Memories from Childhood
As a child there were so many things I did that are noteworthy, but I must limit it to three, so I will share with you those memories that are the most vivid in my mind’s eye.
My brother and I often went over to the neighbor’s house to play. He played with his friends and I would help our sweet Avon lady, Joann Miller, clean up her Avon closet. She would always let me use and have some of those cute little lipstick samples or perfume samples (in the little pouch with a small cotton wipe inside or the little glass vials). I thought this was so awesome – to play with real makeup and perfume was a big deal to me! I also remember playing in the backyard with the boys one time when I was all dolled up, dress, stockings, patent leather shoes….the whole nine yards. We were playing out by where they kept the boat and I was walking around admiring it when I stepped on a board with a nail in it. The nail went through my shoe and into my foot – I was stuck! They had to lift me up off of the board to get the nail out of my foot and shoe. Ouch! I also remember that she helped my mom pierce my ears when I was five years old. It went something like this. Mark the ear, clean the needle, put a piece of ice on the earlobe, and get a popsicle ready for the crying child. It probably hurt as bad as the nail through the foot, but then I could ask my mom to order me every pair of Avon earrings the rest of my childhood – and boy did she! Joann if you are reading this, I love you!
Playing softball – this was like a staple in my childhood. I actually started on a boy’s baseball team (my older brother’s team) because my dad was the coach, but the next year I went to the girl’s team and Mr. and Mrs. Koch were my coaches. They taught me so much about softball – the teamwork, the win some lose some attitude, play your best – that is all we ask of you, don’t quit – almost reads like the playbook of life! One year, we were all learning how to pitch, so Mr. Koch brought the ‘green machine’ out of the minivan and set it up for us to practice. We had a 5 gallon bucket of balls and a frame to pitch them at. He designed it like a target basically a few boards nailed together to steak into the ground so you would have the proper area of the strike zone to aim at when practicing pitching. We must have practiced until we were blue in the face – throwing all the balls from a 5 gallon bucket at the target, collecting them and repeating the process again, endlessly it seemed. We had great pitchers on the team and everyone of us had experience at pitching from practicing with the green machine, so if you were called on to pitch during a game, you did it and knew you could. To this day I still consider Mr. and Mrs. Koch my adoptive parents, because back then your coaches could pick you up for practice or drop you off at home afterwards or you could have sleepovers with their kids at their house or yours. They were like a second family and since we were together so much practicing and playing softball, we loved each other like family. I still feel like I am a part of their family and for that I am blessed. Love you Mr. and Mrs. Koch (not Jerry and Martha)!
It is 1983 and I had turned 8 years old in July. My Aunt Mildred and Uncle Frank had a litter of puppies from one of their dogs that they were trying to give away. They lived just a block over from us so as a birthday gift, they sent me home with one. I named this puppy Emily. 1983, was the year Hurricane Alicia brought terrible weather to Houston. It was raining, ditches were full of water, electricity was out, I was curious if dogs could swim… Can you tell where this is going? In order to put an end to my curiosity, I took my puppy outside and tossed her into the ditch. I waited and watched. She bobbed back up and doggie paddled to the side of the ditch and walked out. I got my answer – dogs could swim. Not only was she able to swim, but she was my puppy now and my parents did not make me give her back. She went everywhere with me and stayed in my room at night. She went through middle school, high school, college, first teaching job, so many events with me. I loved this sweet puppy with all my heart! Having a pet is something that changes you. You learn at an early age how things rely on you to be there for them. I had to feed her and water her and clean up her messes. I had to take her for walks and play with her. One day in middle school I remember being home after school and Emily was in the back yard. I was in the house. I heard a gunshot and a yelp. I ran out to see what was wrong and she was bleeding. One of the neighborhood kids had shot her. I was devastated, I thought she was going to die. We took her to an emergency care clinic and she checked out perfectly fine. The bullet had gone clean through her leaving 4 holes but did not hit any internal organs so she would be just fine. She healed up and kept on hanging out with me until I was 24 years old. I always had a pet to think of if I wanted to go somewhere, that played a part in the decision I made. Almost like having a child and needing to find a babysitter. I cared for her and nurtured her like she was a child once she was up there in years, but the sad ending to this story is that when she went to sleep after her 16 plus years in my life, I was not there. She was at my parents house with my dad and I was in another state for a summer trip. I did not get to tell her goodbye, but I know she knew how much I loved her for all those years, even though I tossed her in the ditch to see if she could swim.