Friday, December 5, 2014

The Fabric of my Family

For some years, until David was in junior high and basketball began to interfere with vacations, we often spent a week or so at Terry's parents' cabin in Ruidoso, NM, during the summer. When I say cabin, I mean one that was built during the Depression by an uncle who needed a place to live.  One that has no running water.   I loved it.  Coal Miner's Daughter, Amish, are my preferred way of life. Or so I tell myself until something shiny catches my eye on Ebay.

A real honest-to-goodness log cabin.  Side view.  Terry and me by the front door on the right.

Looking at old pictures, I'm always struck by the clear remembrance of textures.  The first thing that comes to mind when I look at an old picture, even some from fifty years ago, is how the different items felt to the touch.  

 Occasionally, we left the relative safety of the cabin and camped, in an old Army tent, on Monjeau (a mountain).  This picture doesn't make clear how terrified I was all that night with nothing between us and a serial killer but a thick, musty-smelling, army drab colored tent. And, Terry's .45 which he carried tucked in his pants.

I'd just read A Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule - about Ted Bundy - and the most innocuous hiker seemed like a psychopath ready to make us headline news.

On this day, Micah and Terry climbed a huge outcropping of rocks with a dangerous drop and a spectacular view.  We normally did, too, but that year David and I stayed with our dog, Buster, at the bottom.   Terry took a picture of Micah standing with her head thrown back, eyes closed and arms spread wide.  She wrote a story about that day for a 4th or 5th grade assignment that Fall in which she poured all the feelings, that are evident on her face, onto the page.  I was going to add it to the blog, but pulled it out of a scrapbook and discovered it's six pages long.  It ends with "My dad and I stood up and together, hand in hand, and began the steep decline down The Rock.  I will never forget that wonderful moment." and her teacher's comment, "This is a masterful narrative, Micah.  What a wonderful talent you have!! A+ 100"

The Monk and Big Bunny, behind us on the bottom bunk, make frequent appearances in vacation pictures.  Travel light, we don't.

Some of my favorite memories of Ruidoso, and of my children's childhood, in general, are of reading aloud to Terry and the kids at night.  There's a Texas Library Assoc. list of recommended school age books called the Texas Bluebonnet Award list- they're all so great - though, sometimes, I thought, maybe kind of heavy and thought-provoking for children. We read them anyway. So good!  Oh, that reminds me of how much I loved school book fairs!  I wonder if elementary schools still have book fairs.  And, when I was in elementary school myself, how much I loved the Scholastic book order. Makes my heart pound just to think of it!

For Ruidoso, I chose titles like Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls and Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare, that fit the setting.  My reading aloud skills have disintegrated with disuse, but I used to be pretty good according to my audience.

This is David on what may've been his first trip to the cabin.  One of my favorite pictures of him - with his DD towel.  It was monogrammed with D's, the set a wedding gift, and David eventually pulled all the monogram threads out, leaving a rough, knobby section of material.  I still have that towel. Terry's parents were with us as evidenced by the dominoes on the table, an interrupted game of the West Texas staple, "Forty-Two." I love the simple furniture in the cabin.  Straight out of the 40's or 50's, I'd guess.

Micah, wearing the sweatshirt David is wearing in the picture, above, of him holding his towel (he called it a "tadder") in the kitchen.  We're sitting by Eagle Creek which is, I think, my favorite place to hike in Ruidoso.  That water is icy cold and the kids always stripped down to their underwear and played in it and loved for Terry to hold them upside down and dunk their heads in it.

A good friend from Norfolk visited me in San Francisco after I first got married.  At first, really, the main thing we had in common was that we'd shared a boyfriend, off and on.  But, we began to correspond after I moved away and became good friends and she came to stay with me.  In fact, she visited twice, the second time drove with us to Lubbock when we moved there from SF.  Anyway, she and I both bought the shirt I'm wearing in the above - me in red and her in blue - in SF.  It was the best shirt I've ever owned.  We recently got back in touch (through fb, naturally) and both talked about how soft and comfortable it was.

David, a picnic, a book, Oreos, and velour.  I still have his little tennis shoes, too, with holes in the toes from pushing himself and stopping himself on a little riding toy back home.

Monjeau lookout.  Don't judge me for that fanny pack.  I wish those things weren't pariahs now.  I'd love to wear one in Paris.  So handy.

Micah wearing more of David's hand-me-downs on the same Oreo picnic...  Though it's not my favorite very baby picture of her, it's one of my favorites of us together.  Easy to see why.

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