Life lessons from a little boy

As a teenager it was an unwritten rule that I act as bad ass and emotionless around my family as much as possible.  Looking back on it now I have no idea why I was like that but at that time  I had legitimate reasons for everything that I did.  I was in a constant battle with my mother over the boy that I swore was my soulmate and would stop at nothing to prove to everyone that we belonged together.  That resulted in almost nightly arguments with my mother who hated him with every breath in her body.  My sister and her two little boys had moved in with my mom and I so they were unfortunately subjected to my stubborn teenage attitude and my regular screaming matches with mom.  Usually after mom and I were done yelling I would retreat to my room, slam the door and turn up my music real loud (yep, I’m sure that showed her, huh?)  one day after a particular loud argument I went into my room, slammed my door and plopped down on my bed. Then, I heard a few taps on my door.

then a few more……..

 

“Aunt Stacey? Can I come in?”

 

my little five year old nephew Brian was standing at my door with his lips pressed between the crack of the door and the frame. Tapping his fingers rhythm style while he asked again

 

“Can I please come in?”

 

I opened the door and he looked up at me with a smile.   I had laid down the law early on when my sister moved in with the boys that they were to ask before coming in my room.   As if my room held the legendary chamber of secrets,  it was still my safe haven and whatever privacy I had at home I intended on keeping in tact.

 

“Yeah,  come in”

As he walked in I closed the door (loudly) behind him, making my point to whoever else was in the house that I was still upset.   He  sat down on the edge of my bed and looked around.   I know he didn’t have any clue what I was upset about or what was going on, he just knew that tensions were  high in our homestead and he wanted to lighten the mood.   That day  I know I must have vented to him at least a dozen teenage angst’y issues and I know he didn’t really understand a word of what I was talking about.   Still,  he sat there patiently and listened as if he did.   Even if he didn’t say a word during my entire rant it didn’t  matter,  it still helped because he was there, and he cared enough to listen.   After that we would ‘hang out’ pretty regularly when I was home,  even if it was to hide in my room and listen to music.   It made it easier to be home when my sister and the kids were home,  especially as the tension between my mother and I worsened the older (and more emotionally dependent) I became to my ex boyfriend.

One particularly awful weekend I had been sick off and on for the past few days and started worrying that I may be pregnant.  The last thing I wanted to do was tell my mom so I kept it to myself for the time being until I was sure.  That Monday I skipped school and went to the health department down the street and took a pregnancy test.  It came back positive.  When I told my ex that I was pregnant he said he was elated but warned me that if anything ever happened to him that his family would make sure that the baby was raised by THEM and not me.  (** more on this subject will be explained in another entry..  it’s just too much to go into right now!**)  I kept the ‘big news’ from my mother for a few days until one night when I didn’t come home from school and instead had gone out with the boyfriend and went to one of his father’s employees’  homes.   His dad was one of the ‘top bosses’  (or so he kept telling me,  who knows if it was even true)  and I noticed that a  small group of people that worked for his dad enjoyed ‘sucking up’ to the boss’s son.  Chris would bring me along to their house (which only was a few blocks from mine) on nights they played board and roleplaying games such as Dungeons and Dragons.   Despite the fact that they were all at least twice our age,  they were all really nice people and I enjoyed visiting with them.    My mother, on the other hand was furious. In her mind they must have been mentally unstable sickos to allow two teenagers to go to their house.   One night we were at their house and my mother comes knocking on their front door.   I have no idea how she found out where we were but just seeing her standing on that porch with that enraged look on her face made me want to crawl into a little hole and die….   That night when I came home it was on between my mom and I!   Not only had she embarrassed me but she made an ass out of herself acting the way she did to people she didn’t even know!     As we argued my nephew came out of his room and stood quietly in the hallway.   I know he hated to hear us fight and deep down I hated for him to witness anything like this, ever.

“Stacey! I’ve had it with your SHIT!”

 

“You are going to be a LOSER just like he is! You are throwing your life away!”

 

“He is never allowed in this house,  ever again!”

 

That last thing she said sent me over the edge!    I remember my eyes welling up with tears and sucking in a huge breath of air as I blurted out

 

“Well then you’ll never see your grandchildren!!!!”

