Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Waxing Nostalgic Part I

I was born in 1981 in Paris, Arkansas.  My mother and father divorced when I was tiny.  Before I turned 3, my mother had married my stepdad, who for all intents and purposes, is my dad.  We moved around a lot due to dad being in construction.  My twin brothers were born in 1984.  We lived in Oklahoma and Arkansas when I was young.  My schooling started in Oklahoma and then in 2nd grade I was going to school in Arkansas.  I went to two different school districts in Arkansas due to continuing to move a bit.  When we lived in Oklahoma, we lived in Choctaw and Clinton.  In Arkansas we lived in Morrison Bluff, Midway, and Subiaco.  My parents still live in the house we moved into in April 1992.

I remember meeting my real dad and his family when I was 8.  The Cates family is the family I am closest to now besides my immediate family and my husband's family.  Meeting my Granny Cates for the first time is such a stand out memory for me.  My Granny Cates was a beautiful part of my childhood that I would not trade for anything.  I loved spending weeks at her house. She was a wonderful, wonderful grandmother.  
My real father and maternal grandparents all passed away within a year of each other from the time I was 9 until I was 10.  I remember my mom's dad, my Papa Pridgin only somewhat.  I remember him sitting in his chair in his trailer watching tv (a lot of baseball!).  I remember him smoking and I remember having honey buns, hot dogs and cheese slices in his tiny kitchen!  I also remember him sitting outside under a tree in his lawnchair beside his picnic table.  I never really knew my mom's mom.  She lived in California all my life until she passed away. I only spent time with her when I was really young, once when we went out to California and once when she came to Oklahoma to visit us.  I only have the stories that mom has told me about her.  I only spent a few times with my real father as well.  I remember him smoking and drinking and listening to country music.  He was a painter by trade and he loved to fish.

As a child, I loved school.  It was a place where I excelled.  I loved learning and I absolutely loved reading.  I always made very good grades and received high praise from teachers. I always had a little circle of friends, but I was in no way part of the "in" crowd.  I also loved animals as a child and often dreamed of being a vet.  I quit that dream when I learned some of the things vets actually have to do.  Yikes!  I especially loved cats, and still do!  That is definitely something I shared in common with my mom and my Granny Cates. 

I also remember being in church all my life.  I am so thankful that my mother took us to church on a regular basis.  It has been the foundation of my life.  I can't remember a time when I didn't go to church.  I even remember being very young, 4 or 5, and being dedicated at a church.

I would say that I have lots of childhood memories, but things became more concrete around the time I was in 7th and 8th grades.  I was attending Scranton schools during this time.  This was a time of a lot of change for me.  I was becoming very involved in church.  I had a youth leader who was about 10 years older than me who took me under her wing.  She mentored me some and made sure I always had a ride to church. I'm very thankful that she was put in my life.  These years were years where I gained a foundation for my faith and learned a lot about God and the Bible.

Also during this time, my first boyfriend came along.  Don't we really wish we could go back and change things we did in our youth?  I had had "boyfriends" at school and guys I liked and sat by and sent notes to, but this was a bit different.  He was older.  He was experienced.  He was "in love" with me.  Oh boy.  Was it ever bad news.  Why I chose to be in a relationship with him I will never know.  Maybe the flattery?  Anyways, this was a rough time for me.  I had my first kiss, but I also did some things my parents did not approve of.  I don't mean sexually, just went places that I should not have and things like that.  Things got really bad for awhile.  I even went and stayed with my aunt Sue (my real father's sister) in Little Rock for part of the summer.  Finally, my mom had enough.  She decided that we would not continue going to that church since that is where I spent most of my time with my boyfriend.  Let me tell you, that move was probably one of the best moves that ever happened in my life.

to be continued....

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