I’m been in a reflecting mood lately, maybe because it’s almost Christmas or maybe because my father recently passed away and it’s the 20 year anniversary of my mother’s passing. Whatever it is, I’m taking advantage of this time to look back and truly be grateful for the upbringing I had and be grateful for what my parents did for me and what I had to do for myself. We certainly weren’t wealthy, I suppose we would have been considered lower middle class. We ate well as my mom was an expert in preparing a healthy meal with pennies. Schools were good, even had music departments and small enough that I could participate in any sport or club. There wasn’t a lot to do so sitting at the table after school to complete homework and practicing the piano or trumpet didn’t make me feel like I missing out on anything. Stepping out to the basketball hoop in the driveway for a game of ‘around the world’ or ‘pig’ with one my brothers provided a good release (and I became a pretty good shot) Everyone dressed average so there was no feeling of being substandard, and when I reached an age to learn to sew, I had a variety of clothes … something that surely would not be ‘accepted’ in today’s standards.
My Dad was the sole wage earner as a barber with the price of a haircut very low. Family vacations were hitching up the little trailer and heading for a mountain lake or wooded creek with plenty of fishing, fun swimming, camp fires, running around the woods and just a wonderful time. gave me a great love for the mountains and nature. I didn’t stay in a hotel until I was out of the house and on my own. Even our big trip to Disneyland found us in the trailer park across from the park. That was fine…. and it had a pool! (Although I always wondered what staying in a hotel was like). And we never went on an airplane. We didn’t even go to places like Yosemite, although it wasn’t that far away….” too touristy”. My Dad had never been to Yosemite in the 70 years he lived in California…. and he didn’t care. But we fished the most out of the way trout streams you could imagine.
Christmas was always magical and fun. Santa stayed alive far longer than he does for today’s kids. I’ll never forget the Christmas when I kind of thought I would get a new bicycle and there under the tree was a box. Of course, a bicycle could not fit in that box, and when I opened it, there was an air mattress. I knew it would be great fun on the lake next summer and I thanked my parents and gave them hugs (even though it was used!) Then a smile came on my parent’s faces and they led me to the garage and there was a shiny new bike with a leopard banana seat and streamers hanging from the handlebars. It even had shiny fenders so I could ride on wet streets. What a great Christmas that was! What a great childhood…. lucky me!