Sometimes I just don’t know what I want to write about. I have been thinking about it all week. Some random stuff here and there bubbles up, but then it goes away. I am not sure if that bubble is what I want to write …
Month: May 2018
We played with our Pierre cousins a lot. Susan and Brenda. They belonged to my Uncle Bob and Aunt Sandy. They lived on Huron Avenue, the ranch style brick house. They were constant. We lived at the Euclid House and the Central House and even the Prospect House when we spent the most time at that house. We weren’t as constant.
These cousins weren’t matching for us. Susan was quite a bit older and Brenda was a year older than Wendy, if I recall correctly. They were always, always so nice to us.
They had everything. The basement closet was full of board games. The floor in the basement had a shuffleboard game on it. It was super cool. The basement had a couple bedrooms, a bathroom, a bar, and the giant family room. There was cool furniture down there too. I actually have one of the end tables from their basement. Kind of modern style 50s piece. I like it. I won’t ever get rid of it. There was also a fireplace and I remember a net with starfish on it above the couch. That became a hand-me-down to the Prospect House. I think one of the dogs ate the starfish. So there’s that.
There were lots of pictures on the walls. I recall seeing some of Uncle Bob when he was in the Navy. There was also one of those chair things that you would put your feet on the bottom bar and then hang on to the top bar and then close yourself up like an ab crunch and then completely open and stretch out as far as you could. It was supposed to be good for the back and a nice ab workout. I think I spent a lot of time playing with that chair thing. Everything I wanted and nothing I had.
The upstairs also had a big living room, a dining room, the kitchen, a bathroom, maybe even two, and two or three bedrooms. The upstairs was always spotless. Everything in its place and nothing out of place.
The backyard had perfectly mowed grass and a big swing set. They had croquet and kickballs. Everything I wanted and nothing I had.
They had Barbies and snow boots without bread bags. We couldn’t wait to get their hand-me-downs. We didn’t even care that the boots didn’t have any grip anymore. They had side zippers and were stylish and they were brown, not red. Everything I wanted and nothing I had.
We played with the Barbies in Brenda’s room. In her closet actually. It was huge. The Barbies had tons of clothes on hangers and lots of shoes. Ken was there too. I loved playing Barbies. They had so many. Everything I wanted and nothing I had.
She also had one of those jewelry boxes that had the ballerina inside when you opened it. She danced to the music. The box was full of jewelry. Bracelets and necklaces. They took dance from Mrs. Forney. Everything I wanted and nothing I had.
At one point, my parents were remodeling the Prospect house and it came a point when we had to stay with Uncle Bob and Aunt Sandy. We stayed in the basement. I remember using the lemon shampoo on my hair. I found it under the sink in a basket. I loved that smell. Fresh lemons. There was also the shampoo that mom would never buy us, “Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific.” That stuff did smell terrific. For reals.
Aunt Sandy made us breakfast every single morning before school. It was everything I wanted and nothing I had. She treated us like we were her own kids. It was so nice of her to open up her home to us. I think at that time both Susan and Brenda were gone. It seemed like it anyway. I could be wrong. I think I was in junior high at the time.
I could tell that Aunt Sandy loved taking care of us. It was nice to be treated like that. It was nice to have everything I wanted.
I remembered always feeling envious. Why couldn’t I have all those Barbies? Why couldn’t I have those nice boots? Why couldn’t we have a croquet set and a nice swing set? Why couldn’t we have a bazillion board games?
When it came right down to it though, it was kind of dumb to be envious of them. They worked hard for what they had. My parents worked hard for what they had. There was no reason for me to be envious. My parents couldn’t afford that stuff at that point in their lives. If there was one thing that they taught us, it was to work hard. A good work ethic will take you far. We were taught to be happy with what we had. There will always be someone who has more than you and there will always be someone who has less than you. There will be. It’s just the way it is.
I look back and I realize how everything I wanted and nothing I had was not really true. I had everything I needed and nothing I didn’t.
I practiced all the time. All the time. All the time. Obsessed. Obsessed. Obsessed. Handstands forever. Handstands for the win. Practice makes perfect, right? Until I broke my collarbone. Then it wasn’t so fun. Handstands for the break.
I was 12. It was the Prospect house. The floors were hardwood and there was carpet in the living room. The giant dining room was in the middle of the house. It was kind of an odd room, now that I think about it. It was more of a family room in the middle of the house, but I think it was meant to be a formal dining room. We used it for listening to records on the cabinet record player. Simon and Garfunkel and the Carpenters. AC/DC too. My sister, Wendy, had Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. I will never understand that.
We also used that room for sleeping in the summer before the remodel. Right on the hardwood floor in front of a box fan. No air conditioning. So when it was hot, we slept in front of the fan on the floor in the dining room.
Gymnastics was my passion. Gymnastics was my life. I wanted to be great. I wanted to be amazing. I worked hard. I always did. That day I was doing handstands all day. I would put both hands down on the ground and kick up into a handstand and try to hold it. I kept trying and kept trying and kept trying.
I practiced for hours. It was getting late and it was about time for bed. My mom told me to stop and get ready for bed. She kept telling me I was going to get hurt. Another one of those little voices that I used to never listen to. The intuition one. You know the one. I ignored it. I was 12 for crying out loud. Since when does a 12 year old listen to the voice telling them something. Since when does a 12 year old listen to the signs their body is giving them. Since when.
I continued. It was getting close to bed time. I kept going. One more I told myself. Just one more and then go to bed. My hands were planted on the floor and I kicked one leg up and then the other. My left arm gave out. I landed right on my shoulder. Shit! That hurt! I got up and noticed my left arm was quite a bit longer than my right. I wasn’t sure what happened, but I knew it hurt. I went into the kitchen all the while saying, “Owie, owie, owie, owie.” My sister, Wendy, was there and so was mom. They thought I was laughing. Ummmm, okay.
Off to the emergency room we went. It was so painful getting the x-rays. I wanted to die. The doctor came back and said my clavicle was broken. Clavicle sounds kind of cool, but I prefer to use the term collarbone. It was broken all the way through. I probably should have had surgery, but I came home with some kind of brace. I was to wear it for six weeks. I was devastated. How could I practice gymnastics with a broken collarbone? The brace was annoying and uncomfortable. It pulled my shoulders back and supported them and I guess that was the job of the brace.
After we got home I got to sleep in mom and dad’s bed. I don’t think I slept much at all. It hurt so bad. They only they gave us was over the counter motrin or something like that. I remember mom stayed up with me pretty much the whole night.
I couldn’t wait for the six weeks to be up. I needed to practice. I kept thinking and wondering how weird it would feel once I got the brace off. I wondered if I would still be able to do handstands or anything else.
The day I got the brace off was the day gymnastics practice started. I was happy again.
My collarbone did not set right and the end of it closest to the middle of my neck, where the ends are supposed to touch the sternum, is about two inches further down than the other side and it is kind of hard to find the end of it. I also have a problem with pressing and pullups. Not that I am an expert at pullups anyway, but when I attempt them and start the pulling movement, I twist a little bit and I attribute that to my forearm problems. But that’s life and things happen that you can’t do anything about.
I still do handstands though. I still kick up into the handstands and do them against the wall. I don’t do handstands for hours and hours though. I learned that lesson. Handstands for the break!