Tag Archives: Cindy

Tuesday: Exercises in Writing #10

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This morning, looking for writing ideas, I went to amazon.com and used their free browsing feature to check out 1000 Awesome Writing Prompts by Ryan Andrew Kinder. He has some great ideas! I chose this one:

How were you named? If you feel that your name is boring and the story behind it equally so, make up a name and come up with an interesting story behind that.

My mother had trouble with names. Our dogs, even, lacked imagination. We had, first, Laddie, because Lassie was famous on the big screen, but our dog was a boy. He was followed by Tippy, because his tail had a white tip, who was followed by Tippy II and Tippy III in a smattering of short-lived dogs. We had Lucky and Lady. Husky, because he had a bit of that breed in his mix. Rusty was based on his color.

Naming baby boys was easy. My brothers were given traditional names with a family history. Ted was Theodore George, after his two grandfathers, which was usual for the oldest boy in our German family. Dave was David Robert: David after my mother’s grandfather, and Robert after our father. The baby that died at birth was given Dad’s complete name – Robert William – though we always referred to that baby as Bobby.

Girls were harder, right from the start. Mom pulled girls names from whatever inspiration was around. Brenda was named after Brenda Starr, of comic strip fame. When I was born, a nurse said, “Look at all that black hair, dark as cinders…you should name her Cinderella.” From that comment came my name, Cindy. Not Cynthia. Not, thankfully, Cinderella, though I like to tell folks that’s who I was named for.

I don’t know where Mom got the idea to name her next daughter Cherie, but she was set on it when her next door neighbor gave birth first, and took that name for her own daughter. Mom was furious! She had less than a week to come up with an alternate. Though she remained friends with that other mother for most of their lives, Mom never failed to mention that bit of thievery. My sister ended up with the name Sheila.

Cheryl was next; her name, Cheryl Ann, was taken from the side of a tugboat. Nita Louise followed (and later showed a bit of Mom’s desperate ingenuity when she named her own daughter Tina Louise) though I don’t know where the name came from. Robin’s name was a nod to my father, Robert. I don’t know how Mom came up with Darla, but her middle name – Jean – was for one of her best friends.

Carl and Amy owned the hotel bar at Lake Nepessing. The two had met when Carl was stationed in Germany during the war. Amy was a beautiful blonde with a strong accent. Once, when Mom was expecting, she and Dad had them over to play cards  After a few drinks, Amy got a bit maudlin. She was not able to have children, she said, but she loved them dearly.

“And just look at this houseful of children you have here! How is that fair?”

Mom shook her head in sympathy.

“If this baby is a girl,” she offered, one hand on her growing belly, “I will name her after you!”

That was how my baby sister Amy got her name. The adult Amy was flattered, and took the honor seriously, following the life of her little namesake with special gifts for holidays and other occasions.  For Mom, I can’t help but think it was just a relief: one name she didn’t have to struggle to come up with!

…and More

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Cindy, Ted and Brenda in the living room, in front of the door leading to the old kitchen

Before Dad started the big project that would become our new kitchen, he had already been remodeling the house. He had already closed off a portion of the living room, on the right side, to create a second bedroom. That became the master bedroom.

The small bedroom in back, original to the house, became mine and Brenda’s, where we slept in matching twin beds with gray vinyl headboards. Then it was ours plus Ted’s, when his big, “two-year” crib was moved in. That was when Sheila and then Cheryl, too, were sharing the other bedroom with Mom and Dad. When Cheryl outgrew the bassinet, there were two little cribs in that small room along with double bed, dresser and cedar chest. When Nita was born, Ted was moved into a big bed, Sheila was moved to the big crib in the back bedroom, Cheryl and her small crib were moved in there, too…and Brenda and I were moved upstairs.

The upstairs consisted of two large bedrooms. Dad was afraid of fire, so neither bedroom was given a door. Over the years we hung drapes over the openings, and argued for doors to no avail. If we mentioned privacy, we were told we didn’t need it, or that we should just respect each others privacy. If we’d had doors, they wouldn’t lock, anyway. Ever since Brenda – as a toddler – had wheeled her baby carriage into the bathroom and locked the door behind her, causing Mom to have to stand outside on a bench talking to her through the window until Dad could be reached to come home from work to take the door off the hinges to save her, none of our inside doors locked.