 

The silence was deafening after that.   My mom sat there and looked at me,  speechless with her mouth open.    I had no idea what she was going to yell next… but she didn’t yell,   she spoke softly.

 

“So, that’s how it’s going to be… you’re pregnant now…”

 

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed Brian had vanished from the shadows of the hallway where he had been standing and listening to us this whole time.  I imagined him running into his room, jumping into his bed and hiding underneath the covers to prepare himself for what could only be described as “Mom-ageddon”

 

“YES!  I’m pregnant!   and I feel sick,  and I don’t need this stress!   and I hate YOU! and I hate that you hate Chris because I love him and I am going to marry him!”    I was so mad I could feel my cheeks flush,  and my stomach wanted to throw up.   I knew the neighbors could probably hear me yelling and at that moment I didn’t care.  In my eyes my whole life was crumbling down because nobody understood me.   My mom just sat there and shook her head slowly, burying her face into her hands.  I can only imagine now what she was thinking…   her stupid daughter, and that jerk boyfriend of hers just got themselves into one of the biggest messes of all.    She started ranting on about how I would never go to college now and never have a career.  All of these things that in her eyes had been within grasping distance of me had all been yanked away forever because now I was going to be a teen mom.   She couldn’t even factor consider any of Chris’s family into this situation as being any form of help either.. my mom didn’t like Chris’s father and she thought his mother was a delusional wackjob.   I could tell the gears in my mother’s head were spinning trying to figure out how to even start to comprehend what was going to happen next.   I know she had toyed with the idea of tossing me out of the house more than a few times.   A couple years before all of this  I had abruptly left the house to go live with my father and his new wife for a short time,  but that hadn’t worked out very well.   Back when my step mom and I didn’t get along at ALL.  I was still in the mindset that my mom and dad belonged together and the best thing for both of them was to get back together.   In my mind Donna was just a homewrecker and us living under the same roof was, in her words “a living hell”.   Anyways,  after that short time I had moved out I think my mom had an easier time accepting me getting out to learn life on my own.  Lord knows I wasn’t listening to her!

Just then I felt a gentle tap on my arm.    Little Brian was standing next to me with one of his backpacks over his shoulder  that he used for school.  He had some items stuffed into it,  books, etc.   Tucked underneath his arm was a stuffed toy rabbit that I knew was one of his favorite.   It was a white rabbit with longish springy ears.   Brian used to tell me that this toy was especially special because it had ‘caught his very first tears”.

 

“Grandma?   Aunt Stacey?”

 

I was in no mood for anything else,  and that bitchy, nasty, stone faced teenager once again surfaced in me.  I had never lashed out at my little nephew before .. until now.    He reached up to tap my arm again and I jerked away from him,  even startling myself that I had done it.  I looked down at him and  heaved in a huge annoyed sigh.

“WHAT DO YOU WANT??”   He jumped a bit when I snapped at him but still held tightly onto his backpack and that bunny.  He then turned to my mom,  his grandma
He then said what has to be one of the sweetest things I had ever heard…

 

“We need to start selling some things so we can have some money for Aunt Stacey’s baby”

 

Setting his backpack that contained some of his prized belongings  down at my feet he looked up at me and smiled,  then starting to talk about when we should plan a garage sale as soon as possible.

“I have more things I’ll bring out.   A whole bunch!   We can make a lot of money!”

 

I honestly didn’t know what to say… a lump had formed in my throat that really made me want to throw up.   After all the fighting between my mom and I and all the bullshit we were yelling at one another, the only thing this little boy cared about at that moment was the baby.  As young as he was,  he was so concerned about making everyone around him happy.  His main focus was to try his best to make everything better by trying to help the problem the only way he knew how.     That kid had a heart of pure gold.   Right that moment I  wanted to scoop that little boy up and hug him tightly and tell him how much I loved him,  but then I looked over at my mom who was still staring at me.   I couldn’t let her see me breaking down,  not now..   So instead I did something awful and heartless…

I looked down at my nephew standing next to me and coldly rolled my eyes.   “Oh WHATEVER! That’s so stupid!” I hissed down at him.  I remember he just looked up at me with a big confused look on his face and then quietly watched as I  turned around and stomped back into my room,  slammed my door loudly and turned up my music loud.   Not more than a few minutes later there was a knock my door.  It was Brian…

 

“Can I please come in Aunt Stacey?”

