Daily Prompt: Childhood From a Different Era

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My sister and I in front of the piano.

I was born in 1951.  I was blessed that my parents were not able to maintain a household on their own back then.  It was also a curse but that’s a whole nother story that comes out in my book.  From the time I was born until about age five, we all lived with my divorced maternal grandmother and her widowed sister, my Aunt Ruth in a tiny bungalow in Detroit Michigan.

I am only addressing the memories I had with my Aunt Ruth who was born in 1899.  Obviously she was from a completely different era as well as coming from a good family was taught manners and etiquette that is not practiced by many today.  I am thankful that I learned this from her in my short time with her because most of my siblings did not have this privilege and they acted as such.

We were always reminded to act as a little lady or gentleman from both my aunt and grandmother.  This is how they were raised.  You always said please and thank you and the table was always set every night for dinner, not like the slap dash of busy families nowadays.  I remember the teas my aunt would sometimes have for my sister and myself, our grandmother and our other Aunt Lillian that lived nearby when she would visit.  This was after we moved out and my sister and I would spend weekends with them to lessen the load for my mother who had two more at home and was expecting her 5th child.  The three sisters loved to visit and leisurely sip their tea while eating finger sandwiches of cream cheese and watercress with the crusts cut off.  They would always have little cookies or slices of coffee cake that she spread with butter before eating.

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Auth Ruth with mom in the 1930’s

Then there were the songs accompanied by the piano or pump organ and my Aunt Ruth took my sister and I with her to Sunday School where she was the organist at Grand River Baptist Church, which was later moved from Detroit to Livonia of all places.  We never prayed much at home and I seldom saw any family members pray about anything except sometimes before a meal or that lovely bedtime one that includes the part of “dying before waking” which is always fun for a child to think about before you turn out the lights.  When I was old enough I would ask, “am I going to die?”  To which whoever was at the light quickly replied “No” and that was it.

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Aunt Ruth on the right with a friend around 1920

We played in the gardens in the yards and freely picked and ate any seasonal fruit on the trees or bushes.  I still can’t figure out why more people don’t grow edible plants in their yards anymore.  People liked their children to play outside in good weather.  If it rained or snowed there was sewing projects or coloring.  Sometimes we just sang songs.

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Aunt Ruth far left standing with my mom and other relatives. My Aunt Lillian on far right standing.

Thank God there was not the bad influence that is the modern entertainment industry.  It’s like the devil himself has taken everything over.  I have a real problem with the violence and negative messages in most if not all movies and network television programming.  For many years I have called it “hellywood” and “hellivision” rightly so.  We are all little computers so garbage in means garbage out and then when people imitate the car chase they saw a hundred times from a Prius commercial everyone says “why did this happen” on the same network that let them air the bad influence.  Yeah, not very bright.

Daily Prompt: Imaginary Friend

TA – DA!

That was the name of my imaginary friend.  And she was a legend in her time.

EVERYONE talked about Tada, my friends and family and sometimes even strangers asked me if she existed.  They just wanted to see what I would say so they could laugh at me I guess.

I never really ever had an imaginary friend like some do, but her existence began at a very young age as a defense against my mother’s sarcastic wit.  I was forever trying to perform and my acts were always accompanied by me yelling “Ta-da,” very dramatically.  One day my mother quips up “Tada, who’s Tada?”  To which I answered “she’s my friend.”  Then I had to describe her as I threw out answers off the top of my three-year-old head in response to my mother who was barraging me with questions, thinking she was funny.  I remember being angry with her sarcasm so I kept it up as long as she did.  A trait I had to continue to this very day in my relationship with her.

Later on my younger sister would ask me about Tada and I would tell all kinds of funny or strange stories to keep her amused and laughing.  She would tell others about it, our friends or kids she knew in school, but I didn’t.  Those were the strangers who asked about Tada that I mentioned earlier.

The death of Tada kind of suits this Halloween time some celebrate.

When I was about 11 I told everyone that Tada had sadly passed away and I was to have a funeral for her that afternoon in the local cemetery. Yeah, you heard right.  I was so sick of people asking me about her I finally had to kill her!  I took an old doll of mine that was really messed up anyway, and wrapped it in a shroud and went with my sister and some friends to that cemetery where I proceeded to desecrate the hallowed grounds by holding a mock funeral for dear little plastic Tada, whose existence served me well for about 8 years of my life.  I did it in the back some place and actually buried the doll and left it.

I sometimes imagine someone finding the body of Tada and thinking “WTF” as the kids say now.