I am intent upon writing you a bit of a long stretch, a lot of words to tell you about me, your grandmother, and what my life in this world has been. I don't think enough grandparents do that, we have to 'guess' from old stories handed down through generations.
I figured I would start from the beginning and just keep adding on. You might as well know who your grandma is, and where she came from.
I was born at Mercy Hospital in Gary, Indiana on July 25th, 1951. My mom told me she was asleep during the whole birthing thing, but that's how they did it back then. The doctors were control freaks, I guess, and just knocked the mother out and then, voila, she wakes up and a baby has been delivered.
Well, I won't lie to you....judging from a few letters of love my mother (Dorothy Ann Keilman Carter), and my dad (George Andrew Carter), those two were planning on having 6 sons. I suppose I must have been awfully cute because they were delighted I was born anyway, despite being a girl. I was the first born to them, your aunt Colleen (another girl) came along 14 months later in Nov 24th, 1952...then , finally, a boy, my brother Dennis on March 9th, then my mom had a miscarriage...
I do remember that night, we were sitting down to dinner and my mom turned white as a sheet...and sort of fell over...I remember a babysitter tucking me in that night, I think his name was Michael Jergens, he was a teenager and I really did not know what was going on. I knew my mom had been taken to the hospital. That's about it. I don't know if my mom miscarried a boy or girl, altho I think it was a girl.
Then comes my brother John , born Sept 22, and then my sister Josephine, born Jan 13, then last but not least, my little brother Andrew...born Feb 17th.
So, that's the basic countdown. Your great grandpa George and great grandma (who you met as a baby) were prolific, and very old timey Catholics. That is the way they did that in those days, especially old timey Catholics....
My dad told me that the first place I ever lived was in an apartment in Gary, Indiana. At that time, Gary was a pretty awesome, thriving city, with a lot of stores and places to shop. I remember the corner Walgreens, 10 cents for a coke, and the small round plastic and steel seats around the soda counter. That was when you bought a Coca Cola right out of the spigots..real syrupy sugar, not the crap they sell now.
I also remember going into dimestores, they called them Five and Dimes, like Woolworths, where there was usually a plastic pony at the front of the store for kids to ride on. That cost a dime. There were dept stores,too, long aisles of stuff to buy, and huge fans hung from the ceilings to cool off the customers. I saw my first african american people in the stores, and for some reason , at a young age, I associated black people and popcorn, because the dept stores had popcorn for people to wander and eat as they shopped.
And, oh, you could smoke cigarettes anywhere in those days. My mom and dad smoked Kool cigarettes all the time.No one cared.I suppose people were dropping dead from cancer right and left, but no one at that time associated it with cigarettes. or atom bombs.
Nonetheless, I remember going to the dentist in downtown Gary, Indiana..the upper floors of some building, and always being treated to a handmade chocolate milkshake afterwards at yet another soda fountain. I remember the feeling of my cheek lying on my mother's fake fur (mutton) coat as I rode home with her and my dad in the car.
To this day if I put my face next to a fur, I can feel my mom's warmth next to me. Go figure.
I dont remember the apartment in Gary, Indiana. My memories of the house my father bought in Hobart are fairly vivid, though.
I must have been around 4 or 3, but my first memories of that house are a small living room, a scratchy green chair , and a kitchen in the back. By then, my sister had been born and we shared a room with cribs. She was much more sociable then I ever was, and I was told she would sneak out of her crib a lot. I was pretty afraid, as I recall , of associating with other people. They scared me, maybe because I found out later , much later in my life, according to my mother, that whenever I cried they did not pick me up as a baby. I guess it was my dad's idea. that I should learn to 'soothe myself'. Of course, this is not something one does nowadays...always pick up a crying baby.... but back then people had some strange ideas....
Nonetheless, to be continued.......................
the kitchen in my first house I remember had little spice containers, metal, red and white. We had a stainless steel kitchen table that seated 4, with red plastic and chrome chairs. I liked the basement. It's doorway was off the kitchen, and it had a wringer washer down there. I liked the smell of bleach and soap that basements had back then, and I remember my cousin almost falling into the sump pump down there.
My very very earliest memory was of someone holding me , and I was looking outwards over a long field, seeing a row of corn cribs in the distance. My mother swears I could not have remembered this, and that I was only a few months old. But I do remember it.
Life was easy when I was little.