 

“NO!  GO AWAY!”

*deafening silence on the other end of my door*    Then….

“Please?”

“Damnit!   Leave me alone!  Go away!  GO AWAY”

 

I think he stood out there for a few more minutes until he finally walked away.   I had my ear pressed to the door listening to see if he was still there and eventually I heard nothing.    Faintly I could hear my mom telling Brian that he didn’t do anything wrong.     That I was having a temper tantrum and it was nobody’s fault but my own.    She was absolutely right…

That night I laid in my bed buried in my covers and cried my eyes out.  To have treated my littlest ally that way was totally and utterly wrong.  All I could think about was what he had said about offering to sell his things to make our lives easier for a new baby.   He cared so much about me,  and about my well being.     Of everyone under my roof,  this little guy always had my back.. and I had treated him horribly.   I cried all night and woke up the next morning nervous to face him for breakfast.   What would I say?   How would I apologize for being a heartless bitch to this little boy who just wanted to help.   But when I got up to go get some cereal,  he was sitting at the kitchen table watching his cartoons.    He looked up at me with a smile and just said  “Oh!  Good morning Aunt Stacey!”  as if nothing had happened.   The backpack full of things, including his beloved stuffed rabbit still sat in a pile on the floor where he had left it the night before.

 

Brian and I never talked about that day,  at least I purposely never mentioned it again.  Just the thought that I had treated him that way still hurts me to this day.  After that day though,  I saw him in a different light.   He was smarter than the average kid.  His mom had raised him to have a big heart and to put others first.   He was always excited to come home after kindergarten to tell us all about what he learned that day.   Good manners,  always saying please, thank you and excuse me and always helping around the house with chores.    He reveled in doing the right thing and made sure that we were all doing the same.   It was also his influence that helped lessen the tension between me and my mom,   we both realized that if a little 5 year old boy can act more mature than us,  then we had a lot to learn about our relationship.   It didn’t make the quarrels that we had over my boyfriend… but we never fought that way ever ever again.   We worked on a better way to communicate,

 

I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for Brian and thank my sister for bringing him into the world.   I love that kid to the moon and back…  Thank you, Brian..

 

 

The other Stacey’s mom

In my elementary school class we had two Staceys, myself and another girl.    We were friendly with one another for the most part but I wouldn’t say we were ‘friends’.     She was more social than I was (back then the lunch lady was more social than I was!) and I would just assume melt into the wallpaper most days at school rather than    be a part of a gaggle of girls.   That’s why I have so many observation stories to share,  I wasn’t like a ‘normal’ kid.  But anyways..

If I remember correctly the other Stacey’s mother worked in some position at our school so she was able to keep a close eye on her daughter.  In social terms that made her more popular.  Her parents had a big house, drove a nice car and she always had pretty clothes.  Every year for her birthday her mother would bring trays of cupcakes to her class for all of the kids.  She was liked by everyone and everyone wanted to be her best friend.   A few of my classmates had mothers that were teachers or worked in the church part of the school while mine was a glorified stay at home mom. (nothing at ALL to be ashamed of because my mom rocked her job!)  but in ‘popular kid’ terms that wasn’t enough to join the cook kid cliques.   Cliques in my class were easily divided by popularity and that means the only clique I was in was my own.  Well, me and one other person, my best friend Tammy.  At school her and I did everything together, and when she wasn’t at school I would sit by myself somewhere at recess and patiently wait for the day to be over.   My teachers told my mother about it all the time and said I needed to be more social with the other kids.  So my mom signed us up with some carpool to school program that the other mothers were doing. Every day a different mom would drive us all to and from school. ( It just so happened that the kids that were in my carpool was a few of the girls who weren’t very fond of me.)  When the carpool idea didn’t work,  the teachers in my class started putting me and the other Stacey together in the same study group hoping that we would become bffs based on the fact that we shared the same name.  Then, one day her mother showed up to our classroom and passed out party invitations to everyone in the class,  myself included.   Stacey was having a birthday party.

