In my last post I mentioned that my dad had been hospitalized but was on the mend. He is in his new home and getting stronger everyday. Several relatives reached out to me via email and Facebook wishing him a speedy recovery and reminiscing about the ‘old days’ which got me thinking back on those days as well. My parents divorced when I was eight so I have fond memories as well as painful ones.
In those days we had a pool and could come home for lunch during the school year. In the warm months the four of us would race home for a quick lunch and a swim before having to head back to school. Mom would serve us our sandwiches on the little wooden deck so we would have as much time in the water as possible, When we were all home on the weekends I remember my dad positioning himself against the back of our house, running full speed toward the pool and diving over its rim into the water to our excited cheers. “What talent,” I remember thinking with pride.
In those days girls couldn’t wear pants to school until the rules changed when I was in 4th or 5th grade (I think). I remember wearing short skirts and knee high socks but also remember wearing maxi dresses as I got a little older. When we were finally allowed to wear pants to school mine were bell bottomed and hip hugging in brown corduroy and blue denim.
In those days we spent Christmas Eve with my cousins, on my mom’s side; their mother and ours are sisters. Mom usually planned a craft for the kids, there were 9 of us, to keep us entertained and occupied. It also helped keep us from obsessing about the night ahead when Santa would visit and scatter a pile of gifts around our decorated tree while we slept. We might string popcorn and cranberries with needle and thread for garland or make hand shaped ornaments out of flour and water. I think mom would heat them in the oven which set them into ceramic like clay and allowed us to paint them in the same night (someone please correct me if I’m wrong). We played and sang and opened presents from one another and Santa (one of the neighborhood men) would always stop by to our delight.
These are fond memories.
(Mom, don’t worry about the rest of this post, I turned out fine as you know).
In those days our house was pink. Not pale pink or rose hued pink, it was bright pink, bumble gum pink, Pepto-Bismol pink. My cousin, Nancy, mentioned our pink house with fondness in her facebook post to me but I hated that color and, to this day, pink is one of my least favorite colors. From what I remember being told my dad had picked out the color, wanting a bright and cherry house to come home to from work everyday. But my parents divorced and dad moved out; we were left behind in that pink house. The color embarrassed me, made me feel different. Really, having divorced parents made me feel different in a time when very few kids came from broken homes or mixed families. Life went on and we created a new normal as kids being raised by a single mom and visited by their dad on designated days. I can look back at some of these painful times with fondness too. I’m the woman I am because of all of it…the Christmas Eves, the family pool parties and later, the lunches with just dad, the outings with just mom. Really, I wouldn’t change any of it.
Although the house was eventually painted a sage green. And I was fine with that.