Got this meme from my friend Bev’s journal. She added pictures to hers!
I promise to get back to blogging soon!
1. What was the first car your family had?
Before my brother was born, we had a Studebaker. (I think they had something less family friendly before I was born.) At some point after he was born, we acquired an oddly painted Buick. It was painted blue and black. It was the only one I ever saw like that and we took it at least from California to Hawaii to Texas (it may also have gone to Maryland with us) before it started taking us places and refusing to leave. After it did that a few times, my mother insisted on selling it. My brother, who couldn’t remember any other car and for whom it was one of the few stable things in his life to that point, cried bitterly. I actually saw it in the distance a year or two later.
2. What was the name of your first pet and why?
Brainy was a gray tabby. He was one of a litter born across the street from our house. Before Brainy (his formal name was brains) we may have had a fish or two – my dad was in the Navy and it would have been difficult to cart a dog or cat around the country. (My grandparents, who we lived with or near several times, did have a dog named Toodles. I think he was some sort of spitz.) I named the cat Brains cause I thought he was smart. My mom, who I suspect never cared for cats, said all his brains were in his name. He ran off and probably died the same summer my grandmother grew up, but I wasn’t allowed to grieve for either of them.
3. What did you want to be when you grew up?
No clue. A singer, maybe, or a performer. When I was a bit older, a writer. (That was before I heard a writer talk about the seven years he took to research a not-terribly-good book. That, and the fact that I don’t have a good imagination, put me off writing fiction.)
4. What was the name of your elementary school?
My dad was in the Navy till the summer before I was in the third grade. I went to two different kindergartens, two different first grades, and a yet different third grade. I don’t remember any of their names. After that, Kennedy Elementary School. It was not named for the President; in fact, it was built before he was elected, though not too many years. It was named for the man who donated the land to the school district. When I was in high school our school district decided that no schools would be named for people, but because of the legal agreement, Kennedy has remained Kennedy, at least till nine years ago, the last time I had an opportunity to see it.
5. Who was your first best friend?
I had very few. Before my dad retired from the Navy, I only remember one. Her last name was Jones, but I don’t remember her first name. (So we couldn’t have been that close.) From sixth grade till we graduated from high school, my best friend was Lisa Weeks. There were a few other friends. Karen Paradis, Geneva Stovall. But I’ve never had a lot of friends till recently. I still find it amazing.
6. Are you still friends today, and if not, what happened?
No. After a year at junior college (they were junior colleges back then, rather than community colleges), Lisa went off to a private college where she ran with a rich, popular crowd. She’d never been popular before and suddenly I was a lot less interesting. (Bitter? Who, me?) She ended up going to New York to be on the stage (which never happened). I do know she married; the last time I saw her was the winter I was pregnant, so that would be about 23 years ago. I don’t think her marriage lasted. Mine did – I still have the original model DH, along with the kid. Her mom came and spent some time with me after my mother died – and I really appreciate it. It was very sweet of her. She was very shy, but very kind.
7. What was your favorite board game?
All of them. One thing my mom did right (and there weren’t all that many) was to teach us how to play games and enjoy the games, whether we won or lost. I especially enjoyed card games. I was never terribly good at chess, though my brother was. (He and his wife met in the Chess Club in the junior college!) I still play games, but now with the computer.
8. Did you play house or other make believe games?
Some, I think. A lot of dolls – Barbie came out when I was young enough to play with her. Most of my Barbie’s clothes my mother sewed for me. (I always missed having her fun shoes; maybe that’s one reason I’ve never had a shoe fetish!)
9. Were you a Dungeons and Dragons geek?
Not as a child – I’m too old. But we had a group of friends that played weekly on Sunday afternoons and evenings for several years, starting when I was a senior in college. We loved it, and we still sometimes speak in D&D. Our version was pretty eccentric; we used our own rules and based them on D&D and not AD&D. We were pretty snobbish about it.
10. Did you sleep with stuffed animals as a kid?
I think so.
11. Do you still sleep with stuffed animals?
Only Simba (and sometimes Angel). DH doesn’t usually go to bed stuffed.
12. Who was the first person you looked up to when you were younger?
My dad and my grandmother, probably. Helen Keller (and I still do!). Hubert Humphrey (look him up, children), by the time I was in junior high. Louisa May Alcott. Mark Twain. (Clearly, I was drawn to liberal politicians and writers.)
13. Who was your favorite relative?
My dad and my (maternal) grandmother, again. She died not too many years after we moved back to Texas, but I know she watches me still. She was a knitter and crocheter, too, and I know she’s proud of me.
