Looking for an Old Friend

I was at home yesterday, doing little of nothing online and on Facebook, looking at some old messages. I happen to glance up at the top of the list and I saw ‘other (4),’ which told me there was a file there with 4 messages in it. So I said hmmm, and clicked on the tab. What I saw about knocked me outta my chair.

It was a message from an old friend from high school. One I had not heard hide nor hair of since 1981. See, we were really good friends all through high school and about the time the friendship took a turn for the better, he graduated and joined the navy. He was a year ahead of me so I had to stay behind to finish school. We kept in touch some, as much as you could back in the day. A letter here and there… yeah, you know, a letter, hand written… on paper!! A phone call now and then. He came home in 1981 for his grandfather’s funeral. After that, I never saw him again. I’ve thought about him often over the years, always wondering what became of him. I had no way of knowing he had spent all this time in the Navy.

Well, the message on Facebook started with ‘I don’t know if you remember me…’ Oh my gosh, remember him??? If he only knew. He went on to tell me he had finished with his navy career and had moved to a place near Houston. He said he just wanted to say hello for old times sake.

I have spent the last two days looking for him. Naturally, the first thing I tried to do was reply to the message. That didn’t work so I searched for his profile on Facebook. Seems he deleted that. I looked in the white pages, I searched county records online, mylife.com and every free site that came up when I googled ‘how to find someone.’ I found that he had made a profile on classmates.com. On that site it tells you when someone joins including the time of day. I saw he had joined and logged in and has never been back. I couldn’t help but wonder if he was looking for me. I logged in to the new Myspace to no avail. I even tried looking for a naval database, nothing there either.

I have reached the point of total exasperation. I hope he didn’t think that my lack of response was lack of interest.

In all the records I searched, I found no previous address, no phone records, no arrest records, no property deeds…nothing. Absolutely nothing. Like he doesn’t exist. This brought to mind ‘navy career… navy seal… ‘ hmmm. Interesting. Elusive!

I hope someday soon he decides to look me up again, I’ll certainly be more aware of my messages from now on! Image

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Grandma’s Attic

On a winter night in 1970 my family awoke to the smell of smoke and fire in the living room of our home. I was only seven years old so I was pretty scared when Mom came and scooped me up from my bed and ran outside. We lived in Massachusetts at the time so, needless to say, it was very cold out. I remember going across the street to my best friend’s house while the firetrucks came. We learned later that the cause of the fire was a faulty furnace. Everybody was okay and the house didn’t burn down, but it burnt just enough to make the house uninhabitable.

After packing up all of our stuff and putting some things in storage, we moved to my Grandfather’s house in another town. He lived in a three story duplex with plenty of room for me, my older sister, Mom & my step-father. When you first entered the house there was a hall way that led back to the kitchen. The living room and dining room were on the left of the hall way and the stairs leading up were to the right. I remember running through the house, down the hall, through the kitchen and on through the other downstairs rooms. Around and around we would go, running until we were out of breath and we would flop down into the closest comfy chair. Grampy didn’t care that we ran through the house as long as we didn’t break anything. Of course, when we moved in and Mom brought rules with her, we weren’t allowed to run in the house anymore. That was okay though, we made up for it outside, up and down the sidewalks in the neighborhood.

The second story of Grampy’s house consisted of a few bedrooms and a couple of bathrooms. The staircase going up to the second floor was pretty average I suppose, with a carved handrail and pictures hanging to the side. In the bathroom was a huge claw foot tub that seemed to be the size of a swimming pool. When I was older and saw a claw foot tub for the first time since I was a child, I realized that the tub wasn’t so big after all, I was just little bitty!

While the lower staircase was pretty average, the upper staircase going up to the attic was a different apple altogether. To a seven year old girl, it was down right scary! To access the stairway, you had to open a creaky door at the bottom of the stairs. Inside the door was a light switch to the one lone bulb that lit the way up to the attic. The staircase itself was narrow and dark and enclosed on both sides by the walls to other rooms. There was just the one bulb to light the way and we always had to close the door, that was Grampy’s rule. At the top of the stairs was a switch to the main light in the attic, but even that was just a single bulb. Climbing the stairs to the attic was pure torture for my sister and I. She always went up first though because she was the big sister.