My mom was more excited about the party than I was.  She went out one day while I was at school and bought a birthday gift for me to take to the party and then picked out my outfit I was going to wear.   Thankfully Tammy was invited too and I knew I could rely on her to help me blend into the surroundings.  My mom, however urged me to try to make new friends.  All I could tell her was “I’ll try”.

I remember walking inside Stacey’s house and thinking to myself “WOW”.   Every inch of her house was decorated up for this party right down to colored balloons, streamers and her name on banners pretty much in every room.   Stacey was all dressed up with yellow ribbons in her hair  and very politely thanking everyone for coming all the while as her mother was ushering kids into the back yard for festivities.  There were games, food,  and all of the kids were getting along well for the most part, and I remember I even came out of my shell for a bit that afternoon since the kids that were normally mean towards me seemed to accept me and we all ran around acting like little girls (as much as we could run around in our party dresses, that is!)

Just before the party was over,  Stacey’s mother told us all to get in a line and lead us over to a patio table where a big book sat.

“Now, I want everyone to sign this for Stacey!”  she said “Write something nice about her and how much you appreciate this party”   I looked over at Stacey and she was burying her face in her hands.  I think she wanted to fade away into her surroundings like I usually did.  The book turned out to be a memory book of some sort.  A glorified baby book and beyond, so to speak.  Every single social event in her life so far had been documented in this book and her mom carefully made sure that her daughter had a memento that she would look back on in years to come and remember how much fun her childhood was.
By the time I got to the table she handed me a pen and I started to write “Thank you for inviting me to your party,  love Stacey”   Her mom looked at what I was writing and snatched the pen out of my hand and tossed it onto the table.   “What? No!…  write something else … something you like about her! You can do much better than that!”.  Normally her mother was so sweet and soft spoken,  but not now!     I looked at all of the other signatures before me and there were things like “I like your dimples”  “you have a nice back yard”   “your cake was pink, my fav color”    Finally I picked the pen back up  wrote “I like that we have the same name”  and handed the pen back to her.   She took it, looked back down at what I wrote and dismissed me with a wave.   I guess my entry was sufficient.  I then went back into the yard and joined the other kids who were all now looking for Stacey.  She was nowhere to be found though, and I think she stayed scarce until the party ended and our parents all arrived to pick us up.  After that her mother came out and passed out party bags for everyone that had toys and other things inside them.  “Stacey picked each of these out just for you!”   That appeased us kids for the most part and everyone seemed to forget the weird book incident.

After that I saw Stacey,  and the other popular kids in a different light.    Everybody had some form of weirdness they had to deal with in their lives.. whether you were popular or not popular.   Her mom wanted to preserve her daughter’s social life in a book,  whether she liked it or not.    I have no doubt she meant well… but she should have gotten more of her daughter’s input first.

 

I wonder if she still has it to this day..?

Money in snails

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A few of my more recent posts have had a darker tone so I figured I would lighten things up a bit with a childhood memory.

When I was  little I was fascinated with pennies and other shiny coins just like any other kid my age.  I was too young to have an ‘allowance’,  but my father would occasionally  give me special chores around the house in order to earn a few coinage. Whenever he presented these tasks to me he made it sound like only I could do it and it was VERY important.   It kept me busy and would give my mom a break from having to find things for me to do.   This one particular time I remember he was out gardening as he did every weekend.   I would sit out and watch him or occasionally pick up a rake and do my best attempt at helping.   He brought me over the bucket that he would use to wash his VW and set it down next to me.

“Stacey, I have a fun project for you to do tomorrow! The snails are eating our garden,  how about I give you a nickel for each one you find in the yard?   Put them in this bucket and I will count them when I come home from work ”

Challenge.  ACCEPTED!

That night all I could think of was starting the next morning as early as possible so I could find every snail that resided on our property.  I had dreams of making handfuls and handfuls of nickels,  enough to buy whatever I wanted at Toys R Us..  Yep,  I would be rich and my dad would be so proud of me when he saw that I had cleansed the earth of those shell wearing, plant eating pests!

