Monday, March 30, 2009

More of Me-At Four

Today's Link
Imac's Photos from the Mind's Eye

Today's Saying
What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies. ~Rudolph Giuliani

Today's Picture
Happy Birthday Angel

There was a time when I was a four year old named John . Which seems right since now I am and old man named John. In those days I lived in two different houses. One house was on the outskirts of a town called Negaunee which means the low place in some Indian language. The other house was on a farm near Ishpeming which means the high place in the same language. The house in Negaunee was bigger and older and made to be explored. The house on the farm was new and not even fully finished. In the old house I lived with my Grandmother Mabel and my Grandfather James. In the new house I lived with Arvid and Edith.
The new house had geese that bit little boys when they played in the yard but to be fair it also had a wonderful dog that kept the geese away. The old house had a white picket fence and a wonderful yard to play in with a warning not to try to walk the fence because Edith when she was a little girl fell off of it and broke her arm. I never tried to walk the fence not because of the warning but because I couldn’t figure out how to get up there. ( this was true only when I was four).
So for part of a week or sometimes a whole week I lived at the old house. Then gramma Mabel would say Edith is coming to get you today I hated that. But then Edith and Arvid showed up in their old coupe and hauled me off to the farm. There I stayed until Gram Mabel and Grampa James showed up and took me back to the old house.
The old house was much more fun. It had a wood stove in the kitchen with a big pile of kindling next to it. Kindling is far better than Lego's for building pretend castles and forts. There was a wonderful button drawer that I was allowed to pull out and play with and the buttons made wonderful people and armies for my pretend castle. I did have to put them back when I finished and pile the kindling back but even that was fun.
There was no kindling on the farm, at least that I saw. Electric stoves don’t need kindling. There was a wood stove in the basement but I didn’t know that because I wasn’t allowed in the basement. I was told there was a big open something down there I could fall in and drown. Life for a four year old is full of danger.
The other reason I liked the old house is because Gram Mabel played with me , a lot. She taught me to play Old Maid. She rode the train I set up with kitchen chairs , she was the passenger and I was the engineer. She taught me to pick raspberries and how to get eggs from the chickens without getting pecked. She had a wonderful imagination.
Edith , on the other hand, gave me toys and said play with them. Of course during much of the time I was four Edith was pregnant but four year olds don’t know things like that. She didn’t feel good. In any case she didn’t play like Gram Mabel.
The old house also had better food. Gram Mabel was a grreat cook and she was always cooking. She made every kind of pie you can think of and they were all great. She made Cornish pasties, saffron buns, and currant cookies. Edith , on the other hand, cooked as little as possible but then she was pregnant.
The music was different in the two houses . In the old house there was a wind up Victrola and lots of really sad ballads. Songs about dead mothers and crippled boys that nobody wanted to play with. The new house had an electric phonograph and Edith played songs by the Sons of the Pioneers. Songs that had to do with ghost riders in the sky or something like that.
Gram Mabel took me to Sunday School at the Methodist Church where they had the greatest colored blocks in the world. It was because of Sunday School that I found out a great truth that nobody had bothered to tell me.
After Sunday school kids would say my mother will be down to get me in a minute. The Sunday School was downstairs.
One Day when we got home from Sunday School I asked Gram Mabel why I didn’t have a mother. I had a Gram that was her and I had an Edith but I didn’t have a mother. She started to laugh. You see nobody ever refereed to my mother as mom. She was always Edith. Even Arvid ,who turned out to be my dad ,called her Edith. How was I supposed to know she was my mother? So Gram explained that Edith was my mother and she thought this was a good time to tell me I was going to have a baby brother or sister. I really didn’t want one. It was enough to know I had a mother.

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal
Eino heard from his friend at Homeland Security today. He said he was TOLD to tell him that there was nothing on the Big Mac wrapper that would be of help. But his story interested some people in a special branch and they would be coming in a helicopter tomorrow with some special equipment to help Eino solve the mystery. Eino wondered why his friend had put such an emphasis on the word told. Could it be they did find something and don’t want to share what they have found. They have never paid attention to his stories before.
This morning the white rabbit that is at the center of all this nonsense stands as it has for some time now in the museum entrance hall. One can almost believe it looks happy.
Tammy and Tommy UK are not happy. They have to go to school. They would like to be working on this mystery which has now included them in such a strange manner. Now there is a video of the two of them doing something they know they never did. How could that happen? They have to go and listen to American history when they should be making history. Life is so very unfair.

