I have always been a precocious, bull-headed little geek. I was reading by the age of three, and always fascinated by scientific. Christmas age 8, what did I want? Colorforms Dolls? Nope. A new Barbie, with clothes? Huhn-uhn.
“Oh for goodness’ sake Gwen Marie, what do you want then?”
“I want the Scientist Kit, the one with stuff ta take apart an’ look at their insides.”
“My God Herm, she sounds just like her Mother!!” Quoth Grandma DeShaw.
“Hrrrrrrmmmmmbbbbbblllllllllrrrrrrrrrrrrr…” Meaning, “You’re wrong, but I don’t want to fight.”
“I’ll let your Mother buy you that one. What else do you want?” Meaning, “Please ask for something I can relate to?”
“I wanna Jane West doll, cuz she comes with a saddle an’ every thing else, and she can really ride my horses!” Oh the relief and delight on her face when I said that.
“What else Puss?”
“I wanna artist kit, with paints, paper, an’ brushes. An’ more horses.” I adored horses and collected the Breyer Model Horses. I had quite a herd, and they all had names, pedigrees and personalities. I knew I would probably never own a horse, so this was how I satisfied that longing.
“Are you makin’ me a scarf, mittens, an’ hat again? Everybody at school think it’s cool that you make ‘em for me.” How she beamed every year when I said that! What she didden know was that her love stayed in the yarn, an’ I felt safe when I wore ‘em.
And winters were long, cold, and dismal in Michigan. We got ‘Lake Effects Snow’ from the East and West. A winter storm coming across the Great Lakes would glut itself on the cold waters below, and then disgorge all of that moisture when it makes landfall.
This is the land of lawn Mowers that double as a snow-blower, 50 pound bags of rock salt stacked in the garage, where it was necessary to store one’s wheels to be more sure of it starting every morning.
Cap, gloves, and a long scarf were a necessity. Very often, all you would see of your neighbours were eyes peering from bundling up, until one waddled like brightly painted Penguins into the promise of a new snowfall.
More than a few times a year the snow would drift high enough, that someone had to come at the snow from the outside. The first one to dig out would start on a neighbour’s sidewalk and driveways.
All that babble to illustrate why those simple accessories were a necessity, a person could lose fingers, toes, or bits of their faces if they weren’t protected. And the ones I was gifted with every Christmas were infused with her protective, determined love.
To those of you who have never known this, my sincerest apologies. And to those of you who have been blessed by this experience, wasn’t it wonderful to remember such a moment?