Friday Fictioneers – From Sea to Shining Sea – Memoirs- January 11, 2015

Begin the Route

Back in 1959, returning from the Philippines, my family (that is my Mother and Father) decided to see America. We arrived in Los Angeles and the next day started driving across the great nation in our new station wagon.

Over the mountains, into the desert, we even passed Salt Lake City by night, my Mom told me, “There’s not one nail in that temple!” A week’s stay at Grandma’s in Illinois, then onward to New Jersey.

The only thing I remember of the trip is miles and miles of road … but we crossed the nation from sea to shining sea.

G.s.k. ‘15

dividerWritten for Friday Fictioneers PHOTO PROMPT – © Copyright Jean L. Hays

Friday Fictioneers – June 20, 2014

First of all I’d like to wish Rochelle a wonderful time during her two week summer vacation!  For the occasion she’s put up a “re-run” but as I’d never seen the photo before it’s a new to me!  Got to love some re-runs!

Copyright -Mary Shipman

Copyright -Mary Shipman

Remembering (1964)

It was the summer of 1964 when grandma decided to redo the bedroom where I’d be sleeping.

She called in my uncle to do the job. He pulled down and replaced the old plaster board, the wall paper was thick: a hundred years of layer upon layer.  Ah, the “wild-life” that scuttled away! He re-did the old undulated floor too.

I got to choose the paint, lilac, which was my favorite color then. He completed the job building me a build-in closet.

Being the oldest of 4 kids, I’d never had a room of my own. It was paradise!

This is a true story inspired by Friday Fictioneers!


Of Tether Ball and Mercury

(C) Sam Ballard - this house was similar to what we lived in on Clark AFB in the Philipines between 1958 and 1959.

(C) Sam Ballard – this house was similar to what we lived in on Clark AFB in the Philippines between 1958 and 1959.

When I was eight years old, I lived in the Philippines and had a friend named Mick Briggs…well, Michelle and most of the time she was called Micky, but she liked calling herself Mick.

She was a year older than I was and had two older brothers.  We used to pass the time inventing games, playing “Easy Money” or bopping around the tether ball her dad had put up for her brothers.  We also used to play war with our other next door neighbors, two very rude boys who used to think that being bully was being cool.

The so-called permanent housing on Clark AFB were a strange affair.  They were huge wooden T shaped affairs on high cement blocks (the photo above is not quite but very close to the house I lived in as we had one of the bigger three bedroom houses.).  All along the house at floor level, there were screened openings, with a little corrugated metal roofing to keep eventual rain from entering; they were natural air ducts.  The windows were huge!  All of this was to keep the houses cool in a time when air conditioning didn’t exist.  I have to admit, the architects did a good job, I don’t remember it ever feeling really hot!

The cool thing was playing under the houses!  Mick and I would build sand castles in the sandy dirt for hours.  Unfortunately I picked up infantigo which was really awful.  These were the days before antibiotic ointments.  I remember my mom washing the scabs off with surgical soap and a rough wash cloth, then my mom would put on some sort of cream and put gauze on the sores.  I also picked up pin worms twice!  So eventually, we were encouraged not to play under the house anymore.

I think one of the greatest days we had together was when her bother broke a thermometer.  He put the mercury into a little bottle and told Mick not to touch the stuff.  When I came over to her place, the first thing she did was to get the bottle and take it to her room.  We poured the stuff out and had a great time pushing the beads of silver all over the place.  Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, her brother came home and found us out!  Of course he shouted at us and put the stuff back in the bottle and marched us into the bathroom to was our hands.

Today, I’m going to talk about tether ball with my students during English conversation and looking up material about the game, I’ve found that the game has become nearly extinct!  Our tether ball pole had a rope nailed to the top of it, and a cloth bag in which we put the ball.  We’d play for hours (or until her brother’s wanted to play, which wasn’t often) and I go pretty good at it.

Christmas 1959, Clark AFB the photo was taken by my Mom

Christmas 1959, Clark AFB the photo was taken by my Mom

Funny how a game can become nearly extinct.  Have you ever come across a game or pass time that just ceased to exist?

Bicycle Hill – Childhood Memories

I loved my bicycle…while it had its training wheels.  Then one day, they took one off.  Well the bike, was a little wabbly, but I could still manage to ride it without too much difficulty, even if I did lean a little to the right.

Then my father thought it was time that I learn how to ride that bike without training wheels.  Out the back of my house in those days, there was a very steep grassy hill.  My father was of the school “throw the kid in at the deep end of the pool and she’ll swim”.  We’re talking 1958.  No padding, no safety helmets.

I watched as he took off my training last wheel.  Inside, I felt about a million of those butterflies that were so common in the Philipines afternoons fluttering in my stomach.  I was feeling a little sick to my stomach.  I tried to go inside, but couldn’t find a good excuse except: “I gotta go to the bathroom!”

“Sure, when you’re done I will be too, then I’ll teach you how to ride a bike!”

I really loved my father, but for some reason I was always a little shy around him.  I just never really felt comfortable  with him, maybe because for the first year of my life we lived separated. He was in the Air Force and he’d been stationed in Alaska so my Mom and I lived at my grandmother’s.  I went to the bathroom, which I didn’t need then returned outside.  And there it was, my trusty bike reduced to a two-wheel menace.

I got onto the bike.  He told me to put my feet on the peddles, that he’d be holding me up.  And for a little while that’s just what he did.  He held the bike up by the seat and the handlebars and then, just by the seat. We went around the back yard for 10 minutes or so.  I was feeling pretty confident by now as he kept repeating, “you see, it isn’t hard at all!”  Then he maneuvered the bike to the hill and let me go…and down the hill I flew.

I screamed and tried to keep the bike balanced and in the end flew off the bike and tumbled down the rest of the hill.  He came down, picked up the bike after dusting me off, and up we went again.

“When you fall off a horse the only thing to do is get back on and ride!”

I knew what was coming and I was crying.  My mom just laughed and said: “come on, you’re a big girl now.”  No help would be coming from her I decided.  So, I got on the bike as I  told, then we went around the yard again, he just holding the seat.  This time he said, “Ok, let’s try the hill now!”  And down the hill I went again.  This time I concentrated and was able to keep my balance until I got to the bottom of the hill and couldn’t stop.

“Heh! You’re supposed to break.  You know how to break!”

And up we went again and down again.  Finally on the third or fourth try, I got down the hill without falling and was able to break.

I knew how to ride a bicycle but I must admit, I never liked riding it after that.

Photography: Bubbles

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When we were venturing into the world of toys a week ago, at Bastet’s Pixelventures, someone, whom I can’t remember (I’ve tried to wade back into my memory…then on the comment archive…alas, oh sigh…) anyway a very brilliant person mentioned something about wanting to play with bubbles, but people would probably think it was inappropriate for a person of her age (I’m pretty sure this person was a lady).  So, I said…I think I’ll buy me some bubbles and have some fun.

One of my favorite toys as a child was “bubbles”!  We couldn’t go into a department store without me running to the toy department and buying yet another bottle of bubbles with the little plastic ring with a handle.  My mother finally got inventive, and just began to re-fill my bottles with dish-soap (Ivory, I think it was).  When the monster bubbles came out in the early 60s…ah Heaven touched the Earth!

So, dear brilliant person, this post is dedicated to you…please tell me who you are in the comments so I can link your blog!

Have a great day folks!