MERRY CHRISTMAS! - ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU!
2019 #2019 #HappyNewYear #Memo

The Things Before We Wake

ThelmaXmas1966aEveryone has stories of things that they are told happened to them during the early years of ones life that one doesn't/cannot remember, in that time before our consciousness 'wakes up' and we start being aware of our life. 

For me, these include, being obsessively protected by our family's big black lab Licorice (who died, while I was still a baby, I think, by being hit by a car on the highway just outside our house), being present at a party my parents threw and exclaiming "OH HELL!" for some unknown reason, and the time I stuck my hand out to stop a slamming door with a glass pane in it that caused a scar on my right arm. I remember none of this. 

I was also told at a young age that I had been an unexpected third child after my mom had had some problems carrying to term. My sister, born in 1956, was supposed to have been a twin, and I seem to remember hearing from her that mom had been pregnant twice between my brother being born in 1960 and my birth in 1964.

So, from a young age, before I was 'awake', my mom doted on me as I was not only a 'whoops' but it was clear that I would be her last child. I can't, of course, know what that must feel like, to know or suspect that you can't have any more children, but it can only be a sad thing (whether or not she and my dad even would have wanted more kids is not important). 

When I tell people that my mom and dad were my best friends growing up, some look at my like I'm crazy, some look at me as though they pity me... and some understand. My parents weren't perfect, but, they were perfect for me. My mom was loving and kind, creative, smart and funny, and my dad had a wealth of knowledge about pop culture, world history, and a mind for exploring interesting subjects (such as visitors from other worlds and things of that nature). They would each leave me, in their own way, over time, but I think that they armed me with a better tool belt than either they or I realized. That I have lived in many cities, have a large number of friends, and have had the pleasure of a variety of super cool experiences comes from parents who taught me the right things. I'm certainly not perfect either, but I have them to thank for a lot of things that have kept my life full of life. 

ThelmaXmas1966bAnyway, the first image that I have always remembered clearly, was the image of the back of a woman's legs, standing at our kitchen sink washing dishes. She was wearing a dress and short heeled shoes. I know it wasn't my mom but was probably our housekeeper, Mrs. S.

Mrs. S. was hired to help my mom cope with three kids and a big house. As my mom suffered from agoraphobia (something that would only be named after my dad passed away in 1981) we all just accepted that my mom needed companionship in the house and when driving and it was Mrs. S who would cook meals, do laundry, iron, and, to some degree, the disciplining. Later, after Mrs. S left, Mrs. K joined our household and would threaten us with "the stick" - a large wooden spoon. She called me "Charlie" as in "Charlie Brown" and I would stay at her house in town on occasion when my parents would go out of town. I don't really remember Mrs. S at all, but would later "meet" her briefly. It's a strange thing to meet someone who took care of you but you don't remember them. 

The image up above is of a Christmas card I salvaged from one of my usual childhood raids of boxes in our attic. It's certainly one of the things I wouldn't remember getting at 2 years old. I am thrilled that it somehow survived until I could, during college, put it in a photo album for safe keeping.

The card is from my grandma and grandpa Hansen, my mom's parents who lived in Milwaukee. My grandma refers to herself as "Nonna" in the note but I know I never referred to her as that, although I do remember my sister doing so.  As a side note, this grandma, Thelma, was always a very big part of our Christmas as she would bake the most delicious sugar cookies and put them in fancy tins, sealed with heavy tape and sent to us not to be opened until Christmas day. She was quite a positive influence on me and, aside from my parents, she is the person from my family that I miss the most (she passed at nearly 100 years old in 2004). 

That's all for today, more soon! 

originally posted 12/19/18 Noon. 

edited for additional clarity 12/19/18 3:30pm

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