Saturday, January 23, 2010

a look back

This is my 100th post. 

It is hard to believe that I have found that much to say in a little under 11 months.

Well, maybe not that hard to believe.

Anyway .....

It truly is hard for me to believe that a couple of years ago I had almost no knowledge of this thing that has become a such great outlet for me.  I like feeling connected to the world outside of my own and this little blog helps me to feel that connection.  Part of the reason is that it keeps me exploring other blogs, but another part is that I know that this blog can be read by anyone from anywhere.

During the relatively short time that I have been reading blogs and even shorter time that I have been blogging myself, I have come across several really innovative 100th posts.  Most recently, one of my college room mates posted her 100 favorite words.  It was an impressive list, but it would take me far too long to compile a similar one.  If you are interested, feel free to jump on over to Ruth's blog ~ Graphite Free ... just finish reading my post first!

So, here's what I came up with for my 100th post ... since this blog is about connecting my children to my childhood, I thought I would share the things from my own raising that I hope my children get to experience in theirs. 

In no particular order ...

I hope my children find a way to create lasting relationships with each other. 

I have 3 brothers ... two older and one younger.  My relationship with each of my brothers is as different as the men themselves.  As we were growing up we spent much of our time figuring out how to torture each other.  Actually, that only applies to the 3 youngest of us ... my oldest brother was grown by the time he was five and pretty much ignored the shenanigins of the rest of us.  Still, I have great memories of our childhood and young adult years, and the connections we made during those years are still in play today.  We may not always agree, but, now that we are all grown, I am happy that I can call all three of them friends.

I hope my children get to experience an extended family road trip. 

When I was 13 my parents closed down the family business and picked us up on the last day of school  with our big red and white van loaded to the gills and complete with a raised bed in the back with storage underneath.  From there we headed to Montana.  It is a long drive from Mississippi to Montana and we enjoyed every minute of it.  The whole trip lasted about 2 weeks and along the way we saw more of this country than we can possibly remember.  We visited the Royal Gorge, saw Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park, were introduced to the majesty of the Tetons and discovered little stops along the way that we still enjoy visiting today.  One of my favorites is a place called Split Rock in Wyoming.  Basically, Split Rock is just a really big roadside park.  It has historical significance but I can't remember exactly what it is right this minute.  What I do remember is climbing the rocks while Mama and Daddy cooked breakfast on a Coleman stove.   I also remember playing frisbee in roadside parks along the way and then using that frisbee to gather snow to throw at my brothers while we camped at a KOA in Dillon, Montana.

In 1994, when I was 20, we went back to Montana to go backpacking in the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness Area.  We had worked and prepared for over a year and it was the trip of a lifetime for me.  This time the trip lasted 18 days and it was amazing.  We went back to many of the same places we had visited in 1987 and this time we added Glacier National Park and Mt. Rushmore to the list of sights.  The backpacking itself was unlike anything I had ever done and the whole trip is still one of my most cherished memories.  I don't know how my kids will get to experience this since my parents had the "luxury" of owning their own business which afforded them the ability to close it down and take these kinds of trips.  Ronnie and I don't have this "luxury" but I still hope that we might someday find a way to make a trip like this a reality.

I hope my children learn the value of working together as a family.

Summer was a busy time when I was growing up.  My Daddy believed in living off of the land so to speak.  Besides, when you have 3 strapping boys to feed you learn to be creative ... and frugal.  So, every spring we planted a garden and then in the summer we not only harvested what we planted, we also bought from local farmers to supplement what we grew.  Canning was the story of summer.  We usually put up somewhere around 200 quarts of what we called tomato relish ... which we used as a base for any tomato dish, like spaghetti, soup or chili.  It was (and still is, since I still try to put some up every summer) a mixture of tomatos, green bell peppers, celery and onion.  We also canned tons of pickles, jelly and green beans.  We would grow or buy peas (Mississippi purple hull were Mama's favorite) and butter beans (otherwise known as green lima beans) and freeze these.  My uncle raised corn, so every summer we would get somewhere between 500-800 ears of corn that would all have to be shucked, silked and cut off the cob for cream corn ... and we did them all in a week.

I am boring you with sharing all of these details just so I can tell you that I didn't particularly enjoy all the work that summer brought and it is probably no wonder that I actually enjoyed going back to school every fall, BUT, looking back, some of my fondest memories of my childhood come from these times of hard work.  I guess it is because I now recognize how important those times were to the survival of our family in the winter when Daddy's business was much slower.  I want my children to experience this pulling together to do what it takes.  I don't expect them to be overly excited about it, but I'd be willing to bet that the time will come when they will appreciate the experience more.  Or maybe not ... I can't predict how they will react, but I can hope, I suppose.

This is not a complete list, of course.  It is just a glimpse into the legacy given to me by my parents.  There are parts of my childhood that I wouldn't want my children to experience.  Besides that, there are some things that my children are already experiencing that I wish I could have.  While I know I can't recreate my own childhood, I do think that it is important for Ronnie and me to give our children experiences to look back on and claim as special enough to pass along to their children.  Who knows what they will find special ... I hope someday I'll get to see what they choose to pass on to their children since that is most likely the best way for me to know what was special to them.


Ruth Marie Oliver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruth Marie Oliver said...

Loved your 100th post! Reading about your road trips. I remember you showing me pictures of lime green houses in mining towns. Wyoming is a beautiful state. I ended up marrying a Wyoming boy! Thanks!!

Felicity said...

I've enjoyed reading about these memories, Jennifer! Family holidays are so special to look back on. I am so glad I 'discovered' your blog, I always look forward to a new post from you.

Rie said...

I enjoyed reading all of that. I can now imagine your childhood and it helps me see how you became the beautiful woman you are.

Thanks for sharing. Love, Rie

P.S. I have no road trip memories, but I do have lots of corn shucking and pea shelling memories.

Let's can together some this summer.