Trick Or Treat

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I have always enjoyed seeing the kids dressed up in their costumes at Halloween.

Store bought or home-made, it makes no difference to me what costume they’re wearing.  I enjoy seeing the kids dressed up as vampires, ghouls, witches, or whatever their imaginations make them.

Unfortunately last year only two Trick or Treaters visited our home.   A Storm Trooper  and a Soul Sucker; at least that’s what he said he was when he turned to his Grandfather and told him not to worry, he wouldn’t suck his soul.  He was dressed all in black with a very spooky green face.

I remember one year a 1950’s teenage girl visited or so I thought.  When I answered the knock on our door I saw a tall, blonde haired girl wearing the tight sweater, neck scarf, poodle skirt, ankle socks and saddle shoes of a 1950’s teenager.   Next to her was a little Witch.  I sensed her reluctance and wasn’t sure why.  When she came into the porch I could see the effort taken with her makeup.

Blonde wig, bright cherry red lipstick, foundation, rouge and even false eyelashes all true 1950’s style.  It was when I noticed that one of her, uh, headlights was on high beam and the other on low beam and the very masculine hairy legs I realized my 1950’s visitor was a 15 or 16-year-old male.  He had done such a great job with his costume and makeup that I couldn’t help but laugh

“Trick or Treat” he said, his hesitation evident as he slowly held out his bag.  Grinning, I happily dropped several candy bars into his bag.

“I love your costume and your makeup is really good” I told him.

“My Mom helped me” he said, relaxing a bit.

“Are you alone” I asked him.

“I’m with my little sister” he told me pointing to the little Witch waiting on the step behind him.

“Well I really like your costume, I actually thought you were a girl”.  I was trying to think of a way to let him know part of his costume needed a bit of a lift.  Finally, I just pointed at the low side and lifted my cupped hands up and down.  He looked, saw the droop and laughed with me as he made the necessary adjustment.

The sad part was that he thanked me for being so nice.  Evidently a lot of the folks he visited that night with his little sister thought it necessary to take him to task for being too old to be Trick or Treating.  I told him not to worry about it.  Those people were the ones too old to appreciate the spirit of the holiday.   Unfortunately, I also remember having that same conversation with other teenagers in costume and trick or treating on Halloweens through the years after that.

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When I was a kid during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s and we still lived in the city, our costumes came with those plastic masks that often made seeing and  breathing difficult.   You’d see a lot of kids move their masks up to rest on their heads between houses.  If it was a cool evening the warmth of your breath made moisture collect inside your mask but who cared, it was Halloween.

Accompanied by Mom, we would carry pillow cases as we went from home to home collecting our treats and goodies.  It was always fun having people try to guess who you were.  At that time, the neighborhoods were full of people who knew each other.

The streets were busy with kids of all ages going house to house, the air full of young voices calling out “trick or treat”.  I can still remember hearing the crunch of fallen leaves on the sidewalks as we kids rushed to get to the next house, yelling out each other about who had the most goodies.  We would readily accept home-made treats because we knew the person offering the treat.  Looking back I realize it really was a time of innocence when kids were allowed to be kids.  If I close my eyes I can still see the tree-lined streets and all the homes with porch lights on letting kids know they were welcome.

When my sisters and I returned home after all our trick or treating we’d plop down to sit on the kitchen or living room floor and dump our goodies into a pile in front of us.  We’d busily sort through our candy making different piles of all the candy we had received.  Sometimes we’d make deals with each other to trade candy we didn’t really like for something else.  You know, five pieces of this for two of those.  Mom would check through our stuff and then we’d be allowed to eat a piece or two candy before going to bed.

Sleep didn’t come immediately because we’d be busy whispering to each other about the fun we had and how long our stash of candy would last.  Sometimes someone would help themselves to some candy that wasn’t theirs and that would lead to…lets just say “disagreements”.

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When I saw this picture online I was reminded of those silly childhood ditties we used to say.  “Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat”.  I think we would actually sometimes say that and then be reminded by Mom it was “trick or treat” or home.  We quickly remembered our manners.

My husband and I moved our family to the small town where we currently live October, 1981.  My husband would take our boys out every Halloween, walking with them up and down our road, and the main road through Town.  Porch lights would be lit on almost every home as neighbors passed out treats to the kids, and there were a lot of kids at that time.  I stayed home to pass out candy and I loved checking out each and every costumed visitor.

