Something New

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Well I have told you something about my brother and sisters so I thought it would be nice to tell you something about my early years. Based on input from my mother, Godmother, aunt Grace, grandma’s Jessie and Mary, and the young girl who liked me a lot in kindergarten, I was a handsome young boy with a wonderful outlook on life. Excluding my brother and sisters, everyone wanted to play with me. I was polite and very well-mannered. I was the young boy with the future of a prince ahead of him. Once during this early growing time my oldest sister, who was many years older than I, and my younger brother, who was just two years younger than I, were taken by my father to my grandma and grandpa, Jessica and Sam’s home. Something was happening and it seemed to this little four-year-old boy that it was something of major importance. Of course, before my dad left us, he asked me to be brave and to make sure my sister and brother were good and behaved well after he left. Yes, I was asked to take care of my baby brother and my older sister. It was easy for this four-year-old boy to entertain his baby brother. We could play games, climb the tree, explored the basement and the garage, and of course we could tease the chickens. Spending time at Grandma Jessie and Grandpa Sam’s house was always wonderful. Sometimes my uncle Leonard would be at the house and he was lots of fun to play with. Anyway, with Sam and me enjoying our day at grandma’s house, my oldest sister Marianne was sitting on the back steps. Marianne was always worrying about something. Sam and I wanted her to play with us but she was way too busy worrying. She did not stop worrying even after grandma Jessie sat down next to her and tried to let her know there was nothing to worry about. As the mature young man who was the oldest boy child of the family. It was my duty to take charge. I told my brother, Sam, to just ignore our oldest worrying sister Marianne. We can have fun with our games, and other things to do’s. So we played and every so often just laughed at our oldest sister. I do not know how long my father was gone, but I am sure it was at least for a few days. When he returned mom was with him and in her arms was a funny little tiny baby. At first all I could see was a funny face, hiding in the blankets. Her eyes were closed but just like her sister, her mouth was open. Our family of five was now a family of six! Jessica (daddy’s little peanut) had arrived and the life’s of the first five of us would never be the same.

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More Saturday Chores

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I do not want to leave my readers hanging so after I had cleaned most of the room I had to share with my brother I went outside and started my front yard tasks.  I would rake all of the leaves that fell from the tree.  This was most difficult in the fall when the leaves would cover the lawn and garden area at between two and three feet. (Honest, there were that many dead leaves)  I had to trim the lawn everywhere the lawn ended.  I had to trim around each sprinkler and there were lots and lots of sprinkler heads.  Then I would have to cut the lawn.  When I first started cutting the lawn a push mower was all we had to complete the task.  This lawn mower was only powered by one young Italian boy.  I do remember that my father did purchase a power mower but as I remember I must have been in my late teens.

At the completion of the lawn tasks I would move on to weeding the flower gardens.  On my hands and knees I would look for and pluck out any weeds that started to grow.  Completing both the lawns and the garden I would check out one side yard to see if the hedge needed to be trimmed.  I remember needing to trim the hedges at least four times each year.  The other side yard was either filled with Calla Lilies or weeds depending on the time of the year.  With this yard filled with Calla Lilies there was nothing for me to do.  However, when the Calla Lilies died and the weeds took over, then into the side yard I went with my shovel in hand.  I had to turn over all the soil in that side yard.  That task would kill the weeds and somehow strengthen the Lilies for next year.  All I remember was that it was very hard work.

By this time my brother had crawled out of his bed and started to eat some breakfast.  I knew this because it was at this time I would enter the house for a glass of water.  There he would be enjoying his late breakfast and facing all of his chores still needing to be completed.  After drinking my glass of water I would head back outside to sweep up and return the tools to their proper place.  I was always hopeful that my brother would ask me to just leave then in the back yard so he could use them.  I do not remember him ever asking.

As you can see by this little story my mother and father expected more from me than they expected from my little messy brother.  In fact, mom and dad expected more from me than they did from both of my sisters.  I never disappointed either my mom or dad because I was the good young man they could depend on to complete his chores.  Not to sound like I was just picking on my brother Sam, two years before I could apply for my driver’s license my dad required me to wash and clean his car once a week for one hundred and four weeks.  My sister Mari Anne, my brother Sam, and my baby sister Jessica did not have to wash and clean my dad’s car.  See how much my parents could depend on me!

