Where I came from

Not only my family shaped me. I have been lucky enough to have some kick-ass women in my life, to show me that one way isn’t the only way.
Tonight was the start of the Christmas festivities. My Mom has been friends with a group of women since the 60’s, and they get together every Christmas (well, January, actually, but we did it early this year).
All of these women chose a path for themselves, and did it the best they could. One was a stay-at-home mom (she’s the only “family” in the group…she’s my aunt). One was a mom and got her masters degree at a time when it wasn’t very popular for a woman to do so. One chose not to ever get married, had a great career and retired before she was 60. One didn’t get married until she was close to 60, too busy until then with her interests and career (her family owned Slush Puppie…ever have one? And have you ever had a Thelma’s Frozen Lemonade? Thelma was her mother). And my Mom stayed at home with us until I was 15, and then worked when she wanted to.
Different paths. Different choices. And that shaped me. Not in any one direction, but instead drove home the idea that I could do anything. ANYTHING. I grew up understanding that I was not limited to kids and a husband, a picket fence and a dog. I could get married, or not. I could have kids, or not.
None of these women accepted a prefabricated mold that society handed them. They did what THEY wanted to do. And they rocked.

Sitting around the kitchen table after a marathon of presents. See the man in the light blue shirt turned toward the camera? That’s my Uncle Gerry, my Dad’s brother. And SO MUCH like my Dad, it’s painful sometimes to talk with him.

Food. There’s always food at these parties. Some staples: Skyline dip, chicken dip, cake from Servati’s, chocolate, and beer, gin, vodka…These gals know how to chill. Think the Ya-Ya’s, but less drunk.

My aunt and uncle live in Western Hills, a suburb of Cincinnati. Their house is in one of the last pockets of forest in that area. And they get visits from deer and turkeys.

I have no idea what this sign means. I saw it as I was looking at the deer. But knowing this crowd, I bet there’s a hilarious story behind it.

Colleen (my oldest friend) got me some new jammies from Victoria’s Secret. I’m wearing them now and they are oh-so-cozy. Story about Colleen and me: We joke that we have known each other since before we were born. She is Pam’s daughter (the one with the masters degree), and she and my Mom got pregnant at the same time, and Colleen and I were due the same week. I came a month early, and Colleen came right on time. So we have been friends since conception.

The group. They used to call themselves “Junque, Inc.” because of their crazy yard sales in the 70’s. Left to right:

Phyllis (of Slush Puppie fame)

Sue (retired at 55)

My Mom, Eileen, with the girls

Pam (Masters degree)

Aunt Kay (stay at home mom, and I also have her name as my middle name)


Colleen (she’s married and living in Louisville, KY right now. And it’s too damn far)

I love these women so. Fun, intelligent, caring, generous. You know, for a long time when I was young, I thought I was related to all of them. But in a way, I am.

Non-sequiter: My newest bumper sticker creation.


10 Responses to “Where I came from”

  1. Dave Says:

    Thanks for sharing a real neat story.

  2. Mary Says:

    I was thinking “Ya Ya” before you said it. A great group of ladies. They are probably as honored to know you as you are honored to know them.

  3. Farley Dunderman Says:

    Yeah, Well my honor student can sautee your peregrine falcon.

    So there!!

  4. The Swami Says:

    Good post, good people.

    Did you get them each a yak for Christmas?

  5. BodySoulSpirit Says:

    Your daughters are also fortunate to know this great group of women. I love reading posts like this about “ordinary” people. They are way more special than the celebrity crowd the media is always after.

  6. NatureWoman Says:

    You have the neatest stories! It is really great to have various female role models while you’re figuring out your own path isn’t it? Don’t you just *love* new jammies? I wish I never had to wash them because the newness comfort starts to go away. Yup, I’ve had slush puppies, please tell her yummmmmmy! The food there looks good! Yeah, I can imagine it tears your heart to pieces to talk to your Uncle Gerry.
    I love the bumper sticker – puts all of those mini-van driving braggin ‘ parents in their place. Or not. Because they’re probably too busy on their cellphone.

  7. -llm. Says:

    What a great family history! Lucky, lucky you!

    (And them!) 🙂

  8. -llm. Says:

    What a great family history! Lucky, lucky you!

    (And them!) 🙂

  9. Lynne Says:

    Love the picture of you and the ladies! One day your daughters will be talking about you in the same way.

  10. KatDoc Says:

    Love the peregrine bumper sticker!


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