my family, Uncategorized

When they were little

Thankfully when my children were barely ending their toddler stage and starting elementary I got a divorce. It was the best thing to happen to me, to us and I am grateful every day that he threw us away.  An odd sentence I know.

 

As I struggled to build a life for the kids and I life became busy. Work, daycare, school, soccer, gymnastics, work some more,  night school. The list was never-ending. I thrived from the hectic schedule. I persevered and pushed through it fighting to build a life where I was independent and able to provide for our basic needs on my own. During that time I faced many choices. One choice I had to make was working multiple jobs and jobs that might pay more but would keep me away from the kids most hours of the evening and weekends.  Or I could work for much less but be able to get the kids from school, take them to soccer and cheer them on, tuck them in at night. I had spent a couple years clawing and scratching my way to get to that choice. Working up to 5 jobs day and night while attending night school. I had cleared us from the mess that the ending of my marriage left. Now I could almost breathe.

So what to do? One day I asked the kids as we drove to school. What do you want? Mommy home with you but we have less stuff, fewer toys and shopping, can’t go on big trips but I’ll be able to be home more. My son’s answer still melts my heart. It wasn’t a short answer. His answer lasted almost until we pulled into the school parking lot. He wanted me home. Who would give him kisses when he needed them. Who would make cookies with them, help them read their books, answer their questions, show them how to do their homework, play in the park with them, kiss they’re boo-boos, teach him to tie his shoes, the list went on and on the entire drive. His adorable chubby body I loved to squish and hug settled in the back seat. His blue eyes so clear and trusting. He just wanted me there. My daughter ever the serious and silent one just nodded and agreed with all that he said.

So it was decided.  I took the low paying going nowhere job that let me drive them to school and pick them up. We camped, hiked, flew kites, played games, rolled in the leaves, played in the rain, tried fishing, went canoeing, went sledding in the dark, built fires, set off fireworks, saved unwanted dogs and found them homes, went exploring thrift shopping, made crafts, cooked together, slept in the back of the car when I forgot the tent poles camping, we did it all together. Priceless memories that hopefully gave them the courage to be themselves. The confidence to stand on their own. The unquestionable knowledge that they are amazing and can do anything they choose to. That was and is my main goal as their mother.

 

I will probably always look back and wish I had done more. I think that about the teens I raised when I was too young to know what they needed. I now wish I had done more with them. They are happy and have good lives not wishing I had done more. So I must learn to be as well. Hopefully, when my children are grown they feel the same way. I think it is the way of growing older. Looking back with the earned knowledge only time gives. Seeing what more could have been done. I am ever so grateful to have had the ability to make the memories I have. I sure miss those little snuggly children I had. I adore them no matter the age, size, or stage: but I sure miss the snuggles from when they needed me so.

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childhood, Uncategorized

Idle hands idle minds

Growing up our time was scheduled. All of it. What we ate, what time we ate, how long we had to eat. The same with reading, praying, sleeping, study. It was all scheduled right down when and for how long.

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Ever read how to do mind control? How to make someone malleable to your ideals. It has some similarities. Once I was in the world, in a real school with access to a real library I read a lot. About cults, Satanism, mind control, sociology, psychology, and of course romance. I loved the worlds I visited in books. I still do.

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Back to the scheduled time and being busy. Once I was on my own and starting to get the hang of functioning as a responsible (adult) in the world. I began making money, paying rent, trying to cook for myself and learn how to be around people. I found out that they (the ones I knew) spent a lot of time sitting, watching TV. I didn’t understand it. I had difficulty following the humor as most show’s make references to things in life everyone knows as common knowledge. Unless you grow up locked away with no radio, newspapers, television, news or outside contact. A few years ago I was listening to a comic and got so excited because I GOT his jokes. I had been in the world long enough to understand the references. Seems like a small thing but it isn’t.

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I tried so hard to learn to sit and do nothing. To sit and watch television, to lay at the beach, to sit around talking. It was difficult and I’m still not very good at sitting still for long. I did have a few years where I was actually good at it. Although in hindsight that may have been due to stress and depression. That’s a story for a different time.

