Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My Memoir: The Witch

When I was six years old we lived in a small town in Utah called Green River. My older sister and I would play all around on our property that encompassed our home and my grandmother’s home. In the furthest corner of our property sat a two-story house which had not been lived in for many years. The house looked abandoned with all the windows broken, paint worn off, even the roof seemed to sag just a little. Inside was worse, in one room there were springs left from what use to be a mattress, paint was peeling off every wall and debris covered the floors. It was obvious kids had been in there because the place had been vandalized. Cupboard doors hung off the hinges in the kitchen, walls had holes kicked in them, and there were even traces of animals. It was an awful sight, yet still we loved to sneak inside what we called the haunted house.

It wasn’t really haunted but we would make up stores to scare each other. Our favorite was a woman in a white dress staring out of the upstairs window...just staring. We were told never to play in the house because it was dangerous. That of course made sneaking into the house even more thrilling. Eventually they tore the house down and our haunted house was no more, but we still have the memory of woman in white.

Even better than the haunted house was a much smaller home that stood next door. A ditch ran between the haunted house and the smaller home, another fascination for kids to play near. The ditch was another forbidden area, yet we still seemed to wonder near it from time to time. We dared venture close just to see how long it took the witch to come out of her house hollering at us to get away from water. We never understood why she cared – as far as we were concerned she was the witch from Hansel and Gretel. She was always after children and cackled just like a witch. We heard she had a little boy of her own that drowned in the ditch. Her sorrow turned bitter and now she hated all children or at least that was our story.

I recall seeing her a few times in town. She had the same cackle in her voice even when she spoke to adults. To a child her voice was frightening, if I had been an adult way back then I would still be afraid. She drove a big car and although she looked very small behind the wheel I thought she looked terrifying. She always drove to the same building late in the afternoon. When I learned the place she went to was a tavern, I just knew she was there drinking away her sorrow over her lost son. That wasn’t the case at all- she owned the establishment!

To this day I have never found out why her voice had such a shrill to it. As a mother I understand why she was concerned about our safety as any parent would be when it comes to fast moving water. This of course means nothing in the eyes of a child. As far as we were concerned she was the witch that lived at the end of the street.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

My Memoir: A Tribute

When I was about ten years old my father remarried a woman from the same small town I was born and raised in. After my parents divorced, my mother moved us to New Mexico where we spent the next seven years. Each summer I would go home to Green River and stay with my father for several weeks. One summer in particular my father's wife Verna Jean helped plan her son's wedding that happened to take place while I was there.

The wedding was held outside in a beautiful yard filled with flowers and rose bushes. Everything was perfect right down to Kim's new bride Judy. She was so sweet with her bubbly personality. She made everyone happy whenever she was around because her laugh and good nature was so contagious. I always loved how she could turn a bad situation around. When it came time for Judy to throw her bouquet of roses to the bridesmaids I watched fascinated all eyes on who would be the lucky girl. On her first attempt, it snagged on a wire that hung just above and fell to the ground in front of the girls. Everyone laughed and Judy tried again. Her second time was not much better the same thing happened. Kim, now impatient, grabbed the bouquet of beautiful roses and threw them directly at me. He was the quarterback and I the receiving end. His aim was directly at my chest so I caught them easily. I looked down at the roses and back at him, then to Judy who was beaming at me. I have never forgotten that moment. How special they both made me feel. I now had a new sister.

Kim and Judy moved to Salt Lake to start their new life and I continued to visit each summer. My Sophomore year I moved back to Green River to finish high school. Kim and Judy would come down all the time for summer trips on the Green River, Lake Powell, birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I loved it when they came to visit. Judy always brought her infectious smile that made me want them to stay just a little bit longer.

My first year in Green River took some adjusting to as I made friends and tried to fit in. I decided to enter a contest in which I chose to dance to a popular disco song of the era. Kim and Judy were coming down that weekend and I was practicing my dance number for the contest that was coming up in a few weeks. Judy asked if she could watch me practice and at the time I had no idea she had done choreography. When I finished she asked if she could give me a few pointers. She disappeared and came back with two dish towels. 

"Move your hips," she told me. 

I stood frozen in my spot. What did she mean move my hips. I had just finished my number and she saw me. She repeated her statement as so I moved my hips from side to side. 

"No, no," she said. "Really move your hips. No one can see what you are doing on the back row." 

This was news to me and I was not exactly sure what she meant. She explained every move I made had to be accentuated so the people sitting in the back of the auditorium could see. I did my best or at least what I thought was my best until she took the dish towels tied them together and then proceeded to tie them around my hips. She stood me in front of a mirror and said "Make the dish towels move." What!? For the next two hours she drilled me like an army sergeant and transformed my dance routine into a full blown production number. Then she asked me what I was wearing. I figured I would conjure up something from my closet when she said "I think this number needs a tux and hat." Well that was not anywhere available in Green River, but she assured me she would take care of everything.

The day of the contest I remember feeling excited but more nervous to the point I was not sure I wanted to go through with it. Traffic had held up Kim and Judy so they arrived much later than anticipated. This of course did not help my nerves any but when she pulled out the tux and hat I squealed with delight. The tux was a body suit; black on the bottom with a jacket, gold vest and white shirt sewed to it. The best part were the tux tails and hat. My routine went very well and for added affect Judy told me to look right at the judges at the very end and wink. So I did! 

I was crowned Homecoming Queen that year. I day I will never forget. I doubt very seriously I would have won if it had not been for my dear sister in-law. She gathered me up like an ugly duckling and turned me into a beautiful swan. I could not have done what she did for me on my own. This is the kind of person my dear sister was. Always giving, always willing to help, always smiling. I am so happy and grateful I was part of her life and she a part of mine.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Puppy Corner: To See or Not

As I sit quietly watching Brother Bear and my Mamma eat, I am waiting for a small bite. When Mamma is around I never get a bite but when it's just Brother Bear and I he gives me lots and tells me I need to eat more meat. Mamma usually walks in at this time. I try to eat fast but she always catches us. Brother Bear just smiles as Mamma's face changes. When this happens she is not happy. When Mamma eats she rubs a white paper across her mouth after every bite. Brother Bear usually rubs the white paper after he eats. Mamma rubs the white paper on my mouth after I've had a long drink but mostly I rub my whole face on my blanket. It's what a do after every meal. 

Mamma noticed my eye getting red and I was having a hard time keeping it open because it hurt real bad. Mamma took me in once to get it checked but the red always came back. A little while ago my Mamma took me to the see the lady in the white coat. Mamma likes her a lot.
The lady in the white coat looked at my eye and said I have something that did not sound good. She told Mamma many dogs like me get this because our eyes stick out more. Things like rubbing my face after eating can make my eyes sore. She gave Mamma some drops to put in my eye for a long time.

Many days later we went back to the lady in the white coat. She said my eye was doing much better and I can stop having the drops in twice a day. Only once now. I'm glad I was getting tired of the drops. But now Mamma puts gooey stuff in my eyes before I go to bed. I will have drops in my eye for the rest of my life Mamma tells me. If we hadn't gone in and my eye got worse I would not be able to see out of it. I am glad I have a family that loves and cares for me.