Just Stop By

It’s funny how one thing leads to another- when I wrote this it was supposed to be the lead in to another thought- a whole different post & it became a post on it’s own- one which was – I guess- more up to date & modern.

It took me so long to write the part I wrote that day- that I didn’t have time to write the rest & I also felt like there was enough there for 1 post & so I stopped- unusual for me. I admit as I do suffer from run on-itis when it comes to writing things.

When I was a kid my parents had company often- it was unsurprising to me when I was 3-4-5 & even older- for one of my parents to wake me late at night (probably only 9 or 10 really- my mother is a low energy person & when she could do so she sent me to bed early- I remember being 10 or 11 & in bed before it was dark in the summer which in MA means 9 or so)

In contrast my kids are up until 10 most school nights (not really because I want them to be- if I had my druthers I’d be in bed by 10 & they’d have already been there an hour or more- however I realize that they’re every bit the night owl I was & of course- they don’t listen unless I yell really loud to let them know I mean it & I don’t like to do that over something as trivial as bedtime)

The parent- which ever one it was -would usually say something like “do you want to wake up & play with Heather- or Stephanie?” Or one of their other friend’s kids (names have been changed to protect the innocent- almost all of whom I don’t know any longer)

I would always get up & we’d play with the play kitchen or build with the blocks until all too soon it was time for the friend to go & for me to go back to bed. In later years the parents still came but they often came during the day when my brother & I were home because of being homeschooled & so my parent’s friends wouldn’t have their kids with them because they were in school.

There was also the sub-genre of homeschool families- we would have visits with parents who were considering it (how I met Chrissie) parents who were considering moving to the area & often- visits with people we had met that way.

Eventually this evolved into a monthly “homeschoolers meeting” where the kids would try to play together & the mothers (& a few fathers- at least occasionally) would coffee klatch it up in the kitchen. We adopted a rotating schedule- traveling around the south shore to different families homes for this monthly meeting & so I have many great memories of Debbie’s waterbed & walking at Brant Rock beach in Marshfeild in the cold weather & checking out the ice formations made by the tide.

I soon learned that it was a lot more interesting when my parents had company & even at the homeschoolers meetings to sit quietly in the kitchen while everyone was chatting- you heard all kinds of things that way.

From how H was a drunk but was quitting & going to AA- only to have that same H who had drank coffee & discussed this ad nauseum for hours one week- show up the next week 3 sheets to the wind so that my father had to drive him home & bring his long suffering wife back to get their car.  becky700931

To how one of my father’s friend Jim worked as a building supervisor & maintenance man & while snaking a drain in one apartment accidentally brought the snake up in another apartment’s drain- hooked a kitchen rug & tried to drag it down the kitchen drain! (a side-splitting tale the way Jim told it- which I get the giggles even now- 25+ years later just thinking about)

To how difficult a life the devout catholic family in our homeschooling group had because they wouldn’t use birth control (this was actually not said at a HS meeting but during a visit between my mother & her best homeschooling friend.)

By the time I was 13 or 14 if someone did come to the house my brother & I would converge on the kitchen- we were so bored being homeschooled- while we did have 9 acres of woods behind the house to explore- we knew them well & we learned soon after starting homeschooling that going out walking around on the streets during school hours brought un-wanted attention from adults who wanted to know why we weren’t in school so a day in our house during the homeschool years was interminable & company a very welcome distraction.

Now of course- in an ideal world (my mother’s idea of how it should be) our ‘boredom’ would make us seek her out to learn things & we’d have great learning sessions. Honestly the first 2 or so years were like that & my brother even carried it through for longer- because he knew that’s what she wanted of him.

I wasn’t the sort of person to put myself out to do anything like learn unpleasant subjects like math or punctuation if no one made me do it. So my mother’s school lists for me ran to 30-40 books in a month (no lie- I would take 15-20 books from the library every 2 weeks & had at least 2 or 3 books I owned also in progress at the same time)

She also counted cooking time – by the time I was 11 I was cooking at least 1 night a week because she was an unimaginative cook & I got sick of the same 10-14 meals over & over again. (of course- I am now too- but I was a SAHM for almost the whole decade between 1990 & 2000 so I got sick of cooking & I also blame starting so early in my life too!)

Back to the visiting- I was seldom the sort to stop by people’s houses- when I lived on my own with Chrissie & then in VA I wouldn’t go anywhere without Chrissie’s influencing me into it- although I was always happy to see people when they’d stop by my house. The same when I was living with ms 18’s dad- it was an unusual situation though.

I was a little more into it when ms 18 was a baby & I’d go for my 1 week a month visit with my parents on the south shore- for that week- while I had a car (I didn’t have one of my own living with my grandmother because I couldn’t afford one) I would visit friends – some homeschoolers- some from other parts of my past- all over the south shore.lois-beck-91051

I started to feel funny about it though- like I was intruding upon their lives- they were busy- some were cool about it- I got in the habit of going to Gail’s on Thursday nights (this was 1990-1991) & watching the Simpsons with her & her boyfriend & sometimes her daughters who were college aged (2 & 3 years younger than me) & not always around.

Then my ex & I got together. He liked to just show up at people’s houses- his parents in particular & other family members & friends houses too. I felt bad especially because we had ms 18 in tow (she was 2- 3- 4 up to 6- when her sister was born & I didn’t want to drop by & impose so much & fussed about it more)

I reflected over the holidays how I didn’t feel like I could visit friends or even the ex’s family without our goodie bag gifts- which I haven’t made yet & don’t think I’m going to do at all. It just didn’t seem right to show up without anything to give them- like I needed an excuse to visit- which it seems- I do.

But if you’re ever out this way- don’t wait for an invitation – just stop by!

(well- you should call first- when you’re at least 15 minutes away or we won’t have the house cleaned up yet & you’re likely to get an eyeful!)


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