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Back to scheduled time … I always felt guilty if I wasn’t doing something. I still do – makes it very difficult to paint my nails! I fear missing out on life. FOMO they call it nowadays.  I don’t’ want to miss the warm weather, the cold weather, the snowflakes, the giant droplets of rain to dance in,  the sky, the clouds shapes. I just want to do and play in every moment until I need a rest. All those moments that should be spent doing not resting. I’m now starting to think that’s because I grew up with my time scheduled. Taught to be busy. That idle hands cause idle minds which then begets trouble.

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Uncategorized, vacation

On a lighter note

It seems my posts got a little serious lately so I thought I’d try and find something a little lighter for a change. How about a little peek of our awesome trip to Silverwood theme park this week complete with photos!

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My daughter turned SIXTEEN last year and after much thought, she chose a family trip as her birthday present. Love that she considers family trips that highly as she was offered a horse, pet pig, and other such wonderful pets. In case you don’t know my daughter she adores animals of all shapes and sizes.

 

Pictured above: pet George the huge snail eating a banana that she befriended during our visit to Kenya. Hugs with her cat that randomly moved in and adopted us one winter. My daughter with her friends and brother proudly showing off their huge collection of slugs during a trip to the Westcoast. Just a few examples of her love of living creatures.

As you can see I was surprised she turned down another pet. I was actually extremely relieved! Two pets are enough for me as both kids are now getting ready to learn to be on their own. I have a feeling when they go the pets are staying! If you follow my Instagram you have probably surmised the dog has me wrapped around his little paw!

It turns out I didn’t take photo’s at Silverwood this trip. Maybe because I took so many when we went 7 years ago. Or maybe because the kids wanted to do their own thing and seem to keep a frowny face whenever the camera swings there way. I do have one priceless photo…

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So obviously that isn’t us. I thought it would be helpful to see it’s a rather steep descent that makes everyone scream…

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Just to explain the reason behind the next photo…

 

 

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Yes, that is me… hair straight back, eyes tightly closed, shreaking for my life and it hurtles past me with a rocking clacking racket at top speed. I kept that expression for the ride called Aftershock – the floor folds away from you before the ride starts!! No I didn’t have to ride it however my son couldn’t be telling his friends he went to Silverwood and didn’t ride it. The plan to go in it scared us so bad we couldn’t eat our dinner.

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My son – the back right already knew what to expect as the poor bugger road that alone when he was 9 years old. He was white as a sheet after that ride. He thought he was going to fall out of it as his butt never even touched the seat once the ride started. A thin bar he says, no seat belt he says, I thought I was going to fall right out of it he says…. so this time he felt much safer… His friend didn’t seem to feel very safe… He didn’t leave the wave pool for two days after that ride! My daughter like me likes to close her eyes and pretend it will be fine. The  ‘this isn’t really happening to me’ mindset. Her friend obviously goes eyes wide open terrified of what will come next. She was probably wondering what kind of family does this to kids calling it fun!

The following evening I thought it best to take the terrified young man for some kiddie rides so he doesn’t leave Silverwood with the taste of terror in his mouth. It took some bribery for him to even consider leaving the water park as he was quite certain we never needed to go to the amusement park side again! We went the swing, the frog hop (my children are pictured below – the middle two from our first trip ). The teen girls were also there in line to ride this cute little frog.

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And of course lastly kids the Ferris wheel. Complete with animal seats and umbrellas built for all sizes but meant for the kids and faint of heart riders. After the animal Ferris wheel ride, he was a happy young man, he came running towards me with an excited smile saying how awesome it was…. Until he remembered my teen son was also with him at which point he pretended it wasn’t quite that big a deal!

 

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My adorable daughter on our first trip. I asked her if she wanted to change before we go into the park. My daughter: hands on hips looks down saying, ‘ what’s wrong with this outfit? I’m wearing all my favourite clothes!’ I let her wear it. I mean really who am I to judge what looks good on the outside when she feels confident and happy inside and out?!

 

childhood, Uncategorized

Baking bread

Growing up we made everything we ate. Even at one point grinding our own flour. We made our tofu, mixed our seasonings, stored our food for winter by canning, drying, and freezing. As a little girl I ‘helped’ with all of this. Of course, I began to want to do it on my own! My first cookie dough creation was ‘tasty’ to be sure. I was maybe 4 at the time.

