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I’ve Got a Secret

Since they moved in next door, Daisy and Marie-Claire have been best friends. They go to the same school, they take dance classes together and often play with each other on the weekends. Marie-Claire sometimes comes along when Daisy and I do errands and Daisy accompanies Chloe and Marie-Claire on local shopping adventures. Marie-Claire and Daisy get along well and on occasion, Daisy answers my simple questions in French instead of English; I think that is a bonus. I would say they are best friends. Mags has been my best friend since we moved to Monterey Park. She was the first neighbor I met and we got along well from the first conversation we had, but I don’t think there are limits on the number of friends one can have.

Daisy came home asking about another little friend from school who wanted to be Daisy’s best friend. Daisy’s questions centered on how she should respond. I asked Daisy what she thought a best friend should be. Her answers reflected the world of a young girl. She cited someone to play with, share stories with, allow to use her toys and tell secrets to. I asked her if her new friend met her criteria and she thought for a few seconds. Then she suddenly thanked me and left to roller skate on the sidewalk with Marie-Claire. I was still in the dark on the answer to the big question.

I glanced out the window from time to time as the girls skated along in front of our houses. They giggled, smiled and attempted tricks. I knew they wouldn’t be out long because it was getting colder and their cheeks were already getting flushed. This break in the weather was temporary and they would be playing inside for a while before spring arrived. I stepped out the door to let them know they had just a few minutes left and saw Daisy’s foot start to drag her skate that had unbuckled and gotten loose. I took her skate key and planted her foot back inside the skate to tighten it. Daisy thanked me and skated off. Daisy and Marie-Claire skated into each other’s arms and automatically turned and skated at the same pace down the sidewalk in front of Marie-Claire’s. Maybe that is how a best friendship should be, automatic, like you know exactly what to do for each other. I knew I was lucky having Mags and felt the same way about Chloe also. We shared secrets during our morning talks and put our heads together sometimes to speak without others hearing. It wasn’t necessarily because we were saying anything wrong but we didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings if they didn’t think the same way.

Daisy and Marie-Claire came inside to warm up and Daisy asked if Marie-Claire could stay for dinner. I told her to have Marie-Claire ask her mother if it was okay. The girls put their heads together and called next door. Chloe gave permission and the girls went off to wash up. Junior came into the kitchen and I asked him to set the table. I think it is important for boys to know how to do every chore as well as a girl would. How else would they take care of themselves when they grew up. He grumbled a little but started the task anyway. The girls came in and helped him and after Steve came home, we all ate together. Daisy asked Steve who his best friend was at dinner. Steve looked over at me to check if there was some right answer to provide but I purposely looked at my plate to cut my food. Steve asked Daisy what she meant and she repeated her criteria she had given me earlier. In that case, Steve told her, Mommy is my best friend. The children all giggled. Steve had lots of friends, work pals, golfing buddies, some men from the church and the neighborhood was full of men he competed with in lawn duels. I thought about that. Our friends are mostly nearby. Those old friends we had moved away from were still important people in our lives but they couldn’t really meet the criteria as Daisy pointed out.

Daisy told Steve about the little girl at school and he asked her what she was going to tell her. Now I would finally know the answer to the burning question. Daisy sat for a moment and said that they could start out as friends first. She wanted to keep best friend status for those closest to her. I think I do too. Sharing with lots of friends is great but having best friends is special. After the kids went up to bed, my best friend Steve made me a cocktail and we sat cuddled up on the sofa watching TV. There was something extra special about having a best friend you can snuggle up with. I leaned my head on Steve’s shoulder and told him how much I appreciated his answer at dinner. He just smiled. I really couldn’t tell if he was just happy he chose the right answer or relieved he didn’t name one of the guys, but I took it as a good sign anyway.

When Did I Do That?

The slushy aftereffects of the last snowfall still hid the yard in patches. The kids were in school, Steve was at work, I did not have class and my housework was done. This was golden time for me and I kept a running list of tasks in my head for opportunities like this to check them off.

