Friday, April 1, 2011

Facing Your Fears #2


Lee’s mother was an incredibly brave woman, having left home at 14 to housekeep and baby sit for strangers in order to send wages home to her mother.Perhaps it was not so uncommon in those days.

Hardly the shrinking violet, she married Lee’s dad at 16.Life was hard, but she plunged ahead with courage. Still there was one thing she greatly feared: if she bore children in a hospital the hospital would somehow mix up the babies.So she chose to bear both kids in the bedroom at home. No one was going to switch her babies! If the weather in Berkeley in 1920 and 1925 was anything like today she would have needed all the doors and windows wide open, as I have just now.

Amazing. Its 80 degrees outside and our thirteen days of rain have dissolved into sliding hillsides, gigantic weeds, and pulsating pollen counts. Not only is it April Fools Day but today is the one year anniversary of my blog. It has been a joy, as well as a piece of learning. I encourage everyone I know to try it. As of two weeks ago I have my new 27” IMAC up and running, and I am even learning to use Skype. Thankful hugs to Sheila, Peggy, Beth, Cheari and Jan for all the tutoring.

I dedicated my first story last year to my life partner, Lee, who would have been 86 today (or perhaps tomorrow). Why the choice?When her brother died in his forties she choose to honor his memory by celebrating her own birth day on his birthday, thus giving her both April 1 and 2. I was touched by her gesture, though I failed to comprehend it, since the stories I heard of his behavior in childhood were not exactly to be cherished.Perhaps they were just big brother antics? I never knew what it was like to live with a brother. Things like throwing her china doll through the living room picture window were not unusual. Never having had either a big or little brother such things are out of my realm of understanding.

As I recall my big sister was forever kind and helpful, cooking me special treats, loaning me her doll, and patiently tutoring me in math, my worst subject.

I understand April Fools Day is celebrated all through the Western world but the exact origin is vague. For me in childhood I would begin calculating jokes to play on family members about the third week in March for there was a family tradition to see who would be the first in the morning to catch another in a tall tale. If the victim believed you the game would end with “Caught you!” I would rehearse stories in my mind so they would almost sound real, but end with a whopper of a fish tale. It was such a fun challenge that it tweaked my imagination and delight. And yes, I miss it.

Has anyone caught you in a trick today? If so I hope it was a whopper and produced generous laughter.

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