Saturday, January 04, 2014

Birthday presents to follow...

I am home along, a truly blessed birthday present.

Robert has been concerned because he does not have a birthday present for me.  His dad is working today, or Robert would have ordered dad to the store to buy a present.  Yesterday, he kept asking me, 'So, what is your dream Grandma'?  I told him it was my dream to have a little boy and a little girl to come live with me and Papa.  And, 'What is your dream, Robert?'  Trucks.

Now, Papa and both kids have gone on an errand to buy a new battery for my little explorer as it has not been cranking right lately.  Monday morning we are not supposed to have any temperature, and it probably will not start without a new cranker.  I thought about just not going in Monday, but decided a battery would make a good birthday present.

Then, they are supposed to stop by KFC and bet a bucket meal.  Hannah wanted pizza, but I told her it was my birthday and I did not want pizza.  I am sure we will get KFC, but we might also get a couple of happy, happy meals from the Big M.  Big M and Big Chicken sit on either side of Big W where they will get the battery.

Robert kept worrying about my birthday present, so I told him what I really wanted was a new truck.  When he left, he asked again how many trucks I wanted.  I told him one would do it.  I think there is a good possibility I might get a new truck to go with the battery.  He is a really sweet boy.  Papa is not much of a shopper, so we will see.

My life so far...

CHAPTER ONE - First Six Years


My first grade picture, 1954.  The suit I am wearing is one from Winnie Jo.  It was shades of green and shades of tan.  The name is Mama's work.  Also, the haircut.

I was born January 4, 1948.  I do not remember anything about my first year.  From pictures, I know that I was a skinny, ugly baby.  The day I was born is most noted for being the day the British colony of Burma, now Myanmar, became an independent nation after more than sixty years of colonial rule.  Mine was not the most noted birth of 1948.  That distinction belongs to the state of Israel.
My first memory is a simple scene  of me standing with one foot on the base board, my elbows on the edge of the dresser in the front bedroom, Momma and Daddy’s room, watching Daddy shave.  The baseboards were one by sixes, so I guess I was about 3 years old as I was just tall enough to rest my elbows on the dresser with this added height.   I am sure this is in my memory because my Daddy was the most important person in my world.  Daddy held that position until the time of my first marriage.
I know that Mamma and Patsy must have had the day to day responsibility of taking care of the children, but I have no early memories of either of them or of my other brothers and sister.  My next real memory is of being dressed only in my cotton underpants, running down the road screaming and crying after Momma and Daddy leaving in the car.  Patsy and Richard were trying to reassure me and get me to shut up.  I am guessing I was 3 to 4 years old and probably this was the first time Momma went anywhere without me, or at least the first time that I was aware she was leaving without me.
My next memory is in the summer of 1953.  Me and some of the children and maybe Daddy are in the yard by the back porch shelling corn, for the chickens, I guess.  Loveta is driving by in her car and she stops and yells that she has been to school.  She said they told her I could not start school until the next year, because I would not be old enough that fall.  Daddy lied about my birth year and I started school  that fall.
Patsy took me to school the first day.  We got off the buss in town and Patsy bought me a sugar daddy sucker.  I had a zipper binder notebook with paper in it.  When I got to school, I put what was left of the sucker between the papers in the notebook.  It stuck to the paper and ruined the sucker.  This is all I remember of my first day of school.
I was painfully shy at school.  From the first, I always knew all the answers, but I never, ever raised my hand to answer questions.  I was so skinny, Momma bought me jeans with galoshes that buttoned into the waist band to hold them up.  I had a little green (at least I think it was green) sweater passed down from cousin Winnie Jo that I just loved to ware with these jeans.  Someone had the idea of putting the sweater over the galoshes to hid them.  I think this was my idea because I thought it looked more stylish.  But, this presented a problem when going to the restroom, meaning I had to remover the sweater to go pee.  I was embarrassed to take off my sweater.  The restrooms were in the hallway at the entrance to the room, one for boys and one for girls; both one stool affairs.  I am guessing the restroom door had a lock, but we had no locks at all on our doors at home and I did not know how to use the restroom lock.  My solution to this problem was to sit in my chair and wet my pants when I wore my favorite outfit rather than risk being caught in the restroom  without my sweater.  Momma and Daddy worried about me wetting my pants at school, because I overhead them discussing it, but they never talked with me about it.
At this time, Daddy was working at Turney’s furniture factory at Harrison.  I remember he road to work everyday with Hugh Magness. I think maybe others in the area road with them, but I do not remember any other names.  The only real reason I know Daddy worked at the furniture factory at this time, is that he used scraps from the factory to make me and Betty Christmas presents in 1953 or 1954.  He made us a little child’s size table, two chairs and a doll bed painted red.  This was really nice child sized furniture for our financial situation.
As I said, my memory is not that great with exact events.  The reason I remember the furniture so clearly, is that in the summer of 1954 we were expecting a new baby.  Betty and I had big plans for the new baby and our red, child size furniture.  We were going to take it all out in the yard and use the new baby for our play thing.  Somehow, this did not happen.
The day Helen was born, August 18, 1954, Daddy took me and Betty up to Delbert O’Dell’s on his way to get the doctor.  The doctor, Dr. McCurry I guess, came to the house for the baby’s delivery.  After she was a few months old, it did become my responsibility to entertain her.  I remember taking her to the back bedroom, putting her on the bed and bouncing the bed gently trying to rock her to sleep so I could go outside and play.  Although, we did take care of her in the house, we were not allowed to take her outside.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Back to School...