 

I grabbed my bucket (didn’t get up at the crack of dawn like I had planned but I was still out early enough before my mom started playing her soap operas on the kitchen television)  and got to work.     I scoured every inch of the yard both back and front.   Behind every bush, flower, rock, along the fence line, around the trees…    and by the end of the day I had accumulated a large cache of snails.     To a child’s eye I had hundreds in that bucket when in reality I probably only had maybe 20 or 30.    It didn’t matter,  all I cared about was my daddy was going to be thrilled with me and I was going to make a LOT of money!    My mom called me in for lunch shortly after that and I could hear “All my Children” on her television,  so I knew it was around noontime.  I didn’t want the snails climbing out of the bucket so I carried it inside into my bathroom and placed it in the bathtub. Closing the little sliding glass door shut on the tub I thought to myself   “There!   they would never get out and would be safe and sound for when my dad got home!”

My father usually came home from work in the evening around 6 or so  (or just after when the ABC evening news theme could be heard on the television).   Mom kept her small kitchen TV playing throughout the day while she puttered around doing her ‘mom things’ so I was able to tell certain times of the day just by what I heard coming from that tv.   I ate lunch,  then went to my room to play.   All I could think of was how proud my dad was going to be when he saw how hard I had worked in the yard that day..  Maybe he would even pay me DOUBLE per snail!     I was going to be set for life!

“OH MY GOD!  DAMNIT!  STAAACEEEEEYYY!!!”
My mom’s voice boomed through the house like an explosion.  I remember I had my bedroom door closed and occasionally I could hear her walk to and from past my door throughout the afternoon doing whatever she was doing.

 

“STACEY!”

 

I opened my door and walked out into the hall.  Literally having no idea what was wrong I looked in the kitchen and the living room for her,  but she wasn’t there.

“Mommy?  where are you?”   I stood there silently waiting for her reply
“I. AM. IN. YOUR. BATHROOM!”

Oh.. ok.     I continued down the hall towards the bathroom still wondering why she was so worked up.   Mom was sort of a drama queen and did tend to overreact at times so it could be anything.    Still, I hadn’t done anything wrong (in fact, in my mind I was a hero that day!)  so the sound and tone of her voice didn’t  jar me one bit ….  until I peeked around the corner into the bathroom.

 

Now,  they say that when you are young and learn things for the first time,  life experiences tend to help things ‘stick’ in your mind more.  Stuff like ‘don’t touch one of the stove burners while they are hot’… burn yourself once and you never do it again.    ‘don’t pick up a bee with your bare hands to get a closer look’…. you’ll get stung.   The lesson I learned today was this:

Snails can get out of a bucket.  snails can also get out of a bathtub with a sliding glass door.   They do not climb, they do not hop and they do not fly… they slime themselves out of the bucket, across the tub and up the wall.

What my mother saw when she walked into the bathroom I am surprised she didn’t pass out.  There were snails everywhere… EVERYWHERE~  on the walls, ceiling, all across the room.   Their slimy trails decorating behind them in zig zag patterns…. all over the white walls.

 

“What the HELL is this?!”

 

I looked around the room still confused at what I was looking at.   huh… I didn’t think they could do that.   I think all I was trying to ponder was why did I find so many on the ground if they could go wherever they wanted by sliming themselves around like that.  Maybe there was more up in the trees I could find later.!

 

“LOOK AT THIS GODDAMN MESS!”

 

Oops.. mom cussed but only mild cuss words.   She would say damnit, and hell the most  (never, ever the brown word or the dreaded f word)   She still would make those 2 mild words just as lethal sounding by the way she pronounced them.     By that time I finally started weighing in on the severity of this situation.   She walked out of the bathroom and I followed behind her.   Stopping for a second she doubled back to the bathroom and slammed the door shut muttering something about how she didn’t want the snails to get out any further.   I continued to follow her into the kitchen explaining the whole situation from my innocent point of view.   I told her about the very important job daddy had given me and how I was going to make a lot of money off of those snails and I didn’t want them left outside where they could crawl out so I brought them in to the bathroom where they would be safe.    Mom waved her hand in front of her face as if to tell me she had heard enough..  with a huge sigh she sat down on her white ‘telephone talking’ stool, picked up the phone and dialed a number.    I sat down at the kitchen table and watched her,  still trying to process the fact that I had done something wrong rather than something completely amazingly awesome.

