Today is Black Friday. This year it began last night ~ Thanksgiving evening. That does not sit well with me. I want to be the Control Freak of the Universe and tell everyone they need to stay put and feel grateful for their blessings on Thanksgiving and not rush out to get the best deal! Ha! I guess they didn’t get my memo…..But that is really hither nor thither to my story. Now that I will be turning sixty TWO in a few months…Rather than think of myself as getting “older” or elder or whatever other fancie schmancie word we want to call it….I’d rather think of myself as “a baby new to the sixties”, since I am at the lower scale of the sixties…60,61,62 versus almost 70, I think I’ll just go with that. Funny, now that I think about it…the “sixties era”…was one of my favorites and one of the most history making, in my lifetime up until now.
I’ve been thinking a tremendous amount about my Mom and Dad as of late. I’ve talked with my sisters and they mention that they have been too. The Birtwell Tribe is one of the closest, classiest,craziest families I know, and I am so lucky and proud to be a part of this Tribe.. My Dad always called us his TRIBE. My Dad had so much love in him that I can see now, looking back. He had nicknames for Everybody and EVERYTHING! And so we all joined in with our own lil nicknames as well. Breakfast was “Pear bee Pear”. Stephanie was Stettin. Barbara was Runty. Mary Jo was Pokey Jo Jo. Greg was Pesto Grego. Dean was Mr. O. I have many…Cacoo, Wowie, Caln….David, I don’t remember any for him….I know my Dad is David and his nickname was Did…then their were the sayings….”Go Child Go!” from Mom. “Rise and Shine” as she would lift open the blinds and wake us up for school. “Chintsy” if she thought someone was not generous with their time or money. My Dad called the boys that came a calling, to take us girls out on a date…”Skin Flints” if he didn’t care for them. Then there was “Baba Nan” which you would go to “The John” for….and when everything went awry which it always did..there was a defeatest slow… nod of the head, coupled with a faint smile from my Father, saying…”Nothing is Sacred Around here!”…..
In times of turmoil, my father use to say….”You can’t put an old head on young shoulders” .quoting HIS Father….the wise old Englishman. My Mother and Father were beautiful on the outside. Both of them. On the inside, they were generous, wise, and wanting the very best for their children. They raised seven children, with steadfast values, a great appreciation for the Arts and Culture,Athletics,( especially Tennis and Swimming) as well as a great respect for the Ocean and Beach. A great love of food and keeping the kitchen clean, and “pitching in” and doing your share of chores were always a part of our everyday lives. These jobs they volunteered us for, were usually set forth on the “Intercome” that each of us had in our bedrooms…announced with full Marine Flavor, by my Dad at 7am on a Saturday Morning…The exact nature of our chores were revealed with full reverie in full detail and we were assured at the end that we would be going nowhere until each job was complete and passed inspection! Ha Ha! They gave each of us the opportunities in life,that we leaned towards, so that we could go out into the world and be a success as we grew up.I got piano lessons, ballet, and enjoyed many Broadway Musicals. I was very lucky. My Father whistled so loud, you could hear him down the street! He loved music. Both of my parents did and I would catch my Mama singing along to alot of songs, and my Dad played the piano “by ear” as does my son.
Our home was always bustling with life. There were not so good things that happened as well, as is true with any Tribe, and I had an especially hard time when those rumblings occurred, as like it or not, I am a very sensitive person. Sometimes I don’t like it, but mostly it makes me a kind, loving, compassionate human. I wish I had more of a choice about it, but I don’t
I suprisingly left the nest and went out west to explore life and college in the Colorado Rockies. I’ve lived betwixed and between and amongst, alot of beautiful places since, and I’ve never moved back to be close to my brothers and sisters who are all still on the East Coast. I now reside on the West Coast in lovely San Diego with my strapping young man of a son, close by. We have lots of nieces and nephews and now THEY are all starting to have babies.
I wonder these days….why I left. I’ve yearned to be with my Tribe ever since my own little family shattered away into little pieces years ago. The husband left and I had to re discover the meaning of family as some “new kind of normal”. Single Momhood. One child and one me. So different then how I grew up, or how I wanted it to be. I missed the chaos, loud music, and “bickering” but mostly I missed and still miss….the huge big LOVE. It carried me thru everything. My parents and siblings gave me so many pearls, and diamonds. My siblings and I are very close and I adore all their children and their childrens children, but it is mostly from afar…and it just isn’t the same. The Holidays always bring about these yearning sad feelings in me, but I don’t usually write about them. Alone, and lonely, are words I want to hide away from myself, but this year, I am going to embrace whatever is there. Maybe it will bring me back “home” more often. Maybe it will bring forth the miracle of how I can be an East Coast West Coast Commuter kind of girl. Maybe something different besides tears and yearnings will spring forth for me this “Christmastime in the City. “
The East Coast is freezing in the winter. I don’t like that. I love the snow tho. I love the quaintness and strength of the East Coast. But mostly I love my family so much. Each and everyone of them…the in laws…the out laws…the children the wives …the husbands, the babies, the new babies….We have a HUGE Tribe now, and I know they all love me too. Love is always the answer for me. More love.
I hope you, my reader…have a Tribe. Maybe you call it something else. I hope you can appreciate the pearls and diamonds of YOUR Tribe. And I hope you can go to them when you are hurting. I hope before I leave this planet I can leave a legacy that is truely worth the sacredness of the “Birtwell Name” for I salute my Mother and Father for their dedication, their perserverance, their love and strength and bravery, their whimsical humourous ways…that gave us all alot of great “generational handmedowns” for generations to come.