For the first couple of years after the children came along, I kept the pictures we took and corner-glued them into books. After that, I lined them up in an old shoebox in the order we took them and most had a small date stamp on them already, so I knew I could put them back in order when I started the next album. I noticed that I needed to start a 3rd shoebox at Christmastime. I was behind and needed to work on it to catch up. I loved looking at the books to remember how the kids used to look at each age. I was included in some also, but not many. I did not like the way I looked in photos.

I pulled out the new photo book and box of corners and a dark marker to make notes under some photos. I realized that I couldn’t remember where we were in some earlier photos or who was in every picture and wanted to correct that moving forward. I thumbed through the photos and smiled at the changes I already noticed. Junior was way taller now and Daisy didn’t have that little Shirley Temple look any longer. Change occurs so gradually when you are living through each year and only accumulates in ways you can notice over time. As I placed each picture, I added a few notes about the place or the date if I could determine it and the names of anyone in the picture. I tried to print the details to make it legible. Time seemed to speed by as I wandered back in my memories. I envisioned a day in the future when my own children would look over these albums at their childhood. I couldn’t recall much of my own and there were very few pictures of me to help me remember. Parenting is a chance to make corrections. I wanted to improve specific wrongs from my childhood for my kids and I hoped they didn’t have too many complaints on me. I would never be the perfect mom, but I was pretty good.

When the kids came banging through the back door to take off their wet gear, I steered them to the kitchenette. I started to gather up the pictures but Daisy stopped to ask about one and Junior joined us in looking at pictures for a few minutes. Reluctantly, I gathered the rest up and returned them to the shoebox for another day of sorting. Daisy and Junior enjoyed looking over their own memories and laughed at how they looked while we ate our snack. After homework, dinner and bed, Steve asked about the shoeboxes and I shared what I was working on. Strangely, Steve had no idea that I had been keeping up with pictures and asked to look through the finished albums. Steve sat at the table with me looking at his past until we finally went to bed.

As he looked through the pictures, I heard him chuckle a few times. His reaction was a great incentive for me to keep up with our past more often. Time, even though it didn’t really exist, affected everything in life.

The Blues and the Grays

What makes cold sunless days so dismal? As I have stated previously, I really like clouds. Even when the sky is one big gray cloud, I take note. Clouds are weather wonders and I hold onto my childhood belief that God lives in sunlight. So it must be the absence of sunlight that makes me feel blue and dress in grays. This personal statement is my own method of dealing with the world. Not like a silent protest; more like an understanding.

I was grateful not to have to leave the house and wanted to finish the ironing. It’s a good task to complete when it’s cold because the steam keeps me toasty. I had the board set up and started to starch Steve’s shirt collars, when the door bell rang. I found Edie on my doorstep. She was bundled up in her fur coat with leather gloves but no hat. Her nose was a bright red and she pulled her coat closely to her slowly growing tummy. I brought Edie inside and offered to make her some hot cocoa. She joined me in the kitchen. As she took off her coat, she apologized for interrupting my ironing. Edie was dressed in a bright yellow maternity top. It had pinafore tucks and she looked like a sunbeam. I complimented her top and broke open the cookie tin so Edie could help herself. Edie’s face warmed up and she started to let me know how she was feeling. Artie was away on a four day trip. I imagine Edie got lonely sometimes but I was a little jealous of her freedom to use her time anyway she liked while Artie was away.

Edie was feeling better than the last time we spoke and I had been calling her every couple of days to check in on her. Edie was funny and thoughtful and was still working on her romance novels. She had decided to write in a couple of main characters who were also expecting and found out that her publisher insisted on these characters being married before the pregnancies occurred. She was trying to be to truthful for the reading public. Well, he reminded her that the books were fantasies. It’s true, I rarely met a handsome pirate or prince at the local market.

