When we finally got a television set in 1953, I watched Elvis Pressley and fell in love. I couldn’t wait to see his first movie, Love Me Tender, but was extremely disappointed in him as an actor. In fact, I hoped he would not make any more pictures because he was better as an entertainer, I thought. The TV opened my world a little bit, but we only got channel 2, out of Atlanta and the programming was pretty limited.
In my diary I wrote about hay rides and prom parties. In one of these diaries, I wrote about my first kiss.I can almost see my life as a nineteen-fifties movie with me as the simple sweet girl without a serious care in the world, sort of a Doris Day type. All I had to do was try to look pretty and do my best to catch the eye of the boy I liked. When I look back on that time I realize that I, like most kids that age, was totally engrossed with ME.
Actually, I was not the carefree girl all the time. I had a darker side. The least thing could send me into self-doubt and depression, although no one used that word then. Sometimes I could be difficult to understand. I learned that from reading what my sister and my mother had to say about me. I found letters my mother wrote and was surprised that she worried so much about me. She said I was either up or down, no middle ground for me.
I could almost hear Mother’s voice in her letters to Gay. I got the feeling she didn’t worry that much about my younger sister who was level-headed and didn’t get upset easily. They were so much alike. But I inherited my father’s temperament, I think. He was volatile, brooding and easily angered.Finding and reading old letters decades after they were written opened my eyes to what others thought about me, to what kind of a child I was. Maybe I was needy, but didn’t know I was. Could I have been what people now call “high maintenance?”
|Best Friends then and now|
My poor mother had five children already when I came along. I was a surprise and I’m sure my father did not relish another mouth to feed. He already had his four boys and he had one girl. Then five years after the last child, I came along. I was very lucky. I had all of Mother’s attention and also that of my older sister. I was loved and I knew it.
Two and a half years later my sister, Gay, was born and then I had my life-long best friend. I had no reason to be blue, but as I grew up, I tended to think about sad things, and I worried about things that might happen. My greatest fear was losing my mother. I was terrified that she would die and leave me. As a child I prayed that I would die before she did. It was odd that I worried so about her because she was the healthiest one of our family. My father was the one who was sick so often.
I once wrote a poem comparing myself to an antique silver pitcher pouring sustenance for others, leaving nothing for myself. I think that pitcher was really my mother, the nurturing person who held us together as a family. She gave everything for her family and took nothing for herself. She was the most unselfish person I have ever known. She never complained about her life, what was lacking or what she didn’t have. When I look back, I realize that Mother never resented the pretty clothes, the nice houses or anything her relatives had. She was happy for them. Eventually she had a very nice house, but she was never hung up on things.Objects you could purchase were not important to her – the people in her life were. Nothing made her happier than having a visit from her Florida relatives. She loved cooking a big meal for them and hearing all about their lives. She was a people-person and I am the same. I can be feeling blah, but if I go out and visit with friends, I feel wonderful.
I am in process of ridding myself of lots of material things—things I don’t need, will never use again or just hang on to because they were a gift from someone I love. Things are not special if they don’t answer a need or “bring me joy” as Maria the precious little Japanese Tidying lady says. It is the sentimental part of me that finds it hard to let things go. Do you have that problem?You, my readers, are special to me. Even those of you I don’t know or might never meet in person. I appreciate each one of you and hope you find my posts of interest. I love to hear from you, so leave a comment or send me an email.