It was probably two or three Halloweens before I found out why my husband never minded walking the boys through Town.  Evidently there were some homes where the kids received candy and the Dads were offered liquid libation to “take off the chill” of the night.  Everyone enjoyed Halloween.

I shouldn’t admit this but my favorite part of the evening was when the older boys (always nameless) would burn the dummy and start the bonfire on the corner of our road and the main road in Town.  The first year I witnessed the bonfire I was shocked that they’d do something like that.  My husband, having grown up in the area, just laughed and told me not to worry, just watch.   He was right, it wasn’t delinquents causing trouble it was just neighbor kids up to a little mischief.

It was always after trick or treating was done for the evening and I quickly realized the boys were always careful about what they used for their bonfire.  I would watch out my windows or from our front porch, waiting to see when they would start this yearly tradition.

One year an old picnic table disappeared from our back yard and became part of the pile.  We never heard or saw anything when they took it but realized it was used when we saw the bonfire.  Those Halloween bonfires always reminded me of stories of ancient times when people celebrated Samhain with bonfires.

The Fire Department was always ready for the bonfire; probably because some of the members participated in this Halloween event when they were younger.  The Department would let the bonfire burn for a bit and them come put the fire out.  It was expected every year and as our boys became older and could Trick or Treat on their own I’m sure they too became part of that Halloween tradition.

I also always enjoyed driving to work the next day and seeing the trees and bushes covered in toilet paper, sometimes so heavy the trees looked snow-covered.

Times and people change.  There are no more toilet papered covered trees and it has been many, many years since there was a Halloween bonfire.  Unfortunately, in this day and age that’s probably a good thing.

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Sadly, last year I turned our porch light off about 7:00 pm as no more Zombies, Princesses, Ghouls or other creatures stopped by for a visit, no voices calling “trick or treat”.  I don’t know where they’ve gone but I miss them.

My porch light will again be on this Halloween…..just in case.

Have fun, be safe, and watch out for things that go bump in the night.  You never know who or what you might meet on this special night.

 

 

 

All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content without the express written permission of the owner….me.

Look Ma, No Hands

Grandchildren are delightful creatures.  No matter how miserable your day is going, when they show up at your door or call you on the telephone the day has just gotten better.  Now that my grandkids are getting older and very electronic savvy instant messaging counts too; Grandma just has to be able to keep up with them.

They see the world through young, unbiased eyes and share that delight with you.

The other day my youngest 3-year-old grandson was spending the day with me and we were watching “his show” which is the BabyTV channel.    I make it a point to talk to him about what he is watching be it numbers, colors, nature segments, shapes, etc.   Grandma Monkey came on and was teaching her Grandson Monkey about other monkeys that happened to have tails.

“Do you have a tail” I asked GR#7.   “Nope” he answers, “I have a pee pee, do you have a pee pee Grandma”?   How can you not smile?

My grandkids are getting older and in November #4 will join the ranks of teenager.  They don’t do or say the wonderful, funny and sometimes inappropriate things they used to when they were younger.  They also don’t always share everything with me as they did when they were younger and I miss that.

Like the time one of my grandsons told me that he discovered when he blew on their dog’s butt she would lick it.

“Why did you have your face at the dog’s butt” I asked him.

“She had hair hanging from there” he told me.

When I was able to stop laughing I suggested that perhaps he should think of a better way to remove hair from that area of the dog.  Later, I thought about our conversation.  I could see where that would sound reasonable to a 10-year-old.  I can remember blowing hair out of my eyes.  Truth be told he probably just didn’t want to put his hand near the dog’s butt.  Face is ok but not the hand.  I understand.

I remembered the time I was walking our Boxer for bathroom reasons.  He squatted to do his duty and then I noticed something hanging from his butt.  It was one of my knee-high stockings that he obviously thought would make a great snack.

He kept turning around in a circle trying to dislodge the stocking but he couldn’t shake it free.  It took me a moment to figure out how to help him since there was no way I was using my hands.  I told him to sit, I put my foot on the stocking and then turned him loose.  Problem solved without using hands or blowing on his butt.

