As a teenager, I imagined everyone's parents were better than my own, everyone's house, better than mine, everyone's family more "normal" than my own. I was number two child, number two daughter with four younger brothers and a houseful of critters (dogs, cat, monkey, guinea pig, rabbit, chicken and whatever odd pet managed to find its way home with one of us.)
"Normal" families had neat houses, with matching furniture, wall to wall carpeting and usually 2-4 children. "Normal" families had a TV, rather than a monkey.
For reasons I cannot completely recall, I ended up spending a good part of my senior year more or less "living" at my friend Becky's "normal" house, with her "normal" parents (Hal and Sally), and her "normal" siblings (Tom and Jan). I think I was invited to spend the night one night and ended up staying a month or three....
And these wonderful people, this "normal family," made me feel completely welcome. I remember the house filled with laughter, music and love. They even took me with them on their annual Spring Break vacation that year. It remains the most favorite beach week of my life.
This afternoon, as I let my mind travel down memory lane, (Kornett Lane to those who lived in my home town) I found myself remembering a related event, shaking my head as I tried to imagine an adult having so much trust in my teenage self.
The summer of 1978 I was home from college. During my first year in college my parents had divorced and my mother had moved to an apartment in Washington, DC. My adopted "normal" family was heading off for a summer vacation. They left me with the keys to older brother Tom's car (little green Gremlin) and a large amount of cash, along with a registration form so that I could register Hal for some graduate courses he'd be taking when they returned from vacation. Oh, those trusting souls.
One night during the week or two they were out of town, and before I'd been able to register Hal for his class, I needed to drive into Washington, DC to pick up my then-boyfriend from the bus station. My younger brother, Dan, agreed to take the drive with me (I HATE driving in DC). It was dark. I was driving the Gremlin. We came to a stop at a red traffic light in downtown DC. When the light turned green, the car would not go. Neither Dan nor I could figure out how to get her going again.
This was well before the days of GPS and cell phones, so we were left to our own wits to figure out a way to get help. We pushed the car to the curb, locked her up, took the keys and started walking. I hate driving in DC because I am ALWAYS lost when in that town. Dan thought we could find our way to Mom's apartment and call for help from there. As arguably the most geographically challenged person ever born, I should have been happy to let Dan lead the way. However, I was worried. In my purse was a wad of cash that did not belong to me, and I was certain a mugging was in my immediate future. I wanted to get out of that place and over to Mom's place as fast as my feet would carry me.
So Dan suggested "the best" route (which, I don't mind telling you was a pretty scary one in that part of town, late on a Friday or Saturday night) and I walked at my fastest pace. Dan, who could easily outpace me, kept trying to insist that I looked suspicious walking so fast and should slow down. I kept insisting that we (the money and I) HAD to get to Mom's place fast, before we got mugged. Dan suggested I give the money to him and he'd put it in his shoe... I was APPALLED by the idea, as he was WEARING NO SOCKS!
Somehow, we found our way to Mom's without getting mugged. As luck would have it Mom's apartment was right across from the bus station. We were actually on time meeting my boyfriend. Then all we had to do was figure out how to get assistance for the disabled car, and find a way to get back home to the suburbs.....
Odd as life often is, my grandparents were visiting from Florida, chaperoning the three boys at home while Dad and my new stepmother were visiting my brother Tim, stationed in Germany. We called Grandma from Mom's apartment and told her the story of our current predicament. No problem. She'd drive in and pick us up, which she did without getting the least bit lost. (How is it possible that we who lived in the suburbs of the nation's capitol were ALWAYS lost when trying to drive on her streets, and my grandmother from Massachusetts, transplanted to Florida, maneuvered through DC's streets with no trouble at all???)
I don't recall how we recovered Tom's car. I don't recall actually registering Hal for his courses. I did both, but my vivid memory is of breaking Tom's car and subjecting myself to potential mugging and loss of Hal's money. That was one scary night, and all I could think while it was happening was, "why on earth did I drive Tom's car into DC and WHY did I bring all that money with me????" Perhaps I wasn't the most intelligent kid on the block. Perhaps the "normal" family's trust was misplaced in me. I was just happy that all was in order when they returned from their vacation.
Tomorrow they will hold a memorial service for Hal. He was 79. He was a well loved junior high school music teacher in my hometown. He was a wonderful pianist. And he was my friend Becky's father. May he rest in peace.
Back to the present.
May has been another busy travel month for me. I've been up to the DC area several times, out to California and to Texas on business travel. During two trips in May, I included side trips to visit with Mom and help her with some of her "honey-do" lists. On Mother's Day, Joe and I had a nice visit with Jenn and the Lovely Miss Eloise, here at the farm, where, everything is bursting with growth...animals, plants, mosquitoes, ticks, the whole "spring into life" thing is very visible around here.
|Miss Eloise Meets Jay Lee|
|Bucket o' Chicks testing the outdoors for the first time|
|Kids in the Play House|
|Judy spending some quality time with Miah|
|Cutting up one of about 15 trees felled|
|Joe, from "on high"|
|Making quick work of the stumps|
|Judy, stacking the wood for splitting|
|And More Roads|
|Adding Leaves to the Fire|
|Working the Fire|
|Goat Shed Frames (re purposing old pallets)|
|Re purposing pool siding for goat shed sides|
|Screwing it all together|
|Two "new" summer goat sheds|
|Roomy Inside of the new Goat Sheds|
|Judy Teaching Ruby to "relax"|
|Chicks in their New Pen|
|Baby Goats Weaning?|
|Enjoying Bounty from the Gardens Daily|
|NOT one of our pets!|
|OK, Move Along Now!|