This month’s AR Challenge is “ What’s Your Story,” inspired by Richie Alan Naggar and hosted by Carol Williams and Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker.
Each and every person has their own unique story of their personal experiences which shape who they become, what they stand for and how they live their life. I’m pretty sure I won’t be writing a book about my life but this challenge has given me the opportunity to reflect on my beginnings, upbringing and how my parents provided the building blocks for a solid foundation to live my life.
My dad is from Clermont, New Hampshire and my mom is from Junction City, Kansas. They met in college and after graduation moved to Schenectady, NY where my dad worked for General Electric and my mom stayed home to raise my sister, myself and my younger brother.
They bought a home on 2 acres outside Scotia NY, which is where I grew up. These are the things I remember:
We played outside until dark, often staying out late catching fire flies
We often played hide and go seek, usually after dark
We made forts in the woods during the summer; built snow men in the winter, and built snow forts, which we defended vigorously with intense snow ball fights
We snow skied, ice skated, and went sledding
We loved to decorate for Christmas and strung popcorn, cranberries, and made paper green and red chains to hang on our freshly cut tree with colored lights
We raked leaves in the fall and loved jumping and rolling in the piles, the smell was intoxicating
We climbed the apple trees in our back yard, loved our forsythia bushes, peonies in hot pink, white and light pink, lilac bushes and stunning rhododendrons
We built dams in the creek surrounding our house and played for hours
We walked to school and then walked back
We played board games and cards on bad weather days
Our parents were always home, there for us and we ate dinner together
My mom baked mouthwatering cookies, cakes, pies, cinnamon rolls every week
We picked cattails and bittersweet along the road and made gorgeous fall arrangements for our table. We picked violets and daisies and made little bouquets, bracelets, rings and head bands
At night I read under the covers until mom yelled to shut the light out
My sister and I shared a room and we scratched each other’s back, giggled telling stories until late at night, and looked out our window at the stars whispering in amazement
Our property was the neighborhood go-to place to play kickball and baseball
TV only had 3 channels and went off at midnight playing the National Anthem
We had a huge garden and were expected to weed and help can the produce for our pantry in the basement and always had fresh food to eat
I went to the library every Tuesday night with my dad to check out books
We drove to Vermont often to see my grandparents, aunts and cousins
We took a vacation to one of the lakes each summer and always enjoyed fishing
Our homework came first and then we raced outside to play with our friends
Each of us kids sported different personalities and likes as we entered HS but our parents encouraged us to be true to our self and pursue our talents….no judging
My mother was a wonderful seamstress and encouraged me to design and make outfits with her supervision
My parents were frugal, having married during the war, but taught us the value of homeownership as they paid their home off in 7 years and we celebrated
There are so many fond memories of growing up when I did. It was a special time and the best of times. My parents raised us to learn the value of the dollar, work hard, be authentic, be trustworthy, respect others, capitalize on our talents, love what we do, like ourselves and never lie. We knew there were consequences for our actions and a good spanking was the norm.
I was blessed to have parents who loved us, supported our hopes and dreams, taught us to problem solve and was always there for us. It gave us the stability to help us face life and all its challenges, always to reach for the stars, even if we had failures along the way.
"I sustain myself with the love of family."