I always liked the fact that I was born in Superior, Wisconsin. It was where my dad was born, and I suppose that could have been part of its charm, but I really think it just seemed exotic or romantic to me. I know that sounds funny, but there is so much history in the area, with a bit of mystery mixed in. The mystery comes from all the shipwrecks in Lake Superior, in my mind anyway. When I think of Lake Superior, my mind always wanders to the shipwrecks that have occurred there, and the fact that Lake Superior, while beautiful, has a dark and dangerous side for any ship caught out on her in a storm…especially a November gale, and especially an early November gale, such as in 1975. When the Edmond Fitzgerald was caught out there in an early gale on November 10th, she sank with all hands lost because it. I remember my Uncle Bill telling me about that storm, years later, and the fact that he was driving around the lake at the time of the sinking. He told me that it was a horrific storm, and he was not surprised to hear of the loss of a ship.
Of course, the shipwrecks are not the only things I find to be exotic and romantic about the Lake Superior area. The fact that ships come into the Duluth-Superior Harbor from all over the world and that things that are shipped out of that harbor go all over the world, makes it feel more connected to the world somehow. My cousin, Pam’s husband, Mike Wendling, who worked for the railroad for many years, before retiring, told us that the trains would bring in coal from Gillette, Wyoming and Montana. It is strange to think that the coal we see in railroad cars here is headed for an ore boat on Lake Superior…and then places all over the world.
When I look at some of the pictures of me as a baby, I almost feel a bit like I missed out on some parts of my own babyhood. My sister, Cheryl remembers living there, playing with our cousin, Pam and the neighbor kids…including the last name of her favorites, the Lawlers. I don’t remember them. I was too young. With movies and pictures, I have been able to get a picture in my mind of what my life there must have been like. Most of it was likely spent being a third wheel to my sister and cousin, but it doesn’t look like they minded me too much. I was probably too little to be very bratty then. There were also trips to the lake with the family, which I didn’t know about really until my cousin, Pam produced a picture in her baby album during our visit. It was such a great family moment, at the lake when the smelt were running. Smelt are a type of fish who, like the salmon swim against the current to lay their eggs. People went out and gathered lots of them. It was a big deal on the lake.
I probably get most of my memories of Superior, Wisconsin from our many visits back there when we were kids. Even then, I felt like it was a special thing to be born there. Maybe it was just about not being born in Casper, Wyoming. Don’t get me wrong, I love Casper, but when you are born somewhere other than the place you grew up, it just has a different feel. I’m sure most smaller city or small town kids think that their little corner of the world it the most dull and boring place ever. It tends to make any other place take on an exotic feel. Nevertheless, I will always feel like there is something exotic and romantic about being born on the tip of Lake Superior.
When I think of my niece, Chantel’s husband, Dave Balcerzak, I am always reminded of how suited they are to each other. Chantel has told me that she liked Dave when they were kids, and had planned to marry him then, but you never know how things will turn out from the childhood years to the adult years. I’m sure that everyone, and even Chantel thought that was simply a childhood idea, as she grew up. Children, or even teenagers, rarely marry someone they knew as a child. Our ideas of the perfect mate change so much. Nevertheless, Chantel never forgot Dave, and after her divorce, she ran into Dave again, and the romance was rekindled. The rest, as they say, is history.
Dave has been such a great addition to our family. He is a loving dad to his children and to Chantel’s. He has a great sense of humor and keeps laughter in their home. Dave is a whiz with computer repairs, which is great to have in the family. With his talent, a computer can last a lot longer than it normally would have. He can even rebuild them completely…which he often does free of charge for people in need. That makes him a hero, in my book, and to those he has helped. These days, it can be a real handicap to have no computer in the family. They have become a necessary item.
I find it strange to think that Dave and Chantel liked each other as kids, and then…years later, they found each other again and got together. That is the stuff that romance books are made of, but you never expect it to happen in real life. I suppose it does sometimes, but it still feels unlikely to me. Most people can barely remember the kids they went to grade school with, but these two not only remembered each other, but still had feelings for each other. I wonder where their lives would have taken them, had they not reconnected. I suppose they would have survived, but would they have been as happy as they are now? I very much doubt it. They make a good team, and they are both just exactly what the other needed. Today is Dave’s birthday. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Sisters are a unique beings. They can fight, literally like cats and dogs, and everyone would do well to stay out of the way. Still, your sister is always your sister, and you love her no matter what. During some of those peaceful times, when you are getting along, many sisters find that they are able to have some of the most memorable and wonderful times of their lives. It’s in those times that you find yourself sharing your secrets with your sister, because she will always understand what you are going through. In fact, nobody cares more about what you are going through than your sister.
I have always loved those pictures with two little girls, sitting there with their heads together, whispering their secrets to each other. You know they are talking about some little boy that they really like, or even possibly about how funny someone looked in their ridiculous outfit today…I know, gossip. We can think we don’t like gossip all we want to, but the reality is that most of us like to hear the latest gossip. We want to know if that guy in school is about to break up with his girlfriend and hopefully that he likes us. It’s funny how many grade school romances took three or four people to get them off the ground. A friend knows a boy their friend likes, and the friend asks if he said anything about them. Or a friend has to tell that guy that their friend likes him, because obviously he is not observant enough to see those looks she keeps shooting his way…or at least that is the way it seems.
