3/10/2005

Moving Right Along

I could write 10,000 words on the childhood I shared with my sibs. Let's get a few fact into place and then hit the high spots so I can move on to my teen years, which is where my life as an individual really began.

We were blue collar folks with red neck leanings and aspired toward more. My Dad held several jobs in his younger parenting years but the two that are remembered by me are his job as a mechanic at a Chevy Dealership and his second job as a gutiar player/singer in a local contry music band.

Mom didn't work when we were little but had to start picking up the slack as we grew and worked for an auto manufacturer sewing car seats.

My sisters joined me quickly. We were all about 13-15 months apart. (Whew, MA!) This made us a very tightly bonded group. Mom held off a couple years before my brother joined us. He was 6 years younger than me. I got to be an only child my first year and 3 months, that was it. I craved being an only child often when I was growing up. I think most kids with sibs dream of it frequently.

There wasn't much gender differentiation in our lives until Ay, the brother, was added to the mix. We girls did whatever Dad was doing or Mom made us do. It doesn't take many brains to figure out that guys had it better than girls. We were struggling against gender boundries before we knew what they were.

It was a constant fight to get to play games and sports with the boys in the 'hood. We didn't just like sports, we were good at them. As an adult, any form of "you can't do ____, you're a girl!" still sends me crusading into the education of ignorant humans. It's the big, black button in my life and has caused many fights or debates.

We have all participated in many sports, softball, baseball, football, swimming, bare-back riding, track, wrestling, golf, tennis, bowling and just about anything else you can name.

I started learning to ride dirt bikes when I was nine. We two older girls rode in dirt track scrambles and hill climbing events. I took 2nd in state at 13, my 12 year old sis took 3rd. We would have taken first & second but we threw a climb because we were beating her boyfriend out of first and she BEGGED me to let him beat us so he wouldn't stop liking her. It stunk, but she was my sister. What's a girl to do?

This isn't to say we couldn't dress up as cute as puppies and lay the boys low with our charms. We did that well, too, when Mom could get us to wear dresses. We could even dance, a little. We learned standing on the toes of our brave uncles. We sang enthusiastically.

We could diaper a baby, cook a meal, fix a button, iron anything, clean a house and do laundry by the time we were each 12 or 13. We knew basic first aid. That was OJT, mostly ( on the job training).

We could also adjust a chain, change a bike tire, check the oil in a car, pump gas, fish, baiting our own hooks, (most of us) and cleaning our own catches. We could run off snakes, pick off blood suckers, milk cows, feed chickens, fetch the eggs, feed a baby, a calf, bunnie or kitten by bottle, weed a garden and keep from getting caught in a strawberry patch.

Dad taught us gun safety with a .410 rifle. We had targets and did pretty well. Uncle taught us archery. I missed the 3 stacked hay bales and put an arrow through a knot hole in the barn wall. The arrow smacked into the loft ladder my Grampa was climbing down. That got me restricted from the bow for a week. I consoled myself stealing a few fat, ripe strawberries.

So there's an overview. Back to the nitty gritty tomorrow.

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