Tag Archives: Halloween

Monday’s for Me ~ Stop Clowning Around!

File65After the death of my Dad in 1974, we decided to move back to Tucson AZ. We moved into a new mobile home on the far west side of town. In the park where a lot of families with young children. I quickly made friends with several of the young mothers and I would help them with their young children. One of these women kept insisting on paying me for my help but I kept refusing. One day I was helping her clean out her storage shed and we came upon a large box of old Halloween costumes. On the very top was a clown outfit she had made several years before, complete with a detachable neck ruffle and gloves. I guess my face lit up because she asked me if I would like it and I said “Yes!” I had always wanted to be a clown and I had even thrown together a rather ugly clown outfit about a month before and I drove to the local K-Mart and had my picture taken at their photo studio.

Within a month I had sewn large blue pockets on the suit. I practiced File108putting on makeup, which was the hardest part. I went to the library and checked out books on magic tricks. I learned several that were fairly easy but they me as clownwere hard for the observer to figure out. I loved dressing up and going to the malls and just entertaining the kids there. It wasn’t long before I was booking parties and events. My first one was a birthday party. It was so much fun that I felt guilty accepting the money for it. I continued to stay pretty busy being a clown.

File64In October of this year, I was asked to put on a performance for all of the children who lived in the park. It was to be held in the large clubhouse. I thought, “no big deal” since it was just a few kids. Well, I was in for a surprise. Not only did every kid in the park show up but also their parents and lots of the older residents came with their grandchildren! There were almost 200 hundred people there. I was so scared! I guess my performance was good because everyone seemed to love it and I got more bookings for parties.

File151Over the next few years, I entertained at school functions, birthday parties, and carnivals. I had a blast. After I got married in 1977 my husband hated it so I stopped. I really missed it. In 1986 my husband committed suicide. A few years after that I began doing parties again. However, I seemed to have lost my excitement for it. So over the next 13 years, I occasionally put on my suit. Once when I was working at a paper company they had a contest for Halloween. We were all supposed to dress up for work and the employee who got the most votes from the customers got a $100 prize. IFile26 wore my suit and performed card tricks for the customers and I won the prize. My last time I wore my clown suit was in 1999. Our church was putting on a large event and had me and 2 other girls dress up and entertain the children. Not long after that, I donated the entire suit to Goodwill.

On occasion I get the urge to try to “clown around” but it passes really quickly. I have had lots of fun doing my card tricks for the grandkids and watching their faces light up in excitement and amazement. To my dismay, none of them like clowns. They had watched all those scary clown movies and they are frightened of them. I guess I will have to just accept that I will be the only clown in the family!

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Arizona, Birthday, Clown, Family History, Family Search, Fun, Genealogy, Halloween, Monday's For Me, My Stories, Story telling, Uncategorized

Part 2: My Mother was Superstitious –A Month of Tales from the Dark Side

superstitions moonGrowing up our lives revolved around superstitions. My Mother had one for every occasion or event, everything from the fear of Friday the 13th to dropping a knife on the floor.  I know that my Mother wasn’t the only person to hold to these superstitions but to this date I have never met another person who believed as many or as strongly as she did. I thought I would spend this month leading up to Halloween telling stories of things that happened in not only my childhood but in the lives of my Ancestors that helped form most of my Mothers superstition beliefs or were a result of her beliefs.  I will post a blog every Friday and Tuesday and I hope you will enjoy them and even get a laugh or two out of them.

Superstition #2:  A bird in the house is a sign of death

Me at 12 years old.

Me at 12 years old.