We hated those stairs to the attic, but we climbed them several times every day. “Why?” you ask? Because of the treasures that awaited us in the attic. Treasures left there by our Nana, who had passed away a few years earlier. There were trunks, boxes and suitcases stuffed with Nana’s old clothes. There was jewelry and shoes and hats. Everything she had from her teenage years and through her 20s and 30s was there in that attic for two little girls to play dress up with. We would play for hours, imagining we were Nana as a teenager, trying to act ‘sophisticated’ or pretending to have a crush on a boy. We would dress up in fancy dresses and high heels and play school. Sometimes Mom would make sandwiches or cupcakes and we would have a party, all the while dressed up in Nana’s beautiful clothing.

Those were special times back then. The world was nicer and more simple, but then, isn’t it always that way for a child? Nana and Grampy are both gone now, so is Mom. My sister lives clear across the country and I haven’t seen her since 1997, but we do keep in touch. This story is one of my fondest memories of growing up and still brings a few tears even after decades have passed. I hope Nana’s hanging on to some of those dresses so I can borrow one someday!


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How I Met a Life-Long Friend

Years ago I had lived in a small town for about a year. My youngest was in 2nd grade. I had made a number of friends, mostly the moms whose kids were in the same grade as mine. I was in need of a job and a friend, whom I will call Velma, helped me get a position at the place she worked. I was so grateful!

Velma had a child in school with mine. The kids were really good friends and Velma and I had become good friends too. She was always nice and friendly to everyone. She seemed to be very down-to-earth.

On my first day at work, Velma, who had been on her job for several years, took me around and introduced me to many of her co-workers. Velma did something that day that I didn’t realize she had done until several years later. As she was introducing each person to me, she would say something about each one.

For example, when she introduced me to some ladies on break, she told me they were lazy and sat on their butts all the time. We continued around through several more introductions, with a comment to go with each one. I don’t remember all the people or all of the comments, but I do remember one very important one.

Velma introduced me to Jean (fictional name) and commented “She’s a real bitch and she’ll stab you in the back in a heartbeat.” I remember thanking Velma for giving me the heads up on everything.

I only stayed at the job about a year. But I took with me one very important lesson: “the guilty dog barks first.”

You see, Velma had a lot of pull at her job because of her length of employment. She used this to her advantage by telling lies about people to get them in trouble. This kept her in the good graces of the superiors. Velma lied about me several times to those superiors and I ended up quitting when I was confronted with one of Velma’s lies.

I couldn’t prove what Velma had done, and for the kid’s sake, I continued to associate with her, but did so without trust. I noticed over time that she had very low self-esteem. She would say something ugly about almost everyone. If she noticed a slim young female in high heels who was totally gorgeous, she would comment about the ugliness of her hair or the color of her outfit.

I use to tan and with my complexion and use of the correct products, I tanned brown, not orange. But without fail, Velma commented to a friend of mine “she looks ridiculous, her tan is orange.” I felt bad for her. To have such low self-esteem that she had to bring others down to the level she felt she was on.

Another thing I took away from this job was a life-long friend. I met Jean in 1998 and she quickly became a true friend. We’ve had our ups and downs, as no relationship is perfect, but those ups and downs have turned our friendship into one that is unbreakable.

I moved away from that small town in 2009 and I don’t get to see Jean so much anymore. But we keep in touch on FaceBook, we talk on the phone and text often. Thinking about her now, I do believe its time to get together again. Image

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Finish the Sentence Friday

Welcome to Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF #4), where we give you a sentence and you finish it (however long or short you’d like). Write a post and link it up, or if you don’t blog, feel free to finish the sentence in the comments for everyone to see.

Please Follow Your Hosts:

Janine @ Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic

Kate @ Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine with My Morning Quiet Time

And, your co-hosts:

Stephanie @ Mommy, For Real

Dawn @ Dawn’s Disaster

The sentence for this week:

“When I was younger I tried…”

When I was younger I tried to be a jockey. Seriously. I always had horses growing up. The first one was Sugar, and she was the sweetest thing. I was 7 years old when mom bought her for me. She stayed in a pasture near our house but there was no barn, so when it was cold, we would keep her in our garage! I had her for a few years.