I didn't care for walks to the corner grocery. There was a boy there, whose father owned the store, and the boy would grab me. I didn't like that, so my mother would sit me on the counter. Stores were on corners, then, and they had white butcher counters where a butcher would cut meat and a display case of glass where you could pick out what you wanted. Your meat came to you wrapped in white paper with a seal.
There was always a gumball machine at the entrance. Milk came in glass bottles, but, it was the atomic age , after all, and more and more plastic was showing up in the aisles of food. I contend that, after WW2, corporations like Dow Chemical didn't know what to do with all that crappy plastic they created, so they started covering food with is.I am lucky to remember what paper covered meat looked like.
Of course, back then, my mother was a housewife. My dad got a job as an engineer on the EJ&E railroad..that's Elgin Joliet and Eastern Railways. It has since been bought out by a Canadian company in the 1990's, but if you ever see an EJ&E boxcar, know for sure that is your great granpa waving at you.
My own take on being a little girl was that it was a wondrous time. Our house was at the end of a block, and there were open fields aplenty , which are not there anymore. I took your gr gramma back there to see the house when she was in her 80's, and the two maple trees my dad planted as baby maples in front of the house were now full and tall and alive with richness and leaves.
I remember that house because doctors made house calls back then, and our Doctor Vye was his name. He came to the house to vaccinate me and my sister , who hid behind the large scratchy green chair. We did not like him much, that old man with the needle.
I was told by my parents that I snuck into the neighbour's automobile and had a bowel movement as a 3 yr old right on his front seat, and then smeared it all over the windows and seat. I do not remember this, but my parents did. My dad said it was horrific to clean up.I was also told I broke the tulips off all the neighbour's flowers in her flower bed.Evidently I was a bit of a destroyer of worlds back then.
Hobart also had a restaurant, I believe it was named Art's Restaurant..and we would go there and sit in the booths that were red plastic, (again) and there were chrome hatracks , because all the men wore hats back then. I remember french fries and ketchup. I was always, for some reason, making myself store one memory or another , maybe because deep down I knew I would tell you about it all someday.
When we moved from that small house in Hobart, out to Hobart Township, on Liverpool Road, out to the country when I was around 4, began the happiest years of my childhood.
My dad wanted to get out of a neighbourhood and into the country. And boy were we in the country. We lived in a redwood house on an acre of land with 52 trees and woods behind them, and fields that ran for miles. Sometimes a horse or stray sheep would come into the yard.
I basked in all of it. It was a little kid's dreamland. From the small swingset situated behind the garage, where my sister and I sat and swung back and forth, singing to the horses across the road, "Rory and Beauty, Rory and Beauty.."(those were the horses names..) such beautiful horses, I am sure they heard us singing to them.
The road, Liverpool Road to be exact, was long. It wound through meadows and down a steep hill, maybe steep for me as a child, to a creek that ran under it called Turkey Creek. We made a lot of trips down there, my brother Dennis went down there to fish, using only bread and peanut butter as bait. He was ecstatic when he finally did catch a bluegill and dragged it home, half gone by the time he ran into the house, proudly showing my dad his catch. I remember my dad laughing, because hardly a bone of the bluegill was hanging from the rod at that point.
The trips to the creek were pretty wild, something most parents would not even allow nowadays, and I recall quite well the time my brother Dennis, and sister Colleen, crossed a log over the creek. I was holding my very little brother John and attempted the same feat, but alas the log cracked as I crossed and we both fell into the water. Luckily I walked out, holding my very little brother aloft to keep him from drowning.
I received a spanking from that one when I got home.
The woods behind the house were the special place of wonderment where I lived out so many days wandering, where I saw the old stone structures of homes not built, where I climbed trees and watched the birds.
Our yard was huge to me, 2 cherry trees in front of the kitchen, where many a Sunday picture was taken of my sister and I in our Sunday clothes, that itched. One time, I am told, we used our white sunday gloves as bait , goin fishing, but I don't remember doing that.
My favorite trees were the catalpa trees that I could easily climb and become queen of the yard. I sat in them for hours, just as I sat in the tree at the end of the driveway , and talked to the many birds and insects that visited.
Next to the yard was a huge, unfettered field, filled with wild grasses and untouched meadowland. I would hide in there, too, and create huge circles of stomped down grass, where I would sit in the summer and listen for the buzzing and chirping and frogging songs...where I would lay in the grass and ensuffer the brunt of chiggers afterwards, but I did not care. I did not want to be in the house.
There was too much to see outside.
