Friday, June 05, 2009


Today's Gracie's last day in first grade. In the span of just over 10 months she has grown from being a non reader to a kid who can nearly read everything. Incredible. She's had an outstanding year in school.

During the summer we'll have Gracie while her mom works. Bible School comes toward the end of this month and we'll have Grace's four year old step sister, too. They'll both attend Bible School and we'll be in charge of picking the girls up.

This summer Grace will continue her singing lessons, go to the county fair with us, learn to sail the boat, have fun with Uncle Max when he visits in August, go with Wifey to see the Ringling Bros circus in Sacramento, practice her reading and art, . .. the list is endless. Grace never is bored at our house. There's always something to do or go see.

School used to begin the day after Labor Day. Now it is the middle of August. I'm not sure if that's the good news of the bad.

I remember starting first or second grade in September. Each of those years Mom and I had a tussle over my wanting to go barefoot to school. Wearing shoes after a summer of being barefoot was nearly intolerable. I hated it.

And to boot I was nearly naked throughout the summer. June, July and August it was be outside barefoot clad only in a swim suit. The first day of school was always 100 degrees which meant being indoors dressed in long pants, short sleeved shirt, shoes and socks. Terrible way to start the school year.

During the summer months mom would lock me out of the house. I'd get pushed outside at 8 in the morning and told that I could come in for lunch at noon then it was back outside until 5.

Me: Mommmmm! I'm hot. Can I come inside? Please?

Mom: Is it five o'clock yet?

Me: I don't wanna wait until 5. I want to come in now.

Mom: Wait until 5. No ifs, ands or butts.

One summer our septic system failed. Dad uncovered the septic tank and left it wide open and uncovered for several weeks while he made repairs to the system. Back then people didn't have real septic tanks. Tanks then were large, deep holes dug in the ground and covered with long planks of wood.

It was on one of the summer days I was pushed out of the house that my friends and I took up throwing rocks into the large, deep body of waste water. At our age the smells coming from the tank were kind of neat. . . . like we lived on a farm. . . that kind of smell. Made ya wanna go "mooo" or "quack, quack!"

It was on a summer day while the neighbor kids and I threw rocks into the septic tank that one of them pushed me into it. I was five or six, could not swim a lick. The depth of the tank was way over my head. I floundered. I was drowning. Bob was going down for the count.

As the story goes, the next door neighbor lady was hanging clothes on her clothes line. Hearing the commotion she jumped the picket fence separating the two backyards and pulled me from the septic tank waters.

I was crying, upset and really pissed that one of my so called friends had pushed me into the septic tank. Had it not been for our neighbor there was no doubt in any one's mind at the time that I would have surely drown. What a shitty way to die (pun intended).

On this occasion, Bob was truly full of shit.

And what really pissed me off is mom wouldn't let me come inside and shower because I stunk and because I had "stuff" all over my body. Instead of the warm bath I asked for Mom used the cold water from the garden hose to clean me up. Mom could be heartless and lack empathy most of the time. When I needed a hug and a warm bath I got hosed with cold water.

Promptly at 8 a.m. the following day I was pushed outside again to remain there until 5 p.m. when dad came home. That was mom for ya.

In retrospect it probably was a good thing when school began in September. I no longer had to spend 9 hours out of doors in the hot summer sun and was no longer prone to heat stroke. I didn't have to worry that one of my neighborhood friends would pull another trick on me. Being in school was a safe alternative for me.

But oh, how I hated wearing clothes, shoes and socks.
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La Roo said...

Oh my, that's horrible. That's so wrong, in so many ways.
Gracie is beautiful.
She seems so happy.

Bob said...

Laroo: If nothing else it built character. I don't think I'd be who/what I am today otherwise. Who I am today? Is that the good or bad news?

Blessed said...

ahhhhhhh to have a summer vacation.
I remember it well.
Unfortunately, summer vacations were not something that I looked forward to when I was a kid.
I loved was my escape from a terrible home life.

I do think that Miss Gracie is gonna have a wonderful summer filled with exciting things to do and surrounded by those who love her.

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