Stuck in the '70s

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween (what's wrong with kids today)?

Well, Happy Halloween! My favorite holiday of all holidays! It's 5:40 p.m., and nary a single trick or treater has come to the house. My 12-year-old is out hitting the neighborhood in the rain on his last time 'round. What's wrong with these kids now adays? Are they letting a little rain stop them? Or is there some kind of parental interference? We live in the Bible belt, and there's a church on every corner here. Heck, there's as many churches on the corners here as there were taverns on the corners in Peoria where I grew up. No one in my family ever went to taverns; but no one was forced to go to church and miss trick or treating either. I guess all the kids in this small town are discouraged by the rain (wimps) or they have been dragged off by their overzealous parents to church gatherings. We need to teach them what kind of hell they will face if they go out on Halloween night begging for candy. I hate that this tradition is dying out and dying out fast! People of my generation UNITE!!!!! If you haven't done something about it this year, then pledge to do something next year before it's too late!!! What's the world coming to when you can't set the kids free to go door to door to get candy? I went out today on my day off (waited till then so we wouldn't eat all the candy beforehand) and bought 5 bags of candy. I'm so frustrated. My best memories of growing up in the Wonder Years neighborhood of Brookview were Hallloween, and I refuse to let it die! I've lectured the boys tonight on having their kids trick or treat, and their grandkids, even when I'm gone. Even if it's no longer a holiday, boys, please let it go on!

OK. Off that soap box. I had today off and made one of those Newport runs. On the way home, I made notes on an envelope to myself so I'd remember what it was I wanted to write about in my blog. Of course, I abreviated in my notes, seeing as how I was driving at least 55 mph while I was writing them. I see as I look at the envelope upon which I took notes that the first one says "Tom." Hmmmm .... I have no idea what that was. I hope I'll remember it tomorrow.

The next one says "Mom." Of course, I know what that one is about. Mom. It's coming up on two years since Mom died. I was going to say "since I lost my Mom." But I didn't lose my mom. I know where her shell is. It's in a graveyard here in town. She's not lost. She died. I learned working in journalism for 20 years that people who die are not lost. They do not "leave this earth to be with their Father. " OK. This has nothing to do with my religious beliefs. It has to do with the Associated Press and AP style. I was in charge of page 5 at the local newspaper for quite some time, and that included the obits. The editor always said when someone was reluctant to write an obit to remember the first three letters of funeral were F-U-N. So, have fun with it. But, Aunt Bertha doesn't leave this existence to be with her maker in the AP style obits, she dies. At any rate, I know that my mom is now enjoying the company of her sister, my Aunt Dorothy, and her parents, my Grandma and Grandpa B. But, in AP style, she died. That is EXTREMELY hard for me to grasp, even almost two years later. How could that possibly happen? In my religious beliefs, I know that she is there, doing OK; heck -- she's shopping at the Mall of Heaven with Aunt Dot and having a big ol' time. But, I know in my heart that she's missing me too. I'd love to take in that Mall of Heaven with her. We were such tremendous shopping buddies that I hate to go shopping now (and rarely do) without her. She and Aunt Dot are shopping there with "no interest" and wishing I was there to throw things in the basket.

I had several other things written on my notes to put in this blog tonight. I understand what they were, and they can wait. I'll write again soon. Meanwhile, the rain is still coming down on this Halloween night. Nicholas made his first round and is now out on his second. He's convinced his way-too-old brother and the neighbor friend to go on the second round. A couple of trick-or-treaters have indeed fearlessly come to the door in the pouring rain. They're probably too big to be trick or treating, like my boys, and some of them aren't even wearing costumes. But, they're carrying on the tradition, and they received two handsfull apiece of the good expensive candy from me.

Below, submitted for your approval (or your amusement or your reading pleasure or whatever you choose) I'm copying and pasting something from my oldest son, who will be 17 in March. He reminds me of myself in so many ways; and he is turning out just as I had hoped. He cares WAY too much about the people in his life, and he is very observant of their plight. He is torn on what he wants to be when he "grows up." He has been playing Nintendo since before he was born. He's best at the video games. It's an extension of his body, like the umbilical cord. Thank God he doesn't go and hang out with the "bad types." He is so much like me in high school, (he's a junior) that he has picked "uncool" friends and is into drama and art. No, he's not gay. He definitely digs the chicks, but I won't get into that here. He's going to be a great catch for someone some day -- I hope not TOO soon. He's tuned into all the life that goes on around him while being too book smart to catch some things. In his English class this week, he was supposed to write an essay about a "folk tale," -- something that is true that he can account for firsthand that he experienced. I knew nothing of this assignment until he asked me my permission to write what you see below. I didn't realize my disastrous existence stuck in his psyche so much, but I should know better. I told him when he wrote it that I didn't want him to name any names, but it became apparent that he couldn't do that with this. So, I said, "OK," and I'm hoping child services won't come take the boys away. Ha, ha, -- half-heartedly. These guys are what matters to me most, and nothing else shall come before them. Vincent has always known that, and he has always been grown up enough to deal with what comes his way. So, I will leave you with his essay for English (reprinted here with his permission), but I will *** out the name of the loser he has written about. His essay was not my choice, not my idea and yada yada. Just interesting to see how a son saw it through his eyes. Here goes ...