I especially was fascinated with ants. I would sit for hours on end, a day was an eternity back then, and watch the ants work as a team. Even when I was small, the entire idea of ants was like the perfect society to me. Everyone knew their job, and everyone worked together. What may have looked like chaos to an untrained eye, looked like perfect timing to me. I knew that those ants were way smarter then any humans I would ever meet. At least they know why they existed.
I would feed them tiny handfuls of sugar, and my father was a bit taken with that , and laughed because he was always trying to keep ants out of the house, and there I was feeding them.
Not only did ants come into our yard, but one day a horse arrived , must have ran out of it's stall. Of course we all wanted to keep it, but your gr granpa knew horses, as he worked on a horse farm after WW2, because he had shell shock from the war, he told me. Working with horses helped him. So we did not keep that horse.
I was a pretty quiet kid, as I recall, avoiding the kitchen at all costs, and since there was a white chicken house behind the big house, I preferred creating a fort, which I allowed only my sister to visit. I called it the Mary Fort, as I was already gaining a preference for Mary, or the Blessed Virgin, and she was my go to saint whenever I needed protection.
There was an old Victrola in the chicken house, and my dad called it junk. I wish I had that thing now.
One day we discovered a nest of baby mice out there. My dad took swift care of that with a shovel. I was not moved one way or the other, perhaps all children are too little to understand. I do remember the blood and flesh, and so did my sister. One day she asked me for a sandwich in the kitchen , so I threw a piece of bologna on some Wonder Bread and doused it with ketchup..
"Here" I told her "Have some baby mice.."
Boy was she mad.
Did the same thing again with cottage cheese and ketchup.
"Eat some brains."
I do remember her beaning me on the head with a blessed mother statue.
Cant say I blame her.
My sister Colleen and brother Dennis were, and still are, ultra close. As the oldest, I was left to fend for my self, and they played a lot together.
I did play dolls with my sister, when I was upstairs in the old house.
We each had a doll. They both looked the same, and I named mine Dorothy, she named hers Anne. After our mother , of course. We took old drawers out of cabinets and made them cribs. We both decided our husbands were in the army, and we were home taking care of the babies.
We did this for hours. We didn't have toys like you had. We had to make things up. We used a cardboard box to make a small dollhouse, and cut out pictures from the Sears Catalogue of moms and dads and kids, and we even cut doors and windows into our mishappen dollhouse . We cut out appliances and pasted them on the insides.
Sometimes my father would bring home a huge cardboard box that once held a refridgerator, or a stove, and we would have a blast making it into a house outside. Eventually it would collapse but we made a sled out of it, then.
My dad was never one to forgo work, and we needed a new septic system at the house. The old one was shot, and the pipes in the house were old. To even get the water going in them , my dad had to flip a switch, and then I would stand in the 'pump room' where , when I heard a *click* , I would smack the pipe with a ballpeen hammer to get the water going. To this day I cannot quite figure out why that worked.
My dad was intent upon digging, with a shovel, a while series of deep trenches that would be the new septic system.
His work , combined with running a train, combined with making babies, kept him ultra busy, and eventually the trenches filled with rain water, which, of course, became our play area..where we caught leopard frogs, and threw rocks into the whole mess. We ended up moving before dad had a chance to finish his septic system. You have to give him credit for trying.
One time, he was painting the upstairs bedroom that was adjacent to the bedroom where all the kids were. I remember how tired he looked, and he had barely gotten a coat of paint on, when I decided to help him, without his knowing about it.
I liked tasks that I made up myself, and so I thought..well, I will just put the first coat of paint on the rest of it for him. So, I did. Not sure to this day how it looked and I was only 8 or 9, but boy was he surprised in the kitchen when I came down the wooden stairs and told him, guess what. I painted your room for you.
He literally ran up the stairs in shock or awe..one or the other. To this day I think he was astounded I would make the effort.
I remember asking him where the tooth fairy kept all those teeth.
I remember my sister and I planning to pull our pants down at the bottom of the stairs BEFORE we went to the bathroom so that we would be ahead of ourselves. Our logic was askew, to say the least, because you can't climb stairs very well with your pants down around your ankles.
The kitchen in the house was yellow. I think all kitchens should be yellow, for some reason. Under the stairs of the house there was a pantry with a sloping roof right off the kitchen.
So many things happened in that kitchen.
There was a breakfast nook, or bar, where the radio would play 1950s music, like "Personality" and we had 3 little bowls of water with tiny turtles in them. We fed our little turtles the food turtles eat, which were basically larvae that looked like Rice Krispies.
None of us could look at Rice Krispies much after that.
