Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nine-tenth’s of wisdom consists of being wise in time.” I have to admit, I’m not really sure where he was going with that thought, but I keep pondering it, so it must have some meaning for me, to brings back certain odd memories.

Right now, to be honest, my mind is cluttered with all of the Holiday cleaning that every Mom and Grandma encounters at each upcoming event, doing my daily chores and to relax breeding sheep while playing Farmville on Facebook. I’m sure that won’t last too much longer, since the game just changed, they set far too many rules for a video game. I’m also trying to box up the last few holiday decorations – while trying to decide what I need for the next. With all the trivial and mundane tasks weighting heavily on my mind, I’m not sure about “being wise in time.”

I know that I’m really far behind on my posts, but I’m sure everyone has enough to do without worrying about what I’ve uncovered or boxed up (sneer). I was hoping to hear that one of you had made a great discovery in your research or remembered some little tidbit about your childhood. News about a new a baby or someone passing. I tell my oldest sister, about once a week, that if I can’t do anything for them or about them, then it’s just gossip. I don’t have time for drama, I live for the facts. I’m only interested in their coming or going, not their comings & goings! If you know what I mean.

To be honest, I’m just back from a short vacation (way to short). I could have used another week or so just to clear my head. Not that that’s any excuse for not posting, just stating a fact. Too much work and not enough play, makes Sheila a very irritable girl.

Taking stock of my life isn’t at the top of my list at this point in time, and I really need to hire a proof reader, as you know, its just me and all the mistakes are mine – off the top of my head. Although, I’d be wise to do so. I only wanted to share a few thoughts after a spammer (or I think she was a spammer) left me a comment, (which I deleted) where she said, “Are you making this up as you go along?” And I said, “Yes!” Then a laughed and rolled my eyes, since my blog is about me and my family and my families history, it’s hard to make it up, and how would she know the difference? So, if you do see a typo, I’m sure you’ll be kind enough to ignore it. Thanks.

I’m just trying to keep the facts, memories and meaning of my life in one place to share with my kids and Grand-kids, so they will know me and those who came before me, when I’m gone and hopefully understand the things that had an impact on my life. If your reading this, you’re doing the same thing.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my childhood and wanting to share my memories with my Grandkid’s. So when my middle sister Sharon called me, I grilled her for details about our early years. We shared a lot of laughs and different memories, some I won’t share and that’s the way it should be, but here are a few of our memories.

Facts our Childhood

  • Name and briefly describe any pets that you or family kept?

Our dog Tinker (she was a black & white mixed breed – long hair – really pretty) was the mother, we kept Brownie & Blackie out of her first litter.  Mom loved Tinker, she came home from work every night at 2:00 a.m. and would feed that dog a raw potato. Tinker just loved them. She’d sit at the door and wait for mom every night. The night she gave birth to the pups, Dad called Mom at worked after each pup came out. He now had a lot more responsibility. Like 5 kids wasn’t enough. He was goofy, like that.

Brownie was my youngest brother Robert’s dog, he was so fat and his legs were so short, that he had to roll from side to side just to walk. Robert kept a piglet in a stall close to the house and feed them at the same time. Not a good way to raise a dog. Is it any wonder why the dog was so fat.

We also had a large male killer cat, now every time I hear the song, “The Cat Came Back” I think about that cat. Dad had aunt Mary Sue haul it off, it jumped out of their car and beat them back to our house from Kentucky. I wish that was a lie, we still joke about it today.

We also had horses growing up, a Paint named Tony and mare named Dolly – Dolly was amazing. Robert had a little white Shetland Pony named Peaches. She was a biter – so was Tony. Tony was a BITER, he didn’t like being rode, nor did I like riding him, so it worked out. He bit the back of my leg when I was crying to get off and I still have the scar to prove it. Tony would run off every chance he got, he’d go a few farms down and we’d have to go fetch him about once a day. He’s the reason, I don’t ride anymore than I have to today.

  • Describe your favorite toy, if you had one.

I don’t really remember having many toys, neither did Sharon so I’ll have to ask Ralph, he has a much better memory. I’ve seen pictures with me hold dolls, that sort of thing, but I really just liked to color.