While Edie spoke, I noticed how often she smiled. Maybe her outlook was reflected in her clothing choices like mine. Except, her mood was sunny. Usually, maternity tops look a little dowdy, but not on Edie. It must be something inside of her that made her shinier than  me. I was really hoping that Edie had a baby girl. A boy might be a handful without a father around all of the time. And those blue clothes that later become dark pants to hide the grass stains and striped shirts and big-buckled boots are not like Edie’s dainty persona. Edie deserved a baby girl that she could dress in her signature bright colors. We spent a good hour talking and laughing before Edie headed home. Daughters are true reflections of their mothers no matter how much they adore their dads.

As I opened the front door to walk her out, rays of sunshine peeked out from the clouds. I felt a little better about the weather and smiled to myself. I returned to my ironing and sang along to the radio as a pressed the shirts. Maybe there were some hidden rays in me too. I am going to consciously try to start choosing some brighter colors to wear. Even if the sun doesn’t shine, I can help to brighten the day.

Hurry Up

Life has a way of speeding up. It’s 1958. How did that happen? My son is starting to stand so tall, he will be looking me in the eye soon. Daisy looks like a little lady. Don’t get me wrong; they are kids who play and get dirty and argue about the silliest stuff, but they walk upright and don’t look like my little babies anymore. I needed to adjust my usual habits and expectations. Babying Junior would result in embarrassment for him and I wanted him to get along with his pals as he grew. Daisy would probably always be my little baby girl in my heart but becoming a young lady would be fun to see also. I know when I went through my teenage years, I was sulky and moody sometimes but there were so many bigger issues with the war that my needs were buried. My mother struggled with doing part time work at the local plant and did not like having to do housework also. She was grumpy a lot but her life was not what she signed up for. She was glad when the men came home and took back the jobs.

Before college classes started back up, I wanted to do some baking and spoil my family. There wasn’t always time for fresh, hot cookies every afternoon when I had homework and reading to finish. Steve really appreciated when I made his mother’s recipes and her Moist Date Bread is easy to make. For breakfast, I toasted a piece for him in a buttered skillet and the heat brought out the sweetness of the dates. Chloe and I enjoyed some with coffee late one morning. Chloe was not familiar with date bread but the subtlety of the sweetness was very French. She still did not like how much sugar was in American recipes. I reminded her that she was free to decrease the amount of sugar in recipes, which she reassured me she was already doing.

Next week classes start. I was jumping into the deep end with my tutor in math, Edie. I was taking a class with my good friend, Mr. Snow. At the start of the semester, the number of classes and homework seem like such a challenge. The spring feels far away but I have already been in school for a year now. I was afraid to try and figure out how long I would be going to school to get a dozen classes finished. It seems so far away. It’s perplexing, the days seem to go on forever but the year had flown by. Even Mother Jones’ Date Bread was a part of time. After so many years, I was still making it and finding ways to enjoy it all over again. Maybe that overlap is natural. We’ll see.

Cold Enough For You?

The weather was gruesomely winter. Since the first of the new year, I have been afraid to remove all of my clothes for fear of catching pneumonia. The children have been taking quick baths and sitting on the heating registers to warm up afterwards. Steve seems to be enjoying the cold for some unfathomable reason and whistling a lot. I will never understand men. I bundle the children up in snow gear just to walk to the car, which adds a good 20 minutes to every trip. I planned on getting over to the college bookshop to round up my texts before the term began. I like to get a jump on the reading and reading ahead was key to success with Mr. Snow. I was hoping he would be happy to see me in class again. I thought that bringing the kids along might be a good idea. Exposing my children to higher learning is part of my overall plan. Junior and Daisy are both smart and excel in some subjects, but not all. I couldn’t figure out if it was just a case of not applying themselves enough or lack of natural talent. No one had ever encouraged me to go to school or do well. It did not seem to be anyone’s expectation for me. I liked proving to myself that I was able to do well in my classes.

