This is a special memory from my own childhood.
This story isn’t exactly about me it is about my sister, Judy. But I was there to watch it all.
I think she was in kindergarten so I would have been in 1st grade. It was probably springtime as I remember we were upstairs in our room, the windows were open, and the curtains were blowing. It is bizarre the things that I remember. Judy had brought two friends home from school with her. One was her best friend from down the street, the one from the peanut butter fudge episode. The other was a boy! My sister really liked this boy, too. You remember how crushes were when you were 5 or 6 and you just wanted to chase boys.
And kiss them.
Well at some point Judy snuck downstairs and got my mom’s red lipstick out of the bathroom and brought it back upstairs. She and her friend applied a heavy coat of it and proceeded to shower the boy in question with kisses all over his face and head. He had the typical buzz cut boys had in the 50s so those red lipstick marks showed up really well! I have no idea where my mother was while all this was going on but when the giggling and squealing got loud enough she came charging upstairs to see what was going on.
There he sat covered in kisses and there they stood giggling over what they had done. I was quietly trying to retreat to a corner where I wouldn’t somehow be blamed for all this. She was very angry with them because now she was going to have to call his mother. It was about then that she grabbed the tube of lipstick from my sister and really began to fume. It wasn’t just lipstick; it was her new red indelible (and very expensive) lipstick. Those kisses were not going to be coming off anytime soon! My mom was really going to have some explaining to do.
The boy did not come to school the next day!
We went to the beach a few times over the summer. I love having a beach buddy! We are so lucky to live where the beach is only 6 miles away and yet we don’t get there often enough. Amara loves playing in the water and she loves having me bury her in the sand. Which is then an excuse to get back in the water until she gets cold and comes back to be buried again so that the warm sand will warm her up! We take a lot of sand home with us. One of our beach trips was followed by her swimming lesson and she was exhausted by the time it was over. Below is a picture of how the beach usually looks when we go.
Huntington Beach, CA on a typical August day.
As summer came to a close, we made a plan to meet my friend Mo and her two girls, who are Amara’s best friends at the beach. It was the Wednesday before school started and we had no idea when we made the plans that Hurricane Marie would be hanging off the coast. The day we picked was the highest surf and the strongest rip currents that Huntington Beach had seen in over 15 years. Amara and I arrived at the beach before our friends did and she immediately headed for the water. She was so excited that since she had just passed her swimming test she could really enjoy the ocean.
The waves were huge and they were loud. I had never seen them that high so before she even had a chance to get close to the water I told her she had to stay very close to shore. She was in the water for 2 or 3 minutes when the lifeguards pulled up and told us, we had to stay out of the water. It just wasn’t safe. She was so disappointed.
Nevertheless, it was a beautiful day and Jenna had suggested we take the kites so as soon as Mo and the girls arrived the kite flying began. Amara was elated because she had never flown a kite at the beach before and she couldn’t get over how easy they went up and how long they stayed up! They went so high they ran out of string! She couldn’t wait to tell her parents about it when we got home! Between flying kites they built sand castles for the (My Little) Ponies they had brought with them. They took turns burying each other in the sand and then breaking free. We had a wonderful picnic lunch and while the girls really were disappointed, they couldn’t play in the water we did have a wonderful day.
It was another wonderful summer. I sure am a lucky Grandma!
You can read Part One of our summer here.
Amara went back to school last week and there are still so many fun times from this summer that I haven’t shared yet. These are some of the highlights
We made her Daddy monkey bread for his birthday. We tried a new orange chocolate monkey bread recipe because he loves the orange chocolate combination. Amara had a blast drizzling the chocolate on top. Actually, it was more like drizzling it from the fork while flicking it all over the kitchen! She even said to me, “Grandma, we are getting chocolate all over the counter.” I looked at her and said, “We?” She just looked at me and grinned. Her Daddy didn’t know but we had all gotten him Star Wars gifts so Amara even decorated the monkey bread with Star Wars frill picks and one of her handmade candles. It was good but we all decided this wasn’t our favorite of the monkey bread recipes we’ve tried.
Our summer included at least two trips to the yogurt store and one to Baskin and Robbins. I love it when Amara and I get to go do little things like this. We have such wonderful conversations when we do. However she did not tell me that she is only allowed one scoop of ice cream and she is not allowed waffle cones. I found that out later from her Mom.
We spent one weekend chalk painting and making perfume. Reminiscing about my own perfume making kit inspired me to get her one. She loves it.
