Wednesday, March 05, 2008

When I Was 9

Dear Audrey,

Your mother was born February 27. I turned 9 on March 15, just 16 days later. To me, she was my real live baby doll. Of course, being the oldest and being 9, I thought I was old enough to be the little mother. Mom let me change diapers - back in those days there weren't Pampers or Huggies. I remember having rinse the dirty diaper in the toilet and I accidentally flushed one down the toilet.

We moved to the house in Pearland in April - your Mommy was just 6 weeks old. I remember helping to keep her occupied - she would sleep in her infant seat in a corner in the dining room while Mom cleaned the kitchen and put down shelf paper before the move.

The neighborhood was a new one and they were constantly tying in new houses to the public water system and having to flush the pipes. As a result we had a lot of rust in the water. Mary Lee got colic really bad from the water, and it seemed like it was the worst right as Mom was trying to get dinner on the table. Of course, I was old enough that I could hold Mary Lee and tryi to comfort her, under Mom's direction of course. (You had colic really bad when you were about 3-4 weeks old, but your favorite time to scream and cry was around midnight to about 2 in the morning - poor baby, you had a hard time of it.)

When I was 9 I had to change schools for the second time. I was able to finish out 3rd Grade at my old school because Mom would drive me in the morning, then turn around and drive Kathy to Kindergarten at lunchtime, then turn around and pick us both up in the afternoon. That was 3 trips into Houston every day for almost 2 months. But that fall, I started 4th Grade in a new school. Unfortunately, none of the kids that I had become friends with in the neighborhood were in my grade, so I didn't know anyone. I soon made friends at school, but I still couldn't wait to get home so that I could play with Mary Lee. My new friends thought it was really cool that I had a baby sister

She was my real live baby doll, and she will always be my baby doll in my memory, my baby sister. I miss her.

Aunt Maggie

Sunday, March 02, 2008

High School

Dear Audrey,

Most of my high school memories are around being in Band. I started Band when I was in 6th Grade, playing the clarinet. At the time, all my friends were doing something, Band or Choir, or sports. Well, I couldn't sing and I kept trying out for the Girl's Volleyball team, but wasn't good enough - so Band was it.

We had Marching Band in the fall and Symphonic Band in the spring. We started Marching Band practice around the first of August. Freshmen went for several hours in the morning for a week - learning to march. And we had rehearsals Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evening during the weeks before school started. We would rehearse music, then we would go out and march. We were what was known as a military style of band, with 6 to 5 stride vs. the 8 to 5 stride of "show bands". The stride was how many steps were in 5 yards, so 6 to 5 meant a 30" stride. For a long time afterward, I had a 30" stride - now it's much shorter. Marching Band was brutal during August because of the heat.

My freshman year, I didn't march at halftime, but was one of the sidelines team. Our job was to make sure the yard markers were up and in the correct spot, and then to help get the larger instruments off the field after the show. We did play in the stands with the band, but there were more people in Band than the director wanted to march with - it had to be symmetrical since we were a military style band, and that meant marching in a block.

For the other 3 years I did march every football game except for one. I sprained my ankle on a Friday and couldn't put any weight on the ankle for 48 hours. The band director wouldn't even let me go to the game since it was a couple of weeks until Marching Contest and he wanted me healthy for that.

My best friends in High School were also in Band. Vicky and I both played clarinet; Audrey started out on clarinet but switched to bassoon in 8th Grade; and Susan played flute and oboe. We roomed together on band trips for all 4 years, we hung out together, and we had a lot of classes together, especially Vicky and I. Vicky and I even shared the same last name, although we weren't related.

