Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Give me back my glass bottles!! Please.

It was not so long ago when we drank soda's from glass  bottles. And we recycled them....and it was fun! I'm not talking about way back in the "olden days" either. It was as recent as the 80's.
When I was a little girl, we had  a designated space in the kitchen or on the steps from the kitchen leading to the basement for 6 packs of glass bottles. They were in cardboard covers and after you drank one, you simply put it back in it's cozy little case. Once you got a good stack going you would load up the back of the car and take them to a local grocery store to exchange them for MONEY! You heard me, money. You didn't just take them to a recycling plant, dump them and leave. You actually got some money back.
My Stepmother loved Pepsi in the bottle. One of my favorite memories of her was when I would help her load the car with the bottles.
We would go to our local mom and pop grocery store called Town & Country. The front of the store was windows, slightly tinted and it seems the sign with their name on it had some dark brown wooden shingles. You walk in to a warped floor with those old school tiles, you know which ones I mean? They weren't porcelain  but they weren't vinyl but they were like the ones you had in school. Only they came in about a million different colors! I still love those tiles even today! But the aisles in the store were filled with food and candy and love!
So we would carry in all our bottles and  take them to the cashier. There was no motorized movey thingy or electronic cash register. You had to scoot your groceries and goods to the cashier and she had to manually type in each price. She would count each bottle and then give us money back for them.
I was always allowed to buy a candy bar with some of our winnings, and at this store there was a variety of candy like no other!
We would then drive  home and go about our day. Chores, playing, cooking, baking, etc. It wasn't that hard to do! I don't understand why things are not still done that way. Back then, if you wanted the treat of soda, you put in a little effort and didn't destroy the planet with plastic in the meantime. You put in just a little work and not only helped preserve our planet, but also got a little money back. I see recycling plants today and they are good, yes, but they certainly do not strike the joyful memory nerve as glass bottles did for me.
 I really wish that glass would make a comeback. In a BIG way! I miss working for my priveledges. I don't feel I'm entitled to drink soda from plastic and then just throw it into a pile in the earth.
I miss glass bottles and all they represent to me. I miss those wonderful, simple moments with my Stepmother. She has no idea what those memories mean to me, or what they have taught me.
Thank you my Linda, I miss you and I  love you forever!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Home on a Friday night? Never!

When I was a teenager you would NOT find me home on a Friday night.
Me at age 16, can you picture it? Long dishwater blonde, mile high hair with a spiral perm. Braces on teeth, tightrolled stonewashed jeans and some type of Tshirt. Often times a Hyper Color shirt that changed colors when you touched it or, perspired, *cough* Highschool boys thought themselves clever by trying to leave a handprint somewhere on the shirt, nice try fellas.

A typical Friday for me would begin by driving myself to school in my 1987 Chevy Cavalier with a bumper sticker that read "Hey Dude"...yes you read that correctly! Arrive to school, sometimes late. If not late, would park my car and hang out in the smoking area in front of my high school. Some grown up  thought it was a good idea to have a smoking area at school and for the first time ever, I agreed with an adult on the subject.

Feeling happy that it was Friday, I would hang with my friends til the bell rang. Go to my first hour class and each class after. Taking a mid morning nap in history, then finally, it's lunch time.
My favorite subject thank you very much! More smoking area after lunch. Finish rest of the day, all the while getting more and more excited for that last bell to ring and then SWEET WEEKEND FREEDOM! Talking to everyone in the halls, trying to figure out the most happening events for the weekend ahead.

Drive home from school with radio blaring some type of Poison song or something of the sort. Usually would have a few passengers to drop off and then head home for a nap. Wake up from nap, take a shower. Redo mile high hair and 80's makeup and head out the door to a party somewhere. Anywhere! Sometimes it was a field, sometimes it was a house. It really didn't  matter as long as I was NOT at home.

Back then there were no cell phones. Not even pagers yet. If they existed, we didn't know about it anyhow. No communication with parents whatsoever! Just out, being bad, causing trouble and having fun. Not a care in the world!

That is how I spent my youth. From my teen years all the way through my twenties. When I think of it now, those days seem so far away. Now, you're lucky to see me at the grocery store on a Friday.  I am such a homebody!

There is something magical about your teen years. That first step toward freedom from your parents is something words can't describe. It is almost an anxious feeling. The way I felt driving away from my parents house was incredible!

But what's the kicker? Now when I drive away from my parents house, I cry.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Good 'Ol Days?

When I see the chaos in the world around me, I am not surprised. Most of the time I feel alone in my way of thinking but I am starting to accept it. I cannot live my life engaged in battles of words with people who's ears are completely closed.

