Sunday, March 2, 2008


Illustration by Stephen Gammell

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one." --Jane Howard

I grew up in a fun family. Five things I remember:
  1. Going to a college football game with my dad was a Saturday ritual. One afternoon the other team was ten points ahead and my dad was pretty disgusted. He decided we'd leave a couple of minutes before the game ended to beat the traffic. By the time we got to the car, and turned on the radio, our team had won! I can still picture Dad smacking his hands on the steering wheel as he moaned over and over. We never left early again.
  2. We went out for ice cream every Sunday after church, at a place right across the street from the chapel. Half the congregation was there. Going to the grocery store was "breaking the Sabbath" but somehow buying ice cream was allowed. I was fine with it.
  3. Ping pong contests were held in our big room (family room in the basement) accompanied by roast beef sandwiches soaked in melted butter. Everybody played. Dad won. Then we watched The Walt Disney Show on our color TV. Yeah...we were pretty cool.
  4. Dad played the piano while we all sang Show Me the Way to Go Home. The second time through, he always changed the words: "I'm fatigued and I want to retire..." instead of "I'm tired and I want to go to bed." We loved it! He sang another one I loved. "Last night I had a fight with Satan, as I lay half awake. He came right down by my bedside, and oh, how I did shake..." (There's a cute photo of Dad playing the piano somewhere. I'd love to have it.)
  5. Mom and Dad took Arthur Murray dance lessons and taught us how to do the swing. My brother and I whirled and twirled around the room when Dad played his fabulous rendition of In the Mood. Mom did some cute little dance from the '40's, where she shook her fingers in the air. Does anybody know what that dance was called? (Something like The Chickadee??)
I know I'm lucky. I think I even knew it then. There was a lot of laughing and teasing in my house, and I knew my parents loved each other and loved me. What could be better?

Do you have some childhood memories of your family life?


SaraLynn said...

My mom grew up in a small town, the youngest of five girls. I used to love going to the small town and visit my grandmother and great-aunts. We would have a HUGE meal, everyone helped in some way, even the kids. We would usually set the table or count out napkins. After dinner, we would gather around my great-aunt's piano. My mom would play for hours it seemed. We would sing old hymns. I still remember being flopped on the floor, watching all these women, who I thought hung the moon, sing with such emotion.

I haven't thought of that in a long time. You have yet again made me reach into my memory bank.
Thank you

Ashlee said...

My mom used to play 50s songs on the piano while us kids sat around and sang songs. Sometimes she's play primary songs. I just remember ALL of us did it. It was never planned. it just happened. Maybe that's why I love music so much.

kenju said...

You led a charmed life! I have some good memories too, and I have written about them, on my earlier blog.

Sheri said...

You make even simple things sound fun! Great memories, great post. Love it.

Holly said...

Beautiful memories.

My dad made homemade rootbeer and then we would make rootbeer floats. We went to a lot of Oakland A's baseball games and we always had hot dogs in the first inning and nachos in the 4th. We never left early!

mama jo said...

let's see,since we're from the same family..what do i remember that's different? i remember going to the hotel utah for dinner on sundays...i remember dad making the treats on sunday night...either leftovers or hot choc...i always thought that those were the right words to "show me"...singing with the family was a really fun, softball...they were so much's "lectures" they were always was a great family...guess we still are..