Monday, June 18, 2012

How I grew up...

 The house I grew up in was a standout in the neighborhood - big side yard, made of brick with a full basement and natural wood floors. We added a big window air conditioning unit when I was in gradeschool and by junior high I moved to the basement where it was cool in the summer, so we were always comfortable.
We lived in the small, safe town of Greenville, Illinois.  We played in the yards all over our block, and the three or four blocks of the friends we played with regularly. There was a great climbing tree - not in our back yard but in one that connected with ours through a big block of shurbbery. We hollowed that out to make our Hideout. We eventually put a tree house on the ground by our apple tree. We were imaginative - played the characters of TV shows and comic books - and frequently added a twist of a new power, a new character.
"We" almost always included my brother Michael, two years my junior. When the Roodhouses lived in the neighborhood it included Steve and Kathy - and when they moved to the country and got a horse, they included us in new adventures at their new place. That's Steve I am wrestling with above. 
Mostly I played with boys. Gary was at our house weekdays after school from third grade through sixth. Bobby spent most weekends with his grandparents two doors down.
Becky and Gwen were a year older and while we played a little I wasn't as much into dolls, so bored easily. I did enjoy Becky's dogs, though. You can see from the swimsuit picture how much more feminine they were. I am the girl on the right next to my brother.
We didn't have much luck with dogs at our house so I enjoyed Becky's. We had a German Shepherd that we ended up giving back to the breeder because we were all afraid of him and no one had time to train him, and we had another little dog named Tiny for a short time. He was my piano teacher's dog and she eventually took him back. In the meantime he was more Mom's. Didn't have much to do with the rest of us.
And Janet - we were the same age, and she went to our church so until she moved away in Jr. High we hung out together a lot. She is still a friend, as are many of the other Greenville Girls. Janet is on the right in black at the birthday party. My Dad had to go to our church camp a lot, in order to  get people registered and take care of other church/camp business.  He got lifejackets for Mike and me so we could swim and play at the lake the camp built, and later I learned also assigned someone to watch us. We spent may a day at camp in the summers. Mom was home with the next two children, so Dad took us off her hands when he could.

I will talk more about camp sometime this summer. I have included just the swimming picture for this time. Next time I will talk about my friend Deb - from 4th grade on - who lived 50 miles away which was huge in those days. I remember riding a bus to go see her during the school year. We wrote each other letters, which deepened our friendship because we both said things in writing we might never have said in person.
But in those days we were mostly camp friends. And we are still very much friends today. More another day on that.

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