Mem’ries, light the corner….Oops. Thought for a minute there I was Barbra Streisand. Just hum along with me while I share part of my childhood. Like Sunday dinner at Papa and Grandmother Blandford’s house. Or, maybe not even Sunday. There were always a lot of family members joining them. Grandmother was a great cooker, to coin my daughter’s phrase. At this point I can’t identify anyone except Papa at the head of the table, and Grandmother on the left, beside the cute child. Not sure which grandchild that is, but we were all cute, so she is generic. Also not sure which of my uncles are on the right. They all had the dark hair and looked alike, except for Leo, who had blond, curly hair. He kept it cut short for some reason.
My own part of the Blandford family was through my mom, Mary Blandford, who married a Goetz. That’ my dad, in the middle of the front row. His eighth grade graduation. Eighth grade graduations were a big deal in those days. A lot of kids didn’t go on to high school. They stayed home and worked on the family farms. Dad went to high school because he didn’t like farming back then. His brother, Ed, was the farmer in the family. His sister, Hilda, married mom’s brother, Damien, so I have a lot of double first cousins.
This is my only big brother, Tony. I always looked up to Tony. These days I REALLY look up to Tony, as well as my other three brothers. And my two sisters. I’m the shortest one in the family. Tony is the tallest. He’s six and a half feet tall. I’m five and a half feet tall. Tony always took care of me. He fed me a mud pie. He took me for a walk one day and got us both lost. He cut my hair under a street light. He showed me how to play “Hansel and Gretel” with mom’s new ration of sugar during WWII. He played ghost with me, putting a sheet over my head and chasing me around the house. I fell over my doll bed and knocked out a tooth. It finally grew back in when I was 16. When we moved to the country, he showed me how the blocks our house was built of wouldn’t burn. In our uncle’s barn. Filled with hay. The block survived. We survived. The barn? Total loss. Next morning memory? My uncle standing, looking at still smoking ruins, shaking his head. Then Tony started to school, so he didn’t get me in as much trouble after that.
We made our own fun back then. No big name electronics to play with. Just imagination. We played store. Used the empty cans mom threw in the garbage, and the empty baby food jars. Of course, being oldest, Tony owned the store. The rest of us were customers. We cut up newspapers and catalogs for money. Bought our weekly groceries.
When we got tired of that game, we played under the willow tree. We built roads in the dirt, and used bricks for the vehicles. A half brick was a car. Whole brick was a truck. We added to the road system on a daily basis. Who needed store-bought toys? We had imagination.
We didn’t have a TV until the very late ’50’s. But we had a radio. And we had our favorite programs. “The Phantom Knows, hahaha”. “B-BAR-B”. “Lassie”. We had to use our imagination to put faces on the characters. But I remember thinking how handsome some of them were in my imagination.
This is our family, before Elaine was born. Christmas always began with a manger scene. On the left are yours truly in the back, Larry, and Ray, and on the right are Tony, Steve and Sylvia, who hates to have her picture taken now. Guess I just broke a promise by putting this one in here. Sorry Syl. But isn’t she cute? And for once, only Tony is taller than I am. Oh, how they’ve grown.
Thanks for joining me down this trip down memory lane. I’m sure there will be more in the future, but for now, I’ll say goodnight.