  • Note want games you like to play at various stages of your childhood:

Sharon loved to play Chinese Checkers and I loved color – are crayons a toy? LOL I would draw an abstract design on s sheet of paper with a black crayon and color in the sections with different colors. Sharon enjoyed paint by number kits & Operation. We played card games more than anything growing up. Robert couldn’t stand to be beat at cards, he stabbed me in the arm once with the pen, when I won, because I was taking score. He said that I had added wrong. And yes, I still have the scar.

  • Identify any childhood objects that you saved and why?

Sharon only saved Mom’s stuff, like her bible and I have some bed dolls and a teddy bear that was gifted to me when I was 12. I collect more now, than as a child.

  • Name any favorite stories that you read (or were read or told to you).

Sharon remembered reading the books of the bible and getting a certificate for it. I loved, “Br’er Rabbit and Tar Baby!” That was my favorite book growing up. Not sure why, it just was. I should go back and reread it, just to see if I can figure that one out for myself.

  • Name any movies that you particularly remember.

No Time for Sergeants, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Apple Dumpling Gang, and The Incredible Mr. Limpet, we’re movies we watched over and over as a kid, but everyone knows that my all time favorite is “It’s a Wonderful Life!” My son-in-law always jokes that I haven’t seen a color movie. If it isn’t black & white I don’t watch it. Not entirely accurate, but old black and white’s had a flair about them, that movies don’t have today.

  • Name any favorite television or radio programs from childhood.

Dark Shadows, American Band Stand, and Edge of Night. (Okay, I was a strange child). My oldest brother Ralph only watched Tom & Jerry and you think I have problems?

  • Note any work you did for money outside your family as you got older, such as a paper route or mowing lawns or babysitting.

Sharon remembers helping mom clean my aunt Mirna’s beauty shop, as payment she got a soda and her hair cut. The only thing I remember about being there were stacks of colored curlers inside each other, that I put back on their racks and there was a dirty magazine/sketch book (drawings) that she had in the back room. Robert & I would sneak and look at the pictures. Sh… don’t tell anyone.

  • Note any hobbies or collections that you pursued.

Sharon like paint by number kits, but we both enjoyed cooking and crocheting. She does neither now. I guess we just enjoyed whatever Mom was doing at the time. I do collect old aprons, rolling pins and old irons though. I’ll explain about those later. Sharon isn’t big on keeping anything, she is a true minimalist; a non-collector.

  • Name any groups you belonged to and what they did (i.e., Brownies, Cub Scouts). I was a Brownie for a short time. That’s why I became a leader as an adult. Sharon was a bit of tom-boy and didn’t like to be involved in extracurricular activities. Not that my mom would have had time to take us, she was always to busy doing mom things; working mostly.
  • Note any memorable trips, or times and occasions you spent away from home.

Sharon went to camp: she only remembers it because we tell her about her trip. For some reason Aunt Jackie didn’t want her to go, but she went anyway – not that her opinion didn’t matter, but Mom had spent a lot of money to get her the things she needed to go, so she was going.

She later saw a letter that someone has, she doesn’t remember whom, that she written while at camp to our mom saying that she lost her shoe. I have the blanket she took with her, our mom used it as a filler inside one of her quilts. It seems like I remember Mom having a list of things that she was required to take to summer camp with her, but who knows?

Sharon also remembers that she went to a big company picnic, way far off, and her friend Cheryl Hise’s (a girl that lived across the street from us at the time) mom called and said that Cheryl had to get home immediately, so they left and hitchhiked all the way back home to Trenton. Two guys picked them up and took them all the way home. She still can’t believe that. They were nice.

Mine was spending the entire summer with Granny Oma Gibson (no she wasn’t my real Granny, but she was my Granny – deal with it). She was a hoot. She listened to old classic country music, like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, all day long. She lite one cigarette off the last (chain smoker), she drank coffee from daylight til dark (kind of like I do now) except she used liquid diet sweetener in every cup. YUCK!

