Monday, April 25, 2016

Childhood Memories- Saturday Challenge

I’m running behind, but I’m finally getting to the Saturday challenge. I would like to add to this one, that I challenge everybody reading this to complete the challenge themselves and put it online and put the answers away in a safe place for your children or grandchildren to be able to read it someday. If like me, you have no children, consider who else would be interested in hearing about your childhood and make it available to them.

From Randy Seaver:
Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:

1)  Judy Russell asked six questions in her Keynote address at RootsTech 2014 to determine if audience members knew certain family stories about their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.  She demonstrated very well that family stories are lost within three generations if they are not recorded and passed on to later generations.

2)  This week, I want you to answer Judy's six questions, but about YOUR own life story, not your ancestors.  Here are the questions:

a)  What was your first illness as a child?

b)  What was the first funeral you attended?

c)  What was your favorite book as a child?

d)  What was your favorite class in elementary school?

e)  What was your favorite toy as a child?

f)  Did you learn how to swim, and where did you learn?

A view from my childhood window

a)    My first illness would have been colic. I don’t remember it as I was just a baby, but the rest of the family certainly does! Apparently every night for a number of weeks (months?) after supper I would start crying and couldn’t be soothed for a long time. I finally out grew it or did I? As this is excess gas in the digestive system, I have to wonder if that was the beginning of Crohn’s disease, an inflammable bowel disease that would surface as an adult.
The first major illness other than colds or stomach virus that I remember was getting the chicken pox. I told Mom one afternoon that I had a “boo-boo” on my hand and wanted an ice cube to sooth it.  She panicked a bit when she helped me get ready for bed, as she realized I actually had chicken pox and I had been icing a pox. Luckily, it didn’t cause any scarring. I remember riding to school with Mom when she went to see my teacher and get my schoolwork for while I was out. I had to wait in the car as I was contagious and couldn’t go into the school. I had a Halloween witch’s mask with me that I was playing with and a couple women walked by as I popped up with it on. They acted scared and I felt bad that I scared them, not realizing at the time that they were just humoring a child.

b)   I don’t think I actually ever attended a funeral until I was an adult. I went to calling hours with my parents various times over the years.

I have a vague memory of being at a place with a lot of strange people and wondering who they were. The thing that was most bewildering was that there were one or two men that looked kind of like my brothers, but they definitely weren’t them. I remember standing there and then my brother suddenly appearing from in the crowd and telling me he was going to take me home. The memory has almost a dream-like quality to it, but I think it was at the calling hours for my grandmother and I was looking at my mother’s brothers. This would have been about a week or so before my 5th birthday.

c)    I didn’t really have one favorite book as a child. However, I definitely had a series of books that were my favorite. Remarkably, I still have the original ones I owned and they haven’t fallen completely apart from reading and re-reading. The series was the Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I lived and breathed Laura as a child. Around the time of the bicentennial my Mom made me a prairie dress and a bonnet to wear just like hers. This was, of course, when the television show Little House on the Prairie was on the air as well. I could tell anyone who would listen what was true about the current episode and what wasn’t. I always wanted to be related to her, especially since my paternal grandmother’s maiden name was Ingalls. However, I cannot connect the two families to each other. My family was in Jefferson County in northern New York about the same time as Pa’s family was in Allegany County in western New York.

My "Laura" dress
d)   I loved all grades in elementary school. The subjects that I liked the best were reading and social studies. I especially like history and I liked reading about people in other places and time periods, so much of our reading material was fascinating as well. Reading was originally hard for me. In first grade I was way behind and struggled with just being able to recite the alphabet at first. Suddenly, things clicked. I went from the lowest reading group in the class to being bored in the highest reading group and looking for even more books on a higher level to read.

e)    I had many dolls that I loved over the years, and of course, books. I loved riding my bike and playing outside. Probably the favorite toy for me though, was my Barbie dolls. I never considered them fashion dolls really. They were pioneers on the prairie building log cabins and growing food with Laura and Mary. They were going on camping trips. They were doing all kinds of different things. I played with them much longer than most girls did. As I got older I was playing with them acting out stories. I would play a scene and then stop, grab my notebook and write it. The stories were I’m sure quite bad and over the top with drama. Too bad I didn’t keep the stories; they might have made a good soap opera! However, that was the beginning of my creative writing, using them to visualize a scene and then recording it.

f)     I never really did learn to swim. I can do the doggy paddle and float on my back or side. However, I can’t do a proper stroke or be in the water over my head for very long as I have a need to either cling to the side of the pool or be able to stand. I have always had a distaste fear of getting my face under water. I totally freak out. As a child, I always loved to go swimming though. Most of time it was in the pool in our backyard. As the deepest part was probably around 4 ½ feet deep, I could splash around and have fun there without fear of getting beyond my abilities. I spent many a happy summer afternoon in that pool.
The backyard before the pool was opened for summer

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