Stories, Poems and Other Stuff...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

We moved to California when I was eight. My mom said it was to be closer to my dad who had moved there with his new family. I wanted to think she missed my dad, and was going there to get him back. Before that we were living in Des Moines Iowa.

I liked Des Moines. It had all that I had known to that point in my life.

I liked California also. I still do. I’m not too sure about Des Moines though.

We had visited my dad earlier that year. I did a lot that year. I flew in a jet for the first time in my life (something that I still get excited about). I went to Disneyland. This was when they still had ticketed rides, I had a few left over and saved them in a shoe box of important stuff (stuff that is important to eight year old boys). My brother, Andy and I rode our wagon down a 16% grade hill (at least it looked that steep), and survived! I also got to ride in the back of a red 74 Volkswagen Bug. I think it took us four days to get from Des Moines to Orange County, California. It was a fun ride for us kids. It was fun for our Siamese cat, at least he didn’t seem to mind it. I don’t think it was fun for my mom. I don’t know why?

When we got there we had no place to live. We stayed in a motel for two weeks while my mom looked for a place. What little stuff we had moved, was sitting in the moving company storage. Mom found a place in Stanton. The first night there we slept on the floor. On the next day, our furniture was delivered. Andy and I were disappointed to see that the guys delivering our stuff were different than the guys that loaded it in Des Moines. It wasn’t that we had become attached to them, or anything like that. We just wanted to see the fat guy with the plumber’s crack. At that age seeing a fat man’s butt crack peek out from his belt line is funny.

Come to think of it, at forty, it still is. I think I’ll call Andy and see if he still thinks it’s funny.

Somehow, I did not notice that my mom had sold our beds in Des Moines. We slept on the floor for about a year. Then we got mats.

We were camping. At least that is what my mom would tell us when we got discouraged, which wasn’t often. Discouragement usually came after visiting our friend’s, and seeing their bedrooms full of all sorts of stuff, including a bed.

One friend, Patrick, had a stool in his room that was made from a elephant foot. For one brief moment I wanted that stool instead of a bed.

Life seemed a lot simpler back then, and it was. We didn’t have much. We didn’t expect much. We had a few channels to chose from, so sitting around, watching TV was not that fun. We spent most of our time outside. We would run around our neighborhood, looking for things to do. Sometimes we would play baseball, ride bikes and skateboard. Sometimes we would throw dirt clods at each other. Sometimes we would go over to Eck’s house. Eck was around eighty. His face was full of deep lines, gray stubble and chewing tobacco spittle. Eck was a good guy. We would do things that I know had to aggravate him, but he never let on. The only time that he would raise his voice was when one of us would reach down to pick up one of the many discarded chewing tobacco plugs. I guess we thought that they were dark dirt clods.

It seems that life for kids is much harder. I remember that our parents used to say that things were easier for us when we were growing up. They were right. Kids are too serious now. I had to take the Gameboy from my kids because of the intense moods the games would create. Little kids are not supposed to have high blood pressure. I overheard other kids talking about designer clothes and the latest gadget they are going to get. I am constantly shocked when Chas and I try to buy clothes for our daughter. What ever happened to cute little outfits that covered the entire body? My nine year old does not need to expose her midriff to be cool. I just want my little girl to be a little girl.

The next time you go out to a mall or store, pay attention to the conversations between parents and children. Kids are not settling for second best or nothing. Advertisers know this too. They target the minds of kids. As a result, parents will give in just to quiet their screaming kids.

We recently got rid of cable, limited the video game play and started making the kids play outside. I look out the window to check on them. I noticed that they were using things that they found around the neighborhood to play with. Mostly sticks and rocks, but they were playing. Sticks and rocks are cheap.

I wonder if I can get away with selling their beds?

Peace and God Bless,

Chuck

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