Sharing my Room

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Throughout my young life I had to share a room with my brother Sam.  I was the good young boy, and my brother Sam was the messy younger brother.  One of the rules of the house had to do with our shared room.  We were required to pick up our room each day and fix our bed before leaving for school.  In addition to this daily chore, on Saturdays we had to change the bed linen, fix the bed, and then clean the room.  Cleaning the room included: bed fixed with the sheets tucked in at 45 degree angles, everything picked up off of the floor and placed in its proper place, all furniture needed to be dusted and polished, all toys and games needed to be placed into their proper place, and finally our desk area needed to be neat and orderly.  All this needed to be done before Sam and I could exit the house and start our yard work.

Yard work for Sam and I was split with me responsible for the front yard area and San responsible for the back yard area.  The front yard area consisting of three lawns, two garden areas, and both the left and right side yards up to the back yard.  In addition to the front yard I was responsible for my Mother and Fathers beautiful rose garden.  The back yard area was mostly cement with just two small lawn areas with my dad taking care of all of the garden areas, including the vegetable garden.  Sam had it pretty easy not only when it came to yard work but he also did less work when cleaning our room.

I was the child who awoke early in the morning.  So as soon as I got out of bed on Saturday I would strip my bed and remade it with clean linen.  I took extra special care to tuck the bottom sheet in with 45 degree corners so it would stay neat and crisp for the upcoming week.  We did not have fitted sheets for my bed until I grow up.  Next was the top sheet but this sheet only needed to be tucked in at the bottom of the bed with just two 45 degree corners.  Then the blanket was placed on the bed and it too was tucked in at the bottom of the bed with just two 45 degree corners.  Finally the bed spread was placed neatly on the bed with the pillow tucked under the bed spread.  After this outstanding effort to make the bed I would move on to the next Saturday task.

Because I was such a neat young man, picking up the clutter on the floor was never that difficult.  I found that I was mostly picking up items that my sloppy brother had left and failed to return to their proper place in our room.  With both my clothes and my brothers in the hamper, toys returned to their rightful place and miscellanies items put away I would start to dust.  It was easy to dust my nightstand because it was always neat and orderly.  The dresser that I shared with my brother was another story.  One of us was a little piggy!  It seemed to me that every Saturday I had to clean up for my messy brother because he was still asleep in bed.  I needed to get outside and finish my work so I could then do things on my own.  Sam slept and it was me who dusted the dresser.

I never told my mom or my dad but I knew that they both helped my lazy brother Sam with his Saturday chores.  I was sure it was not fair but I am sure you remember that he was the one who faked his breathing problems when he was an infant.

More about My God Mother

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Yesterday, I told you the story about my wonderful God Mother.  Soon after publishing I received calls from my siblings asking that I explain just a little more about my God Mother “Babe Mayo”.  As I stated yesterday, Babe was a wonderful person and a lovely lady.  She treated me as the special young man I was.  Babe never forgot my special days.  Starting with the beginning of the year, Babe would bring Easter Baskets to our home.  There was always one basket for each child.  One for my older sister Marianne, one for my baby sister Jessica, one for my younger brother Sammy, and of course one Easter Basket for me.  Oh yes I almost forgot, my Easter Basket was the largest of the four baskets.  In fact, it was larger than the other three combined.

The next most important day of the year was my birthday.  Babe Mayo never forgot my birthday.  She always arrived early and presented me with more than one birthday gift.  I could not open the presents until my actual birthday but that was Ok with me.  Babe’s gifts were always special and something that I had informed my mom I wanted for my birthday.  Babe knew how much I loved presents so she would never just bring me one great present. She would normally gift me with at least two special birthday gifts and a few small gifts for fun as well.  Babe made me feel super special each and every birthday.

The third and most wonderful day of the year was Christmas Day.  Again, my God Mother, Babe Mayo would bring Christmas gifts for me and my siblings.  Three presents went to my siblings, Marianne, Sam, and Jessica.  The remaining presents were mine for Christmas.  Even though I was given a few more presents than my siblings, it was fair because Babe was just my God Mother.  It was also fair because I was the oldest boy child of this Italian family.  I was the young Italian prince deserving of praise and gifts.

In addition to these three very important days each year there was her wonderful visits.  I remember that Babe Mayo would visit me at least three additional times each year.  In addition to her special and wonderful hugs and kisses she would surprise me with some kind of treat.  The best treats were the Italian cookies that Grandma Mayo made for me.  I always thanked my God Mother (because I was a polite young boy) and asked her to thank Grandma Mayo.  Then after answering her questions I would run off and give a cookie to each of my siblings.  With my bag now holding three cookies less I would look for a place to stash the goodies.  I think I had a fear that my siblings might want to eat more of my cookies.  Sometimes she would take me with her back to her home and I would play until my father would stop by to bring me home.