This same grandson likes to watch television with the closed caption on.  When I asked him why his answer was simple.  “The book’s always better than the movie”.

Grandchildren are good for the soul.

 

 

All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner….me.

October, 1997: An Idea Is Born

My sisters and I grew up in a two bedroom house and the six of us girls shared one bedroom.  Even through puberty and those were sometimes very scary years.    We had to learn how to disagree and get over it quickly because, well, you don’t want to sleep in the same room with someone who is pissed at you. My sisters could be very creative and come up with devious ways to get.

It was sometime during the year 1997 that I came up with the idea to hold monthly sister meetings.  I realized we were getting older, were very busy with our families, jobs and just life in general and it felt like we were losing our connection.  To me, at least, it seemed like we weren’t as close as we once were. Certainly we all got together for special occasions and holidays but we, the sisters, didn’t seem to have time together where it was just us. We’d stay in touch with the occasional telephone call but it wasn’t the same. I missed the talks, the teasing, the laughter, and yes, sometimes even the bickering.

The idea was simple.  Each sister would take a turn hosting the sister meet at her home, picking the date and time she wanted.  If you could make it great, if not that was understandable.  There was no pressure that you had to attend, nothing was mandatory. I understood things would and could happen that would prevent everyone from attending each and every meeting.  Refreshments could be whatever you wanted if you wanted.  Keeping it simple was better because the important thing was about being together.  The hostess had free reign and could do what ever she wanted.

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Since it was my idea I hosted the first sister meeting and it was agreed we’d go in birth order after that.  I picked my date, which happened to be close to Halloween that year, and from the picture you can see that we were all pretty excited.  Everyone agreed it was a good thing to do so my idea gave birth to our monthly sister meetings.  Mom had to check out what we were up to and she must have been impressed because for a woman who hated having her picture taken she actually smiled…a little one anyway.

I usually jot down daily notes in my journal but unfortunately I don’t remember the details about each and every monthly sister meeting in the beginning.  Years later I would start writing about our meetings and sharing some of what happened when we were together. What I do remember about that first one is that at some point we decided to go trick or treating. At that time my eldest son was living a short distance from the family home and I remember my sisters and I taking a walk to visit my son.

Picture the six of us dressed as shown in the photo, women in our 30’s and 40’s, walking along the road in our witch hats and carrying black cauldrons. From the response of people in their yards and the traffic passing us on the road we must have presented quite the picture.

I can still remember the look on my son’s face when we knocked on his door; surprise and then a “are you nuts” head shake.  We visited with him for a while and then walked back to my house.  It was shortly after that my husband and brothers-in-law started referring to our monthly sister meetings as the “witch’s meetings”.

Many years later one of my grandchildren actually asked me if I was a Witch.  Evidently he had heard his Dad and Grandfather refer to my monthly meeting as the Witch’s meeting.  I assured him that if I were a Witch I was a good Witch. That was also around the same time that some of my grandchildren began referring to me and my “Grandma magic”.  To this day I have never denied my “Grandma magic”.

Like any newborn our sister meetings have had their share of growing pains.  I mentioned that I missed our bickering and through the years we have done plenty of that at our sister meetings.  At the time I came up with the idea, my sons were grown and living on their own.  Two of my sisters had their children when they were in their 30’s so they had little ones at home at that time.  It wasn’t always easy for them to attend our sister meetings with little ones at home and husbands who were busy.

I made the mistake of voicing my feelings about wanting to keep things sans husbands and kids.  I believed that they would all appreciate some “me time” with the sisters as much as I did.  Evidently that wasn’t the case.  Sisters are wonderful creatures, always ready to point out when you have foot in mouth disease. Through the years I have been reminded by some about that long ago opinion and their disagreement with what I said. You see, we all have very long memories when it comes to something someone said and every once in a while words will be brought up to haunt the speaker.

While those early years are a blur what I do remember about our monthly sister meetings is that they were simple get-togethers.  The Hostess would usually provide munchies and drinks and we’d sit around the kitchen or dining room tables and talk, sharing what was happening in our lives at the time.  Eventually, card and dice games were introduced and more elaborate meals were prepared; appetizers, entrée and desert.   When holidays came around we started doing “themes” similar to what I did for our first October meeting and then we added  cookie exchanges to our December sister meetings.

