Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mommy’s Piggy Tales…2nd Grade


This is week 4 of a 15 week project. The object is to write a story each week about a different period of time from our childhood. I am writing this for my children. The first week was about my birth. The next week was about Kindergarten and the birth of my brother Allan. Last week I shared some random memories about First Grade.

Second grade was a very big year for me.  In the Fall, my Daddy and my Step Mother had my sister Kathleen.  My Step Mother already had 4 kids before she got together with my Dad. Her oldest son was 6 yrs older than me, her daughter was 4 yrs older than me, her next son was 6 months older than me and her youngest son was a year older than my brother Allan.  I liked spending time with them because there was always somebody to play with.  When I was younger, I had been very lonely, but now I had my little brother at my Mom’s house and all these new brothers and sisters at my Dad’s house.  I still got to see my Dad every other weekend and that year I’m pretty sure I spent Christmas with him too.

In the Spring, everything changed.  My Mom and Big Allan had been having a lot of trouble getting along and when my Mom’s Aunt and Uncle from California came for a visit, my Mom decided that we should go live in California with them.  Aunt Beverly and Uncle Gordon thought California would be the perfect place for my Mom to get a new start.  My Mom gave away all our furniture and most of our other stuff and we went around visiting all our family in New Jersey to say good bye. This is Allan and I with Grandpop (Gramma’s Dad) and Uncle Damien (he’s Gramma’s brother, but he is 5 years younger than ME).

In less than a week, we were in Aunt Beverly and Uncle Gordon’s van with them and two of their children headed for California.  The van had been upgraded for traveling, it had a mini refrigerator and a bunk bed.  I don’t remember it having seats, in my memory we sat on pillows on the carpeted floor.  It had one sliding door on the passenger side.  Aunt Beverly, Uncle Gordon and my Mom took turns driving and we slept in the van as they drove.  We ate peanut butter sandwiches and peanut butter crackers all day and then would have lunch meat sandwiches for dinner.  We only stopped a couple times a day at rest stops to use the bathroom. On the 2nd or 3rd night, the van suddenly slid around in the road from ice and then rolled off the side of the highway.  Uncle Gordon was driving and I think Aunt Beverly was in the passenger seat.  My Mom, Allan, Mom’s cousins and I were all in the back.  The mattress on the bunk slid off and over the windows on the sliding door and when the van came to a rest, on it’s side, all of us in the back were laying on that mattress.  I don’t remember the police coming and I know we didn’t go to the hospital.  Somehow we got to a motel and I vividly remember being told that if anybody asked, my Mom was my sister….they didn’t want to have to pay for more than one motel room. 

The next morning I was very surprised to wake up and find that the Easter Bunny had visited while we were sleeping.  I had lost all track of time and didn’t even know that Easter was soon.  I don’t remember if we stayed in the motel more than one night.  The first night we were back on the road we drove past signs for the Grand Canyon.  Uncle Gordon promised me that someday he would bring us back to see it in the daylight. (he never did) Late the next day we pulled into the long driveway of their farm in California.

The Farm was an interesting place.  Aunt Beverly had a St Bernard dog who was absolutely HUGE and lived in the house.  There were lots of cats out in the barn and a horse and a pony.  There were also ducks and geese in the yard.  Allan was fascinated with the ducks and geese, but the geese were mean and they would hiss at him and chase him whenever he was outside.  I learned to ride a pony and started another new school.  Everyone thought I talked funny, but to me they all talked funny.  My Mom got a job as a secretary soon after we arrived and then started dating one of the men she worked for. 

About 6 weeks after we arrived in California, we left the Farm and moved to a little apartment in Turlock.  We had brought almost nothing from New Jersey with us.  I had my 2 favorite dolls, my baby blanket and a few clothes.  Allan had a truck, his baby blanket, a stuffed bear and his clothes.  My Mom had her photo album, 2 iron frying pans and her clothes.  For the first several weeks that we lived in the apartment we had no refrigerator and used a Styrofoam cooler to keep our food from going bad. We had no furniture other than a couple twin size mattresses that we slept on on the floor.  At first we had an old Mustang (car) that my Mom was buying from Uncle Gordon, but something happened and he decided he wanted the car back so then we didn’t even have a car to get anywhere.  Fortunately, my Mom had made some friends who helped us get to the places we needed to go.


Janna said...

Wow, you faced some hard and confusing times and yet I don't sense any anger or bitterness in your telling of the story. I really admire how you have handled all you have faced and who you are today!

Pepper said...

So have you gotten to go to the Grand Canyon yet?

Loved how many details you remember. I keep having trouble trying to put my memories in the right places.

K.M.L said...

Wow! What memories you have. So glad the car accident was not too bad and everyone was okay. Thanks for sharing. I'm also curious...have you seen the Grand Canyon yet? :)

Olivia said...

What a childhood! Probably more adventure in that couple of weeks than I had in lots of years!

Ginny Marie said...

That was such a great upheaval to your young life! It's no wonder you remember so many details! I find it amazing that the Easter bunny managed to visit you on that long trip -- your mom must have planned that well in advance!

MommaHarms said...

That is such a monumental year for you!

Momma Stuff said...

Wow what a journey for you and your family to take. It sounds as if you really learned to rely and take care of each other. Amber :)

Mainline Mom said...

Wow, that's an amazing story. I would say you have an great memory but that would be a pretty memorable experience.

LT said...

Oh my goodness, what a story! Such trying times, I can't imagine having to go through all of that! Your memory for the details is just amazing! Thank you for sharing your story with us.