As an older woman with a child’s heart (not the transplanted kind!) I still love to look back on my childhood and remember so many memories of good times with my family. In my earliest years 0 to 4 years old, I lived with my parents at 601 Arlington Avenue, where there now stands a row of doctor offices near Saint Francis Hospital. I was delivered in the hospital where I took my nurse’s training.
My Moma instilled a love of music in us by playing the piano and singing to and later with my sisters, brother and I. We all sang together too when we took weekend trips or longer trips together as we got older. Daddy said he couldn’t play any instruments but he loved to hear us all singing together with Moma playing the piano!
We all took music lessons while about junior high or college age. I took piano, my younger sister took violin, my brother took some piano, and my youngest sister took piano and violin. We all sang in the church choirs according to our ages.
My sense of humor is one vital trait I learned from my father. One day when I was about three(?) I fell and bumped my head and cried as little ones do. Suddenly Daddy looked at the floor where I hit my head. He pointed to a crack in the floor. With animated surprise he told me that my head made the crack when it hit the floor. After looking with great curiosity I stopped crying. I think that I realized that he was teasing me and I laughed too!
My sister, Dawn and I were two years apart in age so we made great roommates. When she was old enough, we played together mostly at those young ages . Of course there was also school!
Our second home was down a hill in a cul de sac. We had a long driveway that stretched around and down behind the house; and a grassy hill on the other side of the house. The driveway was great for riding downhill on a sled, as long as there was good firm snow. Beyond the end of the driveway, which ended with the garage door there was a small hill and a creek below it. We were never supposed to go to the creek by ourselves because there were a few deep places around tree roots and Daddy feared a water moccasin or some snake could hide there and bite us.
One day when I was about 4 or 5 years old we caught some salamanders, or lizards in a jar. Seems like there were one or two other critters in the jar. That night I awoke crying and afraid. I had dreamed that the lizards had become huge dinosaurs and they were terrifying. So Daddy took the bottle out in the middle of the night and released the “potential” dinosaurs. And I went to sleep again.
When I was still young, maybe six or seven I also had a dream about a tornado coming while I watched through a crack in the door that we couldn’t close, as it approached ! Can you guess what movie I had seen that day? Yep, “The Wizard of Oz.” I think I was older and recognized it as a dream, but it was a dream that I still remember being afraid about.
I remember my first days at the old Welcome Elementary School in Greenville, South Carolina. I was very excited about school. I had long blonde hair and often wore it in braids. I remember that our mother often sewed our clothes and she was an excellent seamstress. She also sewed clothes for our dolls.
I still have some memories of my classmates and the variety of personlality traits they had. There was one very timid little girl who for some reason was always crying or had been crying. I never knew what was wrong, but I felt sorry for her. I remember her name was Janice. (The last name I will not share, but I remember it still.)
There was another girl, named Pam, in third grade who was a tom boy. I tried shooting a basketball at the hoop and she grabbed the ball out of my hands and made the shot. (I didn’t know then that getting the ball away from the other player was part of being on different teams in basketball!) So I thought she was very rude. Our family like sports like swimming, badminton, hiking and bicycling. So I knew nothing about basketball until later.
The other girl I remembered, was a girl named Mary. We were good friends and enjoyed school and making good grades.
I had a 1st-3rd grade “crush” on one boy, named Larry, who was very kind and polite. He had a nice smile and reddish brown hair. I think he was an “A” student too.
But there was one guy who had a crush on me! His name was Reggie. When I came in to class in the mornings sometimes he gently tugged one of my pigtails or kissed me on the cheek. I still remember in third grade he wrote a letter telling me how much he loved me and wanted to marry me. I wish I still had that letter because he promised me a big house, with a ranch and lots of horses. He also promised me a big diamond ring and mink stoles (which were acceptable back then). I still wonder what happened to him!
My family had a new addition when I was 6 years old, a new baby brother. I think I became the little mommy after that. My sister and I enjoyed playing with him too. Then I got more practice being a mommy at twelve years old when our baby sister was born. We all had so many great memories playing together.
Our family enjoyed driving up to Asheville and Hendersonville. (We lived in Greenville, SC.) sometimes after church. We loved the curving roads in the mountains. Daddy always teased us by telling us to look back on the sharpest curves and we could see the tail-end of our car following us! We never saw it but continued to look for at least a year! We loved the mountain creeks where we tried to catch the little fish or a frog with cups sometimes. I loved frogs.
My parents had to sell the house they built, (mentioned earlier), and we moved back to the first home we lived in until I was in the fourth grade. More about that home later.