For a number of years it did, indeed, seem as though our sister get-togethers were more about playing different games for money and the conversations would be about winners or losers.  Certainly there would be brief comments about what was happening in someone’s life but the focus seemed to be on games and what the Hostess was going to serve.   Sister #4 started calling our sister meetings “food fests” and that wasn’t a compliment.

That has changed.  The unexpected death of Sister #3, Andrea, has deeply affected each of us.

We grew up in a family where feelings or emotions were not easily shared so, while some of my sisters may disagree, I still don’t think we easily share our deeper feelings, not even with each other.  Oh, our anger about the circumstances leading to Andrea’s death is easily discussed but we tend to keep our sorrow and pain to ourselves.   Our last couple of sister meetings have been more subdued,  more like they were at the beginning; no games just talking to and listening to each other.  Simpler.

I like talking to my sisters, hearing the sound of their voices, seeing the expressions on their faces when someone says something snarky, the sound of their laughter.  Andrea had a one of a kind laugh, especially when she laughed uncontrollably.  She’d make this noise like a cross between a fog horn, honking goose and animal bark and the more she laughed the worse it sounded.  You could not hear her laughter without laughing yourself, so hard your belly would hurt.  Tears would roll down her face, and sometimes our’s, as she’d make funny comments between her gasping breaths and laughter. There were times she’d laugh so hard she’d comment about her false teeth falling out. The last time she laughed like that someone was quick enough to record the sound of her laughter and ours.

Technology is great and has its place in our lives.  Facebook, Twitter, texting, Iphones; certainly it was an Iphone that allowed us to record Andrea’s laughter that day.  However, I don’t think you should only rely on those methods of communicating as so many do today.  I believe we should remember to sometimes personally reach out to those you care about, speak to them, hear the sound of their voice.  When someone you love is no longer here will you remember the sound of their texts or tweets?   That last thought suddenly popped into my head and stayed there so I’m going with it and leaving it in my story.

I will always remember my sister’s laughter.

October, 2017 marks the 20th Anniversary of our monthly sister meetings.  They have not always been fun-filled, joyful years and there were a few times when we came close to stopping our sister meetings altogether.  I’m glad we didn’t because I believe our monthly meetings have helped us deal with some very difficult times through the years.   The downside of getting together every month since Andrea’s death is that we feel her loss each and every time we’re together and it still hurts.  Though we don’t speak of it, we all know that we’re going to be hurting again sometime in the years to come.  Andrea opened that door first taking us all by surprise, and while we may want to close and lock that door, life has it’s foot jammed in the doorway keeping it cracked open.

That’s what makes today, the here and now, so important.  Hopefully we’ll continue to get together every month and do so for as long as we can.

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We may not say the words “I love you” enough or hug each other enough but I know we carry each other in our hearts, we always will, and deep down I believe we all know that.

Happy Anniversary Sisters, I love you all.

 

 

 

 

 

All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express permission of the owner…me.

Godzilla Returns

Parenting isn’t easy.  You want to do right by your children and raise them to be honest, responsible, hard-working, caring individuals and hope that they will carry those traits into adulthood.  Teaching responsibility by actions works better than just by word.  At least that’s what I believed when I was a young mother raising three boys.

It would be nice if kids came with an instruction manual each time a child was born.  New child, new manual to fit the different person that child will become.  Unfortunately that’s not the way raising children works.  Sometimes it’s just do the best you can, learning as you  muddle along, hopefully gaining wisdom from any mistakes you make.   I can assure you I have learned a great deal during my 63 years of life.  I’m still learning.

Sharing one bedroom with five sisters meant there was a place for everything and everything was to be in its place.  In other words, I couldn’t and still can’t, handle clutter.  For me that meant when you were done with something you put it away.   I mean, my sisters and I always kept our things picked up and put away.   I didn’t take into consideration that boys could or would be different in that respect.  Well, at least the males in my family, from the oldest to the youngest, were different in that clutter didn’t seem to bother them.

Years of sharing one bedroom with five sisters evidently resulted in some psychological side effects.  Clutter around our house drove me nuts when our sons were at home and it still does today.  I learned my lesson so when the clutter starts to get to me I have more self-control now when it comes to the urge to throw things away.