There were few students on campus and the bookstore had stacks of texts ready for the term. The children thought that there would be books for them at the store and were disappointed with the thick texts and boring shelves of notebooks. I told them that we would also be stopping at Miesel’s and they gave me a puzzled look. I suppose going to eat ice cream in freezing temperatures seemed a little foolish but I assured them that the ice cream was actually warmer than the outside weather.

We slid into a booth and Junior decided that he was too big to order his regular ice cream and decided to order a banana split. I wasn’t sure he would be able to eat the whole thing but he has a good appetite and it sure looked pretty. Daisy ordered her sundae with whipped cream and a cherry on top. I opted for coffee. Holiday eating had added a couple of pounds and I needed to work them off before school started. It’s strange how my year revolved around school now. Not just the children’s calendar, but mine also. I had picked up a new planner to get even more organized this term.

As we left the pharmacy, big flakes of snow started to fall and the children tried to catch them on their tongues as we walked back to the car. I wasn’t exactly crazy about snow with the cold weather but they do tend to follow each other. Maybe I could burn off a few pounds playing with the children outside. I am an expert fort maker. I could even help out with the snow shoveling if Steve allowed me. He gets very territorial with snow removal from the sidewalks. It’s like his lawn love in the summer. A blade out of place is noticed.

When we woke up the following morning, everything was covered in ice. Although pretty, like a wonderland, it looked frigid. The children stared out the window and blew on the glass trying to melt the little ice designs. I made hot chocolate and oatmeal to warm up our insides. We listened to the radio for the school closings and the when Junior heard them call out the name of his school, he ran to his room to start to layer on his play clothes. Daisy didn’t seem as interested in going outside yet. When Junior was completely bundled up, he headed outside and I could see him with the other boys on the block pulling each other on their sleds. The whole street looked like ice and no one was driving anywhere. As the sun rose in the brilliant blue sky, Daisy, Steve and I went outside. Steve was looking for something to melt ice with and Daisy and I slid on the sidewalks over to meet Chloe and Marie-Claire out front. Chloe was still surprised by really cold weather and her nose was bright red. I realized that meant that my nose was bright red also. Zettie Louise was pulling kids on a large cardboard box attached to the back of a bike. I was glad it was not her motorcycle. Eventually, the girls were brave enough to be pulled and Chloe walked along with me on the sidewalk. The men in the neighborhood were doing their snow removal thing.

The children finally got cold and headed home. As the kids changed out of their snow clothes, I started to heat up milk for hot chocolate and make a snack. Steve came in for a break and got some coffee for motivation. As we sat around the kitchenette, I remembered how much I liked these days that stopped us from automatically moving ahead with our lives and tasks. The children really were growing fast and were quite interesting at times. I could not recall a time when my parents ever sat at the table with me in my youth, just talking. Our generation was much more integrated with our kids. I focused on making memories for myself knowing that someday soon it would just be Steve and I alone again. I had never really thought about that before. I wondered what we would talk about besides the weather.

 

Two for Fore

Christmas had exploded onto most of the houses in my neighborhood. There were lights dangling from rooftops, mounted on trees, wrapping bushes and circling light poles. It seemed brighter outside than daylight. The blinking lights were multi-colored and gave a coloring book glow to the yards. Steve strung up lights across the front of our house and down the sides. I wanted boughs of evergreen around the door and he added lights to those too. The porch edging had lights and the bushes glowed under the windows. It was two bulbs short of garish. People walked up and down the block to enjoy each other’s displays and dogs were walked longer than any other month of the year as their owners stopped to talk to each other along the way.

The tree inside of the house was well decorated and I had moved the ornaments around enough to even them out after the kids got tired of hanging them around the part of the tree they could reach. The tinsel wasn’t too clumped despite the boredom of the task of putting each strand into place and increasing the amount of strands as the task wore on. I was able to go over to Mags’ house and rewrap the kids’ presents that I had stashed there after Junior found my closet hiding place. He still talked about believing in Santa even if he had his doubts. Daisy was upset that I had delivered the gifts to the orphanage without her because she wanted to see the orphans who got all the gifts I had wrapped. I felt so badly about lying to her that I did bring a donation to the orphanage to make up for my guilty lie.

