Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The China Hutch

My granddad made a china hutch for my mother. I don’t know how old she was when he gave it to her, but she was probably no more than six years old.

A six year old that needed a china hutch…

If you know my mother it doesn’t surprise you that even as young as she was, she needed a place to house her china. It was an elaborate place setting. She had serving trays to go along with her cups and saucers, tea pot and sugar bowl. Each dish had a wide, pale pink stripe and there were flowers on the stripes. (I think they were blue flowers.)

I can imagine her perfectly, pouring her tea for her Madeline doll, her manners impeccable, never breaking a single dish. She was a girl’s girl.

Let’s fast forward twenty years and go back to that playroom I told you about. It housed several toys, along with her china hutch. Yes, it was handed down to her daughters in mint condition and I know she was so excited to share it.

I’m sure she imagined us loving it as much as she had, taking care of all of our tea sets (ours were plastic because I couldn’t be trusted with breakable objects), and enjoying many hours of pouring and polite conversation with dolls that didn’t talk back.

No such luck…

I know exactly what I used the hutch for and it certainly wasn’t for setting up dishes with flowers on them!

When your mother tells you to go clean up the playroom, I found that the hutch came in REALLY handy. It had two shelves enclosed by double doors and, how convenient, you could shove all the toys in there! Cleaning up was a breeze!

And Maria thought I was a genius, so she was shoving toys inside with me.

So, when Mom checked on us and saw a clean playroom and she asked if we were finished and if all the toys were in the right place… I said, “Yep!”.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my first lie.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mead Foot

That was the name of the street we lived on in that ridiculously famous city. It is a British name. Mead Foot…

I thought it was Meat Foot. Well…I was only two when we lived there.

I can still remember the house.

There was a small entry that opened up directly into the living room. To your immediate left was a hallway that took you to three bedrooms. The first one on the left was our playroom. (This is where I told my first lie.)

The second one on the left was our bedroom. I shared a room with Maria. There was a lot of giggling. And after my parents would say good night and turn out the light, I would promptly get out of bed, climb the yellow shelves, turn on the light, and jump into Maria’s bed as quickly as I could.

And then my parents would come down the hallway, put me back in my bed, turn off the light and tell me to go to sleep. This was, of course, repeated several times a night. Eventually, I learned to just leave the light off. This way I could sleep with her and my parents wouldn’t know until the morning.

(I don’t think they minded.)

Back to the living room…

There was a piano on the wall next to the front door and two sofas. The sofas had huge red flowers on them. (I decided then that I didn’t like large floral patterned things.)

As you walked into the living room, the kitchen was to your right. We had an avocado green fridge. And there was only room enough for the kitchen table.
And that’s it. That was our house. One living area, three small bedrooms, and a kitchen only slightly bigger than your half bath. But it was gigantic to me.

And it was here where I learned how to lie, that the color red was going to cause problems, and that giggling was loads of fun.

Monday, July 12, 2010

October 14, 1976

I was exactly fourteen months old on this day. I have no recollection of it, but it was the first “most important” day in my life apparently.

It was the day she was born.

Her name is…well…let’s call her…Maria. She was born on a Thursday, in a city that is famous for no reason at all. Living in Texas for thirty four years still hasn’t provided me with any insight into why that city became so famous. But…nevertheless…it is. And we shall endure it.

Maria has black hair, as do her parents, brown eyes, like her father, and an angelic face that prompted the nickname “china doll” by a particularly special person.

She was born with the cord around her neck, quite lucky to have lived through the birth, and was brought to a small house of a stay-at-home mother and a hard-working father.

That fourteen month old, Kara is my name, (But when I was younger, I preferred Victoria. Isn’t it a grand and feminine-sounding name?), is red-headed, lively, and already talking. I knew not what to expect when my mother and father came home, but I surely hadn’t planned on a sister.

What is a sister anyway, I wondered?

Well, holy cow, it was a baby doll that actually moved!! So forget those fake ones!

And she cried, too! And if you smiled just right or made the right noises, she might smile and coo back at you. And you could bring your mother a diaper when she needed to be changed and chatter at her to keep her from moving all over the place. Of course, you didn’t know you were inadvertently helping your mother by chattering, you just chattered. Because certainly this little sister wanted to hear everything you had to say.

She would also, of course, want to do everything you would want to and play with every toy you thought worthy of your time.

But it wouldn’t be long before I understood that, while a little sister provided me with better entertainment than any toy I’d encountered thus far, she was someone I would share my life with. Someone I would grow up with. Someone I would love. And, most importantly, someone I would learn from…as long as I had the wisdom to believe it and the courage to admit it.