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Posts Tagged ‘memories’

I remember writing out valentine cards to take to school. That was in the days when they didn’t say you had to take a valentine for everyone in the class. Because there were so many of us kids (7), my mom bought a package for each one of us even though we needed ore than one package if we were going to give to everyone in the class. So we had to choose. My mom would go through the list with us and ask at each name “Is this one your friend?” or “Do you want to give one to this one?” That was  difficult because I mostly wanted to send a card to everyone. I knew what it felt like to sit at your desk and wonder if you would get any cards. There were some kids that didn’t get very many, like Esmeralda who no one played with because she was born with a black spot on the side of her face. I knew who those kids were so I made sure that they got one from me and I always wondered if I would get very many.

I remember  in high school, selling carnations as a fundraiser for California Scholarship Federation (CSF). The carnations were pre-ordered and pre-paid then delivered to recipients during class on Valentine’s Day. They cost one dollar. Of course all of the cheer leaders and other cheer squad girls walked around with lots of carnations that they had gotten. My sister, her friends, and me would pool our money and send them to each other to make sure we each got at least one flower on Valentine’s Day.

In college, during my sophomore year, I met the man I would marry. On a trip from Stanford to Los Angeles to meet his sister, his car was having a lot of trouble. It was leaking oil and we had to keep stopping. It took us about nine hours to get there instead of the six it should have taken. On one of the stops, in the tiny town of Atascadero, we had to get more oil so he parked the car and got out while I waited. When he came back to the car, he had the oil and before popping open the hood to put the oil in, he handed me a little bag with a chocolate covered marshmallow shaped like a heart. It was Valentine’s Day and he hadn’t mentioned it so I though he had forgotten all about it. But he hadn’t. He had bought me a candy at the auto parts store. That was the only valentine I ever got from him in fifteen years of marriage!

 

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How many of you remember hearing that 1962 hit song, Sealed With A Kiss by Brian Hyland? I remember it but of course, I’m of that certain age! It was quite popular long after 1962. It was one of those songs that spoke of all that puppy love we experienced.

When I was a sophomore in high school, there was this boy. Yeah, a very nice one that also thought I was a pretty nice girl. We spent most of the school year together then the end of the year came and we were faced with summer. We didn’t live in the same neighborhood and our families didn’t have much in common so we were pretty sure we were not going to see each other during the summer. In my yearbook, he ended his rather long writing with the part of the lyrics to the song:

“Though we have to say good bye for the summer,

Darling I promise you this,

I’ll send you all my love,

Every day in a letter,

Sealed with a kiss.”

Later that summer, I went to southern California to stay with my aunt and uncle for a couple of weeks. They had a couple of daughters that were close to my age so we got along and we did a lot of stuff that I would never have been allowed to do if I had been at home. We rode bikes all over Orange County and went on a midnight donut run and flirted with boys. One of the things we did a couple of times a week was go to the beach. They lived just down Beach Boulevard from Huntington Beach so it was a straight shot to the beach. During one of those beach trips, I wrote a letter to that young man I had left behind in San Jose. I didn’t swim so while the others were swimming, I would read or write letters. After all the mushy stuff and the details of all the things I had been doing with my cousins, I was perplexed about how to end it. I wanted to make a reference to the lyrics of the song he had quoted in my year book but I didn’t want his mom to see anything on the outside of the envelope as my initial idea was to put on lipstick and kiss the outside of the envelope. So that was nixed then I got the idea to just write “sealed with a kiss” inside the envelope so it would be the first thing he saw when he opened it. So I did, but I also enclosed a pinch of sand from the beach! At least I thought it was a pinch. Later on, I heard that it was more than a pinch and his mom had not liked having to vacuum the sand after it spilled when he opened it!

Can you think of any “memorable” letters you’ve written?

 

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My nephew almost died last week. He’s still in the hospital but he’s much better and should be going home in another three or so days. He presented with what appeared to be an ear infection but turned out to be viral meningitis. Had they not drained the fluid around his brain when they did, he would have died within just a few hours, according to the doctors. Pretty scary.

I spoke to my sister-in-law earlier today and she was frustrated because they wouldn’t let her visit him because of the fear of the flu and her age. She’s in her seventies and not in the best of health so if she were to contract the flu, it could be fatal. We’re having such a bad strain of it this year that it’s not a good idea to tempt the fates. She said she felt like having him walk to one of the windows where she could see him from outside, just so she would have the satisfaction of seeing him for herself. That’s what mamas need.