“Cindi,  do you want to hear what your little sister just did?”

She had called my sister.   Uh oh…   I sat silently and listened to her recant the whole story from when she walked in and found the snails right up to my version of why I had done what I did.   When she was done talking she was silent for a few minutes,  then said “Ok.. I will talk to you later after Frank gets home”   and hung up the phone.

“Mommy, I wanted to say hi to Sissy!”    Really bummed out that she had hung up the phone before I was able to talk to her.    Mom did another deep, heavy sigh and looked over at me sitting at the kitchen table.

“Oh,  she couldn’t talk…. she was laughing too hard”

Mom spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up the bathroom walls.   I asked her once if I could help but she replied that I had done enough and to go do something else in my room.  I didn’t argue…

Later on that evening when my father came home I am sure mom unloaded on him.   I think I hid in my room until after that exchange was done, unsure of what would happen.   A few times up until he got home I went to my room and cried finally realizing how badly I had screwed up.  All I wanted to do was make my daddy happy and make a few bucks on the side!   Would he be mad at me?   Would he never ask me for help again?  Was I a huge disappointment?

Dad came into my room and sat down on my bed.    Now was the moment if he was going to yell at me it was going to happen.   I looked at him and couldn’t even think of what to say.. so I waited for him to say the first word.

“Well now, your mother told me what happened today….”

Uh huh…   I looked down at my feet and was waiting for him to react the way mom had.  Imagine my surprise when I looked back up at him and he was smiling.

“I guess now we learned something new today about snails!”   he said with a smirk.

He wasn’t mad at all!    He knew my intentions were well meaning and I wasn’t in trouble!   That’s all I was worried about the whole day was disappointing my dad.     He probably sat quietly while my mom yelled and screamed about his ‘stupid’ idea to have me collect snails,  then when she was through he came in to make sure I was okay.   My father the hero!   I never gave him enough credit for being the one who understood me the most.

That night he took me to 31 Flavors ice cream for a cone.   We would do that occasionally and walk up and down the little strip mall looking in all the windows of the businesses while we ate our ice cream.  I don’t think we talked at all about the snails but this was his way of telling me that everything was going to be okay.    Dad still gave me occasional mini jobs to make a little money,  but they never EVER again involved snails!

The above story became a tradition of sorts  to recant at holiday gatherings,  to visiting friends (and my boyfriends), and basically to anyone that would listen when the mood struck my mother or sister.   Cindi had told me years later that it was one of her favorite stories to tell people.     Her little sister that painted the bathroom walls and ceiling with snail slime.   Yep,  that’s me!

 

Vintage record collection- Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass !! Going Places !!

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How funny… up until I took and uploaded these pictures I always thought it was Herb AlBert. 🙂   I was a very eclectic kid growing up.. aka my parents’ record collection became my own.   As you’ll continue to see I used to listen to a variety of different records.   It didn’t make any difference to me,  it was music and I had it there right in front of me.

Vintage Record Collection- earning points with cigarettes!

My parents were avid smokers growing up.    In fact,  that’s what ultimately did my mother in.    She had lung cancer which had progressed into her brain before she was able to get to the doctor and have herself checked.  Back when my mom was growing up smoking was considered glamorous and socially acceptable.   Even on TV programs like one of my favorites “I Love Lucy”   they showed smoking nonchalantly.

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so to have my parents grow up the way they did was totally ‘normal’,  I guess.    Smoking was never my thing though, I mean I tried it of course  (what kid doesn’t?) back when I was in middle school,  but it made me vomit and I never did it again.

One Mother’s day I remember calling my mom to wish her a happy day and she said something I’ll obviously never forget.   She said   “You know,  I was just sitting here thinking about something that’s so interesting.  When I was pregnant with your brother and sister I didn’t smoke one time…and they smoke.   Then when I was pregnant with you I smoked the entire pregnancy and you don’t smoke.  Isn’t that funny?”

Uh… define the word ‘funny’ mom..  although maybe that is the reason why I never had the desire to take up the habit.    It also could be the reason why I fell behind so much in school,  had an awful stutter and lisp as a child and still have a hard time focusing.    But anyways,  as usual I’ve gotten way way WAY off track.

