This is part 2 of Alona’s meme, When I Was Young, as presented as part of Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun weekly theme.
Q6: When you were young, do you remember what it was that you wanted to grow up to be?
I had two different dreams: teacher and singer. Later, I wanted to be a forest ranger. None of it happened. Though, I have tied teaching in with helping people learn how to research their family trees.
Q7. Did you have a favourite teacher at school?
Two teachers, Ms. Bos and Mr. Castleman.
I had Ms. Bos twice in elementary school. She was awesome. I was a shy child, but an excellent student. She nurtured me, let me do special things in the classroom because I always finished my work before everyone. She was the best.
Mr. Cast;eman was my favorite for different reasons. He joined the staff at my high school my freshman year. He was the Non-European History teacher. His class was different than any history class I’d ever taken before. We studied the Middle East and Asia. We did a lot of hands on stuff like painting Chinese characters and learning to meditate. It was interactive and I remember things from that class like no other. It is the only folder of classwork I saved from high school.
Q8. How did you get to school?
We went to elementary school outside our district, so we were bussed. The bus stop was across the street. We had a really nice woman as our bus driver.
Junior high was across the street, so I walked. The high school was down the street about 3 blocks. Mostly I walked, but sometimes I got lazy and hitched a ride with my sister on her way to work.
Q9 What games did playtime involve?
There were 5 of us and we entertained ourselves quite nicely. There were the typical board games like Monopoly, Life, and Aggravation. We also played Hide and Seek, Cowboys and Indians, Cops and Robbers, Red Light Green Light, Tag. We had some of our games. One was called “Where were you on the night of the murder?”. One person was detective and one of us was the murderer. The detective investigated each of us and had to guess who the murderer was.
Of course, we had 5 imaginations to work with. Sometimes we’d drape a blanket over the bunk beds, pretend the ground was the ocean, and the only way to get around was to climb across the dressers and leap to the bed. If you missed, you drowned.
Q10 Did you have a cubby house? (Taking Randy’s clue, i.e. club house or fort)
Did we ever! When I was 3 or 4, my Dad built us a life size play house. It had a double door (you could leave the top open). There were two windows in the front and one on the side that could be propped open with a stick. There was a wall of shelves. I played library and school in there regularly.
When I was about 8, my next oldest brother built a tree house in our apricot tree in the back. I helped him.
We had so much fun climbing up the tree and hanging out up there. My brother and I were close then and we still are now.
Q11. What was something you remember from an early family holiday?
My very first camping trip was at 4 years old. We went to Lake Pillsbury in California. It rained the whole time. When we got home, there wasn’t any rain.. I remember being amazed by the fact that it was raining there and not at home.
Q12. What is a memory from one of your childhood birthday’s or Christmas?
When I was 9 or 10, I got to pick out my very own bike. We went to Toys R Us and I fell in love with a green bike (no pink for me). It was called the Dill Pickle and my brother has not let me forget it ever since.
We didn’t have a lot of money but my parents made sure that birthdays were special. We got to have a party at the house or at the roller rink or bowling alley. We always got several presents. My Mom was really big on giving and she made sure that in addition to receiving we always had presents for our siblings.
Q13. What childhood injuries do you remember?
The tree house adventure was when I had my one and only serious (though not terribly) injury. That was when we both learned our first lesson about never leaving nails in boards laying around. I jumped out of the tree house to go inside for my bath and landed directly on a nail sticking out of a board. It went through the sole of my shoe and into my foot. Not to be deterred, I ripped it out of my foot and ran to the house leaving a trail of blood. I think I almost gave my Mom a heart attack that night. One of my funniest memories is the next day when my brother angrily said to me “You didn’t have to tell Mom!” She’s an observant woman. I am pretty sure she say the blood spots all over the kitchen floor.
Q14. What was your first pet?
A dog. She was a cocker spaniel, poodle mix. We named her Bubbles. She was black with a white chest and her hair was slightly curly. She had seizures, poor thing. My Mom tried to shield us from it, but I remember being about 9 when she had one while I was alone. Somewhere I learned to sit with her and keep her calm. She was the best. I don’t know how she survived all the love us 5 gave her.
Q15. Did your grandparents, or older relatives tell you stories of “when I was young ..?”
A little bit. Back when I was a kid, the kids were sent outside to stay out of the hair of the adults. I don’t remember a lot of time sitting with my grandparents or older relatives beyond the obligatory hellos and goodbyes.
As an aside, when I was in my late 20s I got interested in genealogy. I had one grandmother alive at the time. Sometimes she was willing to help, sometimes I would get an answer like “Who cares now? They’re all dead.” I cared Grandma. I cared a lot.
The 1960s…a great time to be a child and a time of great change in our world.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com