One Sunday morning we spent creating a glitter explosion. I had read about it on Magnolia’s Surprise. Her granddaughter Noli loves all things glitter. I had shown the post to Amara and she couldn’t wait! We weren’t nearly as precise or neat as Noli was. Our entire driveway was a glitter explosion. It was so much fun and the sun shining on the glitter made me smile for days afterwards. (Please note the huge box of baking soda and gallon bottle of vinegar. She used it all!)
There were four pool parties with the girls across the street. I bought Amara a 4′ inflatable pool and they had a blast, so did Grandma! We had picnics on the lawn, ate Sponge Bob push-ups and the girls even performed for me. I wish I could share the videos!
Amara took swimming lessons this summer and I got to go with her a couple of times. The lessons were at a private residence and the adults were welcome to get in the pool – which was in the 90s and very relaxing! The best part was being there when she took her test. She had to jump in with all of her clothes on including her shoes and swim to the other end of the pool. Part of the test also included taking her clothes off in the water – she had her suit on underneath. Her skills and confidence in the water have just gone through the roof.
We had a wonderful summer but this isn’t everything! Part 2 “The Beach” is coming soon!
This is a special memory from my own childhood.
There were tulips blooming along the side of the house so it was probably May in Michigan. I had taken a bath and washed my own hair so I must have been at least seven. I think it was a Saturday morning and I was about to have another hair disaster.
The mother of one of our friends who lived down the street had gotten her Tame Cream Rinse for her hair and she had told us all about it. Since me and Judy both had longer hair we had tried in vain to get our mom to buy it for us. I hated having my hair combed out. I remember many mornings sitting in front of the TV as she combed our hair before school. Nothing but snow on the screen most of the time but on a good morning you had audio! It still wasn’t much of a distraction and I thought this cream rinse idea was perfect but she said no.
So, do you remember the Flubber experiment? Well this time the little scientist in me thought maybe if I just put my mom’s hand lotion on my wet hair it would work the same as cream rinse. It made your hands soft so maybe it would work on my hair. After my bath, I rubbed it all through my hair and went outside to play. My hair was still very wet and as the heat of the morning started it drying my scalp began to burn. I mean really burn! I didn’t know what to do so I went over to the hose which was next to the tulips, leaned my head over and soaked my head. Oh, that was so much better – until it started drying out again. I must have gone back to the hose 4 or 5 times. It is probably why I remember those tulips so vividly. My mom was out in the yard working and I was afraid she would catch me going back to the hose so many times. I tried to be sneaky but she finally did and wanted to know what I was up to. Telling her what I had done was very traumatic. Getting in trouble was something I really did try to avoid.
She was furious that I had used her good lotion but she did take me in and rewash my hair so maybe the scolding was worth it!
This is a special memory from my own childhood.
I think I was 9 or 10 when I bought my very first book. I’d had lots of book when I was little. One of my favorites was a Golden book about a bear who tried to steal honey. He jumped in the lake to escape the bees but he left his nose out so that he could breath and ended up with a very swollen nose.
However, the first book I remember buying for myself with my very own money was Betty Crocker’s Dinner for Two Cook Book. I got it and a beautiful fairy tale book at the book fair. It was my first book fair and it took me hours to pick out those books. The room was huge and there were so many choices. I had a hard time making up my mind what to buy! But, I think even at that age I had figured out that if I wanted to survive I had better learn to cook! When my mom and Dad would fight, she wouldn’t cook. That was often! Later when they divorced, she gave up cooking completely. I think the fairy tale book was so I could escape reality!
I don’t know what became of the fairy tale book but I used that Dinner for Two Cook Book for years. My favorite recipe in it was for shrimp curry! I also don’t remember when that cookbook went missing. I do remember telling Jenna about the book and that it had been my favorite. Being the awesome child that she is she went out and found me a copy of it at one of the used bookstores she frequents. I was so touched but it is typically Jenna!
In 1998, my sister passed away from complications due to Lupus. We had not been friends for a very long time by then, in fact, we seldom spoke. A few weeks after her death her partner brought me a box of her things that he thought I would like to have. One of the things in that box was my Betty Crocker’s Dinner for Two Cook Book. I was flipping through my original copy this morning noticing how much more well used it was, complete with lots of stains on page 165. There tucked between pages 164 and 165 was a post it note with my sister’s writing on it and a couple of other items she had clipped from magazines. I had been surprised that she had the book but even more surprised to find she had used it. She was a much better cook than I will ever be. She liked to take on complicated and spicy recipes.
1958 – First Editions
Now I have two copies of the book to cherish.