Wrap UP
Got up this morning to find not only snow but strange prints in the snow. Betty is sure it was the panther everybody is talking about. I said that that was nonsense. It was probably a coyote. I put the ELCA Bible Study for this coming Sunday on St. Mark's website. I spent a little time reading and reflecting on the gospel for Sunday. My sister Dawn called. Betty had to tell her about the " panther tracks" . I told her it was probably a coyote . The flowers I ordered for Betty's birthday came. She enjoyed them. I visited all the blogs that left comments yesterday. Now I need a breathing treatment.


Blogger The Old Fart said...

I've just learned more about you Dr John, thank you for sharing. Such wonderful memories you have, reading this brought back a flood of memories of my Gram. Some day I will share some of them.

A Blessed Day is wished for you and Betty.

1:31 AM  
Blogger PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

Wow, your mother must not have referred to herself as Mom either. Women usually do.

6:04 AM  
Blogger kcinnova said...

I'm glad you actually had a mom. ;) As a formerly pregnant mom, I can assure you that we are not good companions at times. I would have loved to have had Gram and Grampa show up and relieve me of a busy and inquisitive 4yo so I could get some much needed rest!

6:07 AM  
Blogger Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Thanks for sharing your memories Dr. J.

6:07 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

ROFL! You poor little boy! How in the world does a child get to be 4 years old and not know who is Mama is? Did she refer to herself as Edith too? I'm just trying to think how many times a day I would say to my kids "give that to mommy" and hold out my hand... or "come give Mommy a hug" with arms outstretched. That really is just such a bittersweet little story!

Ah! Homeland security again! Special branches! I wonder what's up NOW! And where is the MIB right now?

7:46 AM  
Anonymous Thom said...

I wonder as chidlren that we always have a better time at out grandparents house. The word spoil comes to mind. Hmmmm poor Tammy and Tommy having to go back to school ... something sounds fishy

8:42 AM  
Blogger imac said...

Hi John, welcome to my lil ol blog, hope you enjoy.

Ah, now your tale had me thinking, it took me back in time, when I was a lad, Guess I was lucky, I had 2 Grams and 2 Grandads, there are now memories floding back, and I may tell a little later in my blog.

Thanks for your visit and kind comments.

I will be popping back to your blog from time to time.

8:58 AM  
Blogger aims said...

Your grandmother was a very special person. How lucky you were!
And how funny you didn't know who your mother was. But I can certainly understand how that could happen.

Mondays are so great. The rabbit knows why.

9:43 AM  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

Mama was always my mama but I didn't seem to have a Daddy until Ted started coming around to visit when I was five. Mama eventually married Ted and he became my Daddy from then on. I never knew a grandma because both of them died before I was born. Ted/Daddy's father lived a long way off in a place called Iowa, but he died when I was about seven or eight before I ever met him, either. Mama's father lived a long way off too in a place called Pennsylvania, but he sent me a big, chocolate-covered, coconut Easter egg through the mail every year and a gift at Christmas. I sent him thank-you notes and a birthday card each year and finally met him when I was fourteen. I saw him three times after that.

You have some wonderful memories. Part of my life is missing.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous quilly said...

Dr. John, I knew I had a mom, and I knew she died when I was three, but what I didn't understand was the white angel. When I was 6 I asked my grandmother, "Who was the white angel in the living room?"

My grandmother, perplexed, wanted to know what white angel? I described a huge mountain of white I used to climb to get to an angel dressed in white, who played and sang with me and rocked me and loved me.

Turns out the huge mountain of white was a hospital bed in our living room, and my mother spent the last year of her life in it. So, I knew I had a mother, and I knew I had a special angel, but I did not know they were the same person.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Nessa said...

Very cool picture.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Cherie said...

Please, give my best wishes for a very Happy Birthday to Betty! :)

3:13 PM  
Blogger Mama Zen said...

Your grandmother sounds truly wonderful!

4:16 PM  
Blogger Finding Pam said...

That is such a funny thing that you did not know you had a Mom. Did you have siblings? Did they know they had a Mom? The only thing I can think of is that you did not need to knowk,therefore you did not ask.LOl

Happy Birthday to Betty. I am sorry that I have not been around much.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Jientje said...

I knew I had a Mom. But I preferred my grandmother's company!

11:14 PM  
Blogger Peter (Worldman): said...

Yes, we were 4 years old and yes, we are now much, much older.

My parents lived in a new house when I was a child. My grandmother lived in an old house. I spent all my school vacations there. I loved to play and run around in this house. The only place I was afraid of was the basement. The cellar was all black, because the house was heated with coal. And I was afraid that some ogre would catch me.

11:18 PM  

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