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 Category:  Biographical Non-Fiction
  Posted: September 23, 2020      Views: 70
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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...

She is a top ranked author at the #33 position.

She is an accomplished novelist and is currently at the #5 spot on the rankings.

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Chapter 64 of the book Remembering Yesterday
Family needs call for expansion.
"Needs of a Growing Family" by BethShelby

The family continues to deal with everyday crisis that arise. Working parents, three school age children and a baby find city life a challenge at times. We need more room as the children grow.

The year was 1974. Carol was 13 and in seventh grade. The twins were eleven and in grade six, Connie was starting to walk and talk. Miss Dolly was still keeping her while I worked. Dolly was always asking Connie how much she loved her. She loved in when Connie stretched out her arms and said, “de’ whol wurld.” I was a little jealous.  Often, Dolly bought her little toys and other things which she could take home.

This was the year Richard Nixon had been forced to resign as president, and Gerald Ford had taken over. The Vietnam war had come to a crossroads, and the last of the US troops had left Nam in March of 1973. Since the war was still not officially over, the returning soldiers didn’t find themselves welcomed as conquering heroes like those of past wars. Many suffered from post traumatic stress and were having trouble finding work. Suicide was not unusual.

After Ford became president, he offered amnesty to soldiers who had deserted and to those who had burned their draft cards and moved to Canada. Inflation was out of control and was heading toward 12%. In spite of that, gas was just 42 cents a gallon. The average household income was just over $11,000.00 a year.

Some of the influence of the hippie years was still reflected in the TV shows. We had finally broken down and bought our first color set. At times, you didn’t approve of what you saw us watching. There were times when your temper flared, and you acted as though you were about to kick in the TV set, only to turn it off amid cries of protest. I told you there was often more violence in our den than on the set.

Carol had a lava lamp in her room and also incense sticks which she liked to burn. You didn't like the odor of incense and questioned what kind of strange rituals she was performing.  She liked to wear bell bottom pants, which was a popular style. Making candles and tie-dying t-shirts became a favorite craft activity, which involved my supervision. The kids had bags of beads they had collected at Mardi Gras parades, and now they strung them over their doors. They even hung beads on the doors of our still unfinished country house back in Mississippi. The world we'd always known was changing, and you didn't want any part of it.

The eight-tracks of the 60's were no longer popular. The preferred way of listening to music was the cassette tape. Pocket calculators were also popular. You found they came in handy when balancing checkbooks and were more accurate. So cassette players and calculators were popular gifts for Christmas or birthdays.

After Connie began sleeping through most of the night, we moved her crib into the room with Carol and Christi. The crib didn’t work for her very long, because she acted as though she was afraid of sleeping in it. When she had enough words in her vocabulary to communicate, she let us know that when she was in the crib she had dreams of being in a rowboat with skeletons. The older kids had probably frightened her with Halloween decorations. Still it seemed to be a recurring dream, so we put the crib away and started letting her sleep on the bunk bed with the girls.

Don was continuing to treat Connie as a play thing. Things went on when we were away, that you and I only learned of much later. Don would hang Connie on the door knob by the elastic in the waist of her pants, or he would lay a lasso on the floor so that when she stepped into it without looking, he could pull it tight and entrap her. He never intentionally hurt her, and she seemed fond of her big brother, so I guess she thought it was a game and didn’t mind being his toy.
Eventually, we decided Carol needed a room of her own. You drew up plans that enclosed our carport and made it  into the new den and dining area. By separating the former kitchen, dining area we were able to create a new bedroom which could be entered from the den portion of the new room. We also had a fireplace built on the front end of the den. This meant we no longer had a carport, but we felt it was more important that Carol have her own room. It was only large enough to accommodate a single bed, a nightstand, a large desk, and a chair. We hung an animal print wallpaper, which Carol picked. The outside wall of the room faced the kitchen, so we also allowed Carol to help pick the paper that area as well.

Since Carol was now a teenager, we thought it would be good for her to have more privacy. The problem was she started spending most of her time in her room and less time with the rest of the family. She didn’t neglect Connie though. She treated Connie as if, she was her baby to raise.

Carol continued to get outside sitter jobs, and she was mostly sitting for one family. The lady who called her had a boyfriend named Smitty, who would pick Carol up and bring her back home. We were concerned about this arrangement at first, but after she’d gone there several times with no problems, we relaxed. 

Then one night when she was preparing to go to sit for the family, someone called to tell they wouldn’t need her that night, after all. When the reason for the cancellation came to light, it gave us all chills. That night, when the family’s doorbell rang, Smitty had gone to the door and partially opened it, to find the ex-husband outside with a gun. He had shot through the door killing Smitty. New Orleans was sometime called ”Sin City” We were beginning to see the reason why.  

On one of our trips back to Mississippi, we were driving there in your truck. By this time, it had quite a few miles on it, but it hadn’t given us any trouble so far. This time it died in some little town about half way to our destination. A kind stranger stopped and gave us a ride to a service station. We had to rent a car to get back to Metairie. You learned about a guy who worked on cars at his home, so you had the truck towed there, and he promised to let you know when he’d fixed it. When he finally got back to us, he said it needed a new motor. You decided it wasn’t worth it and had it towed to our farm in Mississippi. Its rusting frame is likely still there in the edge of the field where we left it.

We needed another vehicle, so you found a large van in the ad section of the paper and bought it from an individual. It was an interesting vehicle, because someone had decided to customize it by building up an area in the back large enough for a double mattress. It had only two seats. Both the driver and passenger seats were nice tan leather. The rest of the van was covered floor, walls and ceiling with green shag carpet. Since it was such a large van there was plenty of room to walk around or even stretch out in the back on the raised area. The kids and I loved it. It was easy enough for you and me to switch drivers without even stopping.
We’d owned it several months, when one morning you got up to go to work, and it wouldn’t start. We had parked it on the vacant lot next to our living room window. You saw disturbed grass with grease on it and looked beneath to find that auto thieves had come by in the night while we were sleeping and had removed essential parts from the underside of our van. We contacted the police, but the thieves weren’t found. The paper reported a gang of auto thieves were operating in the area. I don’t remember if our insurance helped us pay to have the parts replaced, but I do remember that from then on we slept with the porch light shining on our van. Living in the big city had its drawbacks.  


The book continues with Niagara Falls. 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 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.
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