My next horse was Sinbad, and he was so bad! He would kick and bite… he was just plain mean! I never rode him and I didn’t have him very long.

In high school, I had a horse with a very long ‘official’ name, which I do remember, but for the life of me, I can’t remember his ‘everyday’ name! I had him 3 or 4 years.

During my junior high and high school years, there was a place down the road from where I lived that had horses. Some were racehorses; some were show horses. I worked for the stable for a while, cleaning out stalls and grooming horses.

The biggest horse they had was a thouroughbred-quarterhorse mix.  His nickname was Clyde and he hated people. So, I made it my mission to become his best friend. It took a while, but after a few months, he was tame and I was able to ride him. No one else who worked at the stable would have anything to do with him, but he loved me and followed me like a puppy.

I was even allowed to take him down the road to show my mom what I had accomplished. My employer insisted I have a chaperone for the ride though, just in case something happened. The chaperone was a 19-year-old cowboy named Clint, but that’s another story!

I never did get to ride any of the racehorses and Clyde was way to heavy to race. But he was my buddy and I got to ride him often, so I was a happy camper.

So yeah, I tried to be a jockey but it didn’t work out. But it is a great memory. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the owner of the place looked just like Conway Twitty… no joke!!

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Grand Kids

Grand Kids

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Your Story Starts at Home

I got a little behind in my writing and missed a few of my writing prompts. So I decided to bundle them all into one blog and see what I can come up with! Please enjoy!

These are the prompts I’ll be working with today. I’ll use them in random order.

  1. Feed the beast
  2. Home is where your story begins
  3. The conversaion in the kitchen
  4. Pizza, Mexican, chinese
  5. Taking the dogs along
  6. Been waiting my whole life

Where is home? For me, home is in Texas near a beautiful lake. It doesn’t matter where you live. Home can be anywhere, with anybody. My home is small and peaceful, quaint I suppose you could say. It’s full of old stuff and new stuff. When the grandkids are here, it full of noise and laughter. Home is where the heart is, home is where your story begins.

Sometimes we can’t decide if we want pizza, mexican or chinese for dinner, but it’s the conversation in the kitchen that really matters. It’s not the subject of that conversation or the topic that matters, just having the conversation is all that’s important.

We often overlook some things in life, like quality time with family. The simple things, like driving to the lake just to take pictures or going for a walk. Heaven forbid, don’t forget to take the dogs along! But before you go, feed the beast or they’ll eat every bug on the beach!

I’ve been waiting my whole life to be a writer. I didn’t even know I was waiting. But I’m on my way now and most of my stories start at home.

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My Daughter’s Dream

When she was little, she loved animals. She always said when she grew up, she wanted to be a veterinarian. She still loves animals, proof of that is here, if you care to read it! She always loved art, loved to draw and make stuff. She’s like me in that way, and like my mom too. In high school, she started taking graphic design classes. She was instantly hooked! She made excellent grades and the rest will be history… someday!

She’s 21 and in college now. She’s going for a BA in Graphic Design. The University she’s attending sponsors internships to quite a few companies. One of those companies is Warner Brother’s Record Company, in Los Angeles, California. Just in case you don’t know (Heaven forbid!) this is the company that holds a contract with Green Day, whose lead singer is Billie Joe Armstrong. Green Day has been around since the early 1990’s. They sing some songs you may have heard, like ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends,’ ’21 Guns’ and ‘Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).’

I do believe Billie Joe has achieved idol status to my daughter. No, I don’t mean American Idol status, I mean ‘she worships everything about the guy’ idol status. She knows his birthday, where he was born, eye color, his wife’s name, his kids’ names, when his songs were released….. get the point?

So back to Warner Brother’s Record Company. The company offers internships from a number of colleges and universities, and by some bit of fate, one of those universities is the one Katie is attending. So, we have a company that offers internships and a school that helps students obtain internships. Do you see something brewing here?

So, that’s her dream. To apply for the internship, get the internship to Warner Brother’s, go to California and work for Warner Bros. and eventually meet THE ONE AND ONLY Billie Joe Armstrong. That is her ultimate goal in life. In addition to that, she’ll have that lil ole college degree in a field where she can make $60,000 + a year. But who cares about that stuff if she gets to meet Billie Joe?

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