I noticed that Steve had placed a couple of nicely wrapped small gifts under the tree for me but I was still wrestling with getting him something better than new clothes or pajamas. He smells good all the time and does not care for fancy cologne. I finally went out to the club and visited the shop for ideas. D.J. Thrush was the club pro and was there checking out some new clubs. I thought he would be a good person to ask for ideas. He mentioned that he had played a round with Steve back in October and noticed that he was hooking some shots. I asked him about lessons and arranged for some private instruction at Steve’s convenience. As an added gift, I signed us both up for couples lessons also. Steve often asked me to join him when he played at the club. In the past, I didn’t have a babysitter, but Junior is getting to the age where he can watch his sister for a couple of hours. Golf is a good sport for the two of us to enjoy well into retirement. My only worry is that I will probably be better than Steve.

On Christmas Day, the children opened their gifts with great happiness and held each one up to show us what Santa brought to them. Junior moved through his gifts quickly and Daisy took a few minutes to individually examine her new tea set, dolls and games, finishing well after Junior. Junior asked to be excused to listen to his 45s in his room and Daisy wanted to introduce her new dolls to her existing brood. Since the children were well occupied, Steve and I opened our gifts. Steve bought me a lovely bracelet and earring set; it was very glam. Another box had a long pair of leather gloves with fur trim. He opened his requisite clothing and made a fuss over the plaid pajamas. The last present he would open would be the envelope with the lessons. He fished around under the tree and pulled out another envelope and handed it to me. He opened his note with the lessons and was very grateful. When he saw the second certificate for the couples lessons, he chuckled and told me to open my envelope. I tore it open and saw a picture of a beautiful baby blue golf bag with new clubs sticking out of it. I guess we both had the same idea in a way. I read in the ladies magazine that every couple should have a game or sport they share. I guess ours might be golf.

Ho Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum

For our last card party before Christmas, Gail was the hostess and she wanted to have a pie party. We each needed to make a different kind of pie. I pride myself on being a great pie maker. My mom had taught me years ago how to make and handle dough; the secret was to use lard, touch it as little as possible and throw it back into the icebox when distracted during the process. I quickly signed up to make my specialty of the season, pumpkin pie. I called Gail and I was grateful that no one had signed up already to make one. I knew that Judy Anne would make her traditional pecan pie and I really wanted to learn how to make one that didn’t run as soon as you sliced into it. The ones I had attempted seemed too gooey and I wasn’t fond of that texture. To develop a smooth custardy texture in a pumpkin pie took time and I knew how to select small sweet pumpkins.

Chloe was going to make a quiche. I was thinking sweet and she was thinking savory. I had listened to Chloe talk about the beauty of the quiche many times. Virtually anything could be put into it and made into a small meal. I knew its origins came from the abundance of eggs Chloe had on her farm in France and the scarcity of other food to eat during the war. Surprisingly, it did not remind her of the hardships of the war and knowing that she did not like leftovers, provided a good way to use up food that she wanted to camouflage as something else for the next meal. Chloe had taught me a few life lessons and I counted this one as an important one.

The day before the party, I prepared the pumpkins and mixed my secret concoction of spices meant to add warmth to the pie. My crust took some time because I had to stop to answer the phone a couple of times, but I tossed the crust into the icebox while I talked to Mags and Gail. Mags was in the middle of making a French Silk Pie. I knew it would be spectacular. Gail was suffering through making an Apple Pie because two of her children had colds and needed attention. Gail told me that she couldn’t remember if she put all of the ingredients into the pie before she placed it into the oven. I have had that feeling in the past.