For my 12th birthday all I wanted was a parakeet. I had always loved birds and as a young girl I even cut out pictures of birdsand pasted them in a scrapbook. My favorite was the Mountain Bluebird. When I told my parents what I would like my Dad immediately agreed. He felt it would be a great experience for me as I would learn to be responsible for the care and feeding of the bird. My Mom had other ideas. She believed that having a bird in the house was bad luck. They were an omen of impending death to someone in the family. Why would we want to invite something like that into our home? Her reasons for not having a bird far outweighed my reasons for wanting one. I was devastated.

blue-parakeet

“Red” Bird

When I got home from school on my birthday, which by chance was January, Friday the 13th, I walked into my bedroom and there it was, a brand new shiny bird cage with a beautiful blue parakeet singing away inside.  I was so happy I cried. My Mom came to the bedroom door and with a very serious voice informed me that the care and feeding of the bird was all my responsibility and at no time was I to let it out of the cage. I had a hard time deciding what to name the bird so after much thought I named him “Red”.

Over the next 2 months I taught Red how to wolf whistle, say “pretty bird” and “hello”. I realized that since I got the bird my Mom no longer came into my bedroom. It was like suddenly I had some privacy and freedom. Knowing that she avoided my room I began to let Red out of his cage and let him fly around the room. I would practice my clarinet and Red would come and sit on the end of it and look up inside the instrument as I played.

Car pink & Gray 1955 Chevy Belaire

This was the type and color of our car!

About the same time that I got Red my parents made the decision to move our family to Missouri. They put the house up for sale and it sold faster than they anticipated. So at the end of March we packed all our belongings into a U-Haul trailer and hit the road. From Tucson AZ to Independence MO it was about a 1200 mile trip. My Mom didn’t want us to bring Red but my Dad over-ruled her. So with Red, sitting comfortably in his cage settled into the back seat between me and my sister we began our journey.

Tularosa-New-Mexico-Map-SWe were in New Mexico, somewhere between Tularosa and Carrizozo, traveling through some mountainous roads when we came over a mountain incline a little faster than we should. The next thing we knew the trailer began to weave from side to side. My Dad tried to correct it by jerking the steering wheel the opposite direction but this only made it worse. I don’t know how long the hill was but we weaved from side to side almost all the way to the bottom, at one point almost going over the edge of the mountain. When we got close to the bottom of the hill we were actually facing the wrong way. My Dad decided to drive back up the hill instead of turning around. When we reached the top he stopped. At this point the trailer fell off the hitch!

It was at this point that I thought to make sure that Red was alright. I saw the cage sitting between me and my sister, the top had popped off and one side had caved in and Red was nowhere to be found. I began to panic looking everywhere. I looked towards the front seat and I saw my Mom sitting there shaking and crying hysterically. Then I noticed, sitting on the top of her head was Red. My Mom was so upset she didn’t feel him there. I slowly reached up and grabbed him placing him back in the damaged cage and placing my pillow over it.

It took about 30 minutes before another vehicle came by and it just so happened to be a man in a truck with a heavy duty jack. He stopped and helped my Dad reconnect the trailer and we were on our way. My Mom was uncharacteristically quiet for the rest of the day. When we stopped for the night my Dad helped me put the birdcage back together and he suggested I leave Red in the car for the night. When I went into the room my Mom was sitting on the bed and she told me what had happened was entirely my fault because we had to bring that D@#n bird. She wanted me to release him before the next morning. Thankfully my Dad stepped in and convinced her to let me keep him although nothing could convince her that having the bird in the vehicle did not cause the accident.

So what did eventually happen to Red? About a year later I had let Red out of his cage in my room so he could get some Red's grave 2exercise. I was sitting on the couch in the living room practicing my clarinet and my Mom asked me to play a song from the Hymnal that she kept in the bookcase. She got up from the couch and instead of going straight to the bookcase she opened my bedroom door so she could take yell at my sister to get ready for school. She then closed the door, retrieved the Hymnal and sat down next to me. I played the song and when I was done my Mom took the book and got up to put it back. I looked down on where my Mom was sitting and there was Red, dead with a broken neck! Apparently he flew out when my Mom went in my room and we hadn’t noticed. He must have seen the clarinet and decided to sit next to me so he could enjoy the music. My Mom swears that she never saw him there. I buried him in the back yard.

