Thursday, June 6, 2013


The first thing I remember wanting but didn't get was a bicycle. My little sister and I hoped and prayed we get bicycles for Christmas in 1950. I was ten and she was eight, and we lived in a very tiny three-room stucco house in Levelland, Texas. It was our first year in that small West Texas town, and little did we know, we'd settle there after following oil fields for six years--moving at least once a year. We sneaked out of bed on Christmas morning and tip-toed to the Christmas tree. No bicycles. We peeked through the curtains at the front yard. No bicycles. Instead, Santa brought us identical dolls, identical packages of panties, identical lockets, and identical white New Testaments.

In seventh grade, I got glasses, probably six years too late, because I could not see anything at a distance. I wanted to be like the other girls without glasses, but no, I was shy, wore glasses and cardigan sweaters, and skirts. So, I muddled through junior high, being the smart girl, the sweet one, the nice girl--not exactly what I wanted.

During my ninth grade year, I had all four wisdom teeth pulled because they were pushing my teeth forward. This made a few a little crooked, but no one ever in my life mentioned my crooked teeth, so I figured they weren't that bad. However, I asked for braces. I begged for braces, crying my eyes out. No, we could not afford them. In fact, I think only one girl in the entire school had braces, but she was the rich girl. That made me mad because I never knew she had crooked teeth, and believed she only got them to show off.

The Cold War was raging, and I became very fearful of an atomic bomb dropping on our town. It could happen, I told my daddy. Please, I begged him, build us a bomb shelter in the back yard. I'd read about them, so I knew how they were built, and the supplies we were to put down there. No, he said, we can't afford a bomb shelter, but he wouldn't build one even if we could. I loved my daddy with all my heart, but at that time, I hated him. He seemed unreasonable and stubborn about the request, so I decided he didn't love me.

Later in high school, I asked Mother for boys' jeans. It was the beginning era of rock'n'roll, Elvis, and Bill Haley and the Comets. Some girls began to wear boys' jeans rolled up in wide cuffs, saddle oxfords, and their daddy's white shirts hanging out. I wanted that, too, but no, Mother said. You will not wear boy's jeans. You can wear girls' jeans that zip on the side....but no, that was not the point. I wore dresses to school every single day, until the day I graduated.
But what happened concerning those things I wanted?

In the end, I didn't care if I had a bike or not. After that year, a bicycle did not interest me because few others rode bikes, and those few were boys.

Yes, in seventh grade I had glasses and was shy and wore cardigans. but in eighth grade? With the same glasses, and a pink sweater outfit, I was chosen Most Popular. Wow.

As a wise and smarter adult, I realized one day I'd gotten every important thing I wanted with glasses and not so perfect teeth-a handsome, smart husband, a daughter and son, both brilliant, of course, three unique grandsons who are very big now but who still hug me and say, "I love you, Grandmother," and nice homes everywhere we moved.

I'm pretty sure I forgot about that bomb shelter by the next week..or maybe the next day. Mother always told me that I woke up in a new world every morning. I was never sure what she meant by that, except now in my senior years, I think it means I don't hold grudges from the day before, I forget about arguments very quickly, and I'm most often happy.
On the other hand, it might mean that I could never remember what happened the day before.
The boys' jeans? Probably that was a good call on my mother's part. Some girls looked very cute and sexy in their outfits, but I have a feeling I wouldn't have looked so good. I didn't exactly have a straight up and down body like a boy's--and besides...I wore glasses.
I wonder what kind of a person I'd be now if I had been given everything I wanted. Some parents do indulge their children to such an extent that there's little left for the child to want. "Wanting" and "yearning" are character builders. This is my interpretation and conclusion. What is left in this world if we have nothing to work for? To yearn for? To hope for?
Writing romance novels has given me a chance to use my well-earned knowledge of the human heart. Our heroine must yearn for her hero, and our hero must work to earn her love. And together, they hope for a happily-ever-after life, even though the road might be a little bumpy.


