Wednesday, August 29, 2012

People and Things

It's hard to keep the momentum going on the river stories since I'm all about getting Nick into bed in time for school.  I promise I'll do it, but I need to catch up on sleep first.  Summer vacation is over.  Nick's bus comes at 6:20 in the morning!  Did I complain about that yesterday?  Sorry.  I think I did.

Tonight, I went to Ben Franklin while Nick was at a karate lesson and bought 30 yards of parachute cord and buckles for those survival bracelets that are all the rage with school kids now.  I had thought that fad had come and gone, but I guess not.

I made twenty of them before Nick's birthday party to give out as party favors.  The kids grabbed them, quibbling over the color of the buckles.  That was funny.  So I had to go back to the store and get more supplies since Mike wants to make them when the Scouts go camping again in a couple of weeks.  The trouble is that I don't know how many kids to buy the parts for.  I just guessed.  I'll either have a bunch too much or I'll run out and Mike will send me out for more.  With car camping, I have become the designated runner.  I pick up stuff we forgot, stop by for things other campers forgot, get ice and snacks and muck boots and such.  The boys know me as the one who brings snacks.   I like that.  I'm hoping this fad of making the survival bracelets doesn't fade before we go on this trip.  Some of the fads fade pretty quickly.

When I was a kid, it was super balls and leather bracelets.  My brother made these braided leather bracelets that he sold.  Shoot, I made them and sold them too.   I wish I remembered how much he sold them for.  I have no clue now.  We jumped rope, but more to the songs we sang than the tricks the kids do these days.  There was a short run on yo-yos.  I had a glow-in-the-dark butterfly yo-yo that I loved.  I gave it away not long ago.  I'm not sure why.  Too much stuff, I guess.  CPO jackets were all the rage, and mini skirts.  Then, when I was a teenager, midi skirts showed up, things that went all the way past our knees.  It was positively revolutionary.  We played spin the bottle and fooled around with Ouija boards asking silly questions.  We made and walked on stilts.   Oooh, do any of you remember Transcendental Meditation?   I never did get my spirit to go around the world on that astral plane.  Bummer.  That would have been so cool.  I did get a jolt out of reading 'Johnathan Livingston Seagull' though.  That was my foundation in reincarnation.

My grandma used to tell me how much I reminded her of my grandpa's mother.  Our singing voices, our build, and even our diseases were the same she said.  That's weird.  The thing is that I can't quite imagine it, being my grandpa's mother. 

Oh, this is crap.  See, then I'm suddenly responsible for her mistakes.  Or do I have to work out the problems that she suffered? It's all too much for my tiny brain to assimilate. 

My sister called tonight about family business, but then we got to talking about our family tree. We have at least three family members who fought in the Revolutionary War and a couple from the Civil War.  That's wild to think about.  You know, when I think of all these people, nine generations back from my own, I try to think of how much has happened to me during my life.  Every single one of these people grew up, suffered trauma, got married, had children, experienced love and heartache, got sick, and eventually died.  The lives, even in my own family tree here in the United States, just pile up.  In nine generations, that's 512 people, 512 moving stories.  My sister told me about one woman whose husband died and because of the laws back then, she owned nothing.  She was arrested for stealing her own pots.  Can you imagine that?  I just want to know her name.  My sister's computer was broken, so she couldn't look it up for me.

There was another guy who owed money or a cow to George Washington.  That's kind of cool, but it's embarrassing too.  I wonder what fads they suffered back then.  When I watched the documentary about John Adams, I thought about how stupid those powdered wigs were.  Fashion has certainly improved, especially for women, though the studded pumps that have no heels are a step back in our progress toward comfortable and sensible clothing.  I wonder if the boys were all carving the same patterns at any particular time and place, if they were making the same type of snares.  Did they yearn for the same type of rifle or sword or dagger?  Nick and Adrian certainly do. 

Maybe kids of other eras had less time for the fads, but I'd guess it's always been there, the things people do to entertain themselves, the songs, the toys, the dolls, the games.  There is history in all of it.  There are stories there that are nearly lost.  Can you imagine if the only detail that existed about your life was that you were so destitute that you had to steal a couple of cooking pots that once belonged to you?  There is no love story left for this poor woman, no joy over a child who taught herself to read, no tales of childhood escapades, just that one detail that remained - you stole your own cooking pots. 

What would by my single detail? A couple of hundred years from now, I'll be boiled down to being born, getting married, bearing a son, and dying.  I'll be lucky if any other details remain.  All my stuff will be gone.  The story that remains will be in the children who are born of the children of the children of the children.  Hopefully.

Thank you for listening, jb

No comments:

Post a Comment