mom: the early years
i couldn’t resist this photo. it’s too fuckin’ cute. it was taken at the lake where my forefathers built a handy log cabin near detroit lakes minnesota that has, quite recently, caused some problems amongst family members. my mom is on the right and her first cousin mara is on the left. mara’s brothers, paul and mark, are in the middle. mara was the mother of my cousin jason who was born with several birth defects and eventually went blind. despite this, he still earned a masters in mathematics. long time readers might remember that he passed away suddenly a year and a half ago.
a little more mara-mom action. what is that hat my mother is wearing?
she would probably kill me for posting this, but mom with a baton cannot be passed up. i think she was auditioning for something at the high school where i ended up going as well. however, by then, they had removed the confederate flag from the middle of the gym floor and from the album covers of music produced by the band (mom played the flute). i now must wonder if my five and a half years of twirling lessons weren’t somehow instigated by mom reliving the twirling past.
i think this is a photo of my parents before they got married and while they were visiting their parents in tyler. both sets of my grandparents lived within half a mile of each other. my mother’s mother was kind enough to ask my father’s mother if my father could take my mother to a dance. poor mom.
this is mom holding their cat creep. i believe this was not long after they were married and while they were living in the houston apartment i drove by recently. god, she looks like she’s 15. and it wasn’t until today that i realized i think she’s wearing one of my father’s shirts.
the moment you’ve all been waiting for... here come the babies. specifically, me! here we have mara and donnie holding the sweet, fresh baby beth next to my sister, lisa, and mom. i wish i had a scan of the photo of mara and don holding lisa at her baptism celebration. mara looked like a total barbie. short, sleek, shiny blond bob and a crisp dress. i will be emailing this to them shortly because she seems to forget the hippie hair and budweiser t-shirt from my baby photo.
*i should be nice here and explain that they weren’t frazzled from the partying. they were, most likely, worn out mentally and physically from dealing with jason’s many surgeries. it was a fuckin’ rough road for them.
i think i’ve posted another photograph from the “blue goose” series in the past, but i just can’t get over that pointy, yellow hat i’m wearing. and i’ll admit to searching for the toboggan my sister is wearing so i could take it to NYC this year. the “blue goose” is the car, by the way. i think it was either won in a bet or lost in a bet or i’m making all of this up.
here’s where things start getting embarrassing.
who wants to go to the fair?!?! who wants to get a candy apple?!?! who wants to eat their candy apple with their shirt off or at least rub it all over their face with their shirt off?!?!
i do! i do!
for grins, here is a photo of my sister with jason. see if you can pick them out from all the crazy patterns.
xmas. i assume these are in chronological order only because i seem to have graduated out of footed pajamas that buttoned together at the waist (so that middle-of-the-night potty time was a trying event) and because their is no ginger in the first.
*who got a new purse? i also had (have) one of the purses my sister's holding. it was awesome... you could button on different covers.
*who got a new tape recorder so she can think she's sneaky by tricking people into being unwittingly recorded? poor little ginger. she put up with so much. at least she wasn't wearing a doll dress and sitting in a baby buggy that morning. and yes, my sister and i are dressed alike. as we often were. i'm shocked we have on differing footwear.
*i think what we see here might be the post-gum-in-the-hair
dorothy hamil haircut
here i am with my playskool circus. i will now admit to having played with the playskool circus mere months ago... and being challenged by how to assemble it. i will later be blowing up that photo to examine the brilliant construction more closely. check the psychedelic toy box. i hid in it with on my birthday with the box full of chocolate m&m’s my paternal grandmother gave me. the same grandmother who gave me a giant hershey bar with 20 dollar bills taped to it last xmas.
*if i'm not mistaken, this was also the potato head photo day. and, quite possibly, beth-rides-her-rocking-horse-naked day.
for fashion shits and giggles, here is a photo of my mom and her sister, cathy. my sister and i had driven up with mom to little rock, ar, to meet for the weekend. cathy was the chaperon for some cult called the rainbow girls or something odd and 70’s-ish like that. all i know is that they ate pineapple on their pizza. i remember eating pancakes in a restaurant one morning and going to a museum that had a mummified baby or mummified little freak. i wonder where the hell my mom had taken us. it might have also been the trip where i first (and maybe last) ate very crunchy, thin flatbread you could break your teeth on in a restaurant so fancy i had to request ketchup for my hamburger... and then, it came in a tiny ketchup bottle. ho-ly-shit. i just found the place.
let’s zip forward to the early 80’s. my family vacationed yearly at the lovely el matador condominiums on the edge of ft walton beach, fl. occasionally, the vacation would coincide with my parents’ wedding anniversary. the first time, my grandmother helped us bake sugar cookies on the sly so that i could smuggle them in a dillard’s shirt box in the back seat of the volare across several southern states. while my parents were on the beach, my sister and my friend (leigh ann) and i set about decorating the condo with toilet paper and balloons. i think this was the same year we proceeded to make a little of everything in the kitchen. like ramen. though, looking at the photo, i’m just seeing plates stacked with sugar cookies. and, apparently, we were crafty enough to secure bottles of wine. i also fail to remember if that’s the year we scared the fucking crap out of my parents when they entered the condo and we threw shredded toilet paper all over their wet bodies. that was a classic photo.
ps: not only am i wearing one of my many airbrushed t-shirts from florida, but an airbrushed t-shirt with a rainbow which was also a rainbow air-brushed HALF t-shirt in bubble yum purple. with my name on it. paired with a pair of spangledy purple shorty shorts. at least i never succumbed to the fringed t-shirts strung with plastic beads. like leigh ann did. and at least i wore clothes to the party.
*it's now occurring to me how we stopped going to florida during my parents' anniversary.
i mentioned earlier how it was about to get embarrassing for me. that was a lie compared to how embarrassing it’s about to get for me. sometimes, i look at photos of myself as a child and think “god. how odd looking. is that really me?” frankly, i’ve started thinking i looked a bit mexican in some of those photos and mom always did say there was a rash of baby-switching in the nursery where i was born, but she always knew she had the right baby because i had been the only white baby. well mom, let’s not be too hasty. it’s probably just the smidge of cherokee talkin’, but damn if i don’t look just a little bit mexican. and there was that one time as a teenager when a stranger stopped me outside the hasting’s books-music-videos and asked me if my name was ‘maria’.
*sweet jesus. i see now it must have been my mother who was always cutting my niece's bangs with a "step" down on the sides. that's right... check the sides of my bangs.
it’s tragic to end on such an awful photo. so let's not.