Special events always included another visit from my God Mother, Babe Mayo.  I know she was there for my Baptism.  She was there when I graduated from Kindergarten.  When I made my First Holly Communion, Babe was there. And she presented me with my first holly medal on a beautiful silver chain that I wore around my neck.  My sponsor for Confirmation was my Uncle Al but my God Mother came and presented me with a beautiful gift.  My graduation from grammar school would have been very sad if Babe Mayo had not arrived in time to give me her wonderful hug and kisses.  I felt like both a man and a young boy when I graduated from High School.  Yet my God Mother was there to congratulate me and shower me with hugs and kisses.

Babe Mayo, my God Mother, was there for my graduation from Collage and again when I graduated from my Masters program.  She blessed me with her presence at my marriage.  As I started a family of my own I would stop by and visit my God Mother at her home.  With my family expanding with the addition of my daughters we would all stop by and visit with Babe.  I am sad to say but my God Mother passed away before I could show her my first grandchild.

My God Mother – Babe Mayo

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There is one thing that my mother and father did for me that made me always feel extra special throughout my youth.  The thing they did was to ask Babe Mayo to be my God Mother.  Lucky for me Babe Mayo accepted and my young life benefited each year.  Babe Mayo was a friend of my mother’s family.  She was not a relative to my mother or my father.  She was just a perfect God Mother.

Babe would visit with my mother and me during my early years.  It is impossible for me to remember her visits before my sixth birthday but she shared photos with her and me taken during my early years.  I do remember her visits starting with my sixth birthday.  She was a beautiful woman.  She was always dressed very nice and her hair was never out-of-place.  She smelled of flowers and always had a big hug and kiss for me.

Whenever she would visit I would run into her arms for my hug and kisses.  I was always happy to see my God Mother.  My brother and my two sisters had God Parents but in my opinion my God Mother was the best God Mother for me.  She never yelled at me nor did she ever punish me she just loved me and showed it to me all the time.  I always felt so special and I even felt better than my brother and sisters because Mom and Dad picked Babe Mayo to be just my God Mother.

Babe lived with her mother and father just a short distance from our home.  I remember playing at Babe’s home.  The Mayo’s lived on a corner.  The section of the home closes to the corner was a small neighborhood grocery store.  It was called Mayo’s Market.  Inside the store was a variety of package and can good items plus a meat market and a produce area.  At the front of the store right by the cash register was a counter of penny candy.  It was beautiful when filled with all the special candy; as time moved forward the candy counter became void of penny candy items replaced by nickel candy bars.

Behind the cash register was a very narrow stairway.  At the top of the short stairway was a very narrow door that provided entry into the Mayo’s house.  The inside of the Mayo’s home was exquisite to this young boys mind.  Grandma Mayo, Babe’s mother, always had a beautiful smile when I walked into her home.  In addition to her smile, and just like magic from out of nowhere was my milk and cookies.  She always gave me a hug and homemade Italian cookies.  Life was always good at the Mayo’s home.

With my tummy filled by my snack of milk and cookies I could exit the house and play in the Mayo’s backyard.  The yard and garden had hiding places, a play house, and a tree to climb.  It was a beautiful yard and I always enjoyed the time spent visiting my God Mother Babe.  Today, I love my memories of my wonderful God Mother.

A boy and an Ice Cream Bar

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With all good intentions I attended school with an eager enthusiasm to learn.  The first lessens this young child was taught had to do with rules.  I needed to understand that I was no longer the young Italian prince I thought I was.  I became just another student in a class of fifty students.  This was very unfamiliar to me the little Italian prince.  At home my mother loved and cared for me and each of my needs.  My older sister, Marianne, catered to me when mom was watching, but this young prince needed to watch out when we were alone.  My younger brother, Sam, disrupted my much needed attention from my mother, just because he had a little difficulty breathing.  He was the second boy born into our Italian family so he must have known he was not as important as me.  I think that is why he started his life with some breathing problem.  All Sam really wanted was to steal mom away from me.  It did not work Mom still loved me the best.

