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Showing posts from June, 2012

My Summer Vacation

I dreamt of Italy, Greece, and England, but I never once thought the first stamp on my passport would be from China. HoneyBunch’s oldest son has taught in Shijiazhuang for almost three years and he married a wonderful, young Chinese woman over one year ago. He brought her to the US last summer to meet our family, so HB booked just the two of us on a travel tour of China then extended our departure a few days so that we could travel inland on our own for a short family visit.   On the tour, we visited Shanghai and sailed up the Yangtze. We flew to Xian and Beijing and walked on hallowed ground reserved only for holy monks and dragon emperors. In the old days, we would have been killed instantly for such sacrilege (and it wouldn’t have been pretty or quick). We snapped flashbulbs into the eyes of thousands of unblinking Terra Cotta Soldiers. We climbed The Great Wall of China and looked out for miles and miles as it stretched out on either side of us.   We visited museums with


The moment the last school bell rang, it announced the start of summer. Goodbye school books and school uniforms, hello freedom. Up until the ninth grade, I wore Catholic school uniforms intended to discourage sin, so summer meant no more confining, white blouses with Peter Pan collars, no more heavy gabardine skirts that hung below our knees, and no more clumsy saddle oxfords. It was time to go native – sleeveless tees, short shorts, and bare feet.   Our sissy feet would toughen up after months of confinement. The white marks the Bobby sox left on our ankles from lack of sun would soon brown up like the rest of us. We bombed all over the neighborhood.     Since we went to bed as late as the grownups, Grandma let us sleep in until nine every morning. We were pretty much on our own most of the day as long as we did our chores and showed up for meals.   Summer days were a time for play, exercise, and discovery, but the evenings were the best.   The day would cool down and a

Happy Father’s Day

The old, Catholic cemetery where family is buried is mostly Hispanic.   Whenever we would go to place flowers on graves, my father would make fun of all the seasonal decorations others would place on their loved ones’ plots. If it was Christmas, there would be holiday decorations and twinkly lights; if it was Valentine’s, there would be heart-shaped Mylar balloons and cardboard Cupids shooting arrows.   Whatever the holiday, so was the tribute. Dad made us promise we wouldn’t do this to him when he was gone.   He thought these were tacky and disrespectful. Daddy died in January 2006 and we were so broken-hearted that we went back often to stand in silence by his grave site.   Mom made sure the headstone was set right, and afterwards we stayed away for months until Father’s Day approached. No more ties, chocolates, or new shirts. This year we would all buy flowers as gifts.   As the day approached, we decided, one by one, to ease back into visiting his grave, and the first

Seven Lives

In 2006 when HoneyBunch proposed marriage to me, I suggested we wait on making wedding plans until we met each other’s grown kids.   He argued that we didn’t need their permission, but I insisted and he relented. He adores his sons, and I cannot breathe without mine, so if we were about to create a new family (one that liked and loved and got along with each other), we had to make sure we were all in agreement with our decision. Seven lives were at stake. He called his sons and asked them to come down for a visit.   One was in college nearby; the other worked in Dallas, but they came to meet me within the week.   That get-together went well. They were happy for their father and they liked me and I liked them. Getting my kids to cooperate was another story. All three knew I was dating HoneyBunch, but the marriage proposal came as a shocker.   They couldn’t believe that someone actually wanted to marry their Mama (and take her away from them).     I lured them to a n