Aug 22, 2022, Mon — Nice night over at my bro’s house. Happy Birthday, Brother. My rock of ages. Amazing to grow up with someone who you respect (I truly got lucky in the brother department). And have all these shared memories of our crazy upbringing. He has his own (grown) kids now, who were there, and his lovely wife of 35 years, and a company he built and still runs, not to mention 300 peach tree which are his “hobby”. In other words, he doesn’t spend much time strolling memory lane, but I gave him a few tidbits in the card I wrote.
We definitely had an atypical childhood for the era. Thanks to our wild child mother who was not ready to be a mother at 19, then again at 21, then again at 24. Who would be?? Her generation gives me the chills. They narrowly missed birth control and women’s lib in general. And if they did get “liberal” they were a talked-about news item. Ooh, divorcee! And she certainly was. Six feet tall, blonde, gorgeous, whip smart, she left my father shortly after my little brother was born, when she was about 25. Because she’d married an Italian, her parents did not help her out. To her dying day, my grandmother wailed, “Barbara married an Italian”. To me! Daughter of said Italian. Haha
Bless my rebel mother. It was a rocky road under her rule. But never dull. She had a wicked sense of humor throughout and though not the cuddly type, she loved us fiercely. I used to say there was no passive aggressive bullshit going on in my childhood. It was purely aggressive. Thank you for no bullshit.
Three kids, no child support, no alimony, no parental help. She had not finished at Cal Berkeley where she met the Italian (subject of last night’s blog), due to getting pregnant and then working to help him finish HIS degree, and then, after they moved to Davis, his Master’s degree. So, now on her own, with all these kids, she goes back to college to get a teaching degree. (Not her original choice, but now that she has us, don’t we all need the same days off?)
Funnest memory. When Mom would leave us overnight in Lewiston to go get a man fix (not that we knew that, she never brought men around), we would “make” oatmeal cookies. Which entailed eating and throwing cookie dough at each other all over the kitchen. Maybe a couple sheets came out of the oven, too, but mostly, well, ahh… think paintball only with oatmeal cookie dough.
As a kid, it doesn’t seem like “acting out” (because maybe? you sense discord?). It just seems like wild good fun! And indeed it was wild good fun. Mark Twain wrote about nothing less with his Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn characters. We cleaned it up pretty well—hah, to a child’s eye. And Mom was never mad; she never disparaged us. Honestly, we had so much fun with no dad around to make the place strict and laced. I felt a little sorry for my peers having to be all civilized.
Happy Birthday, Brother. Thanks for the memories.
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