While we were visiting many of our family members in Superior, Wisconsin and Duluth, Minnesota, our cousin, Bill Spencer surprised us with a copy of a slide show that he had put together for his family. We were so busy while we were there, that there was no time to take a look at the slide show. When I got home, I looked at it briefly, but nothing really in depth. Yesterday, I took another look…a longer look. I had no idea what a gold mine that slide show would turn out to be. As I watched it, I felt like I had been instantly transported back in time. It was so fun to look at those old shots of all of us as kids. It also felt just a little bit lonely when I looked at holiday pictures from the time right after we left Superior. Prior to that, we would have most likely been in some of those pictures, and I’m sure that my cousins would agree with me when I say that feels a little bit sad too.
Cheryl and Pam had always been good friends, and the younger kids naturally partnered with Bill and Jim. That could have left me feeling like a third wheel, but I got along just as well with the younger kids, so it worked out very well. The reality was that I thought the stuff the younger kids were doing was more fun most of the time anyway. Not to say that I wouldn’t have wanted to spend time with Cheryl and Pam, but I was a pretty active kid. and the rough housing that the younger kids and I did was quite appealing to me. In fact, I probably instigated much of it…if not all of it.
I was really into gymnastics, with tumbling being my favorite part of it. My sisters and I used to practice our tumbling on the front lawn, so it stood to reason that we would do that when our cousins were there too. We practiced things like cartwheels, hand springs, and touching our toes to our head…which turned out to be a little difficult for my cousin, Jimmy, try as he might. And believe me, his trying was pretty funny. I don’t know if he really thought that he could pull his legs up to his head with his hands, but believe me, you can’t do it. Either you are limber enough, or you aren’t. It’s as simple as that.
The younger kids would do their best to gang up on me, to prove their superiority…or maybe it was just the mere number of them against me, or maybe they had a little help from Aunt Doris. Whatever the case may be, sometimes I found myself out numbered. Of course, it was all in fun, and we had such a good time when they were here or we were there. Just looking at the picture of the dog pile makes me smile. All I can say, is that I’m glad I didn’t have all those kids on top of me. I would have been squished for sure!! What crazy, fun times those were.
Seeing my cousins this summer, took me back to those carefree days. Sometimes, you get used to being away from those you love, and you somehow don’t realize how much we miss those times, until we go back for a short time. Then, the memories flood back in. You talk for hours about all the old times, and you suddenly realize just how much you have missed those times. Nevertheless, time has marched on, and you can’t go back to when you were young. All you can do is try to keep the memories alive in your memory files, and pull them out once in a while so you can relive those moments. Those days are gone, but the memory lives on to remind you that those were the days, and they were great. Childhood is but a fleeting moment, but those days will always be a part of who we are.
It’s funny that when boys are babies and toddlers, they are so sweet. You just think they will be that way forever. Now, I’m not saying that they are bad…it’s just that it doesn’t take very long for their “boy-ness” to kick in, and when it does, they have to show everyone their new found abilities. It really is a bad time to be the only girl in the bunch, as my only granddaughter, Shai, often finds out. When those boys decide that it is “pick on Shai” day, she is in for it. Sometimes, it’s not too bad, but sometimes she almost needs to be rescued. The good news is that they are just playing, and I know that as they all get older, she won’t think that they are such total pests.
And just because Shai is the only granddaughter, doesn’t mean that she is the only “victim” the boys have, because their moms and even their grandma are fair game. It’s a good thing that I know that they are just kidding, because to be honest, I know that any one of those boys could take me. They are all bigger than I am, and stronger, so I am learning that it is a good thing that they have all learned respect for their elders. They just pick on me because…well they can and I don’t get mad. I guess that makes grandma a pushover, and I would have to say…probably so, because these boys, as well as my granddaughter, know that they really can’t do very much that is wrong in their grandma’s eyes. I’m pretty taken with them.
And it really doesn’t matter how old a boy gets, it would seem that they never really outgrow that “tough guy” persona. You put several teen aged boys together with their grandpa, and the next thing you know, you have a dog pile. Each one trying to prove that he is the strongest. It is the greatest test of “manhood” they have come across in their lives…at least so far, that is. I suppose it is a rite of passage to a degree. Men and boys proving their strength one to another…or maybe it’s the grandsons trying to prove to grandpa that if it’s 3 against 1, he will most likely lose the battle too, although, I’m not really sure who it was that lost this battle…I mean, how could you tell…really.