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    Tuesday, June 17, 2008

    Memories

    All of this talk about Father's Day brought back some memories from my childhood.

    When I was young, and my parents were still married to each other, we only had one car for quite some time. This meant that my mother would take my dad the 20 miles to work in the afternoon so that she could have the car for the day. He worked second shift making brake parts for a company that supplied Ford Motor Company. The afternoon ride was no issue, but dragging yourself up at 12 AM and getting into a cold car to go pick him up with two small children was a pain in the a$. I can still remember mom bundling us up in blankets and putting us into the backseat of the Chevy II that she had already warmed up. She did all of this so that we could go visiting with family members while having coffee and Cokes at the local coffee shop.

    (Me on the left and my sister, 1974)


    Because my dad worked second shift, we didn't always see very much of him since we left for school just as he was getting up in the morning. So, in the middle of the night, I would creep out of my bed when I heard dad come home (if we didn't have the car that day). I would sneak up and sit on his lap as he read the newspaper. I always fell asleep there, but woke up in my bed. It was like magic.


    3 years old


    My dad was a unionized worker so that meant that much of the 70's was spent on strike. I think strike pay was $25 a week back then. I remember hearing my parents worry about whether or not we would be able to eat. We were lucky because my grandfather was a dairy farmer so that meant that we had fresh milk and beef to eat. I can remember never wanting to touch another steak in my life.

    We lived across the street from a cemetery. Most kids would be afraid, but we used it as our playground, always being careful to be respectful. We played hide and go seek and went sledding down the hill that hid a secret room where bodies had once been kept during the long winters because the ground was too frozen to bury them. Night time was the best play time as the neighbor kids would play freeze tag with my sister and me.

    I had only seen my father cry once and that was when his dad died. The next time I saw him cry was when my mother made him tell my sister and me that he and my mom were separating. My sister and I were eating breakfast when my dad came into the room. The weird thing is that I remember that he was in his underwear. How weird to remember that. I think I blamed my mom for the divorce because I was mad that she made dad tell us and I was sure it was all her fault. I was only 9 years old.

    The winter that my parents separated was one of the worst one's on record weather wise. In January of that year, we had a blizzard that had us snowed in for over two weeks. The snow was so deep, that we were unable to open our doors. My sister and I had to dig under the garage door to get out. Our neighbors were nice enough to use their snowmobiles to go to the store to get us milk and bread. I remember how lonely the three of us were without my dad there to help us.

    I guess I blabbered on enough about these old memories. Maybe I'll put down some more soon.

    20 comments:

    stalkermom said...

    Oh my gosh that was sweet and sad at the same time.

    Kim H. said...

    What a lovely post... it is quite obvious that you love your Dad, and that your parents split was a tough time for you. I had a similar experience when my parents divorced - I was 8, and it was hard... but the strange thing now is that I can't even imagine them together.

    buddha_girl said...

    What bittersweet memories.

    I think more people have similar stories to tell but will never be open enough to share them with strangers. Thanks, Jenn!

    snowelf said...

    Hi Jenn!

    These are some of my favorite posts to both write and to read. Isn't it so funny what we remember from when we were little? I think I need to get around to writing more of these on my blog.

    What lovely memories--and how cool of it was your dad to let you sit with him even though you were supposed to be sleeping. ;) Very cool.

    --snow

    Danyele said...

    ((hugs))

    Isn't it funny how strong those memories are so many years down the road? I remember so vividly when I was 6 and my Mom told me that she and my Dad were seperating. I remember every detail of the room..even the pattern of the armchair that my Mom was sitting in to hold me while I cried.

    j.lynne said...

    How familiar this all sounds to me, my parents divorced when i was very young also. But remarried 4 very long years later....I feel fortunate, but the scars are still there from the winter of '67 it was cold, long and hard, if thats the year you recall.......

    G-Man said...

    Jenn..
    I'm so fortunate to be your friend and apprentice..xox

    Big Pissy said...

    Lovely post, Jenn....

    thanks so much for sharing your memories with us.

    {{{hugs}}}}

    ~Pissy

    Tracy said...

    Isn't it funny the little things we remember?
    My parents separated when I was ten and I remember the lettering on my fathers hat the day he packed up his things and drove away in his truck.

    Your post was beautiful and sad and wonderful all at the same time. I feel lucky for having read it and I hope that you do decide to write more soon.

    Yippeeskip said...

    Beautiful and poignant. Thanks for sharing this bit of you and your history Jenn.

    lime said...

    thanks for sharing that. the image of you falling asleep in your dad's lap and magically waking up in bed is so tender and lovely.

    the separation memories brought back a flood of my own memories there too....

    BTExpress said...

    It's nice to reflect on our past like this, even if the memories aren't all good ones. Thanks for sharing.

    Sicilian said...

    Gurl. . . . I loved reading your post. . . . I wonder what my children will remember of their experience with divorce. . . . they were much older, but I think the pain is the same. . . . I don't think I will ever forget the day it was finally over. . . .when he told the kids. . . . . it makes me cry.
    Ciao

    barman said...

    Oh my gosh. I read this and was at a loss for words so I forgot to comment. Sorry.

    That is wonderful. It is great how time can allow us the chance to remember things from the past in the best possible way. This was particularly lovely and touching. Thank you so much for sharing.

    jillie said...

    I have some great memories myself and so happy that I have them!! Just wanted to stop by and say hello to the ever shrinking Jenn! I've just been burnt out and only say hello to my favs!

    XO

    kimmyk said...

    aw. what a special post.

    it's good to remember. your relationship with your dad sounds very special. you were blessed.

    Lori said...

    I read this yesterday. I must have got distracted before replying.
    I love your trip down memory lane. The pictures and the stories. :)

    Mona said...

    O dear Jenn... wherever I go I keep encountering such emotional experiences that make me tear up...
    This is the nth time I have cried since this morning...

    I hate to think how painful & frightening it must be for the little children to see their parents separate...It must be so shattering & really tough & confusing for the poor vulnerable innocent souls.

    Jenn (((HUGS)))

    fairyflutters said...

    Oh that was sad at the end. I love how your daddy magically put you to bed. That is so sweet. I never had a dad so I missed out on all that sweet stuff. :(

    I can't imagine being snowed in for 2 weeks! Wow.

    *S* said...

    I love it when you write about your childhood, Jen. It always amazes me how much we've had in common - right down to playing in cemeteries as kids. Write on!

    *S*