Well, here we are again, back with Mom. She has so much living to share and so many readers interested in her memories so she is getting another series!
Part One of Two
Any favorite songs growing up that you still remember?
Some of my favorite songs when I was a kid were the ones I learned in school. There was one called “Akin’s Drum” that had to do was eating green cheese on the moon or something silly like that. It’s a Scottish nursery rhyme.
What about favorite songs that you shared with your siblings?
One that my little brother John learned at school was about a donkey. The lyrics went something like, “Tingalayo! Come little donkey come. Run little donkey run my donkey walks my donkey talks my donkey eats with a knife and fork.”
Of course, there was your Grandpa’s worm song. “Oh they always always pick on me, they never never let me be, you wait and see, by and by, I’ll eat some worms and then I’ll die.” There was a funny one that was on a Warner Brothers cartoon, it was about a worm that was always hungry. Actually, I think it was like a flea or something. Some kind of a bug. And the song that it would sing sounded like, “There’s food around the corner, food around the corner, food around the corner from me.” It would annoy anyone else in the room because it just repeats. So I think that was partly the reason why my brother and I liked it so much – because we were being annoying.
My favorite is the song that my brother made up. “There was a big hole a very big hole such a big hole for a Merry Old Soul. The merry old soul jumped into the hole and killed 1,001 people. As I got older, I started to learn some of the songs playing on the radio. At my aunt and uncle’s house was this really cool song called Boomtown. I didn’t know any of the lyrics except for the chorus which kept saying, “Boomtown, Boomtown.” Later on I realized that this was the song called, “Downtown.” I loved reading books, poetry, and listening to songs so I had too many favorites to list here.
This was another childhood song I learned: Taffy was a Welshman.
You’ve shared a lot in other posts but will you share a memory of an aunt or uncle or maybe another childhood moment?
Another memory was when great-aunt Ida, who was a grey nun, bought my brother and I two containers of puffed wheat. One container was Mickey Mouse and the other was Donald Duck. After we ate the cereal, Dad cut a hole in the back of the containers and they became our new piggy banks.
I didn’t have access to many toys. I remember playing a lot in the woods. I’m not sure if they were cottonwood trees or just young alders but they would grow skinny and they would bend way over. So my brother and I would walk on one trunk while holding on to a branch from another tree and we could jump up and down and shake the trees and use it as our own personal trampoline. Other times, it was a lot of fun to go fishing in the culvert.
Are there strong marks in your life that still stick with you? You can share embarrassing moments that are shareable too.
1.) I’ve had my share of embarrassing moments! Once I was walking home from school and I was so proud of a pair of pants that my mom had recently bought me. These pants were special to me because they were actually in style! They weren’t hand me downs or something that my mother had mistakenly picked out for me thinking that she knew my taste.
As I walked home, a man came up from behind me and started making cat calls and lewd suggestions. I was both frightened that he would harm me or carry out some of the things that he was suggesting. I was humiliated! I felt that somehow it was my fault for wearing those pants that caused him to say those ugly things. I think it took between 20 and 45 minutes to get home from school and most of the time the man was behind me walking very closely. It seemed to be a lifetime – it was absolutely horrible!
2.) A worse time was when I was 13 or 14-years-old, maybe even as old as 16. The Vigue’s all went to the VFW Hall in Augusta for an evening dance. There was a lot of drinking going on with many of the Vigue friends including Rick’s. I didn’t drink alcohol and enjoyed my soda instead. Rick and I dance a few dances then he excused himself to the men’s room.
He didn’t come right back in a few minutes so I got up to go look for him. Not finding him anywhere for 15 to 20 minutes, I decided to step outside to look for him. I walked around the parking lot near the entrance when I bumped into one of Rick’s friends. He started talking about CB radios and told me that he had a new one installed in his car. I naively agreed to go look at it with him.
