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Picture taken by my friend Cyndi Leos....thank you Cyndi.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Reflections From My Past...

I have written in journals since the age of 16.  I have acquired quite a collection of journals through the years. I find it helpful to go back and read about my past, reflecting on people, friends, events, hopes, dreams, things I learned and experienced. Reading the details of my daily life can bring me back to that time and place and flood me with memories and measurements of my personal growth...

Volume 11:

It was August of 1983. I was 36 years old.  My first husband, (my daughters' Father), and I had just bought our first home with a lease with an option to buy. We were purchasing the 4 bedroom, two bath home in San Bernardino county, California for $69,000.  We would pay $550 a month lease, $350 a month would accumulate toward the down payment of $5200.00 by the end of one years time.  Our first and last months deposit was $1100 and our cleaning deposit was $1000.

We moved in with no stove or telephone because we could not afford it.  I cooked everything, including coffee and tea, in a crock pot or on our BBQ.  My only means of communication was writing letters.  We used our landlords home phone number for emergencies. We lived that way for almost four months before finally getting a land line and a used stove.

I did most of my shopping at thrift stores and yard sales, which included Christmas presents and our clothes. My oldest daughter was in first grade and my youngest in pre-school.  I had been in an auto accident in May and did not have a job.  I did child care and made gifts like magnets with quotes and bean bag animals to earn extra money. I was attempting to write a romance novel and submitting short stories to magazines.(Back then I believed I would, one day, earn money as a writer...I still believe I will.) I volunteered at the girl's school.

Things were so tight, we squeaked, but I was so happy and positive.  I felt like we were on an exciting adventure. My positive attitude has always been one of my best traits. We really were challenged financially, but we managed.  We made do.

I lost my Mom's mother and my Dad's Aunt, my Great Aunt during those first three months My brother S______, who was in the 82nd Airborne returned safely to Fort Bragg, after the invasion of Granada.  All this news was delivered in a note by our landlords who had received those emergency messages from my mother.

Fast forward twenty seven years.  I look in the mirror and am always surprised to see this older woman staring back at me.  I feel pretty much the same as I did all those years ago, but the aging process always surprises me.  I tell myself I am a grandma, and I am suppose to look like I do...

I tried to spin a hula hoop around my waist today, but it kept falling and hitting my legs on the way to the floor.  I used to be a GREAT hula hooper and could do it for hours.  I used to win contests with my hula hooping skills...What happened?  Did I forget how?  Or is it I no longer have a waist for the hoop to rotate around? I need to work on that...

Reading about my positive attitude in such adversity in my past, kind of kicked me in the booty as a wake up call.  I allow myself too many days of feeling sorry for myself and being down.  I realize much of it is due to missing my two daughters and my grandsons, the rest of my family and friends; but it is not an excuse.

The reality of our situation, is a definite possibility, with the economy and the housing market, we may have to stay put.  At least we have a place to live without any house payments. Once my husband retires, we can go to California and stay for as long as we like...

My hope is, the market and the economy will improve so we can move back to be closer to our family.  In the mean time, I want to polish up my attitude.  I know it will make a huge difference, on so many levels....

4 comments:

Mari said...

I think it's great you kept journals to look back at. I never did that , but what a wealth of history is in them!

Laoch of Chicago said...

Fine post, hang in there.

Donna B said...

Laoch: Thank you...

Mari: I really am glad I did. I have recorded both my pregnancies and dialogue about first raising my daughters...it was really cathartic during challenging times...

Marylinn Kelly said...

Donna, My fall-back position: we're still here...with family who love us, with interests and talents...we are blessed...yes, I agree, hang in there. You have come much too far to do anything other than that.