I think it’s funny that I’m not a fan of country music, but know all the words to all their classic songs. I also remember her teaching me how to make sauerkraut in her garage. We buried it, in the dirt just inside by the walls; sauerkraut and wieners are still my favorite food, I can’t wait for the New Years so we can eat them all day long, its a tradition. My kids never did like them until they got older and embraced the prosperity aspects of the tradition. I also remember letting her cocoa poodle out, and she got hit by car, she lived but it was rough on me, thinking that I let her get hurt. I gave her – little yellow pills – her med’s everyday for a week. A life long lesson learned, at the same time.

  • Describe anything you did musically – play an instrument, sing dance, etc.

Sharon played the recorder – she hated it. She loved listening to the radio and sang in the choir in 7 & 8th grade. We moved so much it was hard to get involved in school programs. I took Show Choir, but I lost my seat. I went from being a high Alto to Contralto in one year, it was sad. I wish I could go back to Cali and tell my teacher something today. I’d give her an ear full. She really hit me where I lived. I think it’s when I lost all respect for teachers. The disdain is a lasting memory for sure. (PS: I still love to sing, southern gospel, but not in public anymore) some whack job specialist thinks I may go deaf. I know he’s wrong, but I did lose the pitch in one ear, just enough to keep me from singing anywhere, but home that is (sigh).

  • Note any honors or distinctions you earned as a child. How were you recognized or awarded?

Sharon only remembers getting a certificate for bringing people to church (it wasn’t too hard since we were related to everyone – 5 cousins on Jackie’s side alone) – (insert deep chuckle here) and getting a reward for reading her bible and memorizing bible verses.

I won the UNICEF collections thingy, but don’t ask me what it was. I can’t really remember anything other than holding the little blue pyramid shaped box, that looked like the world, pasted on it?! It was a very long time ago. I received a few others like Outstanding Achievement in 7th grade- things like that. Which was nothing short of a miracle, since I attended 7 schools in that one school year alone, but enough about me, I don’t want to blow my own horn.

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I guess to sum up our childhood, it pretty much revolved around church. We spent most of our time as children playing outside and going to church 3 or more times a week. Much the same way, that I raised mine, when they were younger.

We never ate at a fast food restaurant until our mom married our stepdad Bill, or they may have still been dating at the time – same difference, just saying, never before then. I have to wonder if I was better off before?!

I should also mention that my mother was an avid gardener, canning and freezing – every year – year after year. I’m sure I have at some point, but growing up, I hated gardening; it was a major chore. To this day, I tell people that I’m not a gardener, I just like to play in the dirt.
I refuse to can or freeze unless I have to and the thought of making jelly, almost brings me to fits.

That pretty much sums up my childhood, I’ve lived in Ohio, California, Indiana and Kentucky. Moving is what we did, my dad was a roofer and a OTR truck driver. So I’ve been everywhere man. Now, I take delight in staying home and watching the grass grown. Enjoying talking to family in all those places the old fashioned way, via the telephone. (I don’t Skype – sorry) I stopped writing letters when my handwriting declined. I went to a baby shower last month and my oldest sister actually crossed my name out and wrote it over top my signature. She looked at me and said, “They won’t know Dr. Sheila!” Yes, she is a brat, but I love her.

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Wisdom comes for experience… this much I do know.  I know what are sister’s for? I wonder if that makes me wise? Something else to ponder as I rewatch that old movie later, ” No Time for Sargent’s.

Have a great Easter Vacation – be sure watch the movie, “The Robe.” I remember watching that as a kid, while Mom baked her famous Easter Bunny shaped white coconut cake, the cake I swear every single year, that I’m going to bake for my kids, but never do. My daughter-in-law April brought one to dinner last year, with any luck, she’ll do the same this year.  Hint- Hint!

For the cake, you bake 2 round 8 inch white or yellow cakes, cut them like a basketball, turn the two sides up as ears at the top of the uncut round and the middle section at the bottom of the round for a bowtie. Frost it with white icing cover it with coconut and decorate, using black shoestring licorice for whiskers and a pink jelly bean for a nose. Then Outline the bowtie with spice drops or jelly beans. My mom made it look different every year, just for fun. She usually dyed the coconut for inside of the bunny ears with pink food color. She must have known I’d remember that for she was a wise and wonderful Mom… 9/10ths of the time anyway.

Thanks as always and Welcome to the Family,
Sheila Jean Adkins Metcalf

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