimes babies died from crib death.  That’s when a baby forgot she was out here in the world, and Continue reading

The Outer Limits: Friendship and Love

When I was a little girl, I was always in love with somebody.  First it was my uncles, that wasn’t real love; then it was Georgie, and Warren, and Frankie, and of course, Dale, who was the one who got away.  Those were just friends that happened to be boys that I loved as my favorite.  I loved my best-friend-Connie in almost the same way.  When I got to seventh grade, I fell in the head-over-heels kind of love.  That’s when buses shipped the Unfortunate Ones to my school after we got annexed.  That’s when I met Art.  That’s the year life started getting complex.

I bawled my eyes out when I realized I would be staying at my old school and not going to the High School like Deanna did when she got in 7th grade.  I never got the letter telling me I had to stay; every Unfortunate One got a letter.  Mom tried to tell me, but I refused to believe her.  I said “No, Dad said everyone who had to go to my school, got a letter.  I never got a letter.  I must be going to the High School,” I said.  Dad was on the school board.  He knew. Continue reading

Halloween, Love, and Little Birdies

I am certain I did many things that  made my mother shake her head in disbelief.  Sometimes it was amazement; sometimes it was disdain or incredulity.  More than once I heard Mom say, “I can’t believe the way your mind works.”  Some things I did, in hindsight, surely made Mom’s hair stand on end.  I fell in love with David when I was in fourth grade.  What was I thinking?

Most of the time, Dad took us kids trick-or-treating down one side of our road and up the other.  That was super-fun, getting candy for no good reason, just for dressing up in a good costume and calling out “Trick-or-Treat.”   I found out later than “Trick” meant ‘give me candy or I’ll do something mean,’ like soap your windows, or turn over your outhouse, or maybe stick a potato in your car’s tailpipe, like Mom did when she was a kid.  I never ‘tricked’ anyone, ’cause for one thing, I never knew that was an option, and for another thing, Dad was there, and he always made me be polite.  Besides, nobody ever threw cold water all over me when I yelled “Trick-or-Treat”, like some guy did to Mom and Uncle Ken and Uncle Gene, so those three got thinking about getting even.  For Pete’s sake, what an old meanie that man was; he deserved to be tricked.  Still, Continue reading

A Special Sister Gift

When I was a couple of years too old to climb onto Santa’s lap with a wish-list, I did just that.  All I wanted was a baby sister.  That’s all I thought about; that’s what I tacked on the end of my bedtime prayers, right after “bless Mom, Dad, Deanna-Bonita-Vickie-Loren-Julie-Frankie.  I already had four sisters and two brothers. Why, oh why, did I want more?  Of course Santa can’t deliver babies, but I like to think my prayers and wishes were responsible for planting a seed of a new miracle, because nine months after Christmas, I had my baby sister.   I still like to think of her as my personal gift from God.

Mom brought another sweet bundle home and told us her name was Marcia.  Aunt Pat said “Oh my.  Don’t you know Marsha means swamp water?”  Aunt Pat was the tallest woman I knew.  Just being tall made her look like she was smarter than everyone, because the only way she could see me was to look down.  Aunt Pat married to my Uncle Ken, Mom’s baby brother.  He was way up there, even taller than Aunt Pat.  Those two looked like movie stars with Continue reading

Rest, Listen, and Go

We often take for granted all the sounds that surround us.  Familiar sounds from childhood comfort me.  When I was a little girl, I liked the sounds of morning and of evening the best.  in the middle was all kinds of cacophony of people and activity, but on the edges, the sounds of the earth sighing.

At night-time, sitting out on the step, I heard the whir of the cicadas, loud and clear, almost like electric wires humming overhead.  Early evenings, I was sure to see the barn swallows swooping low in pairs, heading for the barn, gliding like tiny kites, noiseless in the night air.  The breeze stirred the leaves in the trees and made waves in the hay-field, as heat-lightning flicked on Continue reading