Thursday, October 27, 2011

Remembering Lesia

Today I am remembering my Cousin, Lesia Juanice Mackey, who died on September 27, 2011.  She was an amazing woman, and I miss her so much.

Lesia and I, along with my sisters Debbie and Teresa and her brother Steven, grew up together in Gadsden and Hunstville, AL.  My brother Shane joined us later.  Although we didn't have as much time together as we would have wanted, we were always in each other's lives by way of summer visits, holidays at our Grandparents house, etc.

I have so many fun memories of Lesia, but the one that we laughed about most recently was when we wrote our names in the top of Grandmother Mackey's desk. (You can still see a little bit of the writing, if you look really hard! grin!) I don't remember our reasoning at the time; don't remember what made us think that would be a great idea, but we did.  It still baffles me that Grandmother did not share our enthusiasm for redecorating her desk! That was one of the few times that I remember being in trouble with Grandmother Mackey.

The only other memory I have of being in trouble with Grandmother Mackey was also with Lesia.... (I am seeing a pattern here...) Grandmother had this granite topped table that she was very proud of.  Lesia and I saw it as a wonderful opportunity to play see-saw on either side of that granite top.  And .... you guessed it .... Crack!  The table top broke.  oops....

Our obvious threat to all things furniture aside, Lesia and I had loads of wonderful memories, most of them centered around our Grandparents, Bob and Hazel Mackey, and our families intersecting in their home at 808 S 14th Street, Gadsden, AL.  We took for granted such wonderful joys as early morning breakfasts with Grandmother singing at the top of her lungs as she cooked; climbing down the bank at the back of their house with Papa, Grandmother telling us not to go down there, Papa saying "come on girls, walk down sideways like this..."; going to church at Ragland Church of Christ (always with a jar of ice water wrapped in a towel); platters full of Grandmother Mackey's fried chicken and hand made biscuits; holidays with family; warming up to the gas heater, then running to climb into bed under a dozen blankets, curling up in a ball to stay warm, and then sleeping the best sleep ever, surrounded by love and family and faith.

In her younger days, Lesia was always smiling, always kind, always good.  In her last days, she was strong in suffering, brave in death, faithful to the end. Her favorite scripture:  John 3:16.  Her favorite saying:  If we meet and you forget me, you have lost nothing; but if you meet Jesus and forget Him, you have lost everything.

Celebrating the life of Lesia Juanice Mackey.   Celebrating a life well lived.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Babysitter for Hire

My very first job ever was babysitting for our next door neighbor's son, Manny.  I was about 7-8 years old, and he was about 3, as I remember.  I would go over to their house in the afternoons, and "babysit" Manny ... which meant that I played games with him in his room while his Mom did housework or worked on projects, or just had a minute to take a breath for goodness sake.

It was a pretty cool job, since I never really had to make a decision - I was 7, remember, so that was a good thing - and I could always call Manny's Mom if things got out of control.  Manny was a good kid, and my memories are that we had lots of fun.

But the best part of was the amazing amount of cash that I was able to take home after a day (ok, 2-3 hours) of hard work (ok, play) at this great babysitting gig.  I was rich, I tell you!  Rich!!!   I received the astounding wage of 25 cents a day!  Fantastic wealth!  All mine! 

The Dynamic Duo gets an early start!

Ever have one of those days when what you thought was a good idea suddenly went terribly wrong???  That is exactly what happened to my sister Debbie and me on this one fateful day...

I was probably around 4 or 5 years old.  In that day (not all THAT long ago ... but a while) one kind of children's cold medicine on the market was called Triaminic.  It was orange flavored and very syrupy sweet.  To our young tastebuds, it was like Kool-aid or candy.  Nothing like the put-kids-to-sleep-so-they-can-rest-and-get-well medicine that it actually was.  Our Mama had given us Triaminic on occasion, but always in safe, kid-appropriate doses, of course.

