Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I Am From (Paper Route)

I am from stacks of newspaper, bags of rubber bands, black newsprint on my hand. From canvas bags that fit over your head, the paper bag holder on wheels with a round "puller" handle that Dad made for Carol, bicycles and tote gotes. From the Falgout's delivering the morning edition of the Times and the James' delivering the afternoon edition of the Standard.

I am from Mrs Biondini, where Carol had to hand deliver the newspaper to her porch because she didn't want the newspaper to make a black mark on her door., the same lady who ironed her son's blue jeans till there was a crease down the front of the leg. From Mrs. Wagner's (who lived down Franklin as far as you could go and then turned left, the road curved down and around and they were tucked in the curve) popcorns balls on Halloween "one per person please" and chocolate covered cherries at Christmas. From Mom taking over John’s route because he was sick in bed with asthma and running over Ida Martin's mailbox, and Dad going out in the rain to replace it. From Blackie and all the other dogs on the route, from those who were tethered, and from those who weren't.

I am from upper route, middle route, lower route, from a sister who couldn't ride a bicycle, from a time where only boys could have a route, from a time where it was safe to go door-to-door to make your monthly collections.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

I am From (Summers in Seattle)

I am from one bag of clothes stuffed in a paper bag with room for only one Sunday dress. From "For heaven's sake, let your sister stretch out." From ice chests filled with fried chicken and green grapes, from boloney and cracker sandwiches, from a picnic on a rock somewhere on the Klamath River.

I am from Saturday night popcorn and Black Cherry Kool-Aid,. From a truck farm with blueberry bushes and strawberry plants. From peanut butter sandwiches and honey. From picking wild huckleberries in the woods and raspberries at Aunt Clara's.

I am from a week at Aunt Cora's and Aunt Rosie's, and Uncle Eddie's Packard. From Rick and Barbie, from Aunt Cora's "female surgery" and seeing "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World." on a 180 degree screen. From Ronny and Agnes and Concentration and Go Fish on the front lawn. From plastic swimming pools and picnics at Juanita Beach. From accidentially brushing my teeth with Uncle Jim's Brylcream. From Elaine and Saturday nights at the Laundromat; from coke dispensed from a machine into tiny paper cups, from tiny boxes of Tide. From Pike's Market and the Ballard Locks; from the Seafair Parade and hydroplane races. From Woodland Park Zoo and plastic elephant keys. From lima beans and candy bar bribes. From Salvation Army and 25 cent turquoise ballet flats. From "It's a big chicken" and family reunions. From a place where a mailman would deliver Dad's letter to Mom, a letter addressed to "Granny Goose."

I am from Willie and Tillie, the mallard ducks, and Pepper, the spotted horse who never foaled, but always looked like the would. From banty chickens hatched in a box on my lap. From "That's not Susie!", "Eat your green beans," and "Don't sit on the couch with your buckle shoes." From "My hamburger is rare', Susan said sadly. 'I'll burn it up,' Grandma then said madly."

I am from a Grandmother who knew the value of a dollar, and a Grandfather who knew how to spend one.

I am from the boarding house and 16613 North Road.

I am from summers in Seattle.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

100 Things To Do Before I Die

Wow, I thought it would be easy to come up with 100 things! So this is a "work in progress".

1. Take an Alaskan cruise
2. See the leaves change color in New England
3. Swim with a dolphin.
4. Go to an authentic New England Clambake
5. Skinny Dip
6. Eat in New Orleans French Quarter
7. Learn to Waltz
8. Make love in the Redwood forests of California
9. Picnic in Tuscany.
10. Sleep in a house on a cliff above the Pacific Ocean, with giant windows to enjoy the view
11. See a Broadway show in NYC
12. Send a message in a bottle.
13. Camp in Yosemite
14. Sit on a jury.
15. Write an article/short story, etc and have it published
16. See "Old Faithful" spout
17. Shower in a waterfall.
18. Volunteer and teach someone illiterate to read
19. Spend New Year's in an exotic location.
20. Get passionate about a cause and spend time helping it, instead of just thinking about it.
21. Sing karaoke and not worry that I can't carry a tune!
22. Drive across America from coast to coast.
23. Write my will.
24. Sleep under the stars on the beach
25. Spend a whole day in bed ----- reading!
26. Drive the Autobahn and not be scared
27. Spend Christmas in Hawaii
28. Take a cooking class
29. Raft through the Grand Canyon.
30. Donate money and put my name on something like a brick in a neighborhood park
31. Visit the Statue of Liberty
32. See Stonehenge
33. Be debt free
34. Go to the top of the Space Needle
35. Go to the top of the Empire State Building
36. Ride in a horse-drawn carriage
37. Hike at least part of the Appalachian Trail
38. See a tornado.
39. See tigers in the wild.
40. Fly first class
41. Backpack in Europe
42. Set foot in all 50 states
43. Tour the White House
44. Get a tattoo
45. Tour the USS Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor
46. Take a ride in a sailboat
47. Ride a gondola in Venice (second best, in Las Vegas)
48. View the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris
49. See the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
50. Take a ride on a steamboat
51. Attend a mystery dinner party

Friday, January 13, 2006

Here's another "I am From" (Christmas)

I am from aluminum christmas trees and colorwheels, from paper garlands and angels on top.