I took almost all Accelerated classes in High School. That would be equivalent to AP classes now. I took 4 years of Math - Algebra I and II, Geometry and Analytical Geometry. Unfortunately, my school didn't offer pre-Calculus, which kind of put me at a disadvantage in college, but I loved Math. In fact, I was Who's Who in Math my senior year. It was a toss-up whether I was going to get Math or Science, but since I didn't take Biology II, another guy got that award. I did take Biology I, Chemistry I and II and Physics in High School - and I really loved the Physical Sciences - so much so, I majored in Chemistry in college. I also took 4 years (plus 1 quarter) of Literature and English, 4 years of Social Studies, a year of Spanish (Spanish II because I had 2 years of Spanish in Jr. High), Driver's Ed, Homemaking, Band of course - and I even took a year of PE - even though Marching Band counted for my PE requirement. I wanted to take tennis and that's the only way I could.

Because of the time commitment with Band, I wasn't in as many outside organizations as I had been in my younger life. I had been in Girl Scouts through 7th Grade, I had been in 4H for a year - more for the homemaking activities, I had been in Rainbow Girls and stayed in that my freshman year and maybe my sophomore year. But it was hard with Band being 1 or 2 nights a week, at least during marching season. I was in Future Teachers of America (FTA) in High School. And I did join Explorer Scouts my senior year - it was a medical branch of Explorer Scouts. I was a teacher's aide for 2 years and Office Assistant my senior year. So I kept full schedules all 4 years. I was also active in UMYF and Youth Choir at my church. Part of that involved leading the 8:30 service at church and participating in fundraisers and mission trips during the summers.

Again, because of Band, I didn't have a lot of after school jobs. I worked at the Bookstore at church for a couple hours after work for about a year. I would do data entry at the machine shop where Mom worked every once in a while. And I tutored and babysat. I did work at an pizza place for one summer and part of one school year - until they wanted me to work on a Friday night and I had a football game. I got a job after my senior year working at Dairy Queen, but right after I started there, Daddy was able to get me a job where he worked, doing clerical work. So I worked at Fisk Electric during the week and at Dairy Queen weekends and evenings until I went to college.

One of my high school highlights was being chosen to attend CloseUp my senior year. CloseUp is a week long program in Washington, DC, where students get the opportunity to observe the U.S. government up close (hence the name). I went with 7 or 8 students from my school, but there were over 200 students form the Houston area there at the same time.

I had a steady boyfriend, Rusty Bachtel, my junior and senior years. We started dating right around Halloween. It was nice having a steady - I definitely had a date for prom both years, plus he was in Band as well - so we had that in common as well. We did share several classes. I thought he was really cool and the love of my life - and that lasted until I went away to college and I continued to grow up and he wanted someone to stay at home and raise the children, like his mother. I remember him fondly, but realized with time that he wasn't the one for me.

Audrey, I hope that you are able to look back on your high school years with fondness. I hope you have the friendships and the activities to make it a fun time - not just something to get through until you become an adult.

Aunt Maggie

My Childhood

The third challenge is to scrap about ourselves with at least half the page being journaling. Well, the journaling part is not so hard for me, but the talking about part is harder. I've decided that since Audrey seems interested in what it was like when we were growing up, that I would write a letter to her about my childhood. So here goes:

Dear Audrey,

You have asked questions about what it was like growing up. I know you usually are asking in reference to what it was like for your Mommy, but this letter will be more about what it was like for me.

I'm the oldest, so some of my earliest memories were when Kathy was a baby. We lived in a house in Houston. The house was on a short street that curved into another street. We were the third house on a 3 street house. I had a several friends that I played with on the 2 streets. There was Bob Allen that lived in the house on the corner. There was Janice Williamson that lived 2 doors down the other way. There were twin boys, Brett and Bart - I can't remember if they lived between us and the Williamson's, or further down. Then a couple of houses down was Lana Lee. We would play in each other's driveways or in the yards. I remember we had a large shade tree in our front yard, but there was enough room that we played baseball as well.