I finally finished the pie and wanted to do something special with the scraps to make a cool crust. I took a small cookie cutter and made little leaves and eggwash glued them onto the pie. I knew once I took the pie out of the oven, I would need to make special crusts moving forward. So much pressure.

The next day, we all showed up with our pies in hand. The spread was beautiful. There was plenty to eat and we didn’t play cards very long because we had our secret Santa gifts to pass out also. It was a lovely way to end the year of parties. My pie was pretty and there were lots of compliments on the special crust. But I was focused on that Pecan Pie. I took my time enjoying my sliver and sat down with Judy Anne to ask her about making it. She shared a couple of hints about getting the right consistency. But the real secret was the shot of rum she added. The rum explained why I really liked it. I asked her about adding chocolate chips to it and she got a funny look on her face. I realized that what I suggested was offensive to her thoughts on the purity of her Pecan Pie. I stammered a little about not wanting to copy her but I could tell that I had broken some kind of southern rule. I apologized and returned to discussing her pie.

The next day, I made another pie and served it to my family. The children loved it and Steve pronounced my crust crispy and delicate. So sweet of him; he’s a man who usually likes a good Apple Pie. I had added some chocolate chips to a pecan pie recipe, but left out the rum and it turned out better than any one I made previously. I was proud of myself but decided not to tell Judy Anne about it. Sometimes, pies have to remain secret.

A Large Pot of Grateful

Classes for this semester were finally over.  I was a little stressed at the end due to Lucy’s last assignment. The theme was gratefulness, which should be an easy one for me but I couldn’t make my words match my feelings. I have a lot to be grateful for. With such an abundance, how could I focus on just my top three or make a list and make it sound genuine. A litany of people or things sounded shallow and predictable. Choosing something obscure was too rebellious. How could I make the expected answers brilliant?

On top of that, Edie started dropping in unexpectantly a couple of hours each morning to review every pain and ache she felt. She didn’t want to call her doctor and bother him, or be embarrassed. I understood that. She definitely was showing and her feet were swelling. It wasn’t attractive. I put some epsom salts in pots of hot water and had her sit at the kitchenette and soak them. It relieved some of her puffiness but she said she was prone to cry at the smallest issues and when Artie was away, she was lonely and repeated the things he had said that made her feel unattractive. She knew he was with good looking stewardessess all day. I guess the changes in her body with her pregnancy were causing these troubles in her moods. I really thought that if she could see how hysterical she looked with her feet in my pots, she might laugh, but I tried not to focus on that in case she dissolved into tears again. To insure she felt better, we discussed baby names and writing. I didn’t know if Edie was going to continue her stealth career as a romance writer after the baby. Infants take up a lot of time and caring for the baby with a husband who was away sometimes would be a challenge. At least she wouldn’t need to bathe and dress every day if she didn’t want to.

Listening to Edie helped me figure out what to write about. Gratitude is everything. No list could contain it. No changes would stop it. It was in everything and every choice.

My theme on the choice of Gratitude was handed in and graded well. I could find most of the answers easily and the ones I needed to hunt for taught me something new, but they were all there.

This morning I went to school to register for my next classes. The advisor tried to steer me toward my next likely choices to get me checked off her list. I had some required classes to start taking more seriously and chose one of those first. I asked for a list of instructors and chose another class with Mr. Snow. What the heck, I was grateful for him too.

I stopped off at Edie’s house afterward to check on her and found her with her feet propped up on her chaise while she read. It was good to see her making such a good decision. I leaned over to check on the book title. To my surprise, it was a textbook. Edie was reading a book about mathematics. I must have looked a little surprised but when I chuckled it was really from admiration. Edie explained that trying to solve math problems calmed her. I told her that I had just registered for a math class and might need her to tutor me. I had underestimated Edie lately because I had only experienced one side of her. I looked forward to needing Edie. It would give us a chance to spend more time together this winter. I might even learn some math.