Ok, so, I would love to blame this on Debbie, because that is always more fun, but in this case I will have to admit that I was the one who pushed the chair up to the counter and climbed up to the cabinet and got the Triaminic.  No child-proof caps in those days...I probably gave them all the reason they needed to show that they are a good idea with this one event.  We opened .... ok, ok .... I opened the bottle and took a taste.  In the "Adam and Eve" style of sharing a bad thing disguised as a good thing, Debbie, without questioning, had a taste as well.

I guess it was more than a taste (understatement!), because the next thing I remember is the arrival of the #1 Support System for our family. Namely:  Monnie!  See, what I didn't factor in to my fantastic plan was that Triaminic makes kids sleepy.  VERY sleepy.  And according to Mama's version of this story, both Debbie and I were falling asleep way too quickly to her liking, so she called Monnie!  And Monnie arrived in record time, with Syrup of Ipecac in hand. 

Now, if you are not familiar with the results of taking Syrup of Ipecac, you may want to google it to see the list of effects of this particular medication.  Let's just say that the Triaminic was removed from our systems in a rapid and unpleasant manner.  The story goes that Monnie was taking care of my Ipecac-induced needs in one bathroom, while Mama was doing the same for Debbie in the other bathroom. 

Thanks to the heroic efforts of Mama and Monnie (not the first or last of many heroic efforts, I might add...), both Debbie and I survived with no negative effects.  At least none that we can directly attribute to our stupidity on that particular day.  Now, our stupidity on other days...that's another subject altogether!!

So there it is, in my own words - the story behind why I hate to take medicine to this day!  I guess I'm afraid the Ipecac will show up again!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The History of Me

I have made the statement before ... "I don't remember my childhood".  And although I have thought that in the past, I have recently had several flashes of memories that, when they come back to me, are vivid and powerful, as if I am once again in that very moment.  I can see details, smell fragrances, feel textures of the memory. 

This is an amazing phenomenon to me, since I have always considered my sister, Debbie, to be the Memory Keeper in our family.  She can recall events that, when she mentions them, come back to me in varying levels of detail.  Sometimes I know exactly what she is talking about ... other times I just take her word for it.  But she knows every detail of every memory-moment.  So when I have flashes of my own memory, it is thrilling.  Even if the memory is sad or difficult, I still feel a certain amount of joy over recalling the memory at all.

So, I am using this blog to remember some of my most poingnant childhood memories.  For me, for my children, for the fun of it!

Which begs the question...
What is my earliest memory?  My first knowledge of being me, in my own unique place and time?   Admittedly, for most of us, many of our early memories are created from photographs and stories that are shared with us by the "grown ups" in our lives.   And although I cannot say that my thoughts are completely without influence from the grown ups and their stories, my search is for my first memories in my own mind.  Memories of every day things that wouldn't necessarily be captured in photos or stories.

My first memories of home....
As I rummage around in the attic of my childhood memories, one thing that comes to my mind over and over is the house that we lived in, when I was around five years old, on Norris Road in Huntsville, AL. At the time it felt like a huge mansion, but I know now that it was a reasonably sized house for the time.  Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, formal living room, den, dining area and kitchen together, attached garage. 

From the front door, you entered the living room, which was a long room with doors and either end.  The door to the right led to the den, dining area, kitchen, and another door out to the garage.  The door to the left led to a small foyer and the bedrooms/bathrooms from there.  My room was behind the living room, basically in the middle of the house.  Doors on either side of the room allowed a walkway from one end of the house to the other.  The bed that I slept on then is still in our family. 

I have so many good memories in this house.   So, I want to remember some of these here.  Like a trailer for the newest movie, here are some of the things I will remember and share soon...

The time Debbie and I got into the Triaminic!
The Easter chicks
My room, including my (still) favorite doll of all time
Babysitting for Manny
The time Teresa was hit by a car
And so much more!

And I can share it all.. In my own words! 

Saturday, November 20, 2010