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 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: November 17, 2020      Views: 74
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BETHSHELBY 

BethShelby is retired from the printing and commercial art field. She is married and has four children and three grandchildren. She and her husband presently live in Tennessee.

Painting, photography, and writing are her passion. She has ha - more...

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Chapter 79 of the book Remembering Yesterday
What it was like having them home again.
"The Family Together Again" by BethShelby

Background
With three of my children away at school, we looked forward to holidays when we could all be together. Carol is in college and the twins are in an academy in another state.


For new readers, who may not have read my author notes, this is written in a conversational way as I talk to my deceased husband. When I refer to someone just as "you" this means I am addressing my husband, Evan.

We got a chance to see the twins often, because on weekends when we went to visit our parents and check on our property we always stopped at the Academy. Most of the time they were busy doing other things, and they had little time to spend with us. On Sunday afternoons, Don played baseball with his friends, and we were often unable to locate Christi. They both loved this school and were able to make a lot of friends. 

The gymnastic team had a special show one night, and Don insisted that we come to see him in action. Christi wasn’t a part of the main team that went on tours. We were amazed at some of the seemingly dangerous feats the kids on the team were performing. It was scary seeing my son on the top of a four-person-deep pyramid balancing on one hand. Again, we wondered if he would live to grow up. He was developing some powerful muscles and becoming very agile.

Carol was able to find rides with people coming back to the New Orleans area when the school had holidays and other long breaks. She liked the school and was making good grades. Since it was her first time to be away from home, I'm sure she wished she wasn’t quite so far away. She was our quietest child, and she enjoyed having some alone time. When she was young she didn't seem introverted, but she became more so as she grew older. She didn’t make new friends quite as quickly as the twins did. We didn’t learn a lot about what was going on with her. She had a campus job which helped a bit with her tuition. She worked on an assembly line that made kitchen cabinets.

Her P.E teacher had the students keep a diary of their daily activities, and insisted on them either running laps for 30 minutes or running up and down flights of stairs. Carol chose the latter as a way of getting exercise. Even though it was more strenuous, It involved less of her time. She wasn’t happy with her math teacher, who was very strict and spoke with a strong Chinese accent, making him hard to understand. Because of him, she had given up on the idea of getting a degree in something involving math. Now, she was playing with the idea of becoming a dietitian. This surprised me, since she had never shown an interest in food preparation. 

Connie was still taking the gymnastic class and spending as much time as we allowed at Diane’s house with her friend Lesley. The Juneau family had a backyard pool and television that got a lot more stations than our TV. Also Diane had a Brownie Scout group and Connie had joined it.
******

Holidays were always a big deal in our family. We went to great lengths to make them memorable for our children, hoping those memories would keep the family together even after we were no longer around. As long as our extended families were alive and well, we celebrated the main day with them, which unfortunately made work for our parents.

Your mother was especially insistent that her children come home often. My own mother wanted to see us, but I think she was beginning to feel the pressure of the cooking, cleaning, and the chaos the holidays brought on. For that reason, we celebrated Thanksgiving in our own house this year. It was a new experience for me to do all that cooking, but I was able to make it festive and provide as many special dishes as we were used to having. The new tradition didn’t feel right for the children since they were used to seeing their grandparents and being around their cousins. Christmas would be spent as usual with extended family.

You enjoyed Christmas, but I was the one who did most of the shopping and wrapping the gifts. Some sort of wavelength existed between the two of us which we never quite understood. It only worked when we weren’t thinking about it. For years without either of us saying about what we would like for Christmas, we ended up buying each other the same gifts. One year we gave each other watches, one year radios, another year, Bibles, and still another year, boots. I loved having a poinsettia during Christmas. You seldom bought flowers, but each year on a whim, we would both come home with a poinsettia plant, always on the same day. This must have happened at least ten or fifteen times.

It wasn’t just a Christmas thing. We did it with groceries and other items throughout the year. We weren’t organized enough to make a list, or discuss what we needed. Both of us would stop by the grocery store on a impulse. We would both come home with same items. It wouldn’t necessarily be things we needed. There would be duplicates of things which neither of us had ever thought about buying before.

In the New Orleans area there was a drug store named K&B. It was known for the purple color on their building and on many of the store brand products. One day, we both had the urge to stop at that store on the way home from work. To everyone’s amazement, both of us came home with a large purple garbage can. No one had even mentioned that we needed a new garbage can.

Trying to second guess what the other might decide to do was impossible. If one of us decided to stop by the store and buy a can of coffee or some other item, and then reasoned that if we did, we would likely end up with two. We would let the urge pass only to learn when we got home that the other had almost stopped but had reasoned the same way. This time instead of two of the same items, there would be none.
*******

For the Christmas break of 1979, all of the kids coming home from school was a happy occasion. Connie was especially excited to have her siblings home. At least while they were home, she didn’t beg to go spend time with her friends.

They didn’t have to go back to school until the second week in January. Don wanted to see Ce-Ce on the break. He was crazy about this girl. He had met her mother, who lived and worked in this area. They weren't members of our church, but they did visit there  in order to meet us. Ce-Ce was a beautiful girl and her mother was very friendly. She was a single mom with only the one child. She urged us to let Don come over to her house, because Ce-Ce would be very lonely with her away at work. The idea of them being together with no supervision didn’t sound right to us. But since her mother didn’t seem to have a problem with it and seemed sure they would just watch TV and play board games, we reluctantly agreed that he could go.

After the New Year break, Carol rode back to the school with friends and helped pay for the gas. We drove Don and Christi back to their school. Once again, our house felt empty. It was 1980, I had made my usual New Year's resolutions, which if I was really lucky, might last until at least mid-month. We wondered what new adventures another year would bring.

Recognized

The book continues with To Graduate or Not to Graduate. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
I'm continuing to recall memories of life with my deceased husband, Evan, as if I am talking aloud to him. I'm doing this because I want my children to know us as we knew each other and not just as their parents.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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