Friday, November 14, 2014

Texas, the first years

When you live in one place all your life, moving across the country is like going to a foreign land. I grew up in Nebraska, with only one trip out of state, to the Dakotas for our one family vacation. We drove across Kansas, Oklahoma, and into the top of Texas, our base was in Amarillo. The dirt was sandy and red, there were critters, funny things call horned toads, snakes, things I was not used to. I thought my mom would like the toads so I fixed a cardboard box, put bugs and a dish of water in it, and mailed it. Silly me, thought the Post Office would keep it right side up and be gentle with it. Mom opened a box with dead toads in it of course. We moved into a tiny 8 by 25 mobile home. Front room and kitchen combined, bedroom with a bathroom in a closet. But it was our first home and a special place. I cleaned and tried to cook, had many disasters there, including a pyrex dish of beans I baked that exploded. Meat was confined to spam as the frig was a tiny thing with no freezer or storage space for much more than milk and eggs and margarine. Air Force pay was not much, I remember my allotment check was $57.00 a month which needed to cover food and some utilities. We had frequent dust storms, coming from the north and blowing red dirt from Oklahoma in so thick it was hard to breathe, we hung wet towels over the windows to catch as much dust as possible. After the polio I had been told I would not be able to have kids, nothing inside was in the right place due to muscle damage so we were very surprised a few months after we were married to find out I was expecting. Our house was way too small for a family of more than two, so we went looking for a cheap solution. Found a burned out trailer really cheap, and Dick refinished the inside. It was much longer, maybe 50 feet so felt much bigger. We got it fixed and moved into a trailer court outside of town. By the time that first baby was due, it was mid February and we were snowed in. I remember Dick being panicked and trying to shovel a way to the base, in "case". Snow plows did the job, and we got to the hospital in plenty of time for the arrival of Doug, our first precious baby . I remember trying to make tiny blue jeans, back then they were not a buyable item. I made tiny felt cowboy boots and a fringed white shirt for him to complete the out fit, he was such a cutie. His dad did not like to be bothered in the night so I had a big job keeping him quiet, one night I grabbed a gallon jug of milk from the frig with one hand and dropped it on my toes, breaking most of them. We had a dog, a border collie named Judy, that adored Doug. She would sit by his bassinet, and if he stirred at all, she came and got me. I could put him outside in the sun and she would sit right beside him and guard him. I don't know what happened to her, but she was a great dog, really nice pet. Before long, Doug was walking and talking and guess what, baby number two was on the way.

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