By nine I wanted to make some money and came up with the idea to bake bread and sell it to the families. I realize the contradiction of wanting to earn money when we rarely left the farm and certainly didn’t purchase items very often.  The farm had a store that carried many items that making yourself would be difficult. It was a brilliant idea really. The families received a ‘stipend’ for working there and in turn gave it right back to the farm by purchasing from their store.

It was the juice boxes that got me. We didn’t drink anything but water outside of mealtime. A juice box was unheard of prior to this store.  A tiny box filled with juice that came with a straw that bent… I was hooked.

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So here I was with a great idea to bake and sell bread to the local families. My mother even supported it once we had dad’s approval. She got out a piece of paper and we labored over the cost of a bag of flour versus the amount used in a batch of bread that yielded 7 loaves. We did the same for each ingredient. The cost of electricity was harder to decipher. Pretty sure she came up with a low sum like 0.50 a batch. Now we had the cost per loaf and just needed to add on profit. I sold the loaves for $1 each. Making one batch each Friday. After paying mom back I probably made maybe 25 cents per loaf but was happy as a clam.

I knew the recipe by heart. Add yeast to the brown sugar and warm water. While waiting for the yeast to rise, mix the dry ingredients. White and whole wheat flour and a pinch of salt. Once the yeast had risen to a proper head add oil and mix it all together slowly adding more flour until the dough was the needed consistency to knead by hand. Shape into a ball and cover with a towel to let rise. Half an hour later beat and knead it back down. Definitely one of my favorite parts. Then shape into loaves placing them into the pans to rise again while the oven preheated.

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I did all of this alone as a nine-year-old for almost a year. Since no one was looking I used more white than whole wheat flour. I added extra brown sugar and oil to the batches. I had the best bread in the entire community and they loved it. The women would ask my secret and I just smiled and shrugged my shoulders. I knew what it was – adding extra oil and sugar. Less whole wheat and more white flour. You know the good stuff! I also knew not to admit that to anyone. Our diet was slowly getting better, we ate supper now, we had margarine instead of corn meal spread acting as margarine. We ate leavened bread and even had Mr. Noodles sometimes. But to admit to changing the recipe – well that would have ended my baking career.

childhood, Uncategorized

The funny thing about remembering 

A memory that has stuck with me since I was probably 5 or 6 is of Princess Leia being beamed out of the vacuum asking to be saved. Her image would fade in and out. Her voice sounding far away. In my dreams, I couldn’t actually hear what she was saying but knew it was important. She needed help, to be saved. How did she get locked in a vacuum? I’d best be careful when I used our vacuum. That image of  Princess Leia stuck with me even in when I was awake. I could feel the heartache, the desperation that she was feeling.

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Many years later I learned that the vacuum was in fact R2D2. A nifty little robot that in my sheltered knowledge could only have been a vacuum.  I will always remember that image wavering in out. Trying to get the message through.

I recently read somewhere that lapses in memory can be a sign of a traumatizing event or abusive action in your life. I can easily come up with a list of painful events, as we all can. I could surmise for days what may or may not have been the cause of my very spotty memory. I wonder though. If we do not reminisce, revisit our funny stories over the dinner table with family or friends lead them to fade away. If you never talk about that time you fell into the creek, broke your finger, kissed that boy, or snuck into the orchard with the girls then how will that memory not fade away into the deep recesses with no reason to be brought forth. Going so far back that it totally disappears.

There are years of my life that have such few faded memories. People I don’t know, entire friendships have disappeared. Adventures and laughter swallowed by the abyss of my forgotten past. I don’t know how it happened or when it happened. If it wasn’t for people having found me as an adult I wouldn’t have even know anything was really amiss. I mean we all forget some things. But entire friendships, entire summers, years that have gone? It is a bit disconcerting. Enough to bear upon my mind wondering where they have gone. A different viewpoint could be that our memory is like a revolving tape. A loop per say that goes round and round. The information is written over if no longer current.