14. Were you short or tall in elementary school?
Probably average. Till I hit puberty, I was a skinny thing.
15. Were you teased in school?
Unmercifully. It was at my 10-year high school reunion that I had the lightbulb moment that those people (who may have been pretty and popular, but were also mostly shallow and boring) had never had any power over me that I hadn’t given them myself. I thank Libby Hart for that. It really changed my life (a phrase I don’t use lightly).
16. What was the name of your favorite teacher?
I pretty much liked almost all of them. Mrs. Jones, fourth grade, was my mom’s best friend for many years afterwards. Mrs. Burris (junior high Algebra I and II) had been one of my grandmother’s best friends and I loved her dearly. I still tell stories about her.
17. What was the name of your least favorite teacher?
Coach Younk (I think that’s the correct spelling.) Eighth grade World History, about which he was completely clueless. I never opened a book all year and knew a great deal more about history than he ever did. He was a joke.
18. What was your best subject in school?
Most of them. Not so much science or math by high school. But anything involving reading or writing. Also history.
19. What was your worst subject in school?
Despite Mrs. Burris, probably math. And sciences, come high school. Chemistry pretty much escaped me.
20. Did you do well in Physical Education?
No. In the fourth grade Kennedy Elementary hired a couple of sadists to teach PE and, even if I had had a yearning to be active, they would have killed it. I am convinced he was a batterer (and probably an ex-Marine). In fifth grade all the kids played the flutophone, a torture instrument that physical resembled a recorder, except made of cheap white plastic, but that sounded completely awful, even when played correctly. The idea, besides making all the families and animals in the neighborhood suffer horrible torments, was to teach us all to read music. It came close to killing the love of music from almost everyone involved. However, we had a sixth grade band (for those whose ear drums were not permanently damaged by the flutophones) and if you took band, you didn’t have to take PE. I immediately insisted I wanted to take band and picked the clarinet as the instrument, as it looked like a big flutophone. And I stuck with it all the way through high school, for the same reason. In those days in Texas, if you took band you didn’t have to take PE. You can bet I stayed in band! (And mostly enjoyed it, though I never played well.) In college we *had* to take some PE, but I ended up taking what was called Kiddy PE, since it was for elementary education majors, and instead of coming under the influence of more sadistics, I learned the Cotton-Eyed Joe.
21. Were you clumsy when you were younger?
Not overly, but there are no athletes in my family, either.
22. Who was your favorite band as a kid?
The Monkees. And the Beatles. The Partridge Family. The Cowsills. It was the age of the teeny-bopper, and I bopped (in private, in my bedroom).
23. What was your favorite movie as a kid?
Dunno. Bambi terrorized me. I loved Mary Poppins. Later, The Sound of Music.
24. Did your parents read to you?
My grandmother, my mother, and my mother’s sister were all librarians. My mother considered it child abuse to not read to children. (And I’m not sure I disagree.)
25. Did you have a favorite book?
I remember one about a little house out in the country that had a city grow up around it, and then was moved to a little hill in the country. The Little Engine That Could. Make Way For Ducklings. Dr. Seuss is a hero of mine. Lots and lots. Oh, and in the fourth grade, Mrs. Jones read to us every morning from a book about world history for kids. I somehow got a copy myself, and I’ll bet it’s still in the house (probably in the living room in the entertainment center). I looked for an updated version when my son was little, but never found one or a good substitute.
26. What was your favorite restaurant as a kid?
We didn’t eat out much. We did a little bit when we lived in Hawaii, and I evidently loved sashimi and mahi mahi (until my mother informed me that that fish is also called a dolphin; I couldn’t be persuaded it wasn’t Flipper and refused after that to eat it) and hot Japanese tea. When we moved back to East Texas, there weren’t a lot of restaurants, the way there are where I live now. We did have a Luby’s (I still like Luby’s) and another cafeteria like that and I remember a Mexican food restaurant my parents liked that sold beer.
27. What TV or movie star did you have a crush on?
Perry Como. Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Greenjeans. Julie Andrews. Later, Davy Jones of the Monkees. Bobby Sherman. David Cassidy. Leonard Nimoy. The usual, I think.
28. Do you now wonder what you were thinking?
No. What’s not to love?
29. Who was your first crush in school?
I know there was a boy in the third grade, but he was not nice to me. His name has long since vanished into the mists of time.
30. As a child, what kind of car did you want when you grew up?
A Mustang. (The 60s and 70s Mustang.) DH actually had one when we started dating, but it was pretty old and not reliable. Though much loved.