Well back to my school life.  I really did not have problems with school work.  I had problems with rules.  I was a young Italian prince and I did not need to follow rules.  This became best understood by me when I was a third grader.  In Sister Julie’s class if you misbehaved you had to stay after school and catch the late bus with the older students. This was thought to be a tough punishment for third graders because you would not arrive home on time.  This was a signal to your parents that you were in trouble and would need to explain what occurred at school.  I thought it would be a bad thing because I might miss the Rin Tin Tin TV show.  Thinking back to my third grade time this type of punishment really was not so bad.  In second grade the teacher made me stand in the corner of the room, and that was not so bad either.

Well Sister Julie made just one mistake when I had my first detention in her class.  After all the other students left class to return home, I was the only student left to serve my detention.  Sister Julie had me sit up straight with my hands folded together on the top of my desk.  She then left the room stating that she would be right back.  Of course as soon as she left, my hands became unfolded and I slouched in my desk.  She surprised me with how quickly she returned causing me to quickly sit up straight and fold my hands on top of my desk.  Much to my surprise in her hands she had two Ice Cream Bars!  She came close to me and handing me one of the Ice Cream Bars, she then sat down next to me and begin talking about behaving better in class.

I do not remember much of what she said to me, but I do remember just how tasty that fifty-fifty Ice Cream Bar was.  It was just one week later and I needed to stay after class once again for detention.  Guess what!  The same thing happened again.  I got an Ice Cream Bar and Sister Julie explained why it would be nice if I behaved in class.  Darn those Ice Cream Bars were really good and all I needed to do was misbehave to get one.  Life had just improved for this young Italian prince.

There were no Ice Cream bars in fourth grade, nor were there any Ice Cream bars in any of my other grades but there was lots and lots of detention.  See how bad an Ice Cream bar can be!

A Young Student

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I want to tell you a story about my early years.  My memory is not what it used to be so forgive me if my earliest days start with my first year in school.  As the oldest boy in the family I started school at the early age of four.  I became five during my first year of kindergarten.  I was the youngest child in my class.  I was also a cute little boy and all the girls in my class wanted to play with me.  I played tag, jump rope (not well), ball, and house.  I did not play hopscotch much because my older sister never taught me how to toss the little thing into the squares.
My teacher liked me because I was a little shy my first year of school.  This did not last very long and by first grade I was a student the teachers liked to sit in the front of the class.  Thanks to the effort of eight wonderful teachers I became a young educated person.  These wonderful teachers did all this before my graduation into high school.

I went to public school for my first year and grades one to eight were spent at a catholic grammar school.  Even though my oldest sister Marianne started school years ahead of me my enrollment aided both my mom and dad to become frequent visitors at my school.  Oh the skills they accrued. After graduation I applied for and was accepted at both catholic high schools.  I was looking forward to attending high school.  It was my understanding that high school students selected the classes they needed to attend.

I went to my first high school councilors meeting prior to starting high school.  It was a sad meeting because he was telling me all about the classes I would be taking during my four years of high school.  I tried to explain why I wanted to select some of my classes, but my councilor informed me that based on my test scores these were the classes I must take.  As I remember there may have been a little yelling but I am sure that I did not swear at him.  Anyway by the time I got home the high school had called my father and explained that I was just not the right type of student for their high school.  I am sure My dad had to learn how to control his temper and not yell at the bad councilor.

Through out my life I have always wondered, does it count if you are tossed out of high school before you even start?  I was sure it did not count so I just went to the other high school.  That school was in another city so it was necessary for me to catch a train to attend high school.  Guess what I learned.  High schools talk to each other and they do not ask you to really explain what happened.  I went to my first counseling session and the brother explained the school rules first and then informed me what classes I would need to take if I expected to graduate.  I kept my promise to my father and did not argue with my counselor.  I started high school and life was good.  I enjoyed high school except for the multiple visits to the dean of men.  I was also not very happy with detention. However both Mom and Dad were able to use the skills they gained in their discussions with my multiple teachers during my grammar school years, again now that I was in High School when they had to meet with the schools Dean of Boys.

By the end of the third month of my first year of High School, I thought that detention was my ninth period class.  At the end of my freshman year the dean of men scheduled what he hoped to be the final meeting with my father and mother.  The bottom line was very simple; I could transfer to another school or graduates from this high school and continue for one additional year to complete my accrued detention.  My fate was sealed.  I would be attending another high school in the fall.  I started my second year of high school in the public school system.  I was considered a good student due to my grades.  My behavior did not change but for some reason it was a little more acceptable in the public school system.

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