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I realized I have been floating on my own from place to place since I was thirteen. So there were no family meals or trips. No annual get together where we spent time laughing, cooking, eating, pestering each other. Teasing each other over our mistakes and slip-ups that only the close the family know. If you don’t reminisce how do you remember? If you don’t have that pesky brother or sister who knows the embarrassing, the funny, the serious, to constantly remind you how will you never forget. I didn’t have any of those things so I could easily forget it all. Not even knowing that is what I was doing.

childhood, Uncategorized

So many contradictions​

When I was little I was shy and afraid. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself or be noticed as different.

When I was little I felt no fear, I could climb the highest tree, ride the fastest sled. I was invincible.

When I was little I did not know about perfection or imperfection. We were all beautiful on the inside. If not I could feel something bad when close and didn’t like you.

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I had an idyllic childhood. Free-spirited, running wild, loved by my community family.

I had a traumatizing childhood. So many different people came and went. Some good some so very not.

I grew up in a huge family. Encircled by love, prayer, and family.

I have no family. I am an orphan. Wiped from the church records, forgotten like a mistake they don’t want to be reminded of.

As a little girl, I loved nature and would play to my heart content in the woods.

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As a broken-hearted girl, I wept atop a tree terrified to come down and walk the miles home thru the woods.

Loved beyond bounds, tossed away with the trash. Taught so much, yet so little. Prepared for the time of the end. Unprepared for life before the end.

These memories confuse me, amuse me, hurt me, and hug me. Maybe a thread of words will appear and find a flow.IMG_0855

 

childhood, Uncategorized

Is it wrong to play with Barbie

When I was a little girl I was not allowed to play with Barbie’s because my parents didn’t want me to think I should look like her. Didn’t want mt to try and look like her. I never thought much about it other than it was another thing I was denied. I didn’t care much to tell the truth as I didn’t really see the fun in a doll that couldn’t do anything other than changing her clothes and hang out with Ken.

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I had better things to do like climb a tree, paddle in the pond, ride my bike, walk around with my bow and arrow’s on the hunt for the next great target. Who wanted to sit down with a tiny adult doll to awkwardly put clothing on it. Repeatedly. An over the shoulder molder holder shouldn’t be this hard to put on a doll or body for that matter. I love that bit from the movie Beaches. I showed my daughter the video and her facial expressions had me laughing so hard.  I digress. Barbies were boring to me other than of course one more thing I couldn’t have. I don’t think it was ever explained that I was beautiful the way I was. That any body type was to be loved. It would be unchristian to think of oneself as attractive more than necessary.

 

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Growing up we didn’t wear makeup, cut our hair short, or bother with fancy clothes. We dressed for what we were doing. Gardening,  wear layers so you won’t get too hot. Working in the mill don’t wear too lose of clothing or it will get caught. Raining out, wear raincoat and boots. Camping in the winter, wear layers with wool against your skin. Cayenne in your socks if you want to keep extra warm. The actual style wasn’t the main focus. Look modest and appropriate. Dress nice for church. Being off the grid so to speak we were behind the times. We also were a ‘get your wardrobe once a year’ unless something is needed kind of family. We usually shopped at the thrift shop on our yearly trip down south. The Sears catalog was for window shopping, cutting out to paste the pictures, and lastly for fire building. It certainly wasn’t to order from.

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My daughter has played with Barbie’s. Oodles of them. The jet, car, motorcycle, and a dozen girlfriend Barbies with a couple Ken’s to go around. She didn’t care much about them and cut off all their hair. My daughter also played in the lake, slid in the mud, camped in the bush, and overall got dirty playing. She played with makeup and hair stuff learning what its like. Turns out my daughter like the feel of makeup on her face as much as I do. Mascara usually about cuts it with us.  I hope that she will always be comfortable with herself dressed up for a night out and for playing in the mud.

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Today though I think back to that and realize what their intentions were.  It seems modern society keeps wanting to portray women shaped like Barbie in magazines, television, social media platforms. Looking a certain way seems to be advertised as the key or the link to happiness, popularity, dating, career. Lifestyles are built around trying to dress and change your body to portray this. So many women and girls I see online posting before and after photos. Some are extreme changes. Some obviously for better physical health. Some looked amazing the way they were. Before diets, constant work towards a look other than what they naturally have. I am incredibly happy to see there are as many women who love themselves the way they are. Knee deep in life enjoying every moment the best they can the way they are.