The truth is when my boys were toddlers they loved to help, picking up their toys and helping me with little chores but as they grew older, sadly, that changed.  As I said before, I wanted to be sure my boys were learning responsibility and to appreciate what you have.  I also believed that when it came to raising children, you should always say what you mean and do as you say.

That belief would bite me in the ass big time.   If I could have a “life moment do over” this story is about one of those times.

My middle son has always been a huge fan of Godzilla.  He would watch all those 1960’s, black and white movies over and over whenever they were shown on television.  When the movies came out for VCR’s he could watch them whenever he wanted.  One Christmas, when he was 9 or 10 years old, perhaps 11, Santa brought him the action figure, Godzilla.  A lever at the back of his head made him spit fire and you could push a button his arm and his fist would fly off.  My boy loved that toy.  I can still see the look on his face when he opened his present.   His eyes sparkled with happiness and his grin was so big that it seemed like it went from ear to ear.

My boys were and sometimes still are procrastinators, especially my middle son.  Getting them to pick up after themselves was not always easy as they got older and I would often have to repeat myself.

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One day they were totally ignoring me and I finally told them if I had to pick up their toys they would all go in the garbage.  This is where  my “say what you mean and do as you say” belief comes in.  They wouldn’t put their toys away so I grabbed a garbage bag, picked up their toys and everything I picked up went into said garbage bag.  This happened on the day for garbage pick up so out went the bag full of toys.  I made sure to let the garbagemen know that one particular bag was full of toys, not garbage.

Now for the lesson to be learned.

The look on my son’s face broke my heart but I believed I was teaching him a valuable  lesson.  When Hubby came home from work he saw something was wrong with our middle son and asked me what happened.  I told him everything and he just looked at me.  “Why didn’t you just put the bag in the attic” he said.

I hadn’t thought of that and the realization of what I had done hit me…..hard.   I carried Godzilla guilt for years after that and still do when ever I think about what I did that day.

Fast forward 20 plus years and my sons are married with families of their own.  One day the entire family was together at our home and my sons started reminiscing about things from their childhood and the subject of Godzilla  was raised.  They joked and laughed, including my middle son,  but I saw the look in his eyes.  It was that same look he’d had as a little boy when I screwed up and put his Godzilla out in the garbage.  Right then and there I was determined to replace his Godzilla.  This idea led to my first adventure with Ebay.

I registered with Ebay and then began my search until I found the same Godzilla as the one I’d thrown away so many years ago.  It was close to the end of the bidding time so  I placed my bid, increasing my bid until I was the highest bidder.  I sat at the computer, staring at the screen smiling.  This was so easy.  What I didn’t realize, being an Ebay virgin,  was that some bidders will wait until the very last few seconds to place a higher bid.  The fact that our internet at that time was AOL dial-up and it sucked didn’t help.  I lost that Godzilla.  It took a while, but I found another Godzilla, and this time I increased my bid, finger on the key, ready to hit it at the last possible second and….the internet connection failed.  I lost again.

Now I’m pissed.  Hubby was with me when I finally found another Godzilla and this time I was determined to win.   I set my highest bid at $500.00.  Hubby started to say something but the look on my face told him silence was the best course of action.  No one out bid me and I had my Godzilla.  The amount of my winning bid shall remain between me and Godzilla.

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Holding on to that Godzilla until Christmas was one of the most difficult things I’ve done but it was worth the wait.  I made sure that was the last present my son opened and for once none of my sons were able to guess what the gift was.  The look on his face was the same as that Christmas all those years ago when Santa gave him that first Godzilla.   You know, the one I threw away.

To this day Godzilla stands on a shelf with my son’s other collectables and no one is allowed to touch him, not even his boys.  The exception was the day I removed Godzilla from his shelf to take this picture. Don’t worry son, no garbage bag was used in the taking of this picture.

I like to think that my Ebay Godzilla is actually my son’s original toy.  One of the garbagemen rescued Godzilla from the dump and later decided to sell him on EBay where I found him.   A Mom can dream.   It also helps ease the guilt I sometimes still feel knowing I hurt my child’s feelings.

By the way, I did get my “life moment do over”……grandchildren.

 

 

All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner….me.