My dad accidentally changed the water one day in the turtle bowls and they all died.
My sister, who had a huge heart, cried her eyes out. She cried over her dead goldfish, too. I honestly do not remember crying much. I was usually hiding out somewhere else.
My sister Colleen and my mom got along MUCH better than I did with my mom. My mom was always unusually quiet, except when she was angry with my dad, then I could hear her mumble under her breath as she washed dishes.
My mom was quite a beauty, and was really feminine about herself. She knew how to pull that off , with a scarf or a necklace. Her beauty stand, complete with a skirt, was fascinating to pillage. My sister and I would watch her put on her makeup. She had a little box, a red box, with the word Maybelline on it. She would spit right into it, and take a brush, and brush up her eyelashes. She used a little pencil for her eyebrows, and when she put on that always reddish lipstick, she would smear it on her top lip, then her bottom lip...and bite down gently on a kleenex to absorb the rest.
She wore pin curls during the day, her hair was dark and when my sister got older (in her teens)she and my mom would do each other's hair.
But I could not escape , try as I might, the grand ideas my mother had about me and my sister's hair. I had a thick black shock of hair, my sister's was thinner and lighter. That did not keep my mother from occasionally laying our heads down , ass backwards, across the kitchen sink , and attacking us with The now Infamous TONI permanent curls.
If there was a torture chamber in those days, it wasn't just girdles and bras..No indeed, for a small girl a TONI perm was a chemical mixture that was similar to Napalm, as far as I was concerned, and after washing our hair, she would mix the batch of chemicals and the immediate smell would scorch the nostrils off our noses...we choked as she wound each chunk of hair into a tight little roller, and coughed and snorted and screamed a bit until she was finished.
After our hair was dry she would unwind the curlers and our hair simply exploded. Masses of unruly curls plagued us for days , and the smell of the chemicals did too...we simply had no way of fighting back, except to wait for the permanent to dissipate and the smell to vanish.
All in all, you know what, Riley? I was never bored. There was always something to do. Always an ant farm to watch or a tree to climb. Days were infinite. I slept in a trundle bed by myself, and the wallpaper next to the bed soothed me, it had little yellow rosebuds on it. We had a big kid's communal bedroom , where we 3 little ones had our own beds, and then 4 little ones when John came along.
I would lay there at night and hear the sound of a train whistle off in the distance, and imagine that was my daddy, driving that train. I also said prayers every night, the same one, Now I Lay me Down to Sleep...and I blessed everyone at the end. I said the act of contrition, too...in case of whether I actually did die in my sleep I guess it was like an insurance policy.
Yes, I found things to do, and, being Catholic, my parents praising the Pope and their church, a time when nuns were your teachers and wore black hoods and dresses, I decided one day to be the Pope, and suddenly , with a beanie on my head and a blanket over my shoulders, and some squished up wonder bread in my hands, I turned on the record player in our big garage, and played The Lord's Prayer record.
I was directing my play and I was the star. I walked around the garage blessing everything and handing out communion wonder bread wafers to everyone..which was really just my brother Dennis and sister Colleen. I told them they had to carry my robe/blanket as I walked faithfully as the Pope.
That did not last long. Colleen and Dennis were not too impressed with being my serfs and flunkies and they were soon off together ignoring my sacredness.
Nonetheless, I also found great satisfaction with just sitting on a black and white linoleum floor in what we called the rumpus room, where Captain Kangaroo, bless his heart, taught me how to read. (I wrote to him, years later, after I had my own kids, and thanked him for that..he actually wrote back and was grateful).
But I was a kid with pigtails and dirty knees and usually barefoot, I think one yr we all contracted pinworms and had to take medicine for it, as we used to walk barefoot through cow and sheep pastures. I suppose my immune system was formidable back then.
Our baths were not always in the bathtub, sometimes our mom would throw us, filthy children that we were , into the utility tub in the utility room next to the kitchen. I ended up one time stepping into the sudsy water that my little brother John had just bathed in, and discovered he had crapped in the tub. From then on I was careful to check the water before I climbed in.
I guess my best friends at the time were birds and trees and whatever creature or critter was around. I was a loner, as my sister and brother usually were off doing something else.
I loved to draw, even back then, and write poetry. awful awful poetry, and I drew and drew on everything until my dad got wise and started bringing home reams of old paper he brought from work, for me to draw on. I did love to draw. I could sit there for hours.
and yes, I drew stick people at the beginning.