 

childhood, Uncategorized

Best mistake my father made

The best mistake my father made was to let me join him that one Christmas break watching the VHS tapes he picked up on brainwashing and mind control. It was an unintentional gift that has lasted me throughout life.

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I’ll never forget the families wanting to get their children back that wouldn’t leave. How they didn’t stop searching for them. Trying to get thru to the youth, the person that they knew and loved. How the person in the commune just didn’t hear the words. I mean really hear them. They would listen and try to explain to each other why the lifestyle was good or bad depending on who was talking yet neither party actually heard the other.

In the videos, it was explained how they got these lost souls, these people who were searching for something more. How that lifestyle was appealing and dominated all other choices. Why they stayed and believed. One young woman maybe early 20’s stuck in my mind. She wanted to leave but couldn’t get away. They kept at her until the methods worked and she became pliant to their lifestyle suggestions. Or maybe she just gave up and gave in fro sheer exhaustion.  Another young woman felt the opposite. She refused to leave she wanted that life regardless of the hurt and abandonment her family felt.

What made them pliant, willing believers? It wasn’t  beatings, rape or physical abuse like you may assume. It was segregation, hunger, lack of sleep, heavy physical labor that finally made her pliable to them. This is where I connected the dots that I was right. That it was wrong how I was being raised. Don’t get me wrong here. The community I was born into was nothing like Wako Texas and other extreme sects. It was a community built to live off the land, to be self-sustaining and off the grid. However, as with any good values, some extremists thinkers were a part of it. Of course, the deep religious beliefs didn’t help.

Earlier that year I had gotten in trouble for something I’ve conveniently forgotten. In the ensuing teen outburst and tantrum, I went for the phone to call child services as ‘it was wrong to be raised like this’. The consequence to that was to be locked into my room for a few days on bread and water twice a day brought to the door and escorted bathroom breaks a couple times a day. The hook and eye lock I had installed at the outer top corner of my door to keep my little sister out now had backfired for that is how they locked me in.

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I was livid. How dare they treat me like this. Make me a prisoner, lock me up, the injustice of it all. True to teenage form I got over it. I wrote the thousand word essay on my wrongdoings and after my allotted days I handed it over. And was promptly in trouble again for plagiarism for how could a 12-year-old write a decent essay? One who grew up with adult conversation and companionship, with books, sermons, and discussions, not friends, preschool, playdates, and television that’s who. Needless to say that disbelief in me further solidified my resentment. The resentment that had been building for a while and would continue until it burst out.

Many years later I was at a self-help weekend retreat. Similar methods were used. We had to stay at the hotel at night and weren’t to return home or be in contact with our friends and family. We shared rooms with strangers. Were woken early to hike a nearby hill prior to breakfast. We spent days digging deep into our painful pasts, resurrecting the scars that brought each of us to this workshop. I saw the signs and smiled to myself. I joined in all the exercises for you will only gain what you’re willing to put in. I believed there were life skills to be learned regardless of the red flags. I wanted to heal any issues I had so I could have the emotional tools to be a good single mom to my young children. I wanted to be able to provide the best childhood I could to them and mine wasn’t exactly role model history. So I did my best and ripped open my scars baring them to these strangers. I learned to accept myself and love myself. Near the end of the weekend, we were divided into small groups and given an assignment for the next day. We were given a song and told to come up with a performance. The stress of a public display, to dance and screw up, to fail in front of everyone was terrifying. The feelings of insecurity and fear. Clammy hands wiped on thighs,  nerves strung tight, we were all on pins and needles.  Thankfully my group didn’t have to go first and we were part of the big circle watching the performance. It was then that I noticed and saw exactly what was wanted what was being done.

