Story-time With Mama Bear: ....
Once upon a time I was a baby boomer child. I wasn't sure what to do with this list request so I just wrote about things that I remember. Please know that number 8 is a trigger for some people, a downer for all, and perhaps you may want to skip it, especially now in the season of love and peace.
- •My brothers and I had so few toys that they all fit in one cedar chest with the lid closed. We shared the board games - chess, checkers, Scrabble, Careers, Clue, Racko, and Monopoly - and we had a bag of marbles and a few decks of cards. My brothers had cars, trucks, toy guns and holsters and I had 3 dolls, blocks, and we shared the Lincoln Logs.I also had jacks and pick-up sticks. They had stick ball bats and balls my father would find in the trash when he was out delivering milk. My brothers had a bunch of sports equipment. My dad also managed to get us each a bike, a radio, and a TV from somebody's trash that he would fix up for us. With my allowance I would buy paper dolls and my brothers would buy comic books and baseball cards. These were our toys for our whole childhood.
- •Thursday nights were game nights. My Uncle Clarence (real name!) lived about 15 miles from us but we rarely went to their house. I think our poor ragamuffin appearance was off-putting to my refined Aunt Erna and their two daughters, our cousins who were both older than us. Uncle Clarence came over after dinner most Thursdays to play games with us.We played Clue or Careers or cards. My family loved to play Hearts and Pinochle. I don't remember ever winning a game because as the youngest I was at a disadvantage. I became an accepting loser and later on, a humble winner. I loved having company no matter who it was. There was no abuse when we had company. And I still love games today. My husband is not a game-lover, so now I only play with my grandkids and online.
- •Birthday parties were very different in the 1950s. The parties were at your house after school for you and your friends. Parties were small because everyone had to fit around your table and city houses are small. At our house we had parties until we finished elementary school and we could invite one kid for each year old we were.Very few mothers worked so most birthday cakes were homemade. And of course they had the number of candles for your age plus an extra for good luck. We played games such as musical chairs or pin the tail on the donkey with dime-store prizes for the winners. Then you opened presents, had birthday cake, and gave everyone a little treat bag to take home. It would last about two hours maximum and then the kids walked home to their houses like they did after school. Things have changed a bit!
- •My childhood Christmas trees were always real trees bought from a neighborhood tree lot in town. Sometimes my mother would tell my older brother to get one as tall as him beginning about when he was a sixth grader and already quite tall. No tree was perfect and we would make up for that by putting extra ornaments and tinsel in the bare spots.We had an old fashioned lit star and those old-fashioned large colored lights. Except of course that they weren't old-fashioned then! We had mostly store-bought ornaments until my friend and I made some as we grew up. When I was little we made paper chains to put on the tree and we continued that until we all moved out but my mother carried that tradition on for years. In our teens we began to also string popcorn for the tree. And we had long silver tinsel that was hard to place on the branches.
- •When I was 10 my maternal grandmother who had malignant stomach cancer needed a lot of care my grandpa was too feeble to provide. So my Aunt Doris went in the daytime and my mother went from 3-11pm to care for them. This is when I was given the assignment to do everything my mother had been doing. I did cleaning, laundry, and cooked dinner.My mother taught me to cook through notes and over the telephone. She would leave a note with what I was supposed to make and her concept of instructions. They were very hard for me to follow though because there were no measurements. So sometimes I needed to clarify over the phone. My father raved about every meal to make me feel good but my brothers were constantly criticizing my cooking. But after about six months I was a pretty good little cook for a 10-year-old.
- •Our Junior high school (grades7-9) was small so classrooms were packed, multiple kids shared a locker, and everyone did not fit in the lunch room even with staggered lunches. So they split the lunch period from one 45-min to two 22-min breaks. The other half of our lunch break we went and sat in the auditorium quietly for study. (Haha)When that didn't work out very well they decided to let the 8th and 9th graders go out for lunch. We still only got 22 min but at least it was enough time to actually get your food and gulp it down with less people. But most 7th graders brought their lunch to actually have the full 22 minutes to eat. And in 8th and 9th we loved being able to go out and leave the crowded building even for just 22 minutes. Crowded classrooms was one of the many joys of being a part of the boomer generation!
- •The public schools in my town found it was cheaper to give every kid who lived more than a mile from school discounted bus tickets than to use school buses. So for junior high and high school I rode the public bus back-and-forth every day. There were two bus choices for me with stops one block or about six blocks from home.You would choose the bus route to take based on what time you got out of school, how long you would have to wait for the next bus, what the weather was like, and whether you wanted to stop somewhere along the way home. Girls had to wear dresses to school until I was a high school junior so I remember having freezing legs waiting for buses. I was poor and often had no tights, just kneesocks. And coats are not enough on a cold Jersey day or in the snow to cover your legs.
- •POSSIBLY TRIGGERS! It feels dishonest that these are all seem like such happy stories, because most of my childhood was not happy. It is Christmas time, the abuse was 50 to 60 years ago, and I have forgiven and have a reasonably good relationship with one of those responsible. And the main culprit, my mother, is dead. But I was severely abused.Sadly, childhood abuse and neglect leaves scars so deep they last a lifetime. They change who you are and who you might have been if you had been loved and nurtured. I have struggled with severe deep depression, general anxiety, and suicidal ideation as long as I remember. It was a nightmare but I believe my sensitivity, empathy, and kindness stem from my childhood suffering. I learned to pick up clues to avoid or minimize abuse and I vowed I would never be like them.
- •Thank you for the list request @jessicaz! ❤️
- •I am sure I will remember more stories and now that we have the "add to your list" feature I may add more. But I feel like the LR was quite a while back so I am going to go ahead and publish it. I don't like to keep people waiting. 😘💕💖
- •My grandchildren are from China. They came here three years apart to be the children of my daughter and SIL when each was 1 year old and now they are 10 and 13. My granddaughter loves origami like @solena and @Jaycer17. When our family took a land/sea trip to Asia in 2013 she loved the peace cranes in Hiroshima.So my granddaughter worked for a long time to make 1000 cranes for the Christmas tree the following year. I am not positive yet fairly certain that she actually stood up on the stairs above the tree and just tossed 1000 cranes on the tree! Perhaps @solena or @Jaycer17 knows about this. I also think they were supposed to leave them wherever they landed. I don't want to post any pictures of my family because they're not part of list so it feels inappropriate to me.
- •This one is for levity. "Blend into the woodwork, and stay out of trouble" Mama Bear, 1990s. I am quoting myself. I wrote this as my #1 annual goal when I practiced respiratory therapy at a large state-run teaching hospital with an ineffective management team. They never left their offices and had no concept of patient care anymore.My shift supervisor threatened to "write me up" but I submitted it anyway, received no repercussions, and got the same raise as everyone else. It was a government bureaucracy where I provided some of the best care of my life but was constantly hounded by the supervisors over tedious nonsense. I was young and cocky enough to actually not care what the supervisors thought! Looking back I am surprised I got away with this! Of course I never achieved this goal!