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Friday, July 07, 2006

Kind friends


Posted by Picasa “Charm” by Debra Hurd

Reminiscing today about my childhood with two kind friends, both older.

Jimmie E. was two years older. Every Saturday morning I crossed the street in our small Michigan town, knocked on his back door, and went in and watched Mighty Mouse and The Lone Ranger with him in his little den.

In the autumn we played house outside. We raked piles of maple leaves into a large blueprint of a house in his backyard. Rows of leaves were walls. We parked our bikes in the “garage.” We never actually said, “let’s pretend you’re my husband, I’m you’re wife,” but it was assumed.

Janet J. was four years older. A twelve-year-old playing with an eight-year-old me, she was always fun and taught me how to wrap fabric around dolls, securing it with pins to create spontaneous clothes. In her yard smelly green walnuts were scattered around. Her father flattened them with his car tires in the driveway.

Janet’s father and my father were both ministers. We lived across the street from each other, she in the Methodist parsonage, I in the Baptist parsonage. Our churches were also across the street from each other on two corners. In the Methodist church they could dance in the basement. In the Baptist church dancing was not allowed because it was considered sinful. (I’m not sure what folks at the time did with the Psalms in which King David danced unto the Lord.)

One of my best childhood memories was piling into the Methodist minister’s convertible European car with the neighborhood kids and going for a root beer at the A & W. In those days it was still a drive-in and they hooked a tray of frosty mugs on your window.

Together, Jimmie, Janet, my brother John and I were in the Happy Workers Club. We raked leaves for old people. Afterwards, at night, we played combat outside the Methodist church, which resembled old German buildings we saw in WWII movies.

I am the youngest of eight children. All the neighborhood kids were older. Many elders have cared for me my entire life. Even my husband is older than I by a bit.

Thank you to all you lovely friends and family who have cared for me. I will turn the big 5-0 next month, and I couldn't do it without help (and some dancing) along the way.

Visit my Paris Deconstructed blog for a new post.

20 comments:

Ginnie said...

OMG, Ruth. The painting you chose and these reminiscing thoughts are just wondrous! You describe a world that didn't exist quite like that when I was there at home. Eleven years between us is a big gap that brought freedoms to you, thankfully. I'm so glad you have these great memories. And I'm so glad I was able to be one of your "elders" in those early years :)

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Mei Shile said...

Now you'll be able to drink some Labatt 50 brand of beer, if available where you live :-D

Rauf said...

Sweet memories Ruth, your life could have been completely different had your parents chosen a different neighbourhood. My father wanted to buy a house in a very posh neighbourhood but mom opposed it. Perhaps I would have grown up with no friends at all. Then they bought this house in the neighbourhood full of people and I grew up with lots of friends.
I am living in the same room from past 46 years.

I used to play cricket with my friends across the road. on sundays the road was completely deserted. Today even on sundays I am afraid to cross the road. There is never ending traffic and Noise.

lesleuanne said...

i do love that painting as well.


and how nice to think of you living in a parsonage!

i'm going to call you now.

Ruth said...

Ginnie, yes, I'm thinking your view on that house in that neighborhood was quite different from mine. I have many wonderful memories of you caring for me in those days, especially the book "A Lonley Doll Learns a Lesson." :)

Ruth said...

River on Mirror, wow, I am quite intrigued by your blog. Thank you for your visit. I will try to spend a bit more time at River on Mirror this week.

Ruth said...

Mei Shile, I'm assuming by the Labatt 50 reference you mean that I am free to drink beer now? :) If not, please tell me any other reference, because I might easily have missed it.

Ruth said...

Rauf, you're so right, one little degree in either direction, and our lives would have been vastly different. And how your world there has changed! In just one lifetime. I find it incredible that my children's generation has learned that rapid change is part of life.

Ruth said...

Lesley, yes, I had not found this painter before this week. She is quite something. Lots of paintings of children. Do you remember seeing the parsonage I grew up in? It is across the street from G'ma and G'pa's later house (formerly Jimmie E.'s house!, where I grew up playing).

Mrs. M. said...

Ruth, I didn't know you played at G'ma and G'pa's before it was your home! What fond memories! Some of the pictures I gave you of Lesley and Peter were from the Methodist Church in back of 127 W. Lincoln.

I love the reflections! While you think of your elders, I remember you and DeeDee giving to me the same love and shaping.

Dittos back, sweet Aunt!

Ruth said...

Thank you, Mrs. M. :) Life is a circle. Much received, much to give. You have done well on that score, and then some. So many young people in YOUR life!

rachel said...

Those are fantastic memories! Thanks so much for sharing- I love remeniscing about my elemenatary school days!

Ruth said...

Rachel, you need a blog!!!

Mrs. M. said...

I agree, Ruth--

Rachel needs a blog.

Heather said...

Well, here's a younger friend who's willing to care for you well into the future.

lv,
Heather

Ruth said...

Mrs. M., thank you for your support. :)

Ruth said...

Heather, my beautiful fairy friend, you touch me, and I need you. I love the yin and yang of elders and youngers, and how we all care for one another.

SamaraZone said...

Wow, I've just begun to start my very own first blog and as I was searching around I found yours. I grew up in Grand Ledge too and I moved in my senior year of High School to the Grand Rapids area (1977) I have many memories of the Ledges,the Sun Theatre, and cruising across the bridge. Do you remember the Ledges Playhouse? Is it still there? Even though I've stayed over in this part of the state I still feel Grand Ledge is my hometown and I miss so much about it. Thanks for letting me stroll down memory lane for a moment.

Ruth said...

How fun, SamaraZone!