Sunday, August 23, 2009

The early years..

I began describing my little life's saga - a reader's digest version - and it's time to pick up where I left off.

In 1977, my sister - Heather - was born. We lived in the country (when the Lake TOBO and the Pineworth area was considered country) - just my mom, dad, sister and I. We had two dogs - Stoney & Rebel and the meanest black cat in the world - Shadow. I am not sure how my mom manages to do this - but all of her cats are mean as snakes. I have this theory - cats pick up their owners attitudes.. lol.. more on that later.

My memories in this big old house were pretty cool. My sister and I shared a really large room that was full of toys. We enjoyed a HUGE front yard that had two of the biggest magnolia trees. I used to love to run and play around these enormous trees.

My main memories of these years include:
1. My sister pretending to be a super hero - and jumping off a bed onto my A-Frame Fischer Price doll house and cracking her head open. She still carries the scar to this day.

2. Waiting for my dad to get home - and when he drove up - I would run across the big yard to meet him.

3. Taking naps outside, and using my dogs as a pillow. We would all huddle together.

4. Threatening to run away from home - I packed my little lunchbox, walked to the end of the drive way, then came back and told my mom I was ready for dinner.

5. Carving Halloween pumpkins on the back porch.

6. Trying to learn to roller skate on the hardwood floors.

7. Hiding my peanut butter and jelly sandwisches under the coach.

8. There was a beautiful house around the corner. Apparently the owners of the home were found murdered. Yes - drugs.. they had a lot of money and something went wrong..

9 My worst memory was one night, my mom was crying and looking through the yellow pages and calling apartment complexes....

I assume this is when things began to take a different turn.

We ended up moving to an apartment complex in West Macon near the mall. Not the best place in the world, but at my age - I thought it was the coolest place. Lots of kids, near my school, and there was a playground and pool.

We lived in a very diverse neighborhood (Riverbend Apts.) I had two different next door neighbors that were excellent friends - Chad (who moved out after one year) and Corey - who I just recently found on Facebook!

My best friend in the whole world ended up moving to this complex - Dedra McNeal. Apparently her mom went thru a divorce, and they ended up on the other end of the complex.

We would create "mystery clubs" behind my apartment. We would find old refrigerator boxes and create these pretend "club houses." Dee and I would take turns finding mysteries to solve. Apparently this came from my new found love of books. I began to read Sherlock Holmes in the 3rd grade.

Another big "growth" item that happened was I saw the Nutcracker at the Grand Opera House. I believe Gladys Lasky's group performed this. I was mesmerized and fell in love with the Sugar Plum fairy. It was then and there I chose to take dance classes. Now remember - I am not sure how my family afforded it, but somehow I began taking dance classes once a week. I took ballet, tap and jazz. Turns out - I was pretty good. I still remember my first performance - at the Grand Opera House - as a Butterfly in Alice in Wonderland.

I even joined Girl Scouts that year. My mom became my Girl Scout leader. I always enjoyed my Girl Scout troop - we made all types of cool crafts, I sold cookies, and I made some really great friends.

Each summer I would attend Girl Scout camp - Camp Martha Johnston. (1st - 6th grade.) I took tennis classes and swimming and drama. I learned how to fish, how to skate, and how to play volleyball there. Sooo many memories.

I think the point to all of this - I never even realized my parents may have been struggling. I did more than my neighbor's did - I performed, I had activities - and I had something a lot of those kids needed - a mom at home.

I am the queen of women's rights, but there is something to be said about kids who grow up with parental supervision. There is nothing like it. Looking back - there were some bad elements in that neighborhood. I was told things I should not have known at such a young age by really "bad" kids. But my mom always knew where I was. Dad did was he could to put food on the table, and we made the best of it.

My memories of living there until the 5th grade are:

1. Learning to ride a bike in the middle parking lot. I worked sooo hard to get the hang of that thing. I rode it all day - right before dinner, I finally did it!!! I still remember what it felt like - and it was amazing.

2. The first time I stepped foot on the stage at the Grand Opera House. I knew all my steps, I had my costume on, I was not scared at all. I still remember what the lights felt like on my cheeks. It was warm.. my heart was soaring.. I can still vaguely remember seeing my Granny sitting near the front row.

3. Learning to swim at Girl Scout Camp - then coming home, and teaching my mom how to swim!

4. The night our apartment caught on fire. Luckily - our apt was safe - but the entire back side of our building went up in flames.

5. Going skating for the first time at Durr's skating rink on Log Cabin. I fell in love with "disco" music.

6. Walking with my good friend Dedra everywhere. I can't forget her showing me her Jordash Barbie.. I begged and begged my mom for that doll. I ended up with Malibu Barbie. I got mad at that barbie - so I chopped her hair into a mohawk.

7. I remember my 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Smith. I learned sooo much from her. My favorite memory - learning the planets.

8. I stopped sucking my thumb at 8 - that is the same year I had my first panic attack. I was walking thru west gate mall with my granny - I remember a doll show.. and I felt like I could not breathe. Then the hell of panic attacks entered my life.

9. We ended up with an adorable -but mean kitty - Aires.

10. Another BIG moment - my friend in second grade brought a journal to school. I wanted this thing sooo bad, so I took it. My mom found it, and made me return it. That Christmas - I got my first journal. (I was 8.) I still have it - and have kept one ever since. My love of writing began then.

October of my 5th grade year - things turned around again - we ended up moving to a condo co-op in a place called Crystal Lake. I left my friends that all ended up at Central High School and moved toward an area where I would eventually end up at Southwest High school.. But I am getting ahead of myself.

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