Welcome to my eclectic journey of my life and delights. This year my theme is surrendering my writing pen to the true author, Jesus Christ, while looking forward to the future, reflecting on the past and dancing through my journey.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Most Pivotal Year

My sixth grade school year of 1972 to 1973 had to be the most pivotal year of my youth because it would propel my future.

Starting back at my familiar school, in my final year of elementary education, I became aware of politics when our school held the Presidential Elections. Nixon won in our school elections and was victorious across the nation weeks later. I remember feeling so "wise" because we had elected the same President that the nation also elected…now history shows that was probably a mistake.

In the fall of 1972, with many of my lifelong friends, I would become a Little League Longhorn cheerleader. When the team won its district, we were given the privilege of following the players to Dallas, Texas for the playoffs. We all stayed at a hotel…calling each other through the hotel phones, giggling and dressing up in our "piggy tails" and cheer leading uniforms, we would cheer the team through their games. This exciting trip would end my school year, just months after my family's newest adventure.

With great excitement and much anticipation from my mom, we began to look for a house that same school year. My Dad had been successful in starting his own business and Mom was ready for a larger house. Excitement built for this new transition for our family – one possibility was an anti-bellum home with a "Gone with the Wind" staircase leading to the vast upstairs. My sister and I dreamed of how life would be in this grand home, which also possessed an outside carriage house. Our dreams would have to be altered because there was too much renovation needed. Instead, we moved out of our 1100 square-foot home to our modern-day mansion of 2800 square feet. My mother would no longer have nightmares of us going into our teen years in our one-bath home. This new home contained five bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms. The kid's bathroom was huge with double sinks, which would more than accommodate four children. The wallpaper (this was the first time for us to have wallpaper) was orange, octagon shapes outlined in metallic silver, with huge make-up ball lights that could heat up the room. My sister would spend hours singing commercials in front of this six-foot-long mirror. The carpet was orange shag throughout, except my mother's room, which had red shag. The master bedroom had a full wall of floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto the Austin Skyline. We could now see the University of Texas tower turn orange after victories.

My sister and I, my siblings and old neighbors
I now had my own bedroom! My room was situated at the front of the house with a floor-to-ceiling window and, while admiring the moon and stars, I would dream of my future. (This would remain my home until my first home with my husband.) The large school playground across the street would lure me to walk over and just sit in the swing at night through my teen years and think…much like I had done as a child at my grandparents' farm. Our home was also just a block from a large river where we would raft. This river was known for having nude bathers, so as we would descend to the water's banks, we would listen for our Dad's warning. His alarm words were "wrinkled potatoes", which meant "look the other way", but stood for what he felt they looked like. We would get past the bathers and put our inner tubes into the rapid river and ride down for miles.
I am on the left, first girl, in a black and white full length dress with my piggy tail
I entered a new elementary school to finish up the year. These new friends would be classmates through high school. Cliques were already starting at this age, but since I was new, I was unaware of them until the following year. I performed in the musical that year as one of the sisters in "Fiddler on the Roof." We would sing "Matchmaker" – what a song for dreamy-eyed-girls! Of course this was the year of crushes on boys and "real boyfriends". I still own the necklace I received this year from my "boyfriend" and the other day I looked up and burst into laughter to see it dangling from my daughter's car mirror. This was the year all of us girls read, "It is Me God, Margaret" and chanting at slumber parties... "we must, we must, we must increase our bust." Neighborhood friendships, sleep-overs, running around the neighborhood playing hide and seek with the boys, filled my spring and summer evenings! Excitement built for junior high school. Braces were the new jewelry for many of my classmates and me, so summer brought us these new accessories. This was the first time in my life that I came into contact with friends who had divorced parents. This was a new concept to see my friends going home to an empty house. Most of my classmates came from church-attending families with married parents with a stay-at-home mom. I would be introduced to different denominations by attending church with friends. It was truly a year of new experiences.
Our new church!

This move also brought my greatest life-altering change. My parents would change our church membership. This change would put me in the same church with my future husband, who in this same year graduated from high school. This church body would be very critical in my spiritual growth, as well as lifelong friendships.

I can truly say that everything good that was formed in my life came out of this transitional year. I would not be who I am today, had my parents not moved my family to a new home and church body. Looking back, I rejoice over the steps that God ordered in my life.

This was the last year that I feel I lived in complete innocence…junior high would burst that bubble, but the opening of my eyes didn't keep me from enjoying the wonder of these years.

Again, I have joined with Mommy Piggy Tale to document my youth in 15 posts. Thanks for joining me down memory lane. I hope you have enjoyed reliving your own youth as you read mine, but more importantly, I hope you would begin to record your youth for your own children and grandchildren. I know it has put an extra jump in my step, as I recall all the energy I used to possess.


18 Joining in with more words:

Ginny Marie said...

Your dad's secret code made me laugh! Wrinkled potatoes! I had to share a room with my sister when I was growing up, and never did get my own room until I graduated from college and had my own apartment! You were so lucky! I'm really enjoying reading your memories!

Gretchen said...

Your sister doing commercials in the big mirror sounds like me and my sister! I loved reading your description of your big "mansion". We moved to a new house this year as well!

Cindy - Letters From Midlife said...

Sixth grade was a good year for me too. I had a cool teacher and my hair was longer! There's a story behind that. Up to that point my parents, for whatever reason, decided it was easier (for them?) for us girls to have short hair but the summer between fifth and sixth grade they agreed that I should be able to decide how I wanted my hair so I started letting it grow out. By the end of middle school it was down to my waist and stayed that way through college! So anyway, I really enjoyed sixth grade! lol

Sandy said...

Your memories sound very sweet
and I am enjoying reading about
your life growing up, Janette.
I always shared a bedroom with
my older sister but that was
fine with me because she was like
a movie star to me, so pretty in
her full swishy skirts and scarfs
around her neck. We lived in a
big two story house with a huge
front porch and I loved it. I was always blessed and surrounded by love.

Debbie said...

Oh how I enjoy your posts of days gone by. I have been in an especially nostalgic frame of mind recently so this is very timely for me. Your hubby and I must be the same age as I too graduated higgh school in 1972...but I had a similiar experience in that we moved from a very small house into a LARGE house with 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms when I was starting the 5th grade. It had a dishwasher (rare in those days) which with 5 kids (and 1 more still to come) was REALLY a nice addition, haha. I too had my own room for the first time and lived there until I married at 20. Sooo many memories. Thanks for sharing yours. Hugs, Debbie

LeeAnn@Encouragement Is Contagious said...

Ahh, thanks for sharing more here about yourself and life. Your pics bring back memories for me since we are close to the same era. I think I'm probably about 4 years older than you.

I used to perform commercials in front of the bathroom mirror (behind closed doors) just like your sister. ha! I'd like to know what she grew up to do in life.

Eos Mom said...

Wrinked potatoes--LOL!
Great stories!

Traci Michele said...

Lovely memories of your youth! Wow, so glad you kept all those photos, they are great!

God Bless and thanks for your frequent visits to Ordinary Inspirations. You are always welcome. :-)

gianna said...

Your house sounds awesome! We both had pivotal moves in 6th grade! Your room sounds AWESOME! And your bathroom? I'm not sure what i think of it! Oh, boys! boys! boys! boys!

Mom2three said...

I remember being in Florida when the POWs came home and Nixon was there - so were the protesters. I loved your description of your house and I can't imagine growing up in such a roomy house! I had to giggle at you dad's code word. We do that with our boys - except we use "nike" so they will look at their shoes. What a wonder it is that God orchestrates our lives and meetings far beyond our thinking.

Thanks for stopping by the other day