Look at that face. Do you think I had any aspirations of being an explorer, a traveler, a rebel! I think back then I might have. I do know I was a handful, according to my parents. They said I would be getting my little hand spanked grabbing for something on a table, but that it didn't phase me as I was grabbing for something with the other hand.
Mother told me that I was always running off and getting lost and hiding in stores. It got to the point that she decided one day in the Sears store she was going to teach me a lesson. That lesson, was to let me get lost where she could see me, but I could not see her. That little lesson scared me for life, and to this day I have a horrible fear of getting and being lost. I know she meant well, but this little prank made a mark that has taken a lifetime to try to over come, and not successfully. That fear has morphed into a fear of not wanting to get into trouble or get lost. Hence the fear of airport security sort of like a principal's office, not that I've EVER was in that kind of trouble.
Two days before my little sister was born (I was 3 years old and brother was maybe 16 months) I climbed up on a television that was sitting on a high cabinet and pulled it over on myself. My first stitches, and you can sometimes still see the scar in my eyebrow. I don't think my brother or sister had too many, if any stitches, broken bones or sprains in childhood, but I certainly did. I even have a huge scar cross-ways on my tummy from sliding off the back of a car onto a metal license plate which slit my belly open. That only took a home visit from the doctor (they did that back then) and band aids to hold it all together, no stitches. I could swing really REALLY high on the swings and jungle-gym bars, not afraid of falling at all. When does fear start taking hold? Where does fear come from and why in some people does it become a problem and for others not influence them at all. Very curious that question.
Look at those big brown innocent eyes. That's my first grade picture and when the big fear thing started coming on. That's when we had to move to Arkansas for daddy a job. The move was scary and I had to leave my friends and my favorite teacher, Mrs. Rhodes. Making new friends was difficult and my first teacher there was a WITCH or BITCH if you want. She was forced into retirement the next year and there were good reasons why. I watched her wash a boys mouth out with soap in the classroom (we had our own bathrooms in the room.) She would paddle, and I mean PADDLE in front of the classroom. I never wanted to get in trouble in her class for sure. That would break you and I think she did break a lot of children. I wet my pants in front of the whole classroom while standing at the chalkboard, just because I asked to go to the bathroom one day, and then had to ride the bus home with urine soaked clothes. I went from having the nicest, most wonderful teacher ever, to the worst teacher that year. Plus I was witness to my parents struggle financially and with their marriage. I know sister was too young to remember and brother may remember some but he was only 4. The school bus ride alone (my first time for that) was kind of harrowing because we rode the bus with all ages, from 1st grade to 12th. Those boys were mean, MEAN!
Living in Arkansas allowed us to meet all kinds of different people and experience family lifestyles that were totally different than ours. Lots of poor people, more poor than we were for sure. My friend Sharon from up the road and around the corner was from a family of about 8 kids. They had no electricity or running water, but they did have a pet raccoon. That family was as good as gold though and she was my savior on those bus rides back and forth to school. This was also a time when my daddy got sick. They really didn't know what was wrong with him but he was CRAZY, and Momma just couldn't cope. She even left him and Granddaddy made her go back, telling her that Daddy was sick, that he needed her. This was after we finally found out what was making him so sick.
I have a very vivid memory of us being at my Granny and Granddaddy's house, the house my father lives in now, and where I basically grew up. The memory is of my father sitting on their bed, that is now his bed, and him sobbing in his hands, SOBBING. I had never seen my father cry before. I don't know if it was because he found out about his illness or if it was from mother leaving him, but he was crying.
We moved back to Oklahoma for him to have surgery, as a family. Daddy had a benign tumor on his thyroid gland and he had 2/3rd's of his thyroid removed. They basically cut his neck from ear to ear to get it out. I remember going with him to the doctor visits and that he had to stay on thyroid medicine for the rest of his life. The tumor, even though benign, did a nasty job on his emotions. He was up high, high, high and kind of mean, and then down, down, down. At times through the years we could tell when he didn't take his medicine but after awhile he never missed a dose, thank goodness.