Our house growing up was a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath house with a 1 car garage. You walked in the front door and there was a brick planter box that separated the doorway from the living room. The living room was to the left and the doorway to the hall was on the right. In the living room was a sofa that flattened out into a bed - you lifted the bottom and the back fell down then you flattened the seat back down, like a futon. There was also Daddy's platform rocker tucked in next to the planter. There was a console TV under the front windows. Over against the far wall was the maple table that's in Mom's breakfast room now. I remember a large brass tray on the wall above the table and some other brass sconces or something as well. Mom used to sell for World Gift, I think it was a home show type business. Between the sofa and the dining table was a doorway into the kitchen and breakfast nook. I seem to remember another planter box that separated the breakfast nook from the kitchen area. There was a door to the garage off the breakfast area, and a door into the backyard between the breakfast nook and the kitchen. The kitchen was like a galley style with a little L on the end closest to the breakfast nook. The counters were ceramic tile. The sink was on the back wall along with all the cabinets/counters and the pantry, stove and refrigerator were on the opposite wall. At the far end of the kitchen was a door into the hall. Going into the hall, to the left was a Hollywood bath, straight ahead was Mom and Dad's bedroom. Turning right in the hall then going down were the other 2 bedrooms. The middle room was mine and Kathy's and the other room was the guest room. I remember moving into the front bedroom for just a short period of time before we moved to Pearland. The house wasn't centrally air-conditioned, but there was an attic fan in the hall and we had window units in parts of the house.

I was sick a lot when I was really little. I had kidney and bladder problems. I remember being in the hospital a lot when I was 3 or 4 years old, and had surgery when I was 5 or 6. I also had to have my tonsils out, so I spent a lot of time at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. Somewhere in there, I also broke my collarbone. I remember being in a body cast that came down like a short sleeve on the right side and then angling across to my under my left arm. The whole thing went down to my waist - I was wearing a plaster, one-sleeved shirt for several weeks. No one knew for sure how I broke it, Mom thinks I may have fallen off my tricycle. I just remember waking up from a nap, crying because it hurt. I remember trying to color, using my left hand because I couldn't use my right arm much.

Kathy was almost 3 years younger than me, and wanted to do everything that I did. I remember Mom dressed us either alike or in coordinating outfits. I remember red dresses with white lace and buttons down the front. Mom and Dad were going to let me stay up later or stop taking naps, but Kathy wanted to stay up as well - so I still had to go to bed earlier and take naps up until I went to school fulltime.

OK, enough for now - I will be making this a multi-part letter and may rearrange things as I think of new things.


I'm participating in the Amazing Digiscrapping Race #3 (ADSR3) with my partner, Fran. Fran is one of my fellow CT members at both DSAG and NDISB. Over the last several months, Fran and I have discovered a lot of things in common - mostly we both act a little crazy at times, and we both try to make people welcome at our sites, and try to act as ambassadors and good CT members (although I haven't been as good as Fran lately - I think I hit a bit of a scrapping slump and not doing as much as I can).

Anyway, we are now starting Week 2 of the 6 week challenge. Since Fran and I both are CT members, we aren't eligible for the Grand Prize, but there are some pretty nice prizes for completing each challenge.

The first challenge was to use a template and scrap about one of our favorite scrapping subjects. Of course, my subject was Audrey, looking at how she's grown through the years:

The second challenge was to scrap a layout with our partner, each of us taking a half. Well, Fran and I got on Hello and started throwing out ideas. Fran's first idea was to split the page vertically with each of us in profile looking toward each side and journaling and whatever on each side. Well before we could even get started, someone had already done that. So I suggested that we use pics of us with our subjects from Challenge 1 - me with Audrey and Fran with her grandkids. Fran didn't have any pics that she liked with her grandkids. I don't remember why, but she threw out some pics of her dressed as a clown. I don't have any of me in Halloween costumes scanned (I'm not sure where those pics even are), but I had one of my days when I used to go "Kicker" dancing - with the jeans and belt buckle and all. We kept throwing out older photos until both of us threw out pics from the 80's where we both had big glasses and wing hairstyles. That was it!!!! Long Lost Twins: