Week 2 – Memoir Questions and Our Responses

Here are this week’s questions, Remember that we’re moving up an age range.  If you are comfortable sharing your answers, you can add them to the comments below.  If you prefer to share privately, email either myself or Cee.  Our email addresses are below our memoirs.

Age:

Where did you live?  Describe your bedroom.

Who were the major players in your life?  Did you have a particularly influential teacher?

Did you try your hand at any new art forms in this period?

What new freedoms did you experience during this time?

What were you bored by?

Describe a smell you remember from this stage of your life.

Describe a close friend from this time – real or imaginary.

Describe a favorite treat from this period

Describe a location where you remember spending time.

What other memories occur to you from this period?

Chris’ Memoirs:

Email: Chris at chrisadonner@me.com.

Age:  6- 12

I lived in the same house I grew up in.  It was small.  Living room, kitchen, my parents’ room and a bedroom I shared with my younger brother.  We had bunk beds and I had to take the top one because they were afraid he’d fall out of the top bunk.  He fell out of the bottom bunk instead and hurt something I can’t remember what.  Arm, maybe?

What I hated about my bedroom is that I slept under a portrait of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, complete with blood dripping from his head wounds from the crown of thorns and from his heart.  If you’re old time Catholic you’ll understand.  It was gruesome and gave me nightmares.

Eventually my dad converted the attic into two bedrooms, one for me and my sister, the other for my two brothers.  That was much better, but still a little crowded.

I loved my teachers.  I went to catholic school, so I was basically raised by Benedictine nuns.

Art forms?  No, not that I remember.  I wasn’t particularly artsy as a child.

New freedoms?  The only freedom I experienced was in books.  I went so many places in books.  I had polio as a kid, so I couldn’t do a lot physically, and escaping into books was my salvation.  My mother would yell, “Put down the book and…”

Boredom?  School could be boring because I was smarter than my grade level.  The nuns did a good job of keeping me interested with new books to read.

A smell I remember?  Hospitals.  I spent a lot of time in hospitals and they had their own scent, just like they do now.

Close friend:  Mary Lou.  She lived down the street from me and was pretty much the only friend I was allowed to have.  I grew up in an abusive household and keeping secrets was critical to staying off my mother’s radar.  Lay low, keep quiet and avoid the dragon whenever possible.  It didn’t always work, but I tried.  We all grew up knowing that we should never bring friends home. Mary Lou and I didn’t have a lot in common.  Her parents were older and had had trouble conceiving her, so her mother doted on her.  She was dragged to ballet lessons, piano lessons, all that sort of thing.  At least we had each other to confide in.

Favorite treat:  Bit-o-honey bars and Boyer’s Mallow Cups and peanut butter Smoothies.

Location where I spent time:  school until suppertime every day.  The woods around my grandfather’s house when I was staying with him.

Cee’s Memoirs:

Email: Cee at ceeneuner@me.com.

Age 6-10

Where did you live?  Describe your bedroom.  For the most part I lived in Tofte, Minnesota in the US Forest Service Ranger Station. It had 4 houses and the town of Tofte only had 200 people.  I lived there until I was 9 years old.  I lived in River Grove, Illinois (suburb of Chicago) for 6 weeks (November and December 1969). Then moved to Oxnard, California for ages 9 and 10.  I remember my bedroom in California, my mom bought ugly yellow floral bedspreads for both me and my sister.  We shared a room.  There was just enough room for 2 twin beds and 2 chest of drawers and a record player.

Who were the major players in your life?  Did you have a particularly influential teacher?  My parents and sister were my major players.  My dad had what we called a “mental break” and quit the Forest Service.  He took our trailer and left us at his parent’s house in River Grove and he finally settled in Southern California and brought us there.  My parents began to fight a lot.  My 1st and second grade teacher I remember quite fondly.

Did you try your hand at any new art forms in this period?  None of my schools did any particular kind of art work.  So not really.

What new freedoms did you experience during this time?  I felt like my freedom was taken away.  My sister and I had a lot of freedom in Minnesota because of the woods and lack of people.  In Oxnard, we lived in a building that had 4 apartments.

What were you bored by?  I don’t remember being particularly bored.  I do remember feeling like a loner though.

Describe a smell you remember from this stage of your life. My sense of smell must not be very important to me, because I don’t remember any type of smell.

Describe a close friend from this time – real or imaginary.  In Oxnard, I met a girl named Kathy Creager.  She lived fairly close to me when I first moved there.  Her dad was in the Navy and they were stationed there.  He was a medic in Vietnam.  We were friends for years, even though she only lived in the area for maybe 2 years.  Her dad got transferred to Washington, D.C. and I visited her once I graduated.  So we stayed in touch for a lot of years.

Describe a favorite treat from this period. In Minnesota, after church we’d stop and eat breakfast out and I could get a Three Musketeer bar.  Once in California we didn’t get treats often because we were extremely poor.  I used my “allowance” money and my sister and I would buy treats for ourselves.

Describe a location where you remember spending time.  In Minnesota it was outside in the yard or woods. In California, it was spending time with Kathy at her house.

What other memories occur to you from this period?  We took a trip around Lake Superior and by the end of trip my parents were fighting.  They threw a lot of the camping stuff in the fire out of anger.  At age 6 or so, I was attacked by bees and had a ton of stings.  Actually, my sister and another group of kids were there.  I had the most stings but my sister only had one.   I also remember getting dressed in the middle of the night for school in Minnesota (first hints of my father sexually abusing me).

10 Comments

  1. Ages 5-8

    Where did you live? Describe your bedroom.
    Maybe Alief – my parents divorced sometime in this period – a relief from fighting but a new stepdad entered. We were never close. I don’t remember my room except for the twin bed. My brother’s room, however, was gray and yellow. I remember being impressed with my moms decorating skills.

    Who were the major players in your life? Did you have a particularly influential teacher?
    I don’t remember school or any other adults outside of my parents. My biological dad pretty much dropped the ball on us kids – never showing up when he said he would. My mom hated him and made it abundantly clear – I remember being conflicted with my loyalty to each of them. This is also the period (I was 8 or 9) when he passed away – an alcohol-fueled accident.

    Did you try your hand at any new art forms in this period?
    I do remember being quite the storyteller inside my head.

    What new freedoms did you experience during this time?
    I grew up in the 70s so was a latchkey kid – I had from 3p to 6ish all to myself from early elementary.

    What were you bored by?
    I don’t remember being bored

    Describe a smell you remember from this stage of your life.
    No smells

    Describe a close friend from this time – real or imaginary.
    I can’t remember names but I do remember the barbie dolls lol – I remember feeling that she had what I wanted…from her family to her dolls. The “not-enough” began during this period

    Describe a favorite treat from this period
    Sugar lol – straight up sugar on those adult-less afternoons. Still struggle with it today.

    Describe a location where you remember spending time.
    We lived on a cul-de-sac – with our barbies or at the park right down the street – again, lots of physical freedom

    What other memories occur to you from this period?
    My cat had kittens – one of the few fond memories of my stepdad helping her deliver and setting up a bed.
    Watching cartoons on Saturday morning
    Going to bed at 7:30 when it was still light outside
    Sunday night tv – C.H.I.P.S.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was much like you. I didn’t really have other influential people in my life other than my parents. I can understand some of what you went through. I had to laugh at C.H.I.P.S. being your Sunday night TV show. I’m a little older and it would have been Wonderful World of Disney for me. I was living in Southern California when C.H.I.P.S. was on, so yes it was a favorite show of mine too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Memoir, Week Two

    Ages 5 ½ – 11

    1. Where did you live? Describe your bedroom.
    I still lived in Gainesville, Georgia although the town changed all of the street addresses at some point, and our house number changed. I shared a bedroom with my younger sister until I was in 5th grade. I only remember that we had twin beds, and each bed had a headboard with a storage compartment/bookshelf in it. When I was in 5th grade my grandfather had a major stroke while vacationing in Arizona, my parents flew out there and were gone for several weeks, and family friends moved their entire family into our house. The friends’ daughter and I shared a bedroom in our basement (we had a finished basement). When my parents returned, I stayed in the basement, and my mom redid the upstairs bedroom with a canopy bed for my sister. I got all new furniture in my basement room and new curtains with very modern-looking fuchsia-colored flowers on them.

    2. Who were the major players in your life? Did you have a particularly influential teacher?
    My grandmother was very influential. I spent a lot of time at her house just up the street. Our housekeeper also was influential. She stayed with us overnight at times when my parents were away. She helped with homework, and whenever I was sick she was the person who took care of me.

    3. Did you try your hand at any new art forms in this period?
    I took art lessons for a while but was never very good at it. I could play music by ear and began piano lessons at this time and also began playing the baritone ukulele and the guitar.

    4. What new freedoms did you experience during this time?
    This was an era when kids played outside anywhere in the neighborhood without fear. I rode my bike or roller skated all over everywhere. On weekends and in the summer, we would leave the house in the morning, not return until lunch, leave again until suppertime, and then play outside after supper until dark.

    5. What were you bored by?
    Much of what was on television (we only had 3 channels) bored me.

    6. Describe a smell you remember from this stage of your life.
    I don’t remember a specific smell.

    7. Describe a close friend from this time.
    My best friend was named Diane. It was her family who moved into our house and stayed with us when my parents were in Arizona. She was a fabulous artist and loved horses more than anything else in the world.

    8. Describe a favorite treat from this period.
    Hershey bars. My mom hid them from us and rationed them out. I also loved Sugar Babies.

    9. Describe a location where you remember spending time.
    My grandparents’ home and their lake house.

    10. What other memories occur to you from this period?
    I started first grade when I was still 5 years old and didn’t turn 6 until almost halfway through the school year. I was always the youngest in my class. Reading was my passion, and teachers indulged my passion whenever I finished classwork before other students were done.

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  3. My age period is 7-13
    1. Where did we live? We lived in typical suburbia until I turned 12 – then my parents divorced and we lived in an apartment.
    2. Major players – my mom and the Sisters at Villa Maria Academy- I attended boarding school there when I was 12
    3. Art Forms – I always remember having a camera. Also – we always had an old piano in the garage when we lived in a house and I would pick out songs on that
    4. Bored by – having to watch my younger brother 🙂
    5. Smell – my mom was a good cook so the evening usually had some nice food smells in the house
    6. Friend – while we lived in the house – my next door neighbor and I were very close
    7. Treat – probably ice cream
    8. Location to spend time – we had a pond in our neighborhood and we would ride our bikes there regularly
    9. Other memories – Between 12 and 13 I remember my mom had to work a lot which was a new experience for my brother and I. She did not have a high school education and also divorce was very much looked down upon in early 60’s. She was and is the strongest women I know.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hand wrote my memoirs into my bullet journal. One takeaway is that it takes me way too long and my hand hurt afterwards. Going forward, I need to type it into my computer journal instead. Part of this is that I’d like to explain things. I didn’t want to list who was influential, but also why they were influential.

    Several notes of interest –

    An influential person was my second grade teacher. I nearly flunked second grade because I was out sick so much with allergies. She came on her own time after school to tutor me so I’d go to third grade with everyone else. I loved her for years, but never knew that was the reason until I was much older.

    My sister and I had few freedoms during the ages of 6 to 12 (for me). My Mom hovered over us pretty non-stop as she was a fearful person (and still is). However, in the summers we visited our great aunt in rural New York. We could play outside unsupervised, go to the creek to catch minnows, and get eggs from the chickens. I wonder what my great aunt thought of my Mom being so over protective. On the farm, everyone had to work hard and there was no time to coddle children.

    A favorite treat was the almond crescent cookies that my maternal grandmother made each year for Christmas. She always started her baking way ahead of the holidays. One year, my Dad kept helping himself to them straight from the freezer. When Christmas came around, there were none left. She was so mad at him! He acted like the guilty little boy but not very repentant.

    Nancy

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