Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Babysitter's Club

I recently posted a not so fun photo on my page. It was a real photo from a real vintage magazine in which extreme racial injustice was occuring. I posted it with a dose of fact and a side of opinion. Someone then suggested, condescendingly,  maybe I should consider a name change because "marvelous" memory didn't seem to fit with what I posted. In which I replied that to me, knowledge IS marvelous. The truth is marvelous, even when it's ugly.  Dealing with painful truths can bring about marvelous healing! So the things I share with you today in my experience with being babysat, are to serve a purpose. Maybe you will see the point, maybe not. But I do have one, I promise!

When I comb through my mind rolodex of former babysitters I have some memories that make me cringe, and some that make me smile.

The earliest babysitter I can recall was just before kindergarten. This was probably the worst experience I had in the care of a babysitter. I cannot bring myself to share all the details but I will share what my heart is strong enough to allow. I don't actually remember my  babysitter, believe it or not. It was a woman but the people I remember are her husband and their kids who were all pretty awful to me. I remember one day the older kids lifted me up on a clothesline and ran off. I was very small and scared to let go  so I held on, screaming until I finally dropped. I was fine  but I knew then and there I could not trust them. Things got worse after that with the children and especially the husband. That is where I will leave it.

After that, I had one that was again, pretty bad. Not as bad as the first but still very harsh. The whole family was mean to me. Truly mean. But yet when my mother would come to pick me up they were all sugar and spice. This confused me greatly and  embedded severe trust issues that would last me a life time, even now. They would often times make me clean out their toddlers potty chair. I was a young child and did not know how to do it and each time they would then stand me in the corner for not doing it properly. If they found out I wet the bed the night before, they would  swing me around the room by my feet. Not painfully but I suppose to humiliate me? Your guess is as good as mine. But the worst thing came from the oldest daughter of my sitter. On a recent visit with my Dad he took me to a park. I collected pine cones from our outing. I saved one and cherished it. I took it with me to my babysitters one day and showed it to the oldest daughter who then grabbed it from my hands and ripped all the cones off and handed it back to me, torn to shreds. Which symbolically also tore my heart to shreds.

Both of these sitters were before I was even 6 years old. I can still remember wanting to tell my mom the things that were happening but my tongue could not speak the words. I didn't understand why these things happened. All I could say was "They are mean to me" My young mind had no defense yet.

Ok the worst is over! Exhale :) Luckily after this, my experiences with sitters changed and for the better! I had one who was so sweet, so loving and so protective of me! She was a homemaker with small children of her own. She made me healthy meals and gave me chewable vitamin C tablets.They were cherry flavored and I have yet to find them again.  After school we got to watch Tom & Jerry and some days, Godzilla. One day she found me rubbing my back against the door corner, it itched like mad! She took one look at me and said "You have chicken pox!!" She was right, I sure did and oooooh weeee did I itch! She was very kind and I treasure my memory of her.

I had a few more over the years but nothing to write about. So here we are to  the best one I ever had,  a teenager named Wendy. Now Wendy is the babysitter I wish I could contact TODAY and tell her how awesome she was to me! The babysitter of all babysitters! She was the coolest thing on legs, in my opinion. She use to curl my hair, part it on the side and tell me I looked like Princess Diana. She loved to listen to me talk about my little life. She loved to cook in the kitchen with me and one of my favorite things was she took won ton wrappers and fried them in a Fry Daddy....Oh man I ate them like candy, they were so good! She was so into the pop culture of the early 80's and knew all the cool music. She just inspired me and I love her even still!

I use to look back at my caretakers who treated me badly, with much anger and resentment. Sometimes I still do but more importantly than that, I realized they taught me the perils of people who should not be trusted. They taught me how to truly listen to my children. Taught me to look for signs that I may not otherwise see. They taught me what COULD happen. When people say, "Oh you can't live in fear blah blah blah" to them I say, I don't live in fear, I live in fact. MY facts, MY reality, MY life. It all taught me, formed me, changed me. Some bad but LOTS of good! I don't regret the things that happened to me, but rather I am thankful for the lessons they taught  me :)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Things are not important. I love things.

The title of this blog post "Things are not important. I love things" sounds like a contradiction....maybe it is. But let me try to explain what I mean by this.

I am not one to idolize things of monetary value. The more it costs, the less I want it. Besides a safe home and vehicle of course. But I mean the things I collect such as vintage cookbooks, bakeware, etc. I often refer to my "things" as treasures and the reason I do this is because yes, these are just things but they were once a homemakers things.

Maybe the woman who once owned it is no longer on earth, but yet I can still feel her because I have her cookbook, or her mushroom canister set, or her Christmas record that she adored while sipping egg nog. Maybe it belonged to my very own Grandmother or maybe it belonged to a complete stranger. Either way, she did exist and the item I have of hers, proves it! She used these very items with her own hands. This connects me to her in some way and I love that! She is teaching me things while not even saying a word.

I also treasure my "things" because they were gifts from loved ones. They know how much I feel disconnected to the world of today, but very connected to the world of yesterday. I'm sure though, if I were alive back then, I would feel the same disconnect. I don't want to live in the past, I've expressed that in detail in other blogs. But I do need to feel connected to the past because it has so much to teach me. And my favorite memory of the past is of homemakers. Women, wives, mothers, activists.

When I feel overwhelmed by today's world, I just look to the past because those times were WAY harder than now. Suppression, oppression, judgement, abuse, ignorance, violence were all rampant. But yet the woman of yesterday persevered. They were not perfect, they may not have always been happy in their situation, but they kept going. They are my teachers. They have taught me more than any school teacher ever has. So when I am blessed with a "new" vintage cookbook or household item from the past, I am learning yet one more thing! I will never go backward but I will always LOOK backward to learn what to bring FORWARD.

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...