“A Stupid Thing to Say” by Vincent

My ex-stepfather, from here on out to be known by the name of ***, was an idiot. A sweet, witty idiot at times, but still an idiot. He was also a mean drunk. He never physically abused any of the family or anything, but he was always talking about wanting to get into a fight. One night, while I was eating dinner with him and Mom, we were at the Duck blind and he and my mom were having a few drinks. My mom is definitely not a heavy drinker and any occasions having to do with a few too many drinks merely resulted in a late night up listening to lots of 70’s music.
***, having just recently entered our family, was trying to get used to some of the weird things we do. Like when you go over to a friend’s house and spend two or three days. Around the same time that we got ***, we lost my grandmother. My mom and grandma were very close and it was a heavy blow on her. That night at the duck blind was probably around 2 months later.
Somehow, whenever *** and my mother were drinking, *** got onto the subject of my grandma’s death and then my little brother. Everywhere Mom turned there was something to remind her of grandma so that she spent a lot of her time, those two or three month or more, close to an emotional breakdown. ***’s view was this. “It’s over now. Stop crying about it.” That really is, just about what he said. The rough summary of it, anyway.
After some more pointless chat about Mom “overdoing it” with the crying and the memories and such, he got on the topic of my little brother. Now, I can’t say that I didn’t agree with him about some of the things he said, such as, “He’s spoiled.” Or “He has hardly been disciplined.” Because he is spoiled. I do all the chores and cleaning, because, if he isn’t asked, he doesn’t do a thing. But this is beside the point. The point is that *** was going about saying all this the wrong way. For example, he used a few choice words, that I might not say around small children or angry mothers, to describe my younger brother.
This is the point that leads to ***’s ever ominous downfall and exclusion from our family. At this point, Mom stands up crying, having already tried to talk to *** about Nick, and leaves the Duck Blind. Also, she leaves her eldest son, moi, with the drunken guy. But, if I were in her position, I probably would have done the same thing. She has a high respect for my intelligence, which I have always appreciated, so she called her friend and had Michelle come and pick her up.
After about 10 minutes I realize, knowing my mother, that she wasn’t coming back. I ran this past ***, but he says, “No, no. She’s just in the bathroom. She’ll come back.” Twenty minutes later, we exit the Blind Duck and she’s nowhere to be seen. Of course, we start getting worried because we figure she must have walked somewhere. So we drive home, looking for her on the way, and call her cell phone when we get home.
In the end, we found her at Michelle’s, and *** and Mom resolved their differences for the moment. There was a well-built façade of happiness for another 6 or 7 months, and then *** signed his own divorce papers and went back to the insane woman that he was trying to get away from when he married my Mother.


  • At 7:47 PM, Blogger ptcitychick said…

    Julie, you writing of your Mom and shopping is heaven with your aunt and grandmother brought me to tears. I have to share a dream I had with my Mom in it. I believe she came to me in that dream to assure me she was okay. In my dream my Mom called me on the phone and I talk to her for a few minutes. I asked her what she was doing. She told me that she was shopping with Mrs. B., our elderly next door neighbor (who died a month after my Mom). I asked her, "There is shopping in heaven?" She said,"Oh,yes, there is shopping in heaven!" I asked her if she was being nice to my Dad and she said, "yes, I am". She said she had to go, it was time for lunch. I told her I loved her and asked her again if she was okay. She said yes, she was great and not to worry about her. I woke myself up and went over every detail of that dream to make sure I remember everything. I hope my Mom meets your Mom in heaven. They can shop together at Heaven's shopping Mall!
    Happy Halloween too!
    Your Georgia pal,
    Ptcitychick (Robyn)

  • At 10:44 PM, Blogger Julie, That '70s Chick said…


    I'm sure our moms are shopping together in Heaven! That is what moms and daughters do best it seems. I don't want to go right now, but I know undeniably, that there is shopping in Heaven because my Mom and your Mom have told us so. I am sure they have run into each other there, and we will be there with them afore long.

  • At 7:50 AM, Anonymous DRKellogg said…

    I don't think it is the kids, I think it is the adults. For some reason, a lot of religious denominations have suddenly begun to think Halloween is evil.

    My kids attend an after-school program at a church and they are wacko over the idea that the Devil is on the loose on Oct. 31.

    At least where I live (small conservative Indiana town), the tide is turning for the better. We've actually had MORE Halloween activities than in the past and I'm happy about it. And the church I mentioned above had a pretty low turn-out at it's "alternative" party.

  • At 10:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    that guy *** is a mean bad person. that was a totally rude thing to say!!!!


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