First day back to school.  Robert has on one of Benjamin's shirts and Hannah has on the shirt Aunt Helen gave her and the pants I got for  her.  I bought her a Hello Kitty top and a pair of black pants, then saw these zebra stripped pants and knew she would love them.  And, they are her favorite.  You can't really see here, but she is wearing her new necklace and earrings.

It was really, really cold today.  Only got to 27 degrees.  I am off until Monday.  I went to get groceries and came right back.  It was too cold to do anything more.

Tonight we are having spaghetti and homemade rolls.  And, I am going to make cinnamon rolls for tomorrow.

Greg went back to work, so me and Papa had peace and quite today.  This afternoon we took 2 hour naps.  Exciting life here.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking back...

At my place of work, the past couple of months has been a trying time for many of my co-workers.  The turmoil has had little effect on me personally, but others are scurrying around like rats abandoning a sinking ship.  Then too, some have been pushed overboard.  Everyday at work I see many people doing the exact same job in almost the exact same place as they were twenty-five years ago when I started working alongside them.  Whereas I now have a cushy job sitting behind a computer screen tapping on a keyboard most of the day. What made my course so different from theirs?  A Christmas present.

In December 1984, I decided to buy my two young boys, ages 9 and 11, a Commodore 64 computer for their Christmas present. I ordered it from the Montgomery Ward's catalog for $300.  At that time, $300 was a lot for me to spend on them for presents and I doubt they received anything more except for a few games to go with it. There was no monitor, just a keyboard computer with an external disk drive hooked to a TV. They did enjoy it, but they did not learn much about computers beyond how to play the games.

I, on the other hand, was totally fascinated.  I wanted to know how it worked and how to make it work. In less than a month, I added a dot matrix printer to the setup.  I bought computer magazines and devoured them from cover to cover. At the time, I worked at a quick stop in our little town and I soon started trading computer programs and computer knowledge with several teenage boys that frequented the little store.  And, it was just boys.  I do not remember any teenage girls at the time showing any interest in our computer talk.

Helen in Arizona also had a Commodore 64, and we traded programs in the mail, and computer talk on the phone.  I think sometime in the next year, the disk drive gave out, and it seems Helen got me a used one at a good price from their newspaper adds.  Then, when the computer itself gave out sometime in the next year or so, I upgraded to a Commodore 128, twice as big!

My next upgrade was to a mail order IBM clone from Micron Computers and then a colored ink jet printer.  I do not remember just what year that would have been, but likely sometime between 1987 and 1990.  The next upgrade was a Packard Bell purchased at Sears in Springdale.  I think it cost almost $3000 for the entire package and I think I got a new printer with it. I am not so sure of the price, but I know it was at least $2000.  Again, I do not remember the year.

After that, it was an E-machine, or maybe 2, from Best Buy, then in 2005 an HP desktop from Best Buy, in 2011 a HP laptop from Wally World, and in early 2012, a Toshiba laptop from Wally World. It is interesting that the last was by far the most powerful of all and was less expensive than any of the earlier desktop computers.  In fact, the 2011 HP laptop cost the same as the first Commodore 64.

Mixed in with all those computer changes, I had a few job changes. First in 1988, a move from store to factory.  In 1990, came an advancement to Quality Control.  I worked second shift and the person that did the same job as I did on first shift also did computer entry for our department.  When he took a clerical job in the front office, at a friend's suggestion, I volunteered to take over his computer work. I have had a succession of jobs since then, but each step up or sideways always involved more and more computer work and less and less real work.

And in 2001, my experiences with that first computer paved the way to my current position in front of a computer screen at work, while so many of the people I worked alongside in 1988 are still battling assembly [or dis-assembly] work on the factory floor.

All because of Christmas in 1984.