  1. Celia, you are very perceptive. Parents who give their children everything actually damage the child. At least, that's my opinion. Although, I don't remember wanting anything I didn't get except a piano. The reason, I think, is that somehow I knew what I could ask for and what was impossible. That and the fact I had my head in a book or in the clouds all the time. LOL

  2. Celia, like you, I never got the bike, but luckily for me there was a store that rented them by the hour, so every weekend I was allowed to rent a bike for an hour.
    In spite of two crooked teeth,I never got the braces. Eventually my teeth fell into place with my tongue pushing against them for so many years. I hated dolls and received books for Christmas and birthdays. Always the words, "we can't afford it yet" and "so many people are poor," ring in my ears. And I still feel a bit guilty when I indulge in things I could do without.

  3. Celia,

    Enjoyed your post. Those who have everthing given to them are most often miserable. They have nothing to hope or dream for.

    The only thing I can remember wishing for every birthday was a cheetah. I just loved those big cats. It's probably a good thing my parents never indulged in my fantasy of having such a pet. How would we ever explain why cute furry pets were missing in the neighborhood? lol

  4. For me, the thing I most wanted, that I burned for, was a horse. I did not get a living breathing horse. Instead, my parents gave me a horse figurine. It was the worst Christmas of my life. And it would have been so much better if my parents just said "no" but my mom kept saying "we'll see." I never did that to my kids. If their expectations were beyond our budget I steered them toward more reasonable choices.

    The best Christmas ever? That's the one where my kid brother got a critter kit, where you mixed up various gels, poured them in molds and baked them in the oven. We used up all the gel before any of the adults were even up. Those were the days!

  5. Caroline--Perceptive. I like that. Oh, I see it all the time these days, kids that at age four have 25 kids at their birthday parties, and everything imaginable.
    It's actually a little sickening. The child, I bet, would be happy with four friends and two presents. Kids are simple...adults make it all complicated, messy, and expensive.
    You didn't get a piano? I'm sorry. I did, and I didn't even ask. I wonder to this day what made Mother and Daddy decide to buy a piano for us three girls. Of the three, I was the only one who loved it and loved to play. I played every morning in my pajamas before I ate breakfast and went to school. I played the minute I got home.
    My older sister said, years later when she married and moved away--"I never thought I'd miss Celia's banging on that piano, but I do." Ahhh, that was sweet.
    But you were a book worm. So you knew how to entertain yourself.

  6. Mona--At least you got to ride a bike. And my teeth were not very bad at all. You know how kids imagine all sorts of things.
    I think we all grew up feeling a little guilty. "Eat those green beans. People in China are starving."
    We got dolls until we were 12 years old. But we didn't play with them. They sat on our beds or on a shelf. We played with our cap pistols.
    Thanks for you comment--I love to hear this stuff.

  7. Karen--a cheetah? How odd. I didn't even know what a cheetah was when I was a kid. What a strange child you were! Or maybe you were very creative even then.
    Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.
    And I agree that people who have absolutely everything might be the most miserable.

  8. Maggie--sometimes we don't know what we do to our kids. But I understand...I would have felt the same way. If my mother gave us or the kids money, she always wanted to know what we did with it.
    I never wanted to say, and so now when we're able to gift all the kids with money each year, we make sure we never ask..what did you do with that money? It's a gift...I should not ask nor do I need to know.
    My mother would ask, but I never wanted to say--'we paid the electric bill," I mean how embarrassing is that. I just wouldn't say.
    Thanks for telling me your story.

  9. Ah, Celia, the things we think important at the time that give us such angst when we don't get them. Mine was a particular doll. As a child, I read constantly, but I loved dolls.

    The one that was out that year was very special and expensive. I recall my mother came into my room one night and explained that there were a lot of children in the world and Santa probably wouldn't be able to bring everyone what they wanted, so I shouldn't be disappointed if I didn't get the doll. I still hoped. But it wasn't under the tree.

    And you know, I got along just fine without it LOL.

  10. Barbara--I think if children didn't dream of something they wanted--whether they got it or not--that child might grow up to be am empty shell of an adult. Growing means dreaming--some dream big, some dream small.
    I'm comforted that your mother explained it to you in such a gentle believable way. I'd be proud of her--not all mothers would be that perceptive.

  11. Celia,
    My sister and I always received the same gifts although we were 4 years apart. I also longed for a bike but had to ride my brother's. Much to big and I wonder why I didn't get killed on it. I finally got my own bike 3 years ago. Not quite the same.