Back in the day when smoking was more socially acceptable you could collect ‘points’ on every carton of cigarette to earn prizes.   My mom could have probably purchased a car with all the points she collected (sarcasm of course but not too far off from the truth)    She would give me some of the gifts occasionally such as calendars, address books, wearing apparel.   Nicely made items but still little commercials for their products.  Mom meant well giving me these so I would never slight her for it.    She would also accumulate points for breakfast cereals and drink mixes to also get prizes in the mail so cigarettes weren’t the only thing she collected points for.     Well in the records I was going through it looks like “Lucky Strike” also had something to offer for purchasing a certain amount of their product.   Imagine,  lighting up a cigarette, kicking back and listening to these tunes on a midsummer’s night.
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I don’t think you can get these types of things anymore since the tobacco companies are under constant scrutiny.  Not that that’s a bad thing at all….

Vintage Record Collection- Sesame Street Live!

Oh man.. I listened to this record so much I’m surprised the needle on my record player didn’t slice deep grooves into it.    I. LOVED. SESAME. STREET growing up!    My mom used to tell me that it was because of Sesame Street that I learned to read and write.    Old school SS was wonderful.   Mr Hooper,  Luis,  Maria, Bob, etc     I know as times change then they have had to change up their show in order to keep up with what’s interesting to kids today,  but in my opinion the original cast will always be the best!

I took several different pictures of this multi fold album to share.   Sadly with me being a dumb kid I colored on the pictures with crayons so it’s not in as good condition as I wish it would be.  It’s still not bad overall for being as old as it is.

If while you’re reading over the list of songs and one or two pops into your head that you recognize.. congratulations!   You either grew up in my era or you appreciate the old classic Sesame Street like I do 🙂   Enjoy!

ss1 ss2 ss3 ss4 ss6 ss7 ss8  ss9 ss10 ss11 ss12 ss13 ss14 ss15

Spinning yarns vs just plain bullshit

This has been good therapy writing about things from my past that have taken residence in my memories all these years.  Just about every little thing you go through as a kid can be considered a life lesson,  and sometimes you learn things by watching other peoples’ mistakes.    In this case, it was my ex.

He was all about status and how he looked to others. It was that mentality that rocketed me to an eating disorder and made me think for many years that I wasn’t good enough for anybody except for him.   When you’re in a mentally and emotionally abusive relationship the days all blur together and it’s very easy to get into the mindset that the way you are living at that very moment IS going to be the rest of your life.    I know I could have left at any time and I should have left, but I didn’t.   Thus the life lessons that I learned while I was with him.

He was very insecure.   Like, VERY insecure.   Every human being has some form of insecurity inside them.  It’s normal. Everyone, whether they choose to admit it or not really does care what others think about them.    Some of us just hide it better than others.    X tried to impress others by stories.    Stories I heard a million times whether or not I was actually there at the time or not.  He had a twist though,  he would twist the truth and add details every time he told it in order to get more of a reaction from his audience.   At first I thought it was a unique creativity he had in telling stories… but later on I saw it for what it was.  A really sad attempt at making people think he was more interesting and mysterious than he really was.     After a while, out of morbid curiosity  I would purposely bring up a particular story for him to recant to those we were with just to see just how much more he would twist a story that was originally very normal. At the time I didn’t see it as mockery, but that’s exactly what it was.   He was so serious when he would tell about these ‘experiences’,  and I found it entertaining to see just how far he would stretch it.      This is an example of what I mean.

Original story:   (What I actually witnessed)

One day at Disneyland we were standing outside of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.    A girl who was smoking a cigarette and dressed in denim walked past us into line leading up to the ride.  As she passed underneath the arch that read “PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN”  she took her cigarette out of her mouth and flicked it at the wall near where the trash can was.   It bounced off the wall and landed nowhere near the trash can as she continued into the ride.