It wasn’t a dance or performance. The leaders wanted you to jump and move in such a way your adrenaline would pump through you. That the fear and insecurity would be overwhelmed by the physical motion. Then you immediately stop close your eyes and fall back into the arms waiting for you. Your bodies natural reaction to the adrenaline the rush of emotions, the immediate calm with all those hands holding touching you that you had bared your soul to cried with was an emotional break. Shaking crying and the high from the release. It was an addictive feeling. Like the high of a drug that envelopes you with warm lethargic joy, love, happiness. Yet this was legal, expensive but legal. For those that didn’t realize what it was, what gave them those awesome feelings that would become an addictive retreat.  then came the pitch for the next retreat at an even higher price! Thank you, dad, for teaching me what you did!!

childhood, Uncategorized

Buried carrots

As I stood at the sink washing the carrots from my garden I remembered all the buried carrots from my childhood.  Quite literally. You see when I was about five my parents worked the market gardens as they called them for the community.

If you haven’t read anything previous from my blog… I was born into a self-supporting community. There are many titles that can describe the life I was born into. Today we will stick with simply self-supporting. Other days …

We had large personal gardens and separate fields for community market gardens for income. Other things were started and some stuck. Sawmill, granary, bakery, cookbooks, juice, and charcoal to name a few. Adults from all over came to live and work in the community for various reasons.  Some came from as far away as China others from much closer.  They came for different reasons. To hide, get away, to learn a different way of life, to sober up from an addiction, to pursue a relationship with this particular way of being a Christian. The labor was always welcome. New believers were accepted with open arms. Provided you adapt to the lifestyle of course.

I digress, back to the carrots. I remember how very cold it was. Stamping my little feet, jumping and swinging my arms to get the blood pumping.  My nose either exposed to the freezing cold or wet and humid behind a muffler. The beauty of the crisp fall did little to help me forget my frozen fingers as we sorted the wet carrots pouring out from the tumbling drum. Cold water, cold carrots, cold air. A cold that gets into your bones and never lets you warm up. Holding our hands over the fire barrel trying to thaw some feeling back into them. There were a few of us children ‘helping’ the adults work. We were given the odd colored carrots, yellow or purple ones. I would pretend the carrot was a doll and make up great stories.  If it wasn’t so cold I would have been tempted to nod off as I waited for them to finish for the night.

Why they harvested the carrots and then buried them deep underground with a backhoe I can only guess. Twice the labor and a cold unpleasant work environment. They must have determined it was not the greatest way for it only happened that one winter. Buried carrots is a memory I will never forget.

childhood, Uncategorized

Dreaming of snow

When I was little I loved snow. I loved everything about it. Falling backwards to make an angel. The careful gentle reverse crab move trying to get up without leaving a mark. Lying back and watching the beautiful flakes swirl around me landing on my nose my eyelashes my tongue.

When the snow was wet enough getting on my knees and rolling my snowball into a giant chair or snowman base. Jumping off our roof into the big pile left from clearing the roof and road. Till I knocked the wind out of myself. Then I stopped jumping off the roof. One time we even dug an igloo into the giant pile of snow from clearing all the roads.
But best of all was the sledding. I could sled almost sled all the way to the bottom of the mountain we lived on. Dad would wax the bobsled runners and we’d be off. It was always a discussion which way was best for speed and control. To lay down or sit up. I liked sitting so I could see better as the snow didn’t blow into my face blinding me. The set back was that steering with my feet was difficult. Part of the trouble may have been I was six or younger and dressed as the abominable snowman in all my snow gear.

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Once I got to the first corner where our road began to slope downhill I would give a little run and flop down on my belly. The trick was to go fast enough that I wouldn’t slow to a stop when the road flattened out. But not so fast that I would slide off the road into the ditch. There were steep twists and turns followed by a couple long straight stretches that flattened out before declining again into sharp corners. The speed needed to make it thru most of the flat was terrifying on the corners. I usually had to walk two spots no matter how bravely I sped around corners and downhill.

One time dad and I went together and tried to make it the whole way. Mom was working at the bottom with some of the ladies. If I had to guess I’d say they were carting sheep wool for quilting. Best childhood quilt – love that one. Anyway she was not impressed to find me with him crying and bleeding with my face a terrible ice rash from wiping out on suicide corner. That last corner at the end before the nice long lazy stretch was a killer. No matter what transportation being used. We wiped out badly and I lost a good bit of facial skin that day. I don’t recall using the bobsled again after that. Not sure if they disappeared or just that we moved the next year to the hottest valley in BC.