So we were back to Oklahoma. I didn't live with my family during the week because we didn't have the money for a house yet, and Momma needed help with us, and Daddy. I stayed in our small town with Granny and Granddaddy during the week so I could go to school, while my brother, sister and parents stayed with Grandma and Grandpa in the country. I started the second semester of 2nd grade at my old school and I had to remake friends, yet again. Luckily I had another great teacher but I certainly struggled, and by third grade I was nearly kept back if it weren't for my teacher, mother and the principal. As I am writing this down I am now seeing what those years did to me. I am realizing all these upheavals took a major toll and changed the course of the person that I started out to be that fearless, gutsy little girl.
I was a much quieter person who struggled internally with just being around people. Honestly 3rd grade was so hard for me in all kinds of ways, so much so that I don't have any memory of even being in the classroom with Mrs. Nolan. That's very strange because I have memories of every classroom I was ever in, except for that one. I almost have a dark hole there in my memory. I didn't even have friends then but 4th grade rolled around and we got new neighbors, and my world got brighter. Jean Ann and Mike, twins, moved in next door and the fun began.
From the moment they moved in next door Jean Ann and I became inseparable. Oh my goodness we had so much fun, and she was a bit of a bad girl, a happy-go-lucky kind of girl, like I used to be. It was a breath of fresh air. My, I miss her so much. Jean Ann's life turned out to be so tragic, but I won't go into that here. We had about 3 years of great childhood fun and joy before my world again came crashing down.
Have you ever wished for something and it came true. October of my 6th grade year (it's funny that my life is not calculated by years, but by grades in school), just before Halloween, my wish came true. You see (I've written about this before), at school, we had been playing a lot of hopscotch on the sidewalks at recess. My aunt was babysitting my brother, sister and I (her first and last time for us) one evening while Momma and Daddy went to a school something. I really I didn't need a sitter, but they did. The night before this, sister and I were laying in bed (we shared a bed and bedroom until I got married and moved out) just talking and I made a wish. I wished I could break my leg because I thought it would fun and cool to walk on crutches. (Auntie, if you are reading this IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT! I knew better, I was old enough to know better, IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT!)
I built a hopscotch board in the middle of the living room out of newspapers and Daddy's socks and when it was my turn, I had to take a hugely long jump, but I landed on a newspaper, and that newspaper was like surfing on carpet. I slammed into the wall at the end of the living room and I BROKE MY LEG! I got my wish, and let me tell you CRUTCHES ARE NOT COOL OR FUN!
Those damn crutches ruined my life at that time. I had no aspirations or desires to do anything or be anybody at that time, I just wanted to have my friends in school and that broken leg ruined my social life. For one thing IT HURT!!! The other was that I could not go to school. I was out of school until January of the next year. I didn't finish the semester in the classroom, but my teacher was my tutor and I stayed up with school work because she came to the house once a week and helped me stay a part of the class. I passed with straight A's. What I did miss out on were my friends. At that young age memory and friendship are fleeting. Because I could not be around Jean Ann everyday anymore, she moved on to other friends, and I was just not a part of her growing social life anymore. Jean Ann was a friend, but we weren't besties anymore. I lost my friend, my happy, my joy, and the loss continued on to the junior high years, the WORST YEARS OF MY LIFE, YET AGAIN!
It's funny, I tried to find some photos of my junior high years and I only find a few of me
Yep, those are bell bottoms that Momma made.
This picture I think I'm turning 13. That's me all the way to the right.
Junior high years, ages 12-14 when puberty raises it's very ugly head. I had no friends by the time 7th grade started and Jean Ann all of a sudden began to DEVELOP and I mean develop, so did I, but my personality had been beaten down with the broken leg fiasco. She became extremely popular and I did not. In JH you went to different classrooms and we were also segregated into sections. Jean Ann was section 7-3. I was section 7-5, the lowest one with some of the nerdiest, most unpopular, quirky people. I can distinctly remember standing in the hall holding up the wall, trying to become the wall in between classes when a girl came up to me an started talking. Her name was Sharon and Sharon became my life-line out of becoming that wall. We became best friends and still are to this day with about a 20+ year break...lol. Junior high, especially 9th grade, again I will say was horrible. I don't even know how I got through school except for Sharon and art class. 9th grade brought my period, huge boobs, boys, my first kiss, my first formal and a chance to take a trip.
