Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Beginning

This year for Christmas my sister gave a me a tree ornament that is a 3 inch tall "Chatty Cathy" doll that does have string you pull and she does talk.  That is the ultimate gift for a baby boomer named Kathy.  The year I was born, Kathy (with a K) was number 22 on the Most popular names for girls.  Mary was number 1.  The number 1 name for boys was James.  Kathy is a nickname for my middle name but that is what my mother (don't they always make that decision?) decided to call me.

My earliest memories are living in a small house with my younger sister and brother in Flint, Michigan.  My parents were among the many southerners that moved north to find work in the automotive factories that were booming in Flint at the time.  Sad to say, we all know what happened to that economy.  My father is and has always been a television junkie.   I have a picture of my first boyfriend and I (at age 6) sitting in front of the TV.  I'm sure it was just a ploy to get the television in the shot.  I do remember watching the "Mickey Mouse Club" after school.  Beautiful Annette Funicello. Bobby, and Darlene.  I can still hear the Meeska Mooska Mousekateer.... Mouse Cartoon Time now is here. 

This is the house where my 6 year old self sat glued to the radio listening to Elvis Presley sing "Love Me Tender".  It is also where I shed tears over my broken 45 rpm record of that song because my 3 year old sister sat on it.

We moved to a subdivision in the suburbs in the late 1950's.  My mother joined the ladies that lived on the street in "Coffee Club.  I have no idea what those women did.  There was no purpose required like a book club, or garden club meeting.  She is no longer with us so I can't ask her.  I have notions of  June Cleaver and the mother of  Father Knows Best sitting around a kitchen table drinking coffee out of fancy tiny cups.  When I was her age of 28, I met my girlfriends for whine/wine to complain about husbands and children.  I want to believe they did the same.

Also at this time, Mom discovered the Chef Boyardee pizza in a box. It came with a package of flour, yeast, a can of sauce and an envelope of powdered cheese.  This was a very exotic food for us.  She could make one tiny can of mushrooms stretch all over that pizza by chopping them so tiny it would astonish Julia Child.  Pop, as we called any carbonated beverage, was Pepsi in the tall bottles.  We only had pop and potato chips on Saturday with our homemade hamburgers.  One pound of hamburg meat would be fashioned into 5 patties, put on a cookie sheet and broiled them in the oven.  Again, I don't know why they weren't fired in a pan on top of the stove.  Once in a while, after I had gone to bed, would I hear that chip bag rustle and the Pepsi top pop.  I knew I was missing some good stuff. One thing she never made though was tuna noodle casserole.  Thank You Dear Lord!  In my opinion, that is the worse smelling, forget the worse tasting stuff, ever developed.

I don't remember ever eating in a restaurant.  (One set of grandparents owned honkeytonks and truck stop diners, but that's another story.)  Once in a great while, very rarely,  we would all get in the car,  to go for a Sunday drive and then to McDonald's for a 15 cent hamburger.  It was a special treat when that happened.

By the end of the 1950s, I was taking notice of more things in my own space and I discovered I loved to read more than I liked Barbie.

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