Summer of 1960... chapter 18... nothing left but an old towel
Later that summer my mother gave birth to a fat, baby boy. He kept us all busy. He was almost too big for me to hold. He was so squirmy, I even dropped him once. Not far. I was sitting on the floor and he jumped out of my arms, but I caught his head. That’s the most important, right?
My mother stayed home a little while, but she struggled with needing to get back to work and caring for her new baby. She was away at work so much that her milk dried up. He was allergic to cow’s milk so the doctor put him on soy milk which was expensive. So that just made it harder. Between Momma, Grandma, and us three girls, we took care of our new brother, Kevin.
A few weeks later, in August, my birthday came and went without much fanfare; a cake, a blowing out of candles and I turned 8. I got a small doll with blond curly hair as a present.
About that same time, Bear just up and left and took all her puppies. I had run out to get a puppy to hold and they were gone. I ran to her place under the porch and there was nothing there but an old towel. “I guess she had to keep moving,” my mother explained. She said we needed to just be glad we got to be with them for a while. I remember saying, “I didn’t get to say goodbye.” Then I forgot the doll. I went out to get the bunny that I had secretly named Pinky and cried sad, quiet, goodbye tears.
. Since it was the end of summer, I knew school would be starting soon and I would be going into third grade. Marva Rose knew the teacher I was going to have and told me that she was very nice. I didn’t want to think about starting school but it was hard not to because our mother was sewing us new dresses for school. Occasionally the sewing machine would stop and she would call one of us in to try on a dress or to get measured.
“Oh, my, you’re getting tall,” she said as she measured me.
“I don’t even have my shoes on,” I giggled. There was a big hole in one of my shoes. Momma had gotten an empty cereal box, placed the shoe on it and drew around it. Then she cut it out and put it inside my shoe to cover the hole. Tony the tiger would peek out at me when I put them on. They were my favorite Butterscotch shoes. They had been Moonrose’s but when she outgrew them, they were mine. I had waited for two years to get them. They had been a light yellow and were now more of a brown, but they were still my Butterscotch shoes.
The next morning the first thing I saw when I woke up was my new dress hanging in my doorway. It was pale yellow and so very soft. I grabbed it and ran into my mother’s room.
“Can I wear it today?”
“You can try it on,” she said. I pulled it over my head; Momma helped me with the zipper. I put on my Butterscotch shoes and I would spin around and around, the dress flaring wildly around me higher and higher. Momma smiled, “It’s made out of the parachute material that your Daddy brought home.” It was soft and silky.
I remember that I loved that special dress and when I’d wear it, the bottom of the hem would hit just below the knee on the back of my calf when I’d walk. I felt grown up and pretty; and every once in a while, Tony the Tiger and I would just take a spin.
to be continued......