31. Did your parents spank you?
Some, but not too much. My brother was probably hyperactive and also a boy and was a lot more trouble. I was always a goody-two-shoes. Although my mother used to tell the story that after one altercation I informed her that I was going to go live with Perry Como, cause he didn’t spank his little girls. (Which probably wasn’t true, but I believed it.)
32. Did your parents fight a lot when you were a kid?
They sure fought a lot later, so I’m sure they did. I know that by the time my dad retired from the Navy, they fought a lot. Mom was heavily into testing how much people loved her, and my dad and I were her favorite targets.
33. Did your parents get divorced or stay married?
They stayed married and though my mother lived more than 10 years after he died, she never even dated. I asked my dad one time why he stayed married to her (it was a serious question for me!) and he said it was because he loved her. That answer didn’t satisfy me then and doesn’t now. There are much more complex reasons that I’m still discovering.
35. Did you ever run away from home?
Once that I remember. We were living on Anderson Circle in Honolulu, Hawaii. I believe my parents were arguing. Probably about me. I’m not completely sure why, but I decided to go out to the Buick and listen to the radio. (I just remembered that last night!) I was terribly disappointed to discover that the radio didn’t work. (I was in second grade and obviously didn’t understand that the car keys were involved in making the radio work.) I lay down in the front seat, cried I think, and went to sleep. I’m told that after my parents discovered I was missing they got a lot of their friends involved. Our next door neighbors drove my dad around the neighborhood looking for me. (Obviously not using our car!) My mom stayed home in case I came home, which I did when I woke from my nap. I don’t recall exactly what happened after I wandered back into the house, but I doubt I felt like the Prodigal Child. I don’t think any fatted calves were sacrificed.
36. How old were you when/if you first got glasses?
Summer before fifth grade, I think. I do remember walking out of the optometrist’s office, looking up at the top of the trees and discovering that I could now see leaves, rather than blobs of green. I suspect I’d needed glasses for a good while. (In my defense, this was East Texas and the trees are awfully tall there.) My son, in contrast, got his glasses in kindergarten.
37. Did you need braces or a retainer?
Probably. But I didn’t get them and I’m not sorry. About the only good genetic material I got from my mom was really, really strong teeth. They’re not pretty, but I’ve only had two cavities in my fifty-mumble years. She, on the other hand, had a bunch in her teenage years, because of the braces that trapped food next to the teeth. I’ve learned it’s possible to live a long and happy life with somewhat crooked teeth and have pursued the same course with my son.
38. When did you get your period or hit puberty?
Sixth grade, I think. I’m really not sure. I do know that that’s about when I began putting on a little weight, and I believe that happened with puberty.
39. Both sexes, when did you start shaving?
High school, sometime. I gave it up 10, maybe 15 years ago. The hair on my legs is very thin (well, so is the hair on my head) and very light in color. I don’t wear short skirts or dresses very often, though I do wear shorts and pedal pushers during the summer (about six months of the year around here), but very few people realize there’s hair on my legs.
40. Girls, when did you start wearing a bra?
Probably sixth grade, again. I’m not good with times and years and things, but that sounds right.
41. What was your first kiss like?
I don’t have a specific memory, but I suspect fairly disappointing.
42. What did you do on your first date?
I’m not sure, but I suspect we went to a movie. I think that would have been with Steve Garrison, my first boyfriend, and there wasn’t much else to do on teenage dates.
43. How old were you when you first drank?
Sixteen or seventeen. Well, my dad had offered me a taste of beer when we were out to eat at that Mexican restaurant once. It was pretty awful and I still don’t care for beer much. When I broke up with the aforementioned first boyfriend, I took it pretty hard, and one night when I came home from babysitting, my dad made me a bourbon and Coke, which still tastes like home to me, on the rare occasions I drink it.
44. Where was your first house?
Not sure. I mostly remember apartments till we lived in Hawaii when my dad was stationed there. But there might have been a house in Navy housing earlier that I just don’t remember. My parents didn’t own a house till my dad retired from the Navy and we moved back to East Texas. My mom was still living in that house when she died, leaving my family and my brother and his family to clear out a lifetime of stuff accumulated by an organized packrat. As I recall, the house sold to a young family with children, which I thought was a good thing. It was a small house with only one small bathroom and a small kitchen, but it was a good house. (My family has lived in our fairly small house, small kitchen but two bathrooms, for going on 25 years now. After getting out of the Navy, no one felt much like doing a lot of moving, I guess!)