Cousin “Baby Elaine”, Little Sister Ann, and me… Child of the Three Bears Skirt
I may not remember this moment (circa 1954) or why we called our cousin Baby but never referred to the littler sister that way, or posing with them all dressed up in skirts with straps, holding hands and no doubt being cajoled into saying cheese…but I will never forget that three-bears skirt of mine.
Just by looking at us you will understand how hard it was to compete for attention with these two gorgeous little Shirley Temples in my life, but I wonder if that day it didn’t bother me so much. Because I was wearing the best skirt in the universe. It was red corduroy with brown and white fuzzy appliquéd teddy bears, a birthday gift from a maiden aunt who always gave us birthday gifts to remember. Then she got married and had kids of her own and after that didn’t spoil us quite so much. She’s the one who cemented my love of all things red. There was also a shiny red faux leather purse another year. But that fabulous skirt was still the best. It was brand new, not a hand-me-down, mine first! I put it on and wanted never to take it off again.
It was probably a very sad day when I outgrew it. I expect it got passed on several times to other little girls who loved it too. That’s what we did with clothes, there was always someone else who could use them and when they were worn beyond repair the good bits got cut up for quilt blocks. A favourite game was to sit with a quilt over your legs and find grandmas Sunday dress or your brothers old plaid shirt.
Just so no one gets an overdose of nostalgia or cute I am going to try to limit my maudlin flashbacks to Fridays. Once a week seems about right.
Here’s to a great weekend, and patchwork quilts full of memories, and teddy bears, and all things red.
As a child, who was your favorite relative?
Eleven aunts, ten uncles, twenty-three cousins…..and that’s not even getting started on my maternal grandmothers hoard of living relations who were ‘greats’ of all sorts…..it’s impossible to name a favourite. Impossible. I could probably name two or three I wasn’t too fond of if you want, but why speak ill of the dead? Actually I’ve always wondered why you’re NOT supposed to do that, so I looked it up. It is distasteful, disrespectful and even cowardly. And rude. Too much like dancing on someone’s grave. Plus the person you are disrespecting might come back to haunt you. Do your ill speaking while they’re still alive and can defend themselves I guess.
Really, as a child I was blessed with more relatives than I could keep track of, but of course now I wish I had paid better attention to who they were and where they came from and where they went. We had company all the time on our farm when I was growing up. I’ve known a lot of amazing people and it makes me happy knowing I’m related to them.
If you could be a tree or plant, what would you be?
A great big red maple, changing with the seasons. I would be tall and beautiful, with at least one sturdy strong horizontal branch perfect for a child’s swing. At the age of one hundred someone can chop me down and make me in to furniture.
What would be your preference, awake before dawn or awake before noon?
There’s a lot of fuss made about sunsets, but have you ever watched the sun rise? I don’t mean getting out of bed in the dark and rushing around doing stuff and then eventually noticing that it’s light out. I’ve done a lot of that. I’ve also been awake before dawn, sitting in a deck chair with a coffee warming my hands, watching the sun come up. That’s a wonderful way to start your day. Then you can go back to bed and sleep until noon, but remember to leave that part out when you’re boasting about your incredible pre-dawn experience.
Would you like to sleep in a human size nest in a tree or be snuggled in a burrowed spot underground?
This is such a weird question, I can honestly say I’ve never thought about doing either one of these things. But no to being underground, thanks. And I would like the tree nest to be the size of a queen mattress please, because I’ll be taking one of those up there with me.
Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
I am grateful for my nice warm house and my comfy bed and for not once in my life ever having to sleep in a tree. We’re getting some cold January weather now and I don’t even want to go out for a walk. So I’m grateful to have that perfect excuse.
I don’t know what’s going on next week so let’s just say I am grateful to be living in suspense. What will be will be.
This was the most special of occasions, because it was the only time we ever celebrated our daughters July birthday at the farm. Our son has his birthday in February and we were never off to Ontario at that time of year. But you don’t have to be the guest of honor to have a good time.
I’m just here for the hat and the food.
Make a wish! Ask for one of these awesome Gretzky shirts!
Hanging out on my birthday with my baby cousin and the headless man.
Oh. My. Gawd. Getting money for your birthday is the Best. Thing. Ever.
Time marches on, the kids keep growing up, the bricks days are numbered and will be coming down. Yes, sadly, no longer will we pose in front of the faux brick background. The wallpaper gets replaced, along with the orange curtains and the orange back splash. On to a lighter and brighter tomorrow.
The great meals and the card games continued, but our family showed up less and less often – that’s what happens when you live far away. The rest of the family was nice enough to send us photos. And nice enough NOT to say look at all the fun we’re having without you.
Mom and Dad loved to play cards, and UNO was a game that even the littlest guy could play. (In that last picture, does he not look like he’s never had quite so much fun ever before in his entire life?) When there were so many people around the table and so many skips and reverses, you could stare off into space or take a quick nap before the play ever came around to you again. These get togethers and card games went on until finally there were those among us who grew wise enough to win against grandpa. Well, sometimes, anyway.
There was a new house, a new location, a new kitchen, but the games went on. There are some things you never want to outgrow.