Before we fled…

Before my mother’s disappearing act, she was at one time dating the son of a very dear friend of hers. I called her Emma. She was the equivalent of a grandmother to me; overly kind, warm, and always ready to spoil me!

Emma lived with her husband at the top of a very steep gravel hill. Their house was set back in the woods with a variety of cats, dogs and chickens running around outside. In heavy snow falls our car would always get stuck trying to make it up the hill. We would get about half way to the top and it wouldn’t go any further. My mother would always get out and try to push, but it never helped. We always ended up walking the rest of the way.

Emma also had a Cockatiel she kept in a cage in the kitchen who would never be quite. I remember the bickering back and forth constantly. As the bickering escalated, she would get so frustrated that she would threaten to put him in the oven.

He would squawk, “Pretty Bird, Pretty Bird” over and over again.

Until finally Emma would yell, “If you don’t can it, I’ll bake you for supper”

To which he would reply, “Ooooohhhh, pretty bird, pretty bird!”

It would go on and on like that, till eventually, Emma would throw something in his direction or she would just give up. He never made it to the oven, but there were times it came really close!

I thought it was hilarious!

Emma had several sons, but the one my mother dated was always my favorite. He was the definition of fantastic as far as I was concerned. Howdy was a very muscular man with broad shoulders and a multitude of tattoos. His voice was deep and strong. A voice one hears and immediately stops to listen to. I remember hearing my mother and Emma talk about his bad temper, but he was always wonderfully nice to me. Not to mention, he had a habit for bringing me stuffed animals that were as large if not larger than I was. First it was a gray dog standing as tall as me that doubled as a puppet. There was a hole in the back of his head that you could put your hand in to make him talk. Then, a few months later he brought me over a bear that was equally as large dressed in a plaid shirt and overalls.

I am not sure why my mother and Howdy parted ways, but I do know how they did. One day he came over to our new apartment and she greeted him with a wall. She refused his gifts and told him to leave. Just like that, it was over. I have asked her many times to elaborate, but she would never tell me. Over time, they reconnected and stayed friends. As did my mother and Emma for many years to come. I was so young and I am sure there is a lot that I missed. To be honest, that is perfectly fine. I have seen the negative side of numerous people, so it’s refreshing to hold someone under a solely positive ray.

Although I don’t remember it vividly, in September of 1987 I started my first day of school ever! Almost all of the pictures of me before this time are nonexistent, so I am very lucky to have a picture of myself standing on the front steps of my school on my first day of kindergarten. All I remember is being extremely excited! Every day on the way to school, my mother and I would stop and get chocolate doughnuts and chocolate milk for breakfast. After school I would go with mom to the nursing home where she worked. When she was busy, I visited with the numerous residents and “smoked” candy cigarettes with everyone in the smokers lounge. I loved it!

It wasn’t very long before I was graduating kindergarten. I remember everyone making a fuss out of the fact that we were the class of 2000! It was a big event! At the start of 1st grade we were in a new apartment and I was at a new school. Half way through the year we moved again and I started as a new student in another school. I had barely been in school for two years and I had already attended 3 different schools. If we kept this up, I would become quite the world traveler! 



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