I am number four of six children. I am the second daughter. My parents bore three boys and three girls. Needless to say, I grew up “the middle of the middle”. Mien is what my position is called in Excel….I am typically the diplomat in my family. Riding that political fence, isn’t always easy in the middle of a family feud!
My early years in Drayton Plains, Michigan were peppered with travel. We owned the predecessor to the van…it was called a Greenbrier. It held ALL of the family. It was unconventional at the time. We thought it was very cool. Once my oldest brother got his license to drive, we seldom all rode together, anywhere.
We also owned a small one room cabin in northern Michigan. It had double bunk bed made of double sized beds. The kitchen sink was resplendent with a red water pump. There was an electric range top, used specifically for brewing aromatic pots of coffee with a percolating coffee pot. (not this drip stuff of today)
When I was about five, we added a bathroom. It only held a stool. It had a five gallon bucket of water sitting on the floor next to it for flushing. What an update! How wonderful NOT to have to run to the outhouse! While the outhouse still stood, we were actually a three holer family! (that called for a double snap, if ever!)
With that many children, rounding us all up, packing the Greenbrier, evaluating how much food would be needed for however long we were staying (typically all summer and many holidays) my Mother was one harried, disheveled cab driver by the time we finally got on the road to head north. Her allergies to dogs didn’t help…ok, the Golden Retriever wither her hair blowing all over didn’t help….All six kids and the dog were very excited to go to the cabin! We got to roam around like “natives”. We could stay up late, fish, swim, run and play to our hearts content.
It was all good….until, my harried mother forgot me. I was left quietly playing in the back yard. You know that scene from “Home Alone” when the mother realizes she has left one? Well, trust me, the show depicted the realization way sooner than happened in real life! I finished swinging on the swing set, thinking it must be nearly time to leave….the Greenbrier wasn’t in the garage. The doors were locked. The dog was gone. They had gone and left me behind all alone! At six years old, I didn’t know too many people in the neighborhood. I ran to my best friend’s home, no answer at the door. I ran to the neighbors on either side of our house, no answer at either of them. I sat on the front porch and began to cry. Mom loaded the dog in the Greenbrier and forgot ME.
The journey to the cabin was not like it is today. There was no I75 heading north. It was long, tedious and took roughly 4 ½ hours. Three hours after leaving, my family pulled back into the driveway. I had long quite sobbing. However, I did hold a grudge.
That quiet mien of a child, was still quiet during the day…but at night…whoa nelly! At night, I berated, scolded, and belittled all of my siblings, my parents and the dog! This nightly barrage continued into my preteens and to this day, if I am overly distraught, I will talk in my sleep.