Sometimes my dad would take us all sledding, down a large hill right down the road, and we would end up sitting in front of the big fireplace in the living room, where white brick walls and bookshelves were. We would hang our mittens to dry and socks , and change into our 'chinese pajamas'...silly red jammies with little chinese people smiling on them...dad would make beef sandwiches with peppers and hot chocolate, and sing songs.
The fireplace was sharp edged, brick, and I was pretty small at one time as I tumbled into it..I was licking on a lollipop, they told me, when I smacked my head and blood came out of the wound, covering my sucker ....I am told I simply said "I have Gaboo on my Gaboo."
Not much phased me, I was astounded by the idea of "saints" and sometimes I was terrified of them showing up in visions to me. My dad just laughed when I told him , and he reminded me I would be a saint myself if I saw any.
I recall quite well one of our neighbors had a pet crow , and his name was Joe Both. That crow would sit and yell COCA COLA!! at the top of it's lungs and we would all laugh.
I remember that my mom wore pedal pushers. Go look that up. Sometimes, when it was really hot out, she would wear just her girdle and bra. I always thought that was weird as a kid. I guess you will have to look up 'girdle' , too.
There was no air conditioning in homes back then. The only places that advertised as "air cooled" were theaters and saloons. My dad would sometimes take the three of us to a saloon, or bar, and they always seemed kind of sticky or dingy. We would sit on cold plastic seats in a booth, and he would buy us all a cherry coke.
The bar smelled like beer to me...that yeasty smell of beer, where men stood at the counter and sipped the beer. Men all wore hats back then, or long overcoats, or suits. My dad was a bit of a rebel, he had a moustache for as long as I can remember. He wore 'dago' T's, under his cotton shirts, and I remember how much he complained about the tight trousers of the 50s and how much better 40's
trousers were, they had bigger pockets and more room.
My dad always used Brylcreem on his hair. He parted it and made a little wave in the front. same thing for my brothers. even I learned how to part their hair and make that little wave.
Whenever we went on a ferris wheel ride and got stuck at the top, my dad would say "Now you can look down and see whose hair is parted correctly and who is going bald". That comforted me because I was terrified of heights.
Those childhood days were filled with wise sayings from my dad. I remember once he pointed at the new fangled television we had. a tiny box with moving pictures. He told me "always remember not to believe a word anyone says on there, or in life, until you find out the truth for yourself". Little did he know I would take that to heart, and as time went on I applied that statement to everything.
Some of which he wasn't too happy about. I questioned EVERYTHING.
I suppose a lot of my questioning started really early on.I watched my parents, sometimes they fought, like all parents do, and my sister Colleen and I would go upstairs and sit on the top stair and make little paper airplanes that said "Please dont fight" on them,and we would throw them down the stairs. My parents were quite taken with them, and it did stop them from yelling at each other.
My dad was a railroad engineer and he grew up in southern illinois, in towns like Chester and Cissna Park. His dad was William Cissna Carter and his mom was Stella Marie Dozier , she was from Corbin Kentucky ..(I found out later that is why my dad cooked so much southern food, his mom was from Kentucky.)
But my mom was more quiet and demure, she was raised as the youngest child of 9 kids by Joseph Keilman and Anna Labb. Joseph was a choirmaster and very patriarchal. She was raised in sort of a cold, uptight family that did not joke much. One day, she told me, as a little girl, she was sitting at the dinner table with her family and someone asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. she responded by saying"A flapper!!"....to the shock of her family.
otoh, my dad was a kid raised on the Mississippi river, he got to see the last of the steamboats going down the river. He told me many times the pranks he pulled with him and his brother Bucky, and the trouble they got into . His dad was Bill Carter, and Bill was a guard at Menard State Prison. Once, a group of inmates tried to climb the wall and Bill took a rifle and shot one. from then on he was known as buckshot Bill.
My mom met my dad at the Tivoli theater in Gary Indiana. She had dark black hair and blue eyes. Evidently a man in the theater lobby became ill, and my mom went to help him...when my dad saw that he immediately liked her. so I guess their love was born from compassion.
They were very different, tho. My dad was a salty guy and he cussed and smoked and chewed tobacco, whereas my mom was a dainty lady, very precise about her looks and demeanor. Perhaps she married my dad just to have a taste of the wildness in herself that had been suppressed for so long.
who knows. Im just guessing.
Nonetheless, they got married and spent their honeymoon at Lake of the Ozarks. And they ended up having 6 kids. So they must have gotten along to some extent.
