…in the house on Bell Street in Houston where my mother had the most idyllic childhood. She and her brother swung on vines in the jungle just like Tarzan. They walked every day to a big schoolhouse on the corner and ran with a gang of kids reminiscent of The Little Rascals.
…when my dad was a teenager and working for his Uncle Carl on the farm. My aunt told the story of a conversation that went something like this:
Uncle Carl: What are you thinking about doing with yourself once you’re out of school?
My Dad: Well, I was thinking of doing something like this, right here, what we’re doing now.
Uncle Carl: Oh son, you don’t want to farm. Farming’s too much work. Too hard. No benefits.
My dad bought that farm from my Uncle Carl a number of years later. He raised his family there. He still lives there after more than forty years.
…when my parents were teenagers and Mom brought Dad home to meet my grandparents. Mom said there were two boys in question. Dad was cute and a bit charming in his own quiet way, but the other boy was more outgoing and romantic. Her father proposed a test. “Invite them over and be washing the dishes when they arrive. Whichever boy jumps in to help you is the boy you should date.” Mom claimed it was the one and only time Dad ever washed the dishes.
…when my father first saw that my mother painted our house pink. It happened before I was born, but I knew the color because a spot of “rose” still hid behind the evergreen trees that grew on either side of our front door. It was a funny color for an old farmhouse. Mom told me that it looked more off-white while still in the can. Dad said she knew it was pink and had done it deliberately. They lived with a pink house with red trim until the time came to paint the house again.
…when my parents took my older siblings to the top of the Kansas State Capitol building. My brother, the story was told, was near-paralyzed with fear. A picture shows him lying at the top, eyes wide to the view below. He slithered down the steps, unwilling or unable to stand and walk. This same brother grew up to jump from airplanes and fly his own. Apparently he overcame any fear of heights he might have once had.
…on the day I was born when the debate about my naming took place. Mom said Melissa. Dad said Trixie SueAnn. Mom said he wouldn’t discuss it. Dad said they’d settled on a name from the start. Mom said he was trying to name me after a favorite old dairy cow. Dad said it simply wasn’t true. Neither name stuck, unless Tracy (as Dad claims) was indeed the name he was actually proposing.
These are just some of my family’s stories. They are the tales that were told again and again as I was growing up; verbal bits and pieces that are reminisced and rehashed at various gatherings, details changing depending on the storyteller…
When I think of being a fly on the wall, it is not the present that invites me so much as the past.
Wouldn’t it be fun to witness these events of family history live and in person?
But then, I think again… so much of the charm of a story is in the telling, the picture painted inside one’s own head.
This is my B4B entry.