July 5, 2014

Bits and Bobbles

Bunting flying from the Cabrillo Lighthouse.

When I told Margot that we were heading north to visit a friend, she had trouble not laughing.  “You are leaving the beach, mother?”  And then she laughed and laughed.

She was right.  All the beaches were wall to wall visitors intent on staying until after the fireworks.  As we headed north on 5, the south bound traffic was at a halt.  North exit lanes were stopped going into all the beaches, the Fair, and Sea World.  When we discovered that our friends new home was nearer the 15 than the 8, we knew that we could get home the back way if we left the party early.

We had a marvelous visit with Peter, the man who rescues art and beauty from the ship breakers of Alang.  Yes, I took my camera, and yes I took lots of pictures with permission. 

Yes, too, we were wildly out of our element.  Yes, also, we certainly need to socialize more.  We did find ship and car folks to talk with which helped, and Peter suggested that we join the Steamship Society of America which seems like a good suggestion.

87 Things Only Poor Kids Know – 17 through 21

17.  We have to buy all white socks because if one gets lost or torn up, it may be a while before we buy more.

Frankly, I don’t remember socks.  I did have a sock drawer and an underwear drawer, but I have no memory of them at all.  By the time I was in Junior Hi, I didn’t wear socks.

18. We are really good at cleaning our house with stuff that most people don’t use to clean, like bleach and vinegar.

And Tide for the laundry with Bon Ami for the sinks and tub.  I washed the dishes using a newer portable dishwasher that mother must have persuaded Grandfather to buy.  I hated scrubbing the pots and pans.  Never could I get them clean enough to please her so every evening ended in recriminations from mother and tears from me if I hadn’t been banished beforehand for some other infraction.

19.  I needed colored pencils for a project once. My teacher told me that if I didn’t bring them, I wouldn’t be able to do my project and I’d get a zero. I told the teacher I didn’t have any and she told me I’d better figure it out. On the way to school, my mom went into the grocery store. I was confused because she told me she didn’t have money. When she came out, she had the pencils but they were in  her purse, not in a sack. I think she stole them. She was crying.

When I had school projects to color, mother let me use her colored water color pencils.  She left them at home in her desk and must have considered them special.  I still have them in their original box.

20. Mom keeps her toothbrush in her bedroom so that it doesn’t accidentally brush up against ours in the bathroom. Germs and she can’t afford to get sick and miss work or go to the doctor.

Did I say I hated brushing my teeth.  Why, I don’t know.  Probably I was reacting to mother or allergic to the toothpaste.  When I got braces, thanks Grandfather, I only brushed them with a lick and a promise.  By the time I was in the Army, the first of my gumline cavities appeared.  Now my top front teeth are all crowned.  Now days, I brush often and floss even more often.

21. I have no idea what other kids are talking about when they’re talking about the latest TV shows. We’ve never had cable.

We never had a TV.  We had a radio that I was forbidden to listen to.  Grandfather installed a Hi-Fi set with speakers in the living room, the tuner behind mother’s chair, and a turntable in the office.  He began buying classical music mono recordings.  Every afternoon I could sit in the living room and be swept away by the music.  It was wonderful.  We got a TV in 1954, but I was forbidden to use it, but I would sneak downstairs to watch the Mickey Mouse Club when I could.


  1. Interesting and sad list and so true.

  2. What an interesting collection Peter must have. Looking forward to some pictures.

  3. Those childhood memories can be difficult to relive. But look how you turned out so many years later!

  4. Mage, I meant to remark from your comment that this is lazy ladies poetry. No structure, no precise vocabulary but lots of feeling. Maybe if I belonged to a writing group.

  5. We never had bicycles and no TV either. Dad told me we could get killed riding bicycles and TV would rot or brains. When one of his customers gave him a TV instead of paying him, he got a TV. Mother said she would rather have had the money for food.

    Socks? I have worn white socks all my life, except for when I was working and bought dress socks to go with my slacks. All my dress socks were dark grey wool and I wore them year round. Many people did without until the economy took off with WWII.

  6. Looking forward to your photos.

  7. Love the list. Food for thought. I got to do braces twice. Hot damn and big fun on that!


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Peter in front of a wall sculpture. We were invited up to Peter Knego’s home to see the latest installation.   Abstract flat ...