Along with this Superstition my Mother had all the regular ones too. You know like:

your left ear itches, someone is speaking ill of you.If your left ear itches, someone is speaking ill of you.

white horse

You lick your right thumb push it into your left palm and hit it with your Right fist for good luck when you see a white horse.

Dead potted platNever say thank you to a person if they give you a plant as the plant will die.

Do you or anyone in your family have a Superstition? I would love to hear about them.

Come back on Friday for the next installment of “My Mothers Superstitions  – Tales from the Dark Side.”

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Arizona, Family History, Genealogy, Halloween, Missouri, Superstitions

My Mother was Superstitious –A Month of Tales from the Dark Side

SUPERSTITION 1Growing up our lives revolved around superstitions. My Mother had one for every occasion or event, everything from the fear of Friday the 13th to dropping a knife on the floor.  I know that my Mother wasn’t the only person to hold to these superstitions but to this date I have never met another person who believed as many or as strongly as she did.

I thought I would spend this month leading up to Halloween telling stories of things that happened in not only my childhood but in the lives of my Ancestors that helped form most of my Mothers superstition beliefs or were a result of her beliefs.  I will post a blog every Friday and Tuesday and I hope you will enjoy them and even get a laugh or two out of them.

Superstition #1:  If you scare a pregnant woman they will have a child with a mark on it. 

Baby with a birthmark

Baby with a birthmark

 

When I was 5 years old my Brother Gordon came home on leave and he brought his wife and 2 children with him.  Lily was born and raised in France. She had met Gordon while he was stationed there and it didn’t take long before they were married. When they showed up at the door we were all so surprised and thrilled to learn that there would be another child added to their family. It was odd for me to have a niece and a nephew that were only a couple of years younger than I.

Lily

Lily

Lily was a fun person to be around. She had learned to speak English pretty well , although she still had a little trouble making us understand some things she said. One day Lily and I were out in the yard walking around and she was looking very nervous. I asked her what was wrong and she said “I like spiders and I am looking for one.” I thought she was nuts! I hate spiders; they are probably the only creepy crawler that scares me.  The next day my Brother took me with him to the store and he gave me some money to spend. I bought a rubber spider. When I got home I put it in a box and wrapped it up really nice. I was so excited; I ran to the dinner table and gave it to Lily. She was so touched that I thought of her she eagerly tore the wrapping off and opened the box. The next thing I knew chaos broke out. Lily threw the box against the wall and was screaming hysterically! My Brother was trying to calm her down, my Dad grabbed the box and tossed it outside, my Sister was laughing, the two kids were crying and my Mother fainted.

Michael and Baby Earl

Michael and Baby Earl

When everything calmed down my Mother asked me “How could you do such a horrible thing to Lily?” I told her what she had told me the day before and then Lily started laughing. She realized she had said that she liked spiders instead of disliked them. Everyone was fine with it except my Mother. I got in a lot of trouble for it and almost every day until my Nephew Earl was born I had to hear my Mother tell me that the poor little baby was now going to have a spider shaped birthmark on it and that it will be all my fault. After Earl was born Gordon called to tell us he was fine, no birthmarks of any kind. My Mother never believed them; she thought they were just saying that to make me feel better.

Soon after their last son was born, Gordon and Lily divorced. She and the children stayed in France and Gordon was transferred to the Philippines. I never got to see Lily or the kids again.

Along with this Superstition my Mother had all the regular ones too. You know like:

broken mirror 2Breaking a mirror brings 7 years of bad luck

A black cat crossing your path brings bad luckBlack cat crossing your path

knocking on woodKnocking on wood after you say something and you don’t want it to get jinxed.

spilled salt

Throwing salt over our shoulders was a common occurrence at the dinner table. To say the least things were never dull in the Hughes household!

Do you or anyone in your family have a Superstition? I would love to hear about them.

Come back on Tuesday for the next round of My Mothers Superstitions  – Tales from the Dark Side.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Halloween, Story telling, Superstitions