End of story

The story that it ended up to be:

We were at Disneyland standing outside of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  Suddenly we heard behind us a ‘TIK TIK TIK’ sound.  We turn around and see this tall thin REALLY ANGRY chick walking past us.  Her hair was spiked up in several jelled spikes,  she had on a denim jacket with spikes and the “TIK TIK” sound we heard were the metal spikes on the bottom of her what HAD to be 8 inch, if not longer heels.   She was dragging long heaves on her cigarette and looked like she was ready to fight anyone that looked at her wrong.    So, there was a sign right next to the entrance of the ride that says “No smoking past this point”.    Without breaking a step she takes one last heave on her cigarette and flicks it (imitates a peeetoyyeeeee sound to enhance the fact she flicked it so violently from her hand )   It bounces right off of the part of the sign where it says ‘no smoking’ and sparks fly everywhere.   There were a group of tourists standing nearby that had to step back otherwise the cigarette sparks would have hit them.  Oh my god!  It was so crazy!

annnnnd  scene!

The second story captivated his audience and got more of a reaction so therefore while he told it he was the center of attention.   He did that all the time even with the smallest of topics.   Another example,  his cousin Rusty.. who I was terrified of meeting by the way he was described to me.   The day I met him I thought I would be meeting a guy that closely resembled Charles Manson.   Scars all over his body from the numerous fights he was in throughout his life.   He only had tunnel vision in one eye due to being hit by a rock by a group of kids while he was younger.  He barely spoke and had a wolf as a pet, oh.. and a squirrel as a pet too.

Rusty turned out to be the sweetest person I had ever met.   (Years later after I had long left the X,   he considered me a part of his family.   His mom had taken me under her wing and helped me get back on my feet since I had invested everything I had in my relationship.  I had zero money, no place to live and decided that being desolate was a better option than continue my life with X which was clearly going nowhere.  My mother had recently passed away and I had nowhere to go,  Rusty and his family were my saving grace… seriously, I can’t even begin to say how much I love and appreciate them. ) Rusty had a rough life and did have run ins with the law, served jail time and battled drug problems.  He loved his motorcycle..   Unfortunately he was in an accident several years ago that resulted in the loss of one of his legs.  Through the rough exterior and everything he had been through in his life the man had a heart of gold and fought his demons to the very end.   Shortly after getting out of prison he moved back in with his mother and committed his time to fixing up his motorcycle and reconnecting with old friends.   One day he told his mother he wasn’t feeling well and was going to go take a nap.   He never woke up.   I never wanted to know details,  but from what I heard from others that he had some preexisting  health issues that caused his heart to stop.  Living hard finally had caught up with him.    His death hit those that loved him the hardest…  I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to know him and that he considered me family.    If I had listened to X and his ridiculous stories I may never have.

X is no doubt still telling outrageous stories to this day to anybody who will listen  in desperate attempts for attention.   Stories about how he’s a direct descendant from King Charlemagne and how his father’s job at TRW involved alien communication (I’m not making this up)    Being around him all those years ago taught me to be real with people.   If they don’t like you for who you are,  then making up a story isn’t going to make any difference at all.   In fact,  chances are if you do that then people will most likely laugh behind your back instead.   Which is worse?

rusty
RIP Rusty…  ❤

Random

You know that moment when you hear a song that you haven’t heard in years?   You hear it on the radio and you suddenly turn the radio up and out of nowhere you remember each and every word to the song.    Depending on the emotions that emerge when you hear the song it can be a very melancholy experience.   Memories of growing up,  an event that impacted your life,  or even just a song you played over and over again when you were 16.   When that happens it can affect your mood greatly whether it be good or bad.    That happened to me a few mornings ago while I was at work of all places.
One of the radio stations we tune into at work plays a show called the ’80’s lunchbox’.   It’s all listener requested songs and at sometime during the show they do a segment called the ‘Forgotten 45″   a song that’s long since forgotten but if you are a child of the 80’s like me hearing those bring back  memories of back in the day.    Well, the other day I heard a song that did just that..    It was a song by Peter Schilling back in 1983 called “Major Tom”.    It’s the theme of David Bowie‘s 1969 album Space Oddity, the song is about the character being caught in an accident in space.    As soon as the song started playing I remembered the words from start to finish… only in German.

Being the teen geek that I was, I preferred the German version to the English.  Always loved Peter Schilling’s voice and when he sang it in his language to me it brought out a more intense version.  I didn’t try to actually LEARN how to speak German until years later when my husband and I moved there,  but I knew an entire song pretty dang close to fluent.

Random I know,  but still worth mentioning.. 🙂