Sitting in the front seat talking on the radio for a few minutes was fine. But I wanted to leave so I told him I was going to go find Rick and he said, “No.” He had me pretty well restrained with his arms and his body weight on top of me. I was struggling and thank God it was at that moment that Richard reached the driver’s side door handle and yanked the door open! He then lifted his friend by the collar and threw him on the ground. I was so relieved that Richard was there.
But then Rick started yelling at me asking, “What the hell are you doing?” I was so confused. I was the one who was being molested. I was the one that was being taken advantage of. I had been the one that was looking for Rick. But also, I had been the one who trusted his friend when I shouldn’t have. Because of that incident, I walked home which wasn’t too far. Rick and I didn’t see each other for several months. At least I didn’t get raped.
3.) Another embarrassing thing that happened to me, although not as serious as the last two experiences, had to do with school. In home economics we were taught to sew. We could choose material and patterns and we had to make two items to show to the teacher.
I talked it over with my mother and we chose the items. The first was a denim jumper that had big, bold, yellow bananas on the fabric. I ended up wearing that under my gown for confirmation at the Catholic Church. The second item was a two-piece bathing suit made of bandana fabric. It wasn’t skimpy but it was a two-piece. The teacher approved of both items so we bought the material and made the outfit. Unknown to us students, the teachers got together and decided we would have a fashion show. It would be held on stage in the auditorium. Our parents, friends, and neighbors would be there.
I was going to model the jumper but the teacher had other plans. Other girls made jumpers also, but I was the only one that made a bathing suit so the teacher requested that I wear that on stage. My mother was going to make a white eyelet coat that I could wear over the top of my bathing suit. However, the teacher wouldn’t allow that either. She did finally allow me to wear a long beach towel around my waist but then told me that I would have to remove the towel once I was on the stage. I did as I was told but I felt my face grow hot and red when I dropped the towel. The boys started whistling. I ran off the stage crying in humiliation.
What did you want to be growing up? I think for a while you wanted to be a horse.
At four or five-years-old, my father bought me three ponies and one quarter horse Flicker. The quarter horse was Silver, I don’t remember the other two ponies’ names but the female pony had a baby that I named Star. I used to love to whinny and run around like the horses. Once, Silver and one of the male ponies got into a fight. I was very scared for both of them. They were biting, kicking and chasing each other – it was just horrible. I think my dad got rid of them after that point.
I didn’t really think about it and how the incident changed my mind about wanting to be a horse until I went into high school. I had a Driver’s Ed and a biology teacher named Mr. Howe. I thought Mr. Howe was the coolest teacher. We would go into the science lab sitting behind our desk. Mr. Howe would get up and start a lecture, drawing things on the chalkboard, and walking around the room with his pointing stick. Then the coolest thing happened. He would reach over and take a beaker full of liquid and drink it.
That was so amazing! Of course, we didn’t know it had coffee in it. We thought he was drinking some biological concoction that he made in the lab. He made science come alive for us students. Whether we were dissecting frogs, growing bacteria in petri dishes or counting fruit flies, we were still all amazed including me. That’s when I decided I wanted to be a scientist. Not just a scientist in any specific field, but a microbiologist physics and nuclear scientist. I also specifically wanted to go to college in Akron, Ohio. That is where I thought the best scientists in the country went.
Even though I earned a scholarship to go to Akron Ohio four years to study to be a scientist, I had to turn it down. When I was seventeen, I gave birth to a little baby girl that I named Rebecca. That really changed my life and I was happy to be a mother! As time went on, I was hoping that when I became a grandmother that the grandchildren would call me “Granny.” The two oldest grandchildren decided to call me, “Nana.” The youngest calls me, “Non.” Even though I am not called “Granny,” I wouldn’t change anything. “Nana” and “Non” are precious to me.
As my children were growing, I was able to go back to school to start college as a nurse. I was going after a four-year Bachelor’s degree in nursing then I would take my nursing exams to become an RN (registered nurse.) I figured if my mother could do all that while raising five children that I should be able to do it with three. I hadn’t realized at the time that my mother did nursing school before she ever got married or had any children.