Turning 60 Part One: Childhood

It took me a while to really get started on my project to celebrate each decade of my life.  This little annoying thing called My Actual Life Right Now kept getting in the way.  But I did some fun things over the past couple of months to celebrate the first decade of my life:

1. In honor of my lifelong passion for reading, I donated 5 children’s books to the Grow Up Great book drive at work.

2. I took my mom out to lunch and told her what a great mom she’d been, how she had influenced me, and how her good example has broadened to the people whose lives I’ve influenced.  We both cried.

3. My mom and I took a field trip to the apartment building where she & my dad lived for the first 4 years of their marriage and the first 3 years of my life.  My mom told me some funny stories about myself as a child (for example:  I was a 2-year-old shoplifter.  Did I steal candy like any normal child?  No.  I took a book. Of course).  We both cried again.

4. I did a bunch of things things that I enjoyed doing as a child.  I went sled riding, I took walks in the woods, I re-read my favorite childhood books, and, geekiest thing of all, Al and I went to the town in Minnesota where my favorite childhood books were set.  My very favorite books were the Betsy-Tacy series, by Maud Hart Lovelace.  The books were based on her own childhood in Mankato and you can go there and still see many of the sites mentioned in the book.  Betsy’s and Tacy’s houses have even been turned into a little museum, which was my idea of heaven.  See pictures below.

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Here’s my mom in front of the apartment building where she spent her newlywed years.  My dad’s grandfather owned the building at the time.  My dad had lived there with his grandfather when he was in college and later lived there by himself as a bachelor.  This is where I lived until I was 3, when my parents bought the house my mom lives in now.

 

SONY DSCHere I am in front of my shrine, Betsy’s house.  It is restored to look as it did in 1897, the year the series begins.  We also visited other locations from the stories that are still standing, such as the old Carnegie Library and other friends’ houses from the books.  I loved these books because of the warmth of family life and friendship that they portrayed, the lively characters and the great historical detail about what they wore, what they ate, etc.

I’ll have a couple more childhood blog posts coming up, and then it will be on reading my diaries from my teenage years, all of which I still have.

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