In cleaning house, I found an old notebook. It was written when Richard was on active duty. My daughters were pre-schoolers. This was in the notebook:
"There was that awful time when Dick was called on active duty and I had to stay alone. "well" I thought, "at least I can still be warm in bed". So I turned on the electric blanket and crawled in. Of course, it didn't work. I froze all the time my husband was away. A short time later We threw away the blanket.
When we go shopping, we buy the girls a penny gumball. But one time, Melanie wheedled a dime out of Dick for a life-like plastic snake. Bugs and creepy things were the fad. Even on TV, there were monster programs. We came home and put the groceries away. We were sitting around, procrastinating when suddenly We hear from the bedroom, a blood curdling scream. and another...and another. Both Dick and I rushed to Melanie's room to find she wasn't hurt at all. She had dropped her snake on her lamp and it was melting all over the light bulb.
We were so relieved she wasn't hurt. Dick felt so sorry for his mortified daughter, that he ran back to the store for another snake. The store was closed by then, so He went to another store and bought her a tarantella pencil sharpener. It wasn't the same.
Shades of popcycles! Beth goes outside in all that snow, gets a shovel from the garage, knocks icicles down from the eaves, picks them off the ground, carries them indoors, puts them in the freezer. So, anytime she's hungry or her mouth is dry....the little four year old tot runs to the freezer for an instant snack. She wraps a paper napkin around the end for a handle. I admire her for her thought, little packrat.
1966: I was sitting on my front steps, thinking "I'm 29 years old. I'm a responsible adult. I care for my home, my children, my husband. I feel a certain vitality flooding through my veins. Once I was a child and before that, a baby and before that there wasn't any me. But there was a whole world evolving through history. There really were dinosaurs. There really were savage indians standing on this very ground I look upon. But, there wasn't any me.
Days shall pile upon days and one day I shall be very old and die. The world shall continue on without me. Surely my awareness of this long process, surely this activity I call my life is a great phenomenon.
and: Poem by me
I love you today.
Tomorrow I may hate you,
but it's all the same thing.
We're emotionally involved
May 1967 : The neighbors
We knew the neighbors across the street had outgrown their house. Both he and She worked and could easily afford a larger place. Still, We were disappointed when they finally packed up and moved into the village. Tract living drove them crazy....what with little kids picking your tomatoes green, and salesmen at the door all the time. Then, too, the livingroom is too small, the traffic pattern through it is terrible, and the sun sets in the picture window, turning the whole place into an oven.
Still, We liked them and hoped they'd hang on. One day, they found their better house and put their old one on the market. The market was in terrible shape, so they rented it out to a young couple instead.
This is where my story really begins.
It was a bitter cold Thanksgiving day when the car stopped in front of the green house. We were on our way out, so I didn't see my new neighbors that day, but I did notice a baby's car seat in the back of their car. That was just enough to prick my curiosity about the new people. Do they have children of my children's age? Scuttlebut said no. Their child was younger--a toddler girl and that's all.
Winter is a bad time to move in, because all of us "tract owners" are chicken about cold weather. We stay in, unless We really have to go out..like everyone in the family is starving and We need more groceries. So, my new neighbors spent their first winter alone. No one came to the door to welcome them. I remember that when We moved in, only a few people came to welcome me. People move in and out of these houses so fast, that those who do stay, develope a certain attitude after a while, a protective attitude, I think, one of casualness about new neighbors. Many new people complain about the "coldness" of the tract, but not the people across the street. They just lived there. They picked up their garbage cans, when empty, and put them away. They cleared the snow. They got their groceries. They took their daughter outside, walked her up and down the driveway a few times, and brought her in.
Gradually, their personality emerged. I learned their first names but could never remember their last. they were very kind, never gossiped. They were the clean, healthy American type. he liked to do track running once in a while, or bicycle riding. They didn't smoke, swear, or even drink coffee. Were they dull? I couldn't make up my mind. Anyways, I was thankful that they didn't add more problems to our neighborhood. Their girl wasn't allowed to "run", as many are allowed to, around here. they kept their puppy tied up, eliminating a problem of spilled garbage. They were neat and as clean as a pin...thank goodness!!!
The weather broke, the air warmed up, and We saw more of them. We would be cutting our lawns at the same time. My husband went over and introduced himself. Both men worked for the same company. How about that! Both men are interested in running. How about that! She paints!! and so do I! How about that! They're trying for a second baby. (giggle) I wish We could afford to. (Sigh)
By the time the second winter rolled around, I liked my "new" neighbors very much. She invited me to visit her art club. I did and enjoyed it very much. They found out that Dick was an excellent bridge player. They have always wanted to learn that fascinating game. Would He teach them? Dick taught all three of us on a once a week basis for about 3 months. We enjoyed these evenings very much, knowing that it was soon to come to an end.
She was from the southwest and had said early in our friendship, that they were not going to stay up north, here. He was trying to get a job in the Texas Arizona area. We followed his endeavers. the interview, the plane trip, the acceptance, the phone calls to relatives, the preparations, the movers.
Now, moving day is less than a week away, and it is only the beginning of their second summer.
Move in - move out.
Yet We are richer for knowing them. Their second child, a son, was born here. We had bridge lessons. I like and understand the game now. We have the little pinetree seedlings they gave us. My girls have some fish that the neighbors gave us when they "disbanded" their aquarium as part of the moving preparations. I've investigated the art club, whose existance I didn't know about before. There is a fence behind the green house now that wasn't there before.
I will miss our "new" neighbors and I resolve to welcome our NEW "new" neighbors, the minute they drive up.