Our quest for secrets often starts as little kids, but it carries on into adulthood. We all seem to want to be the first and only one to know about something exciting. Secrets make us feel important. To be esteemed important enough to know someone’s secrets, is a place of value indeed, and it’s a place we want to be. Of course, to be in that place, we must be able to keep a secret. In the area of gossip, that is a rather odd thing, because someone had to tell the secret first in order for it to be gossip, so I guess that if we are to be a good secret keeper, we will have to put ourselves in a place of not being a gossip. Of course, in the area of keeping secrets, your sister can be a good one for that, because she must remember those cat and dog fights, and might not want to repeat them for not keeping the secret.
As a kid, I remember that when my parents were kissing and we were around to see it, my sisters and I always chanted, “Mommy and Daddy are kissing! Mommy and Daddy are kissing!” It was just a fun way of teasing them…not that it bothered them any. They loved having us chanting and teasing them. I suppose that in some families, there is less demonsterative behaviour, but in our house, hugging and kissing was the norm…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Kids, for generations, have felt many different things when it comes to romance. They might be laughing about a couple kissing, because they are a little embarrassed, or it could be because they are sure that one of the people kissing are going to end up with cooties, which one depends on whether the watcher is a girl or a boy. Of course, they will outgrow those feelings and they they will be the ones being laughed at, teased, and watched. It is just the nature of the romance business.
And for as long as kids have been making fun of couples in love, people have been trying to capture those moments in one way or another…whether it be on canvas or on film. And for equally as long, those couples have been chasing, yelling at, and telling on the offending youngsters, begging their parents to intervene, and save them from the horrible humiliation of their younger siblings and their friends. Of course, most of their parents just don’t take the matter a seriously as the romantic couple would like…mostly because they have been there and the understand that a little teasing really isn’t the end of the world their children believe it to be. They also understand that in a few years the tables will turn and it will be that younger sibling who will be right there telling on another younger sibling…or possibly that older sibling getting even with them…something older siblings aren’t above either.
As the time for the school dances arrives again, I am reminded of my oldest daughter, Corrie and her husband, Kevin, and the dances they went to. They fell in love when Corrie was just 15 years old, and one of their favorite things to do was to go to the Co-Ed Ball and Prom. They went to both of them each year from the time the began dating until Corrie graduated. They were like Cinderella and Prince Charming. Theirs was a fairytale romance…love at first site. My beautiful little girl was becoming a beautiful young lady. She looked so pretty.
The pictures done, they headed out to their romantic evening, with eyes only for each other. Love blossomed at those dances, as well as their other dates, but it is always those special evenings that stand out in your memory. The dance committees had created an evening of moments with balloons, crepe paper, cardboard, and spray paint. An evening to remember.
With each new year and each new dance, they grew and changed…blossomed really. I remember that I was always so proud of the handsome couple they made. But, along with that thought was the little feeling of sadness that my little girl was growing up so fast. You know the one. That feeling that you suddenly want to put on the brakes and slow down time, but you know that you can’t. So you smile and wipe away a tear or two, and send them on their way to their evening to remember.
Every year these dances come around, and a new set of students head out, all dolled up. A new group of parents think back to the day their child was born and wonder how it could be possible that they are already heading out for their high school prom, or other such dance, and wish they could turn back the clock, so that their little one could still be their little one.
When we are young, we think that life is a long time. We wonder when we will get to be the grown up one, heading out on that special date, and before we know it..we are already sending our own children out on an evening to remember.
Every Thursday night, I go over to my Mom’s house to spend the evening with my Mom and sister. Sometimes, like last night we are joined by Cheryl’s daughter Liz. I originally started spending Thursday evenings over there, and many other nights too, when my Dad got sick. After Dad went to live in Heaven, I continued going over on Thursday nights to spend time with Mom and Cheryl. Bob bowls on Thursday nights, so it was just us girls. We have dinner and watch television, or a movie. It’s just our time together.
Now anyone who knows me very well, knows that I like cop shows, you know the good old blood and guts stuff, but Mom and Cheryl don’t go in for that stuff, so the choices in movies are, shall we say…much more tame that my first choice. We watch things like “Kate and Leopold” or “Letters to Juliette”. You know, the basic chick flick. Now at first, I found myself dozing off, but at some point, I started really watching some of the chick flicks, and decided that some of them are pretty good. It’s not that I’m not a romantic, it’s just that I had never really gotten into some of those shows much. I have to say, that it has open up a different world for me…the world of the chick flick.
I still very much like my cop shows, and that is the kind of shows Bob likes too, so I think it has always been a source of relief to him that he didn’t have to watch too many “chick flick” movies. And when we do watch television, we usually watch shows like CSI, Bones, and Criminal Minds; or movies like Red, Die Hard, and Terminator. And that is usually what I prefer, but on Thursday nights, I go over to my Mom’s house, and we three girls sit down to take that all important dose of the medicine called the “chick flick”.