You will recall that I answered the first question on the Hide A Heart January 1st blog post. I can see answering these questions are going to have to be divided between at least FIVE blog posts!
2. WHEN WERE YOU BORN AND WHERE? I was born at 7:26 am in Los Angeles, California at the Methodist Hospital. My mother had a very difficult time. I was what is known as a ‘forceps’ baby. Unfortunately, the butcher doctor who attended my mother also pulled her uterus out with me, then ‘shoved’ it back in without stitching.
This doctor left the umbilical cord too long, which caused me a hernia. My mother did not produce milk, and I was allergic to cows milk and formula. Luckily, there was available a thing called canned ‘mother’s milk’…who knew?
My mother was so weakened from hemorrhaging, she lay in hospital for almost two weeks after my birth. When she was released, she was taken home in an ambulance and so weak she was unable to lift all 7.5lbs of me. She dragged her left leg for nearly a year and suffered ‘female’ problems until completing menopause…what a relief!
Is it any WONDER why I thought giving birth was only going to be just short of amputation without the help of anesthetic?!
3. WRITE ABOUT YOUR MOM. WHAT WOULD YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW?
My mother is a shy and private person. I want to tell you that she is the most courageous person I know. She has grit! She is a formidable force. She is gracious, elegant and sweet. She has macular degeneration, but while she is frustrated at times, she soldiers on with fierce determination. She has a quick wit and a wonderful sense of humor; is loyal beyond measure; once wanted to make art (she could draw and paint). She ‘over-decorates’ her home–a malady I have also suffered, but in my new home I am determined to SIMPLIFY!
My mother is smart, clever and has a tiny but mighty stature. My mother is the person I admire most in this world.
4. WRITE ABOUT YOUR DAD. WHAT WOULD YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW. Growing up in Texas-New Mexico and Kentucky, my father had a miserable childhood. Due to moving from hither to fence post, he accumulated the approximate equivalent of a 6th grade eduction. He contracted spinal-cerebral meningitis when he was about 5 years old, and came out of the paralysis during a tornado (he’d been left upstairs while the rest of the family went to the basement for safety). I have teased him that he got better due to sheer terror!
His family lived as a squatters, sleeping under newspapers after his older sister, but still quite young, accidentally burnt the house down by leaving bacon grease in a frying pan on a wood stove. When he was 9 years old, his mother drowned along with with his little sister, Margaret. The pit bull pet kept the 6mos. old baby from crawling into the river until my father, his brother, Hollis and father, Bill, returned to camp to find his mother MIA.
My father left home when he was 12 years old and apprenticed with a small town baker to learn that trade. My father sent his earnings to his father to help care for his younger siblings. In 1943, my father joined the US Navy. Following WWII, he went to work for Helms Bakeries in Los Angeles.
My father was a hard worker and he provided a good home with food to eat. He played guitar and stand-up bass. He taught me to play guitar and repair broken things. My father is a loyal and generous person, but the scars of his childhood took ‘joy’ out of him.
There are no photos of their wedding because my maternal grandfather denied the photographer, my father hired, access into his home. There was a cake my father ordered, and the only gift was a nightgown my father bought and asked one of my mother’s SIX sisters to wrap, but it was handed to mother unwrapped.
My parents were never given an explanation for this mistreatment, but my folks stuck together through thin and thick and will celebrate their 72nd Wedding Anniversary in a few days.
5. Do you have any siblings? Write about them.
My brother is 5.5 years younger than me.
My mother had lost two babies between my brother, Richard, and me, so she was ordered to bed rest for 7 of the 9 months of her pregnancy with him.
Between the two us, my brother is the smartest, handsomest, most patient and long suffering. (When I was growing up, I would practice singing at the top of my lungs from the moment my eyes flew open in the morning until my head hit the pillow at night, the consequences of is that my brother has NEVER bought a ticket to hear me sing!)
My brother joined the Navy and worked as an air traffic controller, but he did not want that kind of responsibility when he left the Navy. Instead, he chose to successfully sell health club memberships, until his health began to waiver.
My brother and I share sense of humor. He is so good hearted and lives with our parents, helping with errands when they need him.
6. Where did you grow up and what do you remember about that place?
After my father discharged from the US Navy and began working for Helms Bakeries, we lived in a brand new home in Pico Rivera, California. Pico Rivera seems to be located in a valley where the weather was often damp.
I suffered from terrible asthma, requiring adrenaline shots. My brother also suffered from asthma. Our family doctor suggested we move closer to dryer climates, so when I was 6 years old, our family moved to Baldwin Park, CA. where I attended K-12 classes.
My brother and I shared a bedroom, where I routinely drew an imaginary line down the center and refused to let him cross into MY area! This meant he had NO access to the clothes closet, but he didn’t seem to mind that. What he loved to do was harass me by mix my perfumes together in an empty pickle jar or use my 45RPM records for frisbee throwing. When I turned 13, my parents built a bedroom on to the back of the house for ME. Perfect!
50 Questions is going to be one heck of long historical illumination. I may have to re-think this project….what do you think?