In my last chapter, I referred to my brave and loving mother, and many of you praised her in your comments. Thank you so much for doing that. I neglected to share that she passed away last year right before I had my first child, which is why my childhood stories I heard from her are all the more precious. I won't take time here, but if you would like to read a few other posts I wrote about Sue Benzing, please click on the "My Mom" label I have at the end of this post. I couldn't continue writing without putting my memories in their current context (does that make sense?).
You may not believe me, but one of my earliest memories is being in a crib, which is pretty darn early, because I got my first little sister Anna before I turned two, and I moved into a big girl bed so she could have the crib. I remember when Anna was born we went to visit my mom in the hospital. The memories are very vague, but I recall being in the elevator going to see her. My mom told me that when my brother Nathan and I were waiting for our baby to be born, my parents would say "it will be Anna or Nicholas", so when we left with Anna, we cried, wondering where Nicholas was. We thought we'd get both of them, I guess!
The next big event in my life was breaking my collarbone. I was sharing a room with my brother so Anna could have the nursery, and sleeping in a big girl twin bed. I remember that room so clearly! It had 1-2-3 curtains (which I'm certain my mom sewed) and gingham wallpaper and a hard wood floor (which is good for toys!). I fell out of my bed in the middle of the night (I was not quite two), and cried, of course, but calmed down and went back to sleep. The next day, my mother was dressing me, and I would cry when she moved my arm! Turns out my collarbone was broken! I guess that's what happens when babies fall out of their beds onto hard wood floors, haha!
When I was two, I got a riding toy in the shape of a shoe. Our driveway was at an incline (street at the top, garage at the bottom), so we would take our trikes, big wheels, or shoe, as it were, to the top of the driveway and would fly down the hill. The shoe did not have pedals, but it didn't need them! I could just pick up my feet and WHEEEEEEE! We must have spent hours a day running up and riding down. Same concept as sledding.
I sucked my thumb until I was four, and people often asked me what flavor it was. I thought it was SUCH a dumb question, but I came up with a response so they would leave me alone, and I would answer "chocolate". Similarly, I now tell people Susie's thumb tastes like strawberry when they say "does it taste good?" Side note -- my teeth stayed straight. . . so I have a hard time worrying about Susie sucking her thumb.
My mom made us a special birthday cake every year. I do not remember very many birthday presents, but I do remember what kind of cake we had. She made a yummy whipped cream frosting for a round 2 layer cake that looked thick and a mile tall to a small child. Sometimes the cake had a number candle, sometimes it had gumdrops decorating the top (or around the sides), I think it once had a plastic train for my brother's birthday, but the cake itself was the same shape and kind. And birthday parties meant my mom's whole family came over, and pretty much hyper play time was the order of the day. This first picture is of my 2nd birthday. Someone had given me gum, and I was quite enjoying the gum, but not sure how to blow out my candles with gum in my mouth! In a (soundless) home video, you see a hand reach out for me to put the gum in. HAHA! Classic!
Here is another birthday picture, this time, my third. You can see my sister Anna in the background being held up by her big brother! So funny! The other kids are my cousins Robbie and Rachel. I love how we (the big kids -- hee hee) are so dressed up, while poor baby Anna is already in her jammas! For whatever reason, I remember quite a few birthday celebrations taking place after church at our house. This cake was especially decorated with gumdroppy fruit slice candies!
One time on my birthday, I got to go to "Johnny's Toys" which was a local toy store in Cincinnati and pick out something from the birthday room. I think I may have been 4 or 5, but I can't remember. I do however, remember the TOWER of toys in that room, all wrapped in the same red and white striped wrapping paper. What to choose? You could only get one! The shelves seemed to groan with red and white packages, and I blindly chose . . . a clown doll. It was okay, but maybe not a girl's dream come true present!
|Gretchen age 5|
Those were my preschool years! Not a great deal of happenings, but that is how life goes, quite often. I remember a good number of golden days and fun at home with my parents and my siblings.