1. My Early Days
When I was young, I was always sickly it seemed. I have very early memories from the age of 2. Every time we had chili or spaghetti at my Grandmother's house, I always got sick. She was always offended, but Mom knew it was real. The doctors called it 'nervous stomach.' Now they call it Celiac Disease. I always had tonsilitis, but they never took out my tonsils. I always got bladder infections too. I remember at the age of 3, Mom sitting me on the grocery store check out as she was writing the check. I remember crying 'Mommy I hurt' as I peed on the counter. Mom was horrified and the clerk was 'oh that poor baby' because of the color. We ended up at the Doctors which wasn't unusual. Vaginal infections always followed. I remember at the age of 2 Mom putting in a suppository, but in my 2 year old brain I thought she was cutting me with Daddy's razor because the suppository was wrapped in a silver wrapper. It looked just like Daddy's razor. It really hurt a little 2-year-old's who-hoo. I asked her 2 years before her death why she would cut me there when I was 2. She started crying that I thought she did that all these years and told me what she really did. All these years, I had thought she had abused me when I was young. I remember hiding from her in the bushes, crying I was so scared. I felt bad that I had made her cry. As I got older, I would be at a friend's house and I would start to feel funny. I would say 'I'm sorry I need to leave. Now.' I would race home. Most times I got there in time. Mom had medicine in the cupboard by that time. It is interesting, it wasn't until I was married that the doctor fixed the problem. Now with Fibromyalgia, I still get that feeling but, when I get tested I don't have an infection.
When I was 4 or 5, I got the measles, mumps, and chickenpox all within a month. It is a wonder my Mom didn't go nuts! When we went back to church, my Sunday School teacher told me I was going to hell because I hadn't been to church for a month! Can you imagine? I took off running as fast as my little legs could, scared the hounds of hell were right behind me and ran into the sanctuary calling for my parents. Of course, it was right during silent prayer time. 'Mommy, Daddy, I'm going to hell! I'm going to hell!' Over and over again, entirely hysterical. After that, they couldn't get me back to church! I was sure the door to hell was in that church. I didn't step back into that church until my Grandmother's death and even now I won't go to that church unless some family event is there. I certainly won't practice that particular 'religion.' Instead, I would stand on the front porch as people would start to go to church and yell 'Anyone want to play poker?' Mom said that I figured if I was going to hell, I might as well take others with me.
I always had growing pains in my legs too. Every night, my Dad would massage them and it hurt like the very devil but he would continue while I cried. After about a half hour, the pain would ease in each leg. That went on for years. I often wonder if that was the beginning of my Fibromyalgia. It never stopped me though. Kids are resilient. They just keep on going.
We were the 7th house in our neighborhood and so there were a lot of really high dirt piles to ride my bike on and boy did I. To a child of 6 or 7 those dirt piles were huge. My Mom would make me a lunch and I would play all day on those dirt piles with my bike. In those days, life was much simpler, safer, and you didn't have to worry about anything happening to your kids. You knew they would come home when they were hungry. I loved that freedom. You sure wouldn't do that today.
At the age of 5, I started ballet. I loved it. I was a natural. Of course, starting so young I could do anything. I think my first costume was a little French poodle, lol. All of my family came and watched my recitals every year, the boys hated it. I loved it. I was the only girl at that time. I started piano the same year. I was much better at ballet than piano. I would never play piano in front of anyone although I would dance for everyone. I tried tap dancing, but I tried to bring ballet into it and it didn't work.
By the time I was 16, the arch of my feet cramped every time I went onto my toes. I loved to be on my toes, but I collapsed every time I went up on them. Mom took me to the Doctor and he took blood tests. He discovered that my salt was low, very low. He told me that every time I cramped I needed to just put table salt into the palm of my hand and lick it. I still do that to this day. The Doctor still tests my salt and it always tests low normal. Anyway, that was the end of my ballet career because even with the salt, every time I went up on my toes I would cramp. The Doctor could find no explanation. We bought new shoes, but nothing helped. I just couldn't do it. Even now, if I arch my feet I will go into a cramp. It was a great disappointment to me. My dream was to go to New York and dance on stage with the Rockets and my dance instructor said I had the ability until I started to cramp. God had other plans.
I loved to go through the houses as they were being built, after the construction crews left for the day. I was only caught once with a girlfriend. The contractor came to see how the workmen had done that day, so we hid in the closet. Of course, the door got stuck and we couldn't get out. Fortunately for us, his son was a friend of ours and he knew we were in that house. When his Dad came back out and didn't say anything about us being in there, Dean came back and found us stuck in the closet. He let us out and told us that if his Dad had found us, we would have been in really big trouble. Yep, life was simpler in those days.
Still with all those infections, pains, and fears, I had a wonderful childhood. I lived in the middle of a Scottish Clan. My Grandfather ran it with an iron fist and everyone had a holiday that they were in charge of and us kids were so close, until my Grandmother passed. The younger 2 cousins never had a chance to feel that wonderful feeling that Grandma made sure that everyone had. Whenever we all got together we all knew we were safe and loved and when we were apart we knew that we had an umbrella of protection. I had that feeling well into my middle teens.