It reminded me of when that same sister-in-law was in the hospital with the birth of my second niece (from that brother’s side). My first niece was staying with us. I was in high school. My sister-in-law wanted to see her but the hospital didn’t allow children, not even siblings, in to visit. So we did the next best thing. My brother and I drove my niece to the hospital. He went up to my sister-in-law’s room and wheeled her to the window where she could see the car we were in. Then I pulled her out and held her up so her mommy could see her and pointed out her mommy to her. There were tears on both ends but they got to see one another and luckily it was only a couple of days before they were all together in the same room, at home.

Those are the little things that we forget about until years later when they come flying back into our memories. Little things. Little things that mean so much at the time. Little memories, but so important.

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I enjoy beer. I don’t get to drink it much anymore because it can interfere with my medicines and because I don’t have expendable cash.

The other day, when it got cold enough and wet enough to wear a coat, I found a twenty dollar bill in my coat pocket. Score!

While there are a lot of things I could have spent it on,  I was on  my way to the grocery  store and while there, I spotted my bargain beer. It’s not super popular, although after I first discovered it about a year ago I found out that it is the go to beer of college students because of the price and the not so bad taste. Rolling Rock is priced at $8.99 for an eighteen pack. So I spent half of my twenty on Rolling Rock. It will last a long time. My daughter bought me an eighteen pack last year and it lasted me four months.

Tonight, I decided to have a can and as I sipped on it,  it occurred to me that my dad must have felt the same about his go to beer as I feel about Rolling Rock. His was PBR. Pabst Blue Ribbon. It’s cheap and is not bad. My dad had seven kids and was the only bread winner. So he needed cheap beer. It was usually PBR but at times, when he needed even cheaper beer, it was Brown Derby.

So tonight, as I enjoy one can of Rolling Rock,  I’ll toast my dad and I will be thankful that Rolling Rock isn’t too bad.

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That’s where it came from.

I was in bed a little while ago. The grandkids are spending the night and the two boys always want to sleep in my bed and I have to be in the bed with them or they get upset. So I am in the bed not sleeping. I’m in pain but I can’t take the pain pills because they make me zonk out and I can’t do that with the kids here. The little one is not quite nine months old and might wake up because she’s in a strange bed although she normally sleeps through the night. The four year old wakes up and wants to go outside. He actually gets the step ladder and unlocks the chain and goes outside. Even if it’s dark and rainy. And I don’t hear him even when I am not on pain pills so I’m sure I would not hear him on pain pills. So no pain pills. And I have to sleep on my right side to avoid some of the pain but I can’t because of the position of the boys.

So I am in bed, awake. And that’s when it happened.

A memory. It was 1990. An almost forgotten memory and one that I have surely put out of my head for self preservation. But it came back. And it made me cry. I had to get up and leave the room because I was afraid the boys would wake up with my crying. It all came back. I was on the freeway, the 101 southbound, in my car with the kids who were 10, 7, and 2. My kids. My husband had left home six weeks prior to that day because he needed a break and wasn’t sure he wanted to be married anymore. I had gone up north to see my sister and so that the kids could visit with their cousins and so that we wouldn’t be home alone thinking and missing him. We were on our way home. Then a car was passing us and out of the corner of my eye I realized it looked like his car. Then I looked and realized it was. He was driving it but he wasn’t alone. And I didn’t know who the woman with him was. When he saw that it was me and that I had seen him, he floored the gas pedal.

That’s how I found out that my “soul mate” was cheating on me.

And that’s what came flooding back a little while ago. And now for sure I won’t sleep. It will be a long night.

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California

Some of you may remember that I am from California, though I live in Oregon. I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, in San Jose. I lived there until college then moved up the road to Palo Alto. After college I lived in southern California for too many years then found my way back up north to Santa Rosa. I love California. It will always be my home. California, at least a bit of it, lives inside of me.

Santa Rosa. It’s a small town in Sonoma County, about forty-five minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s in Wine Country. And right now, it’s on fire. There is currently a horrible fire storm in a number of counties in the area. I didn’t keep up with the statistics over the weekend because I took a bit of a break from all the news, most of which is horrible or sad in some way. But I know that as of last Friday it had consumed more than three thousand structures, killed at least thirty-one people, and over six hundred were reported missing. Yeah. A real tragedy that has made me so sad.

