Monday, January 14, 2019

Just call me fern

Yep, just call me fern. I reside in memories as well as having once lived in the homes of both grandparents. I sat in a brown and green pot that resembled a ceramic basket. My pot resided on a stand that was about 36" tall and had a small shelf under it. I had a place of importance there by the window. Yep, just call me fern.

Remember? I do. The fern pot that sat in Mom and Pop Johnson's front room later resided in our home. I have the plant stand but the fern never made it. Most of the grandparents' homes I had ever been in as a child had similar pots and stands. Fern. Was she a good luck charm, a fad, a tradition?

There were many things that I remember as a child that I really didn't understand. There was that ceramic dog that sat in front of the fake fireplace mantel in above-mentioned home. Often I had seen other breeds of dogs in other homes. Again, why? Was this what you had in place of a real dog? Was this the only way to have a dog in the house, since it was the belief that dogs were livestock and belonged outside? What good was a real dog in the house?! Did people shop for their ceramic pet? I could have taken that dog home with me when my grandparents passed. Somehow I didn't think it would get along well with our schnauzer.

Doilies were on the chairs, on the tables, on anything that had a surface. I always thought they must be a way to have a dust pattern on the surface when removed. It was like stained glass only in dust.

And, as always, that silly glass bowl that came with the TV. Why? Of course, as I have said before, we would never have dreamed of removing it. I think it was still at Mom and Dad's when we prepared for sale. In fact, I think the same flower was still in it.

Then there was the velvet cloth that covered the top of the old upright pianos. Again, a dust catcher? Maybe something romantic to go with the music? Perhaps long ago someone listening to the music whipped the cloth off the piano and danced around the room. My Aunt Bess would have done it in a heartbeat. And, yes, I do have that cloth.

We lived in a different day and age. I wonder if my children will have the same questions of our decor. Those old things decorate my memories of the people in my life. They accompany my reflections on the day and age of my parents, my grandparents. I look around the room and see the old fern stand. My grandfather's picture basket is a little more ragged but full of memories. I sat looking through old post cards it held when I was a child. Perhaps it was my TV before they had one.

What color are your memories? Where are the dust catchers, the ceramic dogs, old fern stands? These are a history, yours and mine. So for now, just call me fern.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Roller skates, nylons and giggles

We laughed. No. We giggled. We made prank calls, "Is your refrigerator running?". We ran through the sprinkler and flirted with boys.

Yep, we all have a friend who shares those memories with us. Mine was Vivian. The Force family lived on Pitsburg Gettysburg Road. We passed their house on the way to church and most times we picked Viv on the way. After church she either came home with me or I went to her house. The Force family was always part of our lives. My sister Peggy was friends and classmate to Sammy Force. Viv and I babysat for Janice's kids in Greenville. Every Saturday night Raymond would drive back the lane to pick me up. It was rollerskating night! Yes, we had great times together. We played kick the can with her brothers and did our best to pester them.

Music was always a part of our friendship. She was the first person I knew who played the piano by ear. She and I formed a singing group with Donna and Marilyn. We sang at churches and any place else Mom could find that needed a cute little singing group who performed for free. We went on to win the local rural arts show with our childish rendition of "When Molly was a Baby" finishing second in the regionals. I sang harmony, and Vivian sang alto.

Vivian's parents tolerated our silliness. We jumped on the bed, played games and had a seance. Silliness was the best description of our adventures. No one laughed or giggled more. 

Vivian has been tucked in that sweet part of my heart where childhood memories stay as delicious as they were when first experienced. My children often heard stories of Vivian's sleepwalking. She was a marvel. I truly don't think there was a night that she didn't find something to get into. One night I found her going to the attic and maneuvered her back to bed. Another night I awakened to this feeling that someone was watching me. In opening my eyes, I found Viv with chin-resting-on-elbow leaning over me staring at my face. I was determined to follow her one night, planning to gather feedback information as to her nightly walkabout. We tied our ankles together with a nylon and giggled ourselves to sleep. Of course, we awakened the next morning without a bit of nighttime activity. Well, not really. The nylon was off the ankles and tucked behind the bedroom door. Yep, she was a marvel.

Anyone who knows Vivian has been blessed with pure delight. I swear she is a spirit that was given to us, so we would know joy. We have been friends since we were small children. There were years we drifted apart until one day when visiting the farm, I called Viv. She and her daughters came to the old skating rink to meet me and my children. We picked up where we left off. A couple of Junior High girls swapping stories of days gone by.

I am writing this today because my friend has been in critical condition fighting for her life. Many of you know her as the child I describe and as an adult who continues to brighten the lives around her. I wanted to share just how remarkable this woman is even in this fight for her life. Please keep her in your thoughts. We are keepers of memories which are meant to be shared.

Friends make you smile - best friends make you giggle "till you pee your pants." - Terri Guillemets