annissamazing: Ten's red Chucks (Default)
My earliest memory was trying to visit my neighbors when we lived in a housing complex in Pullman, WA. I remember toddling over and trying to open their door, but my hands just couldn't seem to grasp the knob and before I could successfully enter their home, your Uncle Tony picked me up and carried me away despite my very loud protests. I'm not sure why I wanted to visit those neighbors so much. They had a little boy who pretended to share, but always ended up pushing me out of the way so he got everything and I got nothing. I didn't like that boy.

When I was two, my family moved to a farm outside the tiny town of Genesee, Idaho. All around the house were acres and acres of wheat fields. One of my favorite games when I was little was to get lost in those fields with a little boy from over the hill and when we were good and lost, we would have to find our way out. Finding our way out was the fun part and I credit my great sense of direction with this little game. The only time we got lost was when a dense fog moved in while we were in the field. By the time we found a road, we didn't know which direction to go.

Like many farms, this one had a lot of feral cats. There was one cat that was constantly having kittens. We called her the Mother Cat. While the Mother Cat was completely feral, the kittens were tame and when they were old enough, we would play with them. Sadly, the chemicals used on the farm had a nasty effect on the babies and they usually died before they were six months old. Of all the litters the Mother Cat had, only one kitten survived: a buff and tan tabby we called Whiskers. He became my first pet.

When we moved to Clarkston, Whiskers came with us. When I would explore the overgrown lot across the street from our house, Whiskers always walked ahead of me, poking into the holes and voids I would always climb into. I liked to think he was checking them out for me to keep me safe.

I still don't know how he died. We found him underneath our neighbor's boat one afternoon. I suspect the father of the family that owned that boat killed him. It was the death of Whiskers that led me to getting Sabastion.

I had Sabby for 17 years. He used to lick your head when you were a few months old. I've never seen a more interesting cat than him. I'll tell you more about him later.

I'm supposed to talk about my favorite toy now, but I didn't really have one. What I did have, was a favorite blanket. Grams made me an enormous quilt before I was born. The woman who helped Grams quilt the blanket mentioned it was too big for a baby blanket and Grams (over 40 weeks pregnant and irritated at me for being so late!) griped, "She'll take it to college!" She was right. I still have that blanket, although it's now too fragile to keep on my bed. I only pull it out when I'm sick because I still find the feel of it between my fingers comforting. Grandpa wants me to cut out a square of it and hang it on the wall, but I can't bring myself to do that. You can do that when I'm gone if you like and if not, it doesn't matter to me what you do with it.
annissamazing: Ten's red Chucks (Default)
Someone once told me that I was supposed to be named Ruth, but when I was born my parents noticed that all of their other children had names that started with A and they worried I would feel out of place if mine started with an R. I asked Grams if that was true and she looked disgusted. "Ruth? Why would I name you Ruth?" I dunno. It doesn't seem that bad to me. At least most people can spell it and pronounce it. In any case, I was named Annissa, which seemed like such a baby name when I was little, but now seems so big for a little girl. My parents got the name Anissa from our next door neighbor, but Grams added a second n for symmetry. My middle name, Laine, is still causing controversy to this day. Your Great Aunt Jan (grandpa Alan's sister) and your Great Aunt Jean (Gram's sister) both had the middle name Elaine. It's tradition in our family to use middle names as namesakes, so Grams decided Elaine's time had come and bestowed it upon me, but dropped the E to make my name "flow better." A year later with my cousin Rachael was born, Aunt Jean changed Gram's middle name, Kristine, to Christine. When Grams pointed out that Aunt Jean had misspelled her name, Aunt Jean shouted at her, "You dropped the E!" A few years ago, Rachael had a baby girl and named her, you guessed it, "Christine." Grams is now pushing any of her children to have a baby girl named "Laine." I can't help but feel none of this would have happened if they'd gone with "Ruth."

I was a large baby: 10 lbs, 13 oz. That seems to have skipped a generation as you were significantly smaller, thank goodness. Grams said I cried for three days straight after I was born. She took me to a chiropractor who adjusted my spine, and afterward I slept for 24 hours straight. I should note here that you can't take everything Grams says seriously. She tends to exaggerate. It was also at this time that I came down with chicken pox, my first illness. It was a mild case - I had only three spots - and I was pretty smut about that until I contracted Shingles in my early twenties.

When I was little, I thought Grams was the most beautiful woman in the world. She was kind and soft and smelled nice. She had these little faceted iridescent earrings that I loved until I knocked one out of her ear one day when she was getting me out of our old VW bus. She never did find it and I still feel bad about that. She used to take Aunt Afton and me to the little grocery store in Genesee after my half-day Kindergarten and let us pick out what we wanted to eat. Usually, it was Spaghettios or a t.v. dinner. Grams had light brown hair, which she liked to call blonde, but wasn't really. Sometimes, Grandpa would help her put blonde streaks in it and I loved watching how it was done.

Grandpa has been bald for as long as I've known him. I used to draw him with black lines on either side of his head to represent his hair. He always "corrected" my drawings to give himself a full head of hair, which always made me laugh. Grandpa also used to "correct" the drawings of the men on the covers of Grams' novels. Poor Fabio never had the facial hair Grandpa thought he did. I loved watching Grandpa chop firewood. He would line each of the logs up in a circle all the way around him and chop each log with a single swing. Crack! Crack! Crack! Crack! Crack! Crack! all in a row. He looked like Superman to me.

When I was small, Grandpa and Grams were very affectionate and it wasn't unusual for your aunts, uncles, and me to find them kissing on the couch. It was gross. One year, Grandpa set up an elaborate scavenger hunt for grams, leaving clues all over the house and out in the garage. Grams eventually found a pair of diamond earrings in a box of cereal. I felt slightly less bad about her other earrings that day.

In my earliest memories, Grandpa and Grams were in college. Sometimes Grams would take me to class with her. Sometimes I feel sad that I'm in class rather than with you at home or doing something fun, but other times I feel good knowing that your experiences with me are so similar to the experiences I had with Grams. I loved going to class with her and I hope you look back fondly at your time in my college classes.


annissamazing: Ten's red Chucks (Default)

April 2017

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