Do I look happy or scared.
My art teacher Mrs. Sue Brown taught me so much. I took her class 7th, 8th and 9th grade and don't know why I didn't go on in high school. The summer after 9th grade was finished I was given an opportunity to go on a dig. I loved Archeology and wanted to be an Archeologist at that point (or a veterinarian). Mrs. Brown gave me some info on participating in a dig somewhere in southeastern Oklahoma, WITHOUT MY FAMILY. OMG, I wanted to go so badly, but was scared out of my mind about doing it by myself. I had never been away from my parents except to stay in Jay, Oklahoma with my greatgranny or at granny and granddaddy's overnight. I just could not get my brave on to do it. But you know what, I don't think I even asked my parents about it to even see if they would let me go. Possibly it was money but in reality it was probably because I was scared, scared to death, and that feeling has persisted in my life since then. Oh, I've ventured off a few times in my life but it takes a lot, A LOT of bravery for me to do it.
By the time high school rolled around I was just the same old wallflower kind of person, but a wanna-be-hippy. Oh man, I wanted to go to Woodstock so bad, but that desire was certainly kept hidden and I just recently verbalized it. The people who attended were definitely not my kind of people...they were rebels, druggies, free-spirited and much older but that didn't stop my desire to go. I was a wanna-be hippy, a faux hippy.
I grew my hair long, wore bell-bottom hip-hugger jeans, no bra and a bikini occasionally. I like acid rock music, actually all kinds of music (without the acid). I pretty much just rolled along all through high school and graduated with decent grades, lots of dates and a bit of experience in kissing. Fell in love and cried a lot of tears, lot's of tears but it was okay, I survived without becoming the wall again.
But I knew that I had no future. I had no hopes or any idea of going to college and without really trying in high school I knew that the only thing for me was working for my father in the machine shop, getting married, and have kids. I was stuck in that town with absolutely NO FUTURE but I still had deep-seated hidden desires and dreams, but I lacked the knowledge, bravery, or support to attain those dreams and desires.
I dated a bit but one guy called back the next day after an impromptu meeting. Usually, I would have a date, and because I had boobs they thought that I easy but found out pretty quick, I WAS NOT! Just because I had boobs does not mean I want that. So they never called back, but The Hubby, well, he called the next day, the next, the next, the next...and now 43 years later...I think he's sticking around!!!
My dreams have changed for sure. I did get married and have kids but I found new dreams to make happen.
I went to college and got a degree.
Without planning on it I've sort of fell into a new dream, to become an artist. At first it was just to deal with the loss of Momma, Gail (my best friend), our dog, being an empty-nester, turning 50, and more, but as I developed the art connections, got better and found out what I could do with art, well, slowly I made new goals.
I wanted to be accepted as an artist, to be recognized among my art peers here locally and nationaly. I've had a magazine article done locally on me. I've won ribbons!!! That was exciting because I've never won a ribbon for anything. I've entered some shows that were a jury process and got in, local ones. And now I've entered in a couple of national ones, and GOT IN! That was a biggie for me. There are a few more goals or dreams in this art journey but one thing at a time.
At first I was afraid to enter in these national shows because I MIGHT HAVE TO GO to them, but I just bit the bullet and did it and thought, well, I'll figure it out if it happens, and it did! I got in and I AM GOING to New York with The Hubby. I probably won't win anything but I already won by be accepted into the show. It will be an awesome experience and I may never get the opportunity again to experience it, so why not go. Yeah, look at me strike out.
I'm slowly overcoming my fears, even if I backslide occasionally, that's okay. One step, one flight at a time. Here I am at 63 years of age and I'm making some new dreams come true. You are NEVER too old, trust me, NEVER!