Straight ahead at the top of the stairs was a simple, square room with a closet. The ceiling was made out of tiles of wood, with the grain going first one direction, then the other. The windows looked over to the grandparent’s house. Around the corner to the right was an L-shaped room with deep shelves built in over the stairwell. The closet led to the attic space under the eaves. The windows looked over the flat kitchen roof, to the garden, the parking lot, the Lake Inn, and Lake Nepessing beyond. That was our bedroom.

It was scary, at first, to be so far away from the hub of the family. Turning off the closet light caused moments of panic, as we rushed from the pull cord to the bed in the dark. We devised a way to link metal hangars together, to form a long chain. One end, we’d hook into the light cord; the other end, we’d bring carefully across the room with us, get into bed, then pull. The light would go off, the links of hangars would fall apart and drop to the floor in a loud, clanging heap, Mom would shout up the stairs for us to keep it down and, giggling, we’d settle in to bed.

I learned quickly to enjoy the quiet and calm of the upstairs. I would sit on the top, deep shelf, away from the fray, with a book for company. I would take a tablet, a doll and a flashlight to the very farthest point of the attic, under the eaves, to sit by myself to write. We’d make imaginary lines on walls and floor, to create separate spaces.

As the little girls moved in upstairs, we helped plan and decorate their room and rearrange their furniture.  Visits to our room were special, and only allowed rarely. Eventually, Sheila, Cheryl, Nita, Robin and Amy all made their way upstairs. A half bath was installed upstairs, to the left of the landing. The little bedroom downstairs, where we had all taken a turn, was shared by Ted and David for the rest of the time that I lived at home.

As the family had grown, so had the rest of the house…

 

Diversions

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I was planning to write a quick, short post this evening, then turn off the computer.

I worked today. I’m tired and still have lots to do.

Besides, I’m off tomorrow, and will have time to write a longer, more thoughtful post then, as the finale to this month of daily writing.

That was my plan.

I thought I’d download my latest pictures to have a current image, at least, for tonight’s meager posting.

I can’t find the camera!

I took photos just last night, in the side yard with the dogs. It was dark, and I was trying out different settings for the best effect. I was sure it was in my coat pocket…then figured it was in the other coat…then scoured counter, tables and desk to find where I’d mislaid it. Nothing!

I put on boots and coat and went outside to retrace my steps from last night, in case it had fallen out of my pocket into the snow. I searched the car, too, just in case. Then I came in and repeated the search I’d already done. I emptied my purse. I looked in the insulated bag I use to carry my lunch to work. I looked through every other room in the house.

No camera.

I could have selected one of over a thousand photos already downloaded onto this computer.

No.

By that time I had decided they were all too dated. If I was going to use an old photo, it may as well be special.

I pulled out four albums, two metal boxes and one small wooden chest, all full of photographs.

What followed was an hour and a half of reminiscing.

“Oh, my daughters when they were tiny!”

“There’s Katey, right after Michael was born…”

“One sweet, beautiful grandchild after another!”

“…What holiday was that?”

So much for my quick bit of writing this evening!

I’ve decided on – then rejected – several different sets of photos with several different directions to write about them.

I could have written more about my five-day sail; I have photos to accompany that story!

I could have illustrated – with photographs – my time on Grand Turk Island, and many of the characters I met there.

Sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews, friends, parents and grandparents, my pets, my gardens through the years…there were too many possibilities.

I had to pause to feed the dogs.

It is getting late.

I still have lots to do, and I haven’t had my own supper yet.

I settled on this sweet photo, though I have no particular story to go with it.

I like it because we all look so much like ourselves.

Brenda, always glamorous (and in charge), looks directly into the camera.

I look a little bit serious, a little bit reserved, and am wearing almost the same identical hairstyle that I have today!

Teddy (though he’s just “Ted” now) often wears that same expression in conversation today! I am in love with his choice of clothing in this picture, but am happy to report he’s gotten better about [not] mixing patterns.

I adore Sheila’s small face, round little belly, and the fact that she is shirtless, while Ted is not.

I don’t know that he sunburned easily, but I have seen several old photos of Ted with his sisters where he is the only one with a shirt on!

And Laddie…a good old dog!

And now I’m off to finish my evening.