I heard from my dad and mom, quite often, that they wanted 6 boys. haha. So who is the firstborn? Me, a girl. and then 14 months later my sister Colleen. Finally came Dennis, John, Josephine, and Andrew. My mom miscarried one baby between Dennis and John. I remember her getting sick and white and almost passing out one night, and none of us knew what was going on.
Nonetheless,I was raised sort of wild as a little girl, I had a lucky childhood. Being on acres of land, surrounded by trees and places to hide and climb, and no one stopping me. what fun.
I was always in the woods or outside getting chigger bites, pinworms, scratches and running around.
I loved it. My dad would sometimes take my sister Colleen and brother Dennis on walks down old railroad tracks and describe to us all of the rocks he found.. "This..is Iron Ore" he would say..and he would always tell us "The sun is out, you are breathing, the best things in life are always free.."He would tell us to listen to the birds, and owls, and I remember at dusk the mourning doves cooing, and the loud sounds of a bird called "Bob white! Bob white!"...
so many bees and birds and worms and ants and such a huge world of discovery out there.
When I was little I wanted to know about all of it. I wanted to discover that big world and I asked my dad if we could get a Ham radio. Back then, that was the only way to communicate with the world via electronics.
We didnt have computers in houses, all communication was by mail , and even tho I had a penpal later on from I dont remember where, I really wanted to talk to the rest of the world.
Well, dad couldn't afford a ham radio, but later on in life, when the internet came along in the 90s, I hooked up finally with the rest of the world.
Yeah, Riley, I had a great childhood. The only part I did not care for was
Yep, I had to go to school eventually. My mom and dad were super strict Catholics, so they sent me to Catholic school. Namely, SS Peter and Paul in Merrilville Indiana. I was sooo shy. I had not really encountered a lot of friends that were human , most of my friends were birds and worms and ants, so when humans were around me, I clammed up. I was often daydreaming through school, and it seems the only things I liked at school was art class and english classes. We had a huge brick school, with rows of hooks where you hung your coats and put your boots on the floor.
The desks were made of all wood with flip tops and even a place for ink, but we had real pens and pencils by then.
There was always a long sign above the huge blackboard in the room where all the alphabet was shown in Cursive, and we were taught over and over again to write in cursive. We had special tablets with lines and dots where we had to be very studious and careful to write in cursive.
My last name was Carter back then, and it didn't take long for some of the kids in my class to start calling me "Carter little Farter Starter"...boy I didnt like that.
I just hid from anyone mean, mostly.
My first grade teacher was Sister Juanita. she was okay, I remember her telling me how well I could draw bunnies when I first started drawing at school. sometimes I drew on math papers and everyone laughed at me. I didnt like that.
We had to go to Mass every morning, and we had to wear little doilies on our heads. Everytime we passed the church we all had to genuflect in front of it, which I did a LOT. I mean, I was all set up for sainthood, or so I thought.
I didnt mind Mass..it was uplifting. The church was gigantic, and I would sit in the pew and look up at paintings of saints who were holding their hands in blessing in the dome of the church. I loved the smell of incense, and the priest spoke in Latin, and we would respond in Latin, and 3 bells would chime when the priest held the host of god up at the altar. Catholics are sort of pagans, really, at least back then in the 50s , they believed in magic. So did I, and I still do.
I was a bit of a wild child for 12 yrs..my parents were busy having other babies, and I was left to fend for myself in the forests and woods that surrounded my house. I climbed trees and was a real monkey at it. I made forts in the woods, I even turned our old chickenhouse we had on our property into a fort. I loved secret hiding places. I guess my parents just let me loose, and for 12 yrs I was pretty much feral. I loathed the idea of dressing up for school, and the many kids at school I did not know actually scared me. I used to try to put on plays at school. I loved directing plays. I loved pretending I was someone else all the time and I loved wearing costumes.
Luckily my dad was cool enough to bring me loads of old paper from his job as a railroad engineer on the EJ&E railroad. He would bring home boxes of paper for me to draw on, and I would draw all the time or write poetry. My dad encouraged it and that's why you see grandma still doing it now. No one told me I couldn't do it. Its sad to see kids who draw at age 6 and then some dumb adult comes along and tells them to stop. Everyone is born a genius at something, in my opinion.
Even at school where I was awkward and gangly, the kids thought my drawing was cool. It has always saved me, drawing, and it has always helped me see how my soul is feeling.
But I was still a wild child and my parents suddenly, out of the blue, by the time I was 11 or 12, decided I had to hurry up and learn to be a 'lady'.