I am from artificial Christmas trees, from plastic wreaths and pine scent in a can.

I am from the silk Pointsetta plant and plastic mistletoe hanging in the doorway.

I am from new pajamas on Christmas Eve, opening one present on Christmas Eve, and milk and cookies left out for Santa. From writing thank you notes before you could use your gifts. From champagne bubble bath and bath oil beads. From Dad's gifts, always big red handkerchiefs and white painter hats and socks we'd later make monkeys out of. From waking up early on Christmas morning and opening your stocking, and then going back to bed. From the time Mom let me help fill the stockings for the younger kids, but she still filled mine so I would be surprised.

From "You'd better go to sleep, or Santa won't come" and "you HAVE to believe in Santa or he won't bring you presents."

I am from Christmas Cantatas, Greg Thompsen singing "O Holy Night" and "Away in a Manager." From Jr. Choir robes with freshly pressed red bows. From a Baby who came to save us and give us life eternal.

From Christmas caroling, from hayrides and hot chocolate. From Christmas programs (when they were still called CHRISTMAS programs) at the fireman's hall, from chorus after chorus of Jingle Bells sung while waiting for Santa to arrive on a big red firetruck, from bags of hard candy, an apple and an orange.

I'm from the Nutty Nuggets Mom made every year and her homemade Butter Crunch Toffee and Confetti Bread. From sugar cookies and Mom's vast collection of cookie cutters, from bowls of colored frosting and sprinkles. From Agnes' chocolate dipped creams. From Mary's leftover Ice Cream Snowballs with candles. From popcorn balls, peppermint ice cream and too many cookies. From the time the turkey wasn't ready when we were, of sitting down to a holiday feast of "the sides" and turkey later that night.

From the time Dad "rewrapped" Uncle Eddie's present to Judy, covering the mpeccably wrapped gift with brown paper bags, and baling rope. From bicycles with streamers, from roller skates with black and pink pompoms. From new Bibles, charm bracelets, and new underwear.

I am from boxes of Christmas decorations, carefully packed away in boxes in the attic, from homemade ornaments lovingly saved year after year, from green and red paper cut into strips and Elmer's Glue to hold them together.

I am From.....

I am from powdered milk poured back into empty milk containers, from Tide and Joy and root beer floats on New Year’s Eve.

I am from the little house on the corner that Dad built and lived in with his mother, and the bigger house across the street--the house with ceramic tile in the hallway and in the bathrooms, and in the built-in vanity my mother never used.

I am from the Pacific Ocean and the Redwood forests of California. From magnolia trees and freshly mown grass, from dusty miller, nasturtiums and geraniums, from hydrangeas and red and white rose bushes, rows of corn and hills of potatoes. From tomatoes and peas in pods, from a well-stocked pantry of pumpkin, Dinty Moore stew and string beans my Mom put up in jars.

I am from Saturday night popcorn and Kool Aid, singing in the car, hamburgers five-for-a-dollar, Skate Night, creamery whistles and two pairs of shoes.

I am from the "Sweet" side of the family, from those who hugged and those who didn’t. From Grandma Susan and Grandma Pearl, but not Elizabeth Ann. From an aunt who loved me unconditionally, and a funny uncle who loved me inappropriately.

I am from iceberg lettuce wedges, tomato soup salad dressing, and turkey dinner holidays. From mounds of homemade French fries, bags of artichokes, and fresh Dungeness crab when it was in season. From gallon jars of Joe’s leftover crab cipppino, and Mary’s Swiss Dance sponge cake.
I am from honesty and the golden rule, from paying for your hot dog at Louie's, from respecting your elders and watching out for your little sisters.

I am from He Lives, When the Roll is Called Up Yonder, In the Garden, and The Old Rugged Cross. From Reverends Lanning, Lokkesmoe, and Cole. From Daily Vacation Bible School and plaster of paris plaques, from Good News Club and memory verses and Sunday night youth meetings.

I am from Swauger’s Station, from "a pleasant place at the end of the water," from a "peaceful verdant valley where the land of plenty lies." From mill towns and logging towns and dairy farmers, from participants in the Oklahoma Land Rush, from strawberry farmers and carpenters and owners of boarding houses and motels. From LUES class of 1964 and FUHS class of 1968.

I am from pictures stored in drawers, from family reunions and stories told and retold, from the legend of Jesse James.