Antique Childhood, Parenting Gone Awry

Walking The Walk

When I was growing up, we didn’t have very many toys. If we got anything really special, like a bike, we usually had to save up for it or at least pay something towards it. Although I didn’t appreciate it at the time, in retrospect it was a good thing. My brothers and I took care of the few things we had because there was never a question that if we lost or destroyed something, it would just be too bad. No one was going to replace it. One time my brother left his bike unlocked…

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Antique Childhood

My Big Brother is 50!

My mother’s first child, my brother John, turns 50 today! From the stories my mom tells about John, it’s a wonder that they had any more children after him. I guess I owe my life to the iron hand of the Catholic church and the fact that John was just so darn cute they couldn’t stop at one. John pretty much ruined it for my middle brother and me in terms of getting any perks. For example, if it weren’t for John, I could have had Beatrix Potter-style Peter Rabbit wallpaper in my bedroom. I know…

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Antique Childhood, Wivian

The Silver Skates

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was first introduced to figure skating while watching Janet Lynn compete in the 1968 Olympics on television. It was love at first sight. Something about the way the skaters moved across the ice resonated deep within me. I readily identified with Lynn. Like me, she was a small blonde girl from Illinois with a bad pixie haircut. I immediately began imitating the spirals and spins in front of the TV on the hardwood floors in my socks. I knew it was just something that I had to do.…

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Antique Childhood, Papa Ed

The Fine Art of Goofing Off

Here in the northern reaches of the great state of Texas, it was 85 degrees on Thursday – a wonderfully warm winter day perfect for doing nothing in particular. Sean and I took the opportunity to get out and about in the neighborhood where I hoped to instruct him in the fine art of goofing off. Goofing off is best done in pairs. My dad and I, who are similarly wired, have always liked to goof off together. Whenever I’m home, Dad and I still head out to the garage and make something with whatever we…

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Antique Childhood, Antique Friends

EB Claus

My friend EB is an over-indulgent grandmother and an over-indulgent friend and I adore her. Her grandson is a year or two older than Sean. About once a month she shows up at my front door with bags (yes plural – bags) of clothes and toys that her grandson Preston has outgrown. Preston must have a closet the size of Old Navy. We have started calling her EB Claus because when she comes over it’s like Christmas. I remember the day EB gingerly asked me if I would be offended if she brought over some “gently…

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Antique Childhood, Makes Me Sigh

The Scavenger

The summer I was about eight or nine, my girlfriend and I would walk to Vespa’s, the local family-owned grocery store about once a day. As we walked the quarter mile to the store, we would look in the shallow ditches for soda bottles. We’d usually find one or two or sometimes even three. Vespa’s would give us five cents for each bottle we brought in. We would then take our earnings directly across the street to B&B, a family-owned candy store, and spend 45 minutes to an hour studying the glass case trying to figure…

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Antique Childhood, Wivian

Cheerios or Concrete, Same Issue

Haven’t we all, at one time or another said, “When I have a child, I’m going to do things differently than my parents.” And then of course, when you are actually entrusted with the responsibility of a pint-sized, uncivilized, miniature human being — you do all the things your parents did, and even make up some new stuff along the way. That way, when your kid grows up he can list all the things he would never do as a parent. It’s the glorious cycle of life. Really and truly, there are not too many things…

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Antique Childhood, Mildly Amusing, Use Your Words

Free = Fun

I grew up in a family where there wasn’t money for anything that cost money. We were poor, but my parent’s never let that get in the way of seeing to it that we did fun things. For entertainment, Dad used to take us out to the airport and let us sit on the hood of the car and watch the planes come in and we loved it. We also used the lid from an old 1940’s washing machine that we had in our basement for a saucer and went sledding in the winter at the…

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Antique Childhood, Memaw, Use Your Words

Will the real Mom please stand up?

Way back in the last century, when TV only came in black and white, there was a game show called To Tell The Truth. This show featured a panel of obscure celebrities trying to guess the identity of an even more obscure celebrity from amongst two others claiming also to be said obscure celebrity — in a friendly identity theft sort of way. At the end of each episode, the announcer would say, “Would the real [obscure celebrity name here] please stand up?” The suspense was palpable to see who would stand as all three contestants…

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Antique Childhood, Hospitality & Manners, Use Your Words

Those Magic Words

Courtesy is an important life skill. I don’t think you can begin teaching this too early. Sean and I are learning sign language together and the first signs we learned were “please” and “thank you”. I also think one of the best ways to teach your child is by example, so whenever we are at the grocery store or bank or a restaurant, I always make sure to say “please” and “thank you” to the clerks and waiters so that Sean might see that it is proper to treat everyone with respect and courtesy. Just the…

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