Green Corduroy and Jumping Castles

I’m turning fifty. FIF-TEE. FITTY. 5-O.

Of course there should be a big party. My twin and I have not had a party together since we were 12. Oh I remember, an all green outfit and the matching gold Schwinn bicycles. Yep, grass green corduroy pants and a matching grass green t-shirt with a white piping on the collar – like nothing that has ever been stylish – then or now.

And the bikes – full size adult bikes so we could grow in to them, were metallic gold in color. My twin and I have literal scars to show for our mastery of those bikes that were the wheels to our freedom around the mobile home park my parents owned at the time. My brother’s had the cool bar that went straight across to indicate it was a “boy’s” bike. Mine, no bar, it was a “girl’s” bike. The seats were so tall we have to use the tips of our shoes to pedal, to balance, to start.

My twin was a pretty scrawny 12 so I can picture it clear as a photograph. The pedals set exactly so with the right one in the up position. His right leg thrown over the bar to his knee and then bouncing on the tip toe of his left foot as he tried to get momentum, he would shift his weight over and put his foot on the right pedal long enough to be standing on the pedals to ride. That’s the thing, he had to stand to ride that bike for a while. That boy’s bike nearly ruined his budding man-ness a few times, but boy did we do a lot of mileage on those two gold bikes.

Fast forward many years…we’re turning fitty. The old dude refused to do a jumping castle birthday with me. I guess he’s too afraid to get hurt…go figure.

So, bocce it is. Reserved for the ancient and ailing, but surrounded by those we love, beer and great food. Happy 50th Birthday ol boy! You know I love you like a twin!



Christmas Memories from the Youngest in the Crowd

Forget the rain drops on roses, my favorite things about Christmas growing up surround memories of time with our family. I have certain memories etched like old polaroids in my mind and here are my favorites.

I remember my mom trying to get all eight of us coordinated for a Christmas photo she would use on homemade cards. Clever and unique, each one chronicled our life in a family of ten! The one I remember we each held a sign that had part of the greeting phrase on it. I was glad to hold “A” because it was in my name! Hate the haircut, but I was proud of my sign.

My siblings and I would go around our neighborhood in Southern California and sing carols to neighbor homes. I was sure we sounded as good as any singers on the radio!

My Grandmother Mae lived in town in Idaho Falls, she drove my twin and I home after one visit and she sang carols and Christmas songs the entire way home. George and I giggled at how her grandma voice wiggled when she sang and heard verses of Jolly Old Saint Nicholas we had no idea existed.

On Christmas morning, we kids would sneak down stairs and open our stockings and play until a “reasonable” hour and then we woke mom and dad up by singing to them from the bottom of the stairs.

Our last Christmas with all of us together was in Idaho. The house was full, two labs were there, mess everywhere but we were whole and together. As dad always did, he would hand out the gifts one by one and we would watch each be opened and then move on. He had his brown plaid bathrobe on and a Santa hat. Susan was visiting from CA and that was the last time we were with her. I remember thinking her pooka shell necklace was amazing.

And I will never, ever forget my brother Jeff who is no longer with us either. He gave me my first trainer bra for Christmas!! I nearly fainted from the mortification of opening it in front of the whole family, but it was so Jeff!

I love you siblings and mom and dad! Merry Christmas.