As my connection to the Houston hurricane which some of you may remember, this Santa Rosa fire has saddened me greatly. Structures that I am well familiar with were totally lost. The beautiful trees and hills have been charred. And, in this case, one of my aunts lost her home. I am just glad that they weren’t home because she and her husband both take sleeping pills and I’m afraid that if they had been home, they may not have been aware of the fire in time. They lived up on a hill top cul-de-sac, where the only way out is a very narrow road. But they weren’t home which is a blessing in some ways. Because they weren’t home, they didn’t have the opportunity to save anything at all. Everything they had, other than what they had with them in their RV (they were on their way to Wyoming) is gone. Their cars. Their clothing. Her doll collection. His extensive gun collection. Their wall safe with a lot of cash melted. (Don’t believe it when they claim they are fire proof.) Their personal memorabilia. Photographs. Mementos. It’s all gone.

My aunt says they are too old to rebuild that custom home. I’m not sure where they will choose to move to. My aunt has lived in the area her entire life and her husband has too, with the exception of his time in the Navy. Their lives are so closely tied to the Santa Rosa area.

My daughter’s former co-workers and friends, some of them anyway, also lost their homes. These are younger people who might not have been properly insured. This is so devastating for them, as well.

Entire neighborhoods are gone and unlike the popular thought, they are not the fancy neighborhoods like the one my aunt lived in. Many of these are where working class people lived and worked and went to school and played. Many of these people lost not only their homes and everything in them (the fire came through without warning, in the middle of the night and people had just moments to grab keys and run), they’ve also lost the place of employment with so many businesses burned to the ground.

There have been some bright spots. Some incredible kindnesses shown. Perhaps I’ll write about some of those this week.

The fires are still going. It has been an entire week of flames in the area and the smoke continues to blacken the skies. If you’re a praying person, please pray for the area and that the fires are put out as soon as possible. And of course, let’s pray for the firefighters who have been working round the clock, often working three back to back to back shifts with no rest.

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Yesterday I lost a friend. He was taken from this earth way too soon. He leaves a hole in many hearts. I have been reading FB posts expressing shock at his death, which came after a sudden illness. It caught so many by surprise. It’s both sad and comforting to read the posts which tell so many wonderful stories about him, many of which I didn’t know.

Many years ago, a year or so after my divorce, I decided that I was going to get out of the house and do something productive other than Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and PTA. Amazingly, the day I expressed this to my shrink, I got a notice inviting me to a meeting of the Stanford Chicano/Latino Alumni Association of Southern California. The meeting was the coming weekend. I decided I was going. I had not been involved with the group previously but I had been on their mailing list for some time. This was my chance to spread my wings. So I went.

That was the start of so much for me. I reconnected with friends and with friends of friends. I not only got involved, as with everything I do, I jumped in with both feet and within the year I was the president of the group. Our monthly meetings were held at my house on weekends. One of the other people in this group was Carl. Carl had been a freshman when I graduated so I hadn’t known him then, although I did recognize him. He became a friend right away. He was supportive, funny, highly intelligent, opinionated but reflective, too. Carl was one who made us all think about a project from different angles. At that time, he drove a very fancy foreign sports car. When he came to our meetings, he was always the first one there and would park his car on the street right in front of my huge front window. My daughter, Tina, was about thirteen or fourteen at the time and she fell in love with that car. She would come to the window and stare at it. During our meetings, we could see her out the window, looking at the car. She was fascinated with it. She asked Carl questions about it. We all got a kick out of it, including Carl. He answered her questions and told her all sorts of information about the car. One day, he smiled at me and looked at my daughter and said that after our meeting, if it was okay with her mom, he would take her for a short ride in the car. She looked at me and asked if it was okay. I agreed, reminding her that she had a couple of things she should finish during our meeting if she wanted to go for that ride. After the meeting and post meeting socializing, she got to go for that ride. They were only gone for about ten minutes but when they returned, Tina was so excited! She talked about it for weeks. I thanked Carl that day and he said it was nothing. He was glad to do it. His eyes sparkled and his goatee smiled a shy, satisfied smile.

That was one of the many things I remember about Carl. He was always there to raise the spirits, support when he could, listen and make suggestions if appropriate. He raised the self-esteem of a young teenage girl when he took her for a ride in a fancy car. He gave substance to her interest in the car and made a dream come true for her with that ride. Carl made the world a better place from his chemical engineering job to his running group; from the alumni group to his Rotary Club. He never forgot where he came from. He never forgot his family, going back to Pueblo whenever he could. He never let anyone down. He gave all that he could.

He leaves the world a better place, although there are many holes left by his death.

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