Antique Childhood

The Ceramic Donkey

When I was a little girl, my Godparents lived across the street from me. I spent more time at their house than I did my own. They were the grandparents that I never had. For more than 40 years, on the coffee table in her living room, my Godmother Rose had an inexpensive ceramic donkey that pulled a cart that held an average houseplant of one variety or another. It was one of her few “look but don’t touch” things. I always loved that brightly colored ceramic donkey because it was hers and because it was…

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Antique Childhood, Faith, Sometimes Sweet

Living Beyond

Photo Temporarily Unavailable Since my mother’s sister died in January, my cousins have been dealing with the exhausting task of going through their mother’s belongings. There is a lot of agonizing and sorting and deciding that must be done when trying to dismantle the accumulation of a lifetime. In a package of things they returned to my mother, there was a picture of me when I was about the same age that Sean is now. When my mother came out to visit recently, she gave the picture to me. I hadn’t seen the picture before and…

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Antique Childhood, Wivian

Guest Post – My Baby Is 47

by Wivian 1960 ~ I remember it well, as though it were just 47 years ago. I was 27-years-old and ripe as a plum with my third child. I hadn’t seen my toes since Christmas. We already had two children, two little boys, who would turn 4 and 2 in March, but my husband wanted a little girl and so I had agreed to try one last time. It was extremely cold and windy that day, even by Illinois standards. Everyone was complaining about the weather and kept telling me, “You’re probably going to have that…

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Antique Childhood, Papa Ed

Because My Dad Is All That And A Gourmet Cook Too

In 1965, I was in Mrs. Kelly’s afternoon kindergarten class at Wanless Elementary School. Because my parents were young and poor, my dad worked nights and my mom worked at a bank during the day. That meant that my dad had to look after me in the morning and get me to school. My dad has never changed a diaper or gotten involved in the care and feeding of his kids. Most men of his generation just didn’t interact with their kids like they do today and that’s a shame. But that’s just the way it…

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Antique Childhood

Call Me Cupcake

I think every child needs someone in their life who thinks they are the cat’s pajamas — someone who, unlike their parents, is not obligated to love them. I think God made grandparents for just this reason. I grew up in an Italian neighborhood where Nana or Papa lived nearby and were always around to dote effusively on their grandkids. This became my ideal of what grandparents should be like. My own grandma, my only living grandparent, lived less than a mile away, yet we seldom saw her. When we did, her eyes did not sparkle…

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Antique Childhood

Crackers of The Rich and Famous

A while back, I was talking on the phone to a friend of mine who lived in the neighborhood where I grew up. When he said he always thought our family was rich, I nearly fell out of my chair.  I couldn’t believe it. Having grown up wearing hand-me-downs and living in a more than 75-year-old-house with one bathroom no bigger than a broom closet, I can’t think of one thing about our house or our family that would lend that impression.  But then again, he was one of nine kids, so maybe from his perspective…

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Antique Childhood

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be A Gorilla And Drink Tea

When I was about six-years-old, my mom was the den mother of my two older brother’s Cub Scout troop. Looking back, I have to really hand it to my mom. For a woman with very few resources at her disposal, she did a lot with and for her kids. Since there was no place else to put me during troop meetings, I was kind of an unofficial cub and I just did whatever it was my older brothers were doing. And my over protective brothers loved having me around and patiently and proudly looked after me. …

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Antique Childhood

It Made Sense At The Time

Whenever I’ve talked about how that at St. Cabrini, where I attended Catholic grade school, our 4th grade class saved up to buy a pagan baby, I’ve gotten one of two responses. People who did not attend Catholic school in the 1960s will look at me in stunned silence as though I were from Mars. People who did attend Catholic school will nod their head knowingly and sigh at the utter absurdity of the notion. How does a fourth grader go about buying a pagan baby you might wonder? Well, we brought our scavenged pennies and…

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Antique Childhood, Papa Ed

Papa Ed

I like my dad. Oh sure, I love him too. That’s a given. But I really like him. I always have. My dad and I like to hang out together. My parents have a gazebo in their back yard that is enrobed in purple clematis and hanging baskets of pink petunias in the summer. The gazebo rests in the shade of towering trees that were not much more than seedlings when I lived there. Dad and I like to sit out there in the breeze that swirls through and drink iced tea and talk. Or not.…

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Antique Childhood, Makes Me Sigh, Papa Ed

Unfortunately, It’s Probably Genetic

The other day as I was passing through the living room, I noticed an arrangement of canned olives artfully displayed on the console table by the front door. Ripe. Large. Spanish. On the window sill, was a tower of fruit cocktail. The sight of canned goods in my living room struck terror in my heart. It was already starting to happen. It’s only a matter of time before I find my dresser lodged in the staircase. Since we have taken the baby gates down and Sean has had free reign of the house, I am finding…

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