Well, no birthday will EVER be as fab as my 50th (they are still talking about it at Chatsworth's American Legion) but my 53rd birthday today was fine enough. We took the day "off " meaning in between chores we got away for a few hours.
I hauled the man up to Warrenville Illinois where I spent many of my grade school years, at St Irenes' School, after my reign in Chicago, and made him walk up and down the picturesque Ray Street. 28 W 617 Ray Street to be exact.
It was the first house my folks ever owned and after all of us being crammed in a dinky 3rd floor walk up in the city we felt like the Rockefeller's when my folks found this bungalow for a mere $16,000 in 1967. (It sold in 2009 for $229,000 !!) It had, now get this, a YARD! Not just a concrete pad but real grass. The previous owner also left all her books in the house as part of the sale AND tons of National Geographic Magazines. For months after we moved in, every meal was spent, for those of us old enough to read, with a fork in one hand and a National Geographic in the other. We spent hours pouring over tribes in Sandinista wearing skirts (only) with clashing purple and red flowers all in the name of education of course.
Standing there today, holding my husbands hand and looking at that house where my folks worked hard to raise 6 kids...my pea brain was flooded woth many many good memories. My dad, along with several other cool guys in town, started the first volunteer police department in Warrenville. He also made enough money for our mom to be home full time which made her happy.
We bought our first vehicle that year. Before that, in the city, we rode buses everywhere. It was a green Chevy Van. Apparently all the Blue Chevy Vans were already sold out. It was a time of Sunday meals at 2pm made up of pot roast, brown potatoes and glasses of Tang. My mother wore an apron all day to protect the dress she wore to Mass.
Summer evenings were spent catching Fireflies for 1cent each which our neighbor Gloria R. took to some scientist who was researching new lighting for the astronauts. Or perhaps she just set them all free after we went to bed. Didn't matter as long as we got our cash, man. The space program was very big then and I sat with my father on the floor of the living room in that house and watched the very first men walk on the moon. I can still feel his big hand wrapped around mine, smell the smoke from his Pall Malls, see the grainy balck and white picture on "the idiot box."
Miss you dad. Miss you mom. Thanks so much for giving me my very first birthday!!
|Photo taken last week by our daughter|
Raven Bowen. No piglets were harmed in the endeavor