Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You, #18: First Gift

I'm catching up on this series of blogging prompts.  This one is:  what was the first gift that you received?

Heavens, I can't remember!  I'm sure it was long, long ago, at an early Christmas or birthday.  But I surely do not remember.

So I will do what some other bloggers following this series of prompts have done, and write about a memorable gift from my childhood.  I was about eight years old the Christmas I received it.

Unfortunately, I cannot show a photograph of it.  I doubt one can be found these days.  It was whimsical, a product of the late 1950s, when I received it.  It was a stuffed . . . er . . . animal.  Or something.  It looked sort of like a monkey, with gangly arms and legs, but had a face more like some sort of alien from outer space.  It was garishly colored.  When my brother and sister and I were permitted to come out of our rooms to the living room, I saw it under the tree -- my mother had apparently not even entertained the thought of wrapping such a strangely-shaped thing -- I exclaimed, "That's great!  What is it?"

It became known as "Whatsit."  I had "Whatsit" until, threadbare and bedraggled, it finally had to be given up.  Even today, some 58 years later, I laugh when I think of "Whatsit."

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - #19

I'm behind on these posts, but when I got home from Pinellas Park, I got a bout of the flu.  Fortunately, I had a flu shot in October, so this round of flu was abbreviated, but I still had some nausea, temperature of 102.4, and muscle and joint aches that kept me in bed, then a couple weeks to really recover.

This prompt is "Who do you miss?"

My answer is:  Who do I not miss?  Most of my family is gone.

My father died in 1954.  I had just turned 7 years old.  I would like to have had him around longer, of course.  Genealogy has helped me learn a lot about him, though.  That has been one of the great benefits!

My aunt died in 1967, when I was in college at Florida State University.  She had helped me get there, helped me get a housing scholarship, helped me get VA benefits and Social Security benefits on account of my father's Navy service.  She helped raise me, too, from the time we moved to Florida from California after my father's death to her death.  She had a great sense of humor, and we had lots of fun.  She taught me to drive, and I would be her driver on Saturdays as she did her errands.

My grandma died in 1978.  We had fun, when I would go over to her house in the next block from where we lived, and we would sit and watch baseball games together.  She would tell me stories of her growing up in Indiana in the 1890s and 1900s.  I wish I had had the sense to record those stories.

My mother-in-law died in 1978, too.  My husband was away at the Coast Guard Reserve Training Center teaching at the time.  It was late at night when my father-in-law called with the news.  I had to get hold of the officer of the day at the training center and tell him to get my husband to call me.  Then I had to tell him the news.  He went to see the base commander, and was home the next day.  My mother-in-law also had a great sense of humor, having been raised in the country in Georgia in a large family.  She would laugh, and turn bright red.

My mother died in 1980.  It was very difficult.  During this time of all these deaths, I was working as a registered nurse. I had to quit, as it was just too much.  Mom and I had differences -- different political and social outlooks, and all that.  But we had fun, too.  One time we were on a road trip here in Florida, on an ill-maintained state road that was more potholes than pavement, and I was trying to change the radio station.  We were bouncing so much I could not get hold of the tuning knob!  We laughed at that.

A friend died at the end of the 1990s.  She lived in Illinois, and my husband and I had visited her when we attended a convention in Chicago.  We had a great time, and she and I exchanged many letters, both being interested in writing.  It was a shock when I found out she had died.

My brother died in 1996, and I still maintain he was killed by the calousness and thoughtlessness of his insurance company.  That was a horrible experience, and I miss my big brother and think of him often.

So there are a lot of people I miss.  People who helped shape me, people whose company I enjoyed.  At times I think of them, with some sadness.