Today in My History
2000:Touched By an Angel
2001: Picture Perfect
2002: Go for the Merman, Baby!
2003: I Think I Remember
2004: Ribbons and Tears
2005: It's Right on the Tip of My Tongue
2006: Sheila's Adventure
2007: Time Wasting
2008: You're Not Listening, World!
2009: Julie and Julia
Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels
Books Read in 2010
"Flying Carpet of Small Miracles"
Recipes for Cousins Day Drinks
(updated 3/17/10) And Then I Ate
VIDEO OF THE DAY/WEEK
My Mother Remembers the Depression
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WORTH 1,000 WORDS
14 August 2010
I thought I had come across a truly terrific deal. A web site called "Scan My Photo" was having a fantastic promo option. They would scan 1000 photos for free; all you had to do was organize them a certain way before sending them, and pay a $20 shipping fee to get them back. $20 seemed cheap for scanning the photos, and postage would be extra, so I was more than happy to hear that was the whole cost.
(For those interested, the offer goes through August 28 and you can read about here)
I was thrilled because it was the perfect solution to what to do with all those photos that came out of the scrapbooks that Polly and Spencer tore up earlier this year. All of my grammar and high school photos are now in a big pile in a box, awaiting some sort of action. Scanning them would mean I could throw the originals away and still keep the photos.
But when I got ready to start organizing them to send to "Scan My Photo" and read the instructions, I see that the minimal size was 4x6 inches, and since I only had a Brownie box camera, my pictures are 3x3 inches. Owell. It was a nice idea.
Despite not being able to pack the photos up to be scanned, I did start going through them a bit, inspired by Jim's recent journal entries using some of his family's old photos, like this entry about fishing with his dad, with the cute pictures of Jim.
The first picture I picked up was this one
Her name then was Madelyn Powers and this must have been taken in 1956 or 57, our first year in high school. I don't know where it was taken. It can't have been at our school, since we certainly didn't have swings in our play area. We were grown up, after all.
Madelyn was my best friend for my early years in high school. As the year passed, we formed more of a group. Madelyn was moving away from involvement with us and Joyce, Ann and Margie kind of moved into that place. But Madelyn was my first best high school friend.
She lived far enough away from me that I either needed a ride or to take the bus. The bus stopped a block from her house, so I usually did that. She also lived right around the corner from a movie theatre, which was convenient.
But there were two things, for me, that were cool about Madelyn's house. Her mother kept house like...well, like I do now. Casual is a polite way to put it. It was not the pristine "don't get anything out of place" house that my mother had. Madelyn could go for weeks without cleaning her room. We slept in a double bed together, on the floor. I don't think the sheets had been washed in months.
Her mother didn't much care what we did, so when I wanted to read a "bad" book ("Peyton Place"), which I knew my mother would never let me read, I went to Madelyn's to read it. Just sat in the house every day after school until I finished it, disappointed that it wasn't the "dirty book" I expected it to be.
The other cool thing was that her mother cooked sausage for breakfast. My mother was strictly a bacon mom and I loved the sausage, so I tried to arrange sleepovers at Madelyn's whenever I could.
[It's interesting thinking back on things that my best grammar school friend, Gayle, had a TV and we didn't, so I was forever wheedling an invitation to stay for dinner so I could watch TV; and now I was wheedling an invitation to spend the night at Madelyn's so I could have sausage for breakfast. Their mothers must have hated me! Mostly, I think I just wanted a break from my father's temper.]
My memories of Madelyn, this many years later, are spotty. I remember that I got my very first scar at her house, helping her carry a box from the back yard into the house. I dropped one end of it and a nail that was sticking out cut a gash in my wrist. It has faded to a tiny scar that I can barely find now.
I also remember when her brother got very sick. So sick he had to stay in bed. I don't remember what it was but it was kind of like a "good" kind of polio, that affected his ability to walk, but wasn't nearly as serious as polio. I think he spent some time in the hospital too.
I also remember that her grandmother lived in one of those mansions down on the Marina in San Francisco. It faced the yacht harbor, was about 3 or 4 stories tall and you could ride up and down in an elevator. She also had a real live maid. I never knew someone with a maid before. But the sad thing was that the grandmother had breast cancer and I remember seeing her once without her top and looking at one breast which looked like a sock with a tennis ball in it.
Madelyn married right out of high school to the brother of another of our classmates. But once she married we never heard from her again. Ever. We had rumors that she had given birth to something like 8 children. Every so often I'd try to find her, but always hit a dead end. It wasn't until the recent high school reunion when we learned that she died seven years ago, apparently living with one of her daughters in Tennessee. I still don't know what kind of life she had or why she cut off all ties with the rest of us.
But this photo, which I've now scanned myself, brings back lots of memories of those days, of Madelyn, and of the school, and of a really special time in my life. Many people hated their high school years, but I absolutely loved them.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Just for ducks...