  12. Hi, Barbara E.--did you know I went to school with a girl named Barbara Edwards. She never liked me.
    I digress.
    I couldn't wait until our daughter was big enough for a bike--she got one in first grade--pink--one of those with the streamers from the handlebars. She loved the bike. And our son, too, when he was big enough. No training wheels back then in the 60s. Just get on and learn to ride.

  13. Celia, your post reminds me of many things I wanted as a kid but never got. Like you, my folks always said we couldn't afford such luxuries. But I got along without all those things just fine.

    I couldn't agree more about today's kids getting everything. They don't appreciate their gifts and always want more, more, more. They're in for a rude awakening when they enter the workaday world.

  14. Excellent take on things and very perceptive. I remember my grandmother taking me shopping and I desperately wanted a pair of hot pants as they were the thing in 1972 (or maybe it was 71)and she bought them for me.

    I never wore them. They were bright red velvet with this shiny red shirt and I just couldn't make myself go out in public with them on. I still have that outfit. I think it reminds me that I shouldn't want some things.

  15. What a great blog today, Celia. I longed for a bike, a mample bedroom suite, a piano, and a baby brother. I finally got a used bike, after I'd lost my lust for one, but I had to wait until I got married for the bedroom suite, and wait until I had my own son to make up for lack of a baby brother. And the piano? That also had to wait until I met a man who had his bought his own piano instead of a car. So I got a piano and the player who went with it. There is more than one way to get your wishes!

  16. Oooops, that is MAPLE bedroom suite and by the time I got the suite my taste had improved and I got an 18th Century mahogany suite.

  17. Lyn--I think many of them will have that rude awakening very soon when they graduate from college...and reality hits. That is if the parents don't bail them out again.
    I agree, you and I and many others got along just fine. I'm proud that we had to work for everything we have now. We had no help.

  18. Ciara--how funny! I can just see you in those red hot pants. I think Grandmothers are often too indulgent...but it's fun.
    And you kept them? How interesting. I see a title of a book: "Red Velvet Hot Pants and Me."

  19. Oh, Linda--how sweet. Yes, you got a real bargain..a lovely man who brought along his own piano.
    And of course, I wanted a baby brother--you did, didn't you? Well, I did, too. I have two sisters instead. Daddy always said he was glad he got only pretty girls, and not some rag-rag boy.
    Thank know I always wait to read what you write.

  20. My sister and I shared the bike that our much older sister left behind when she got married. I was the only one who rode it. I pretended it was my horse. I wanted a TV--never happened. I learned to read and explore. I can't remember a bored moment in my childhood.
    My parents didn't own a credit card so there was no money for frivolous things. I had parents who lived through the Great Depression. They were all about needs, not wants and the things that were practical and frugal. What they did give us was their time. My dad took us on nature walks, taught us about astronomy, weather and the importance of reading. Mom taught us how to cook, good manners and trips to the library.
    We always had a pet and my favorite times were after supper discussions.
    Great blog, Celia. It certainly brought memories for me.

  21. Sarah--what a touching tribute to your parents. We share something, and that is we had depression era parents, and also that you and I never had a boring moment. I was never bored, and I didn't sulk and cry. It's just the way our life was.
    Funny thing, as older adults, my two sisters and I see and remember our past lives very differently. I thought we were rich, that I was pretty, and I was happy thinking everything we had was good. They remember us as "living on the wrong side of the tracks," and I guess in reality we did for many years. But I didn't know there was anything different.
    I suppose that's why my mother said I lived in a different world, and my sisters called me Pollyanna.
    The things I wanted but didn't get lasted about a day. I just forgot and moved on. Lacking some of those frivolous things did not ruin my life.
    Remember Madame Alexander dolls? Expensive, but I didn't know that. Mother told me, though...those are just too expensive.
    Later...I never cared that I didn't have one.
    Thanks so much for your comment and visit...I do appreciate it.

  22. I do remember Madame Alexander dolls.I never got one for the same reason as you, but I got over it in a hurry. I was too busy going on my imaginative adventures. I pretended to be Sherlock Holmes.
    So weird about our parallel lives. My sister always saw the dark side of everything and what we didn't have. I was also a Pollyanna. I liked my way better.