I loved being with my Grandmother all the time. We stayed there for about a year and she taught me how to bake chocolate chip cookies and play a little on the piano. She was like the mother I never had. When I was in her arms I felt safe, warm and loved. She was the best cook in the world; she would usually make grits, eggs and bacon for breakfast. Grits is a southern food that is actually made from corn but looks and tastes kind of like rice to me. Some people add butter, others add cinnamon and sugar to it, I like to eat it how my Grandpa does and mix my eggs in with it. My Grandparents are from Florida so that’s why they love southern food. For lunch she would usually make grilled cheese sandwiches, putting onions in for Dad & Grandpa, and for dinner she would make things like macaroni & cheese casserole with roast beef or chicken noodle soup with egg noodles. She made everything from scratch and much to our delight; let us lick the spoon when she was done.
We loved living at their house, they had sold the chickens and horses they had when we were little but still had about one acre of land so there was a lot of room to run around and ride our bikes. We would walk across the road with our Grandma to hike the mountain and check out an old abandoned piece of metal we could huddle underneath like a fort. We would look for buttercups and she told us, “If you put them under your chin they will turn it yellow”. Sure enough it worked. There was a grassy hill on the side of the house and we would turn on the water faucet and slide down on the wet grass to the bottom of the house where there was a door to get into the basement where we stayed. The basement consisted of a pantry for food, the laundry room, a spare room and half of a bathroom with a toilet and unfinished shower. The walls and floors were all cement. There was a swamp in the back of the property and we would go explore it and look for birds nests in the little trees that grew there. There was an abandoned wooden wheel off one of those old fashioned carriages underneath a huge pine tree. Another pine tree had branches that hung down so low that we made a fort out of that as well. We would find fuzzy little caterpillars and when we went into town we would stick them in a straw and spit them out at the cars out the back window of our brown station wagon.
While we lived with Grandma and Grandpa, we visited our Uncle Mitch and Aunt Megan; they were living in the newest house they had built It had these tall windows that went all the way to the ceiling, French doors and cathedral ceilings in the living room and dining area. Their entire house was immaculate and everyone had to take our shoes off as soon as they walked in the front door. Above the stairs there was a chandelier hanging over head. My cousins slept upstairs and downstairs in the basement there was cement floors to go roller skating on.
My Aunt and Uncle came over to Grandma's sometimes to visit and once when Neil, the youngest was in grandma's arms he grabbed one of her breasts and exclaimed “Nerf ball!” Aunt Megan looked embarrassed and said, “Cousin Meika and her friend were walking around the house earlier with Nerf balls under their shirts.”
Our closest next door neighbor at Grandma and Grandpa’s was probably a mile away. Her name was Samantha and she had long black hair always kept in a pony tail, which reminded me of her horses. She said she used to live next to Neverland Ranch, Michael Jackson's ranch. The neighbors had horses and let us ride them. She had a daughter our age and we would go over there to play them. Marlene was really good with riding horses but I wasn't as coordinated. I did ok until I tried riding bare back and the horse was all sweaty from exercising earlier and I fell off, that was the last time I got on a horse.
We started going to school and had to walk down the dirt road to get to the bus stop which took us to Athol, a tiny town a few miles away. We made a few friends there like Jessica, a girl with long jet black hair, olive skin and dark eyes. I always picture in her mind as a young Sandra Bullock. My sister and I would sleep over at her house and she would sleep over at our grandparent's house. We spent hours in the basement at my Grandparent’s house dancing and coming up with dance routines for songs like Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl.
My Dad taught me how to play chess since the school was having a tournament and they had a fair night where we played a fish game with a fishing pole that caught little toys on the other side of a big board.
We did some volunteer work with our friend Jessica once and picked up all sorts of junk up along the highway and collected it in garbage bags. I couldn't believe how much stuff people would throw out their car window.
While we were living in Careywood, I convinced my sister and brother that a nickel was worth more then a dime because it was bigger. At that time we got a quarter a week for an allowance and we would go down to the tiny grocery store and buy candy for five cents a piece. It was the only store in town, it had a gas station, post office and food all in one little convenience store. My grandfather used to laugh and tell me that I would probably be a lawyer when I grew up because I liked, “to argue so much and con my siblings out of their money.” He told me a joke about lawyers once, “What are one thousand lawyers in the bottom of the ocean?” “A good start” he cackled.
We went down to the Lake almost every weekend that summer. We would run down the docks and jump into the water that smelled like dead fish. We would walk out into the murky water and feel the mud ooze between our toes. Our Uncle Mitch had a boat and invited us to go water skiing. I tried but fell off right away. He offered to let my Dad drive it with all of us kids inside and he drove so fast he almost tipped the thing over scared us to death. I remember my Uncle warning my Dad that driving a boat wasn’t exactly like driving a car but apparently he didn’t listen.
On one occasion at the lake our Dad got mad at me for calling one of my siblings a butt head and he screamed at me in front of the rest of our extended family and ordered me to go sit in the back of the truck where I cried. I was humiliated in front of everyone and didn't understand why. Normally this type of behavior wouldn't even make him blink but he had completely freaked out because the family was watching. I sat shivering in the back of the truck sulking because I couldn't go swimming. I loved swimming; I was like a fish and could stay in the water all day if you let me. It wasn't fair I wanted to pout, oh that's right, and life isn't fair as my father was happy to point out.
I made friends with this girl named Kim at school who had shoulder length brown hair. She lived down the road from us and she told me on the phone that she would trade me the blue jean purse my Grandma had helped me sew for a New Kids on the Block credit card. She said I could take it to Kmart and buy whatever I wanted. I jumped at the chance and my grandma walked me down to her house to complete the trade, it was about a mile away so we met half-way. When we got back I told grandma that the girl had told me it was a credit card and she explained that it wasn't, it was just a laminated card with a picture of New Kids on the Block. I called the girl up and demanded to have my purse returned so we walked down the road again to trade back.
Another friend of mine, Sally lived in Sandpoint, she was overweight with curly brown hair and loved NKOTB as much as I did, she had all of their stuff, the sleeping bag, pillow case, and posters all over her room, and I was green with envy.
Our Dad was always tickling us and our friends. He would come up to us while we were lying on the carpet and put his foot on our stomachs and say “oh you make a great carpet” and we would giggle. He would grab our noses and pretend he just took them. Only later would I wonder just how many of my friends he had abused.
I used to wash my breasts with soap and pray for breasts, I thought it worked because that year my Grandma decided I needed a training bra and gave my dad some money to take me to Kmart and get one. I felt like crawling under something and hiding to avoid even going into the underwear section of a store with my Father.
Dad was always talking on his transistor radio and tried to encourage me to get my FCC license by studying up one day when I got older. I remember sitting in the station wagon with him in Idaho and watching him play with the radio and asking him why he didn't find a woman to date and give us another mother. Marlene and I talked about writing a personal ad for him in the newspaper. I felt sorry for him because he didn't have anyone. I told him if I was older and he wasn't my Dad I would marry him.
Dad used to say that he considered his car his old lady. He would also joke with us whenever we got to our car at a parking lot and say “This one looks good, let's steal it,” as we snickered and jumped in.
At school I tried to play tether ball, a game where they tie a rope to the ball atop a big metal pole and you hit with your fist to make the rope wrap around the pole by having the ball propel it. I was doing pretty well at that until I was hit in the face. I had horrible eye to hand coordination anyway, I always hated sports. We would play outside of the school on the side of a mountain, digging little rivers and streams into the ground. We would play house underneath a huge pine tree and sweep away the pine needles to make it clean.
Last updated: 08-11-2012