Count Down To Christmas

December is usually a well-behaved month. With Santa overseeing all behavior, I rarely have to raise my voice or encourage the angels on my children’s shoulders to provide the right direction. On top of that, a quick word of reprimand to Junior usually results in Daisy being a model child as a bonus. I don’t want her to fear me but it keeps me from yelling at her when I am on edge.

School in December is fraught with bake sales and cookie swaps and extra required baking events. I have always tried to keep two sacred cookie baking days aside also. The first on a Friday where I bake like there is no tomorrow and the second on the following day when I include the kids. It’s a slower process and the decorating of our sugar cookies takes time. I love these days. The warmth and smell of the kitchen, the wearing of my Christmas apron for two straight days, the counting of each type of cookie as I box and freeze for entertaining and gift giving makes me feel certain Santa really is coming.

Junior had been giving off vibes about the true existence of Santa, but like most mothers I was able to convince him to believe in order to still get presents. That is, until he found some presents behind my shoes at the bottom of my closet. While searching for a pair of sturdy shoes to wear to school one morning, I noticed that the shoe boxes were out of order. I’m no great sleuth, but I could remember how I hid the gifts. I didn’t say anything to Junior but there were a couple of presents that would obviously be his if he thought about it. I had to come up with a plan.

One afternoon while the children were at school, I took the presents out of the closet and wrapped them, adding tags that had a lone B or G on the tags. I packed the presents into bags and lined them by the door. When the children came home from school and saw the bags, Daisy asked about the gifts. I told the children that I had decided to buy presents for orphan boys and girls and had wrapped them. I told the children that I marked them for by placing letters on the tags. Daisy asked if the orphans would be coming over for Christmas and while I answered her, Junior quickly left the room. Later, I checked to see if the shoes I had left in a certain order had been moved and there were a few left out of place. Junior was very quiet at dinner and I told Steve about my discovery.

The next day, I took the bags over to Mags and she hid them for me until I could rewrap them and tag them for Christmas. Junior’s reserved demeanor continued until the weekend when we visited the department store for pictures with Santa. Usually these pictures are either hit or miss with one or both children with their eyes closed or a sullen look and they never smiled in unison. This year, the pictures were beautiful. Junior had a great big smile for Santa, a list prepared and even asked Santa to bring something for his favorite little sister. Daisy’s face at that moment was priceless. I look forward to a few more days with the great believer in our home. Peace on earth is wonderful.

 

Jailhouse Rock

Music has always been a part of our lives. Big band tunes helped us get through the war and when Steve and I first dated, I loved love songs and slow dancing. After the kids came along, I played some records with children’s songs every day as we sang and danced along. Christmas songs help us keep traditions going and every birthday has to have at least one version of the happy birthday song.

Today’s modern music is different. Called rock and roll, it has a much more upbeat tone and requires a whole different manner of dance to fit it. Stevie and his friends had started to listen to this music on their transistor radios jammed up against their ears. I am concerned that they are going to ruin their hearing. Once Stevie found out that his favorite songs were available on 45’s, he kept begging me to buy him some to play on our hi-fi. I really wasn’t sure he was old enough to play records on our fancy equipment and asked Steve to talk with Junior before giving our permission. I also wasn’t keen on having music blaring in the living room at all hours. I generally like things quiet at home.

After their chat, Steve asked about Junior having his own time each day for him to choose to play his records. It was an excellent compromise and since he only had a couple of records, he would probably tire of listening to them over and over. Turns out I was very wrong. On top of that, Junior has been inviting another friend over each afternoon so they can listen to their 45s also. Oh boy.

Now I have a different goal. Junior might need his own record player for his own room. I will have to do some investigation on this subject for Christmas. This became an important time to think about this project with Elvis’ newest release, a record called “Jailhouse Rock.” I’m not sure I am ready for hearing that multiple times every afternoon sung by two young boys. My living room has become a record studio with the boys pretending to hold microphones and sing as loudly as possible. By the time I had dinner prepared, I really understood the meaning of the name of the record.