What I will do, today, right now, this very second is own my part. I know the state of the world today, I am partly to blame.

When I look back at my life I realize there were things that were just too hard to think about, too hard to deal with. So I pushed them under a theoretical rug. Today I am lifting that rug and shaking it out!

I am making a promise to myself to focus more on the causes that are dear to my heart. The world around me would like it if I argued about the things they care about. But the truth is, what they care about, I don't. The reason I don't care is because I have answers for these problems but they are falling on closed minds, closed ears, and closed hearts. It's not the problems I don't care about, it's the people enabling the problems.

When I hear people say they miss the "good 'ol days", I cringe. Why? Because those days were not so good for millions of people. Those days harbored false fronts of happiness, and also complete loss of freedom for others.

You might be surprised to hear that I have always felt this way considering my love for the past.

Yes, I love certain things about the past, yes I never want to forget any of it, even the bad...ESPECIALLY the bad.

I do not want to live in the past. I only want to learn from it. Bring to my future, the good things and be reminded of the bad things, what not to do. I love the way I feel when I think about the good things in my childhood. I cherish my memories.

So I will continue my love of the past but make no mistake, I do not long to go backwards. I long to move forward but hopefully being better than the past.

I have slowly opened my mind which taught me that I do not have all the answers and I need to listen. I need to learn.  I will be firm in my beliefs, I will stand my ground, but I will also hear you out.

I wish I could say the future looks bright. But honestly, I feel with the work as a human that I need to do to help others, looks hard. It looks scary. It looks like a lot of work.

But to me it's important because as hard as it is for me to even think about it, imagine the people actually living it, the people who need help.

Reviewing this I am finding, it reads a little dismal, yet inside, I am kind of jumping with joy at my new found burst of energy to try and help others in need.

The decision I have made to no longer waste my time, energy, words, and thoughts with people who do not hear me, feels exhilarating!

I wish you all a wonderful day ahead and maybe a new lease on life!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Savannah Smiles + Tory= Memory Love

Back in 1982, my mom was trying to help me get through my parents' divorce. It had already been a few years but I just wasn't coping. However, there was one glimmer of hope for me in the form of a big sister. Not a real big sister, but from the actual organization. Big Brothers, Big Sisters program.

Raising two kids on her own was hard enough for mom, add on top of that, a child who was angry and out of control (or constantly sobbing). It was hard times all around. She did all she could and then one day, brought me a gift by the name of Tory.

Tory was my new big sister and I was instantly drawn to her. I was happy around her and felt like maybe someone understood me. She was a teenager with long, curly brown hair and I couldn't wait for my visits with her!

She would take me out to dinner or to her friends apartment to go swimming in the pool. But one time, she took me to the movies. She took me to see Savannah Smiles.

It is a film about a little girl who feels ignored by her parents so she decides she must run away. A little extreme, even for the 80's, but it had an incredibly relatable context.

I sat in the theater next to my big sister, watching the movie. I felt so connected to Savannah. I loved her little bedroom. She had a framed Strawberry Shortcake poster hanging on the wall. Her brass bed was covered in frilly, yellow and white bedding. There was a gumball machine next to her little t.v.

But alas, even amidst all these wonderful "things" all she really wanted was her mom and dad's affection and attention. She ends up sneaking away from a park and climbs into a beat up car which happens to be the automobile of two escaped convicts named Alvie and Boots. They turn out to be  wonderful people (thank goodness) and return her safely to her family, but not before a whirlwind adventure.

By the end of the movie, my eyes were welling up with tears. This is the first movie I remember crying at and I was so embarassed. I did not want my big sister to see me cry but I know she saw. From that moment on, Savannah Smiles was embedded in my memory bank. I still think of her, all these years later.

There are but a few fictional characters that I hold this close to my heart. They are the only ones I could relate to. No real person could give me comfort at that age, no matter how hard they tried. That was, until I met my Tory. I still think of her often and sometimes, long to see her. I don't think I would even recognize her today. The details of her face have slipped from my memory.

I moved out of the state and lived with my dad around fourth grade and thought I'd never see Tory again. But I did, one time! My dad took me to a Michael Jackson concert (The Victory tour) which I believe was in July of 1984 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

We were walking to our seats and there she was, sitting at a booth, selling t-shirts. She was working the summer concert. There was my Tory! We hugged tight and said our hellos and goodbyes. That was the last time I ever saw her.

I think it's kind of magical that the concert tour was VicTORY and her name is TORY.
My memory of her (and Savannah) is pretty epic!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I met a celebrity at Worlds of Fun! Well almost.

Worlds of Fun. What can I say? It is one of the biggest and best memories of my youth. It is a theme park that has been in my memory since as far back as I can recall.

In elementary I remember going with my family. When I lived with my Mother in Kansas, we would drive to KC, Mo to stay with family often. Sometimes we would get to go to Worlds of Fun!

I remember the night before, my cousins and I could barely sleep! The anticipation of the next day's events were almost unbearable. Finally, the sun would come up and we would load into the station wagon. I loved sitting in the very far back, no seat belts of course, complete freedom.

Once you saw the giant, colorful water tower, you knew the fun was about to begin! And it did. All day of fun at an amusement park. I saw several concerts there with the likes of The Charlie Daniels Band and one of my favorites, Juice Newton.  I have but a few photo's of myself on some rides and I cherish them.

Fast forward to middle school. I was now living in KC with my Dad. I had a season passport every summer to World's of Fun and I used the heck out of it. Went ALL the time! My friends and I would stay all day  until the park closed! At one point they opened up kind of a party tent. I mean it was incredible! It was called Exit 54 (I had not yet learned about the infamous STUDIO 54) It opened in the evening and had the loudest 80's music you ever heard and you just DANCED until the park closed.

When I was in 8th grade, word had spread like wildfire that a celebrity would be at Worlds of Fun. Now, this was not uncommon as there were many concerts there. But this was different. There would be a celebrity using the park. Just walking around like a normal person! That celebrity was Jason Batemen.

I don't exactly recall everything he was doing in the 80's acting wise, but I did know his sister was on Family Ties and I knew who he was without a doubt. And come on, he was a fox.

So I went that day. I looked at every turn to catch a glimpse. I knew if he met me he'd want to marry me. I just knew it.

Word was out that he was on the Orient Express roller coaster, my favorite ride. So my friends and I go and wait at the exit for him. Oh I was giddy! Suddenly people start stirring, I can tell he will be in front of me soon. I see him coming off the ride! Closer, closer.....and gone. Passed right before me. We didn't even make eye contact.

Well that was that. I literally went on with the rest of my day, went on with my summer. Went on with my life.

Since then I have looked at celebrities in a different way. You feel like you know them because they are in your life so much. Sometimes every day. But remember, we are not in theirs. I know now they are just working stiffs like the rest of us, they just happen to make the big bucks. That is quite fine by me, I am very happy living the simple life.

But that doesn't change the fact that pop culture is a huge part of my life. Music and movies have been my constant companions since I was a very young girl. Entertainers are valuable to me. I want to know everything about them. Who they are married to, what they eat, what is their favorite color. But unlike the  paparazzi,  I only want to know what they want me to know. Despite popular opinion, their lives are not (or should not be) on display. Their WORK is what is public and what is on display.

P.S.  I am a huge Jason Bateman fan :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ramona Quimby, My BFF

Looking back at my early childhood I have to remind myself that in the midst of a family torn apart by divorce and turmoil, there was a bright and imaginative little girl. Me.

I sometimes think of the painful things, but more often than that, I think about the good things. I think about Ramona Quimby. If she and I had ever met I'm certain we would have been best friends because she was the only person who could possibly understand me.

In my youth, I checked out every Ramona book from the library. I've carried the memories with me forever. Sometimes I would stay up late in my room reading about her adventures. We were about the same age and how could I not want to be just like her?

From the time she squeezed an entire tube of toothpaste into the bathroom sink out of frustration, to the time she got her hair shampooed, cut and styled by a big time hairdresser. She even secretly wore her pajamas to school. I found myself having similar events in my own life.

One Saturday morning, my Mom took me to a hair salon and I felt just like Ramona. The sudsy shampoo smelled so good and it was relaxing to have my hair washed by a professional. When I was dried and styled I skipped up and down the ramp from the waiting area to the salon area, glimpsing in every mirror along the way, so proud of my new hairdo!

When I was in 4th grade we got to watch a movie in class one day (The Neverending Story).  I was sitting at my desk in the corner of the classroom. It was cloudy and rainy outside. I was next to the window enjoying the moment. So cozy. I was wearing my friend's jacket. Not just any jacket, this was a baby blue satin jacket with pink sleeves and a giant roller skate patch on the front. The best jackets ever created, in my opinion. Once again, I was feeling like Ramona.

I realize now that my love for Ramona Quimby was awakened by words and amazing writing. That is the sign of an extraordinary writer. Someone who can make you feel like your in the book alongside the characters. Like you are right there with them and emotionally attached. Feeling, smelling, tasting every written word. Stirring imagination without even a photo.

So thank you, Beverly Cleary. Thank you for sending me Ramona Quimby, my best friend forever.

Arthur's Theme

Arthur's Theme (Best that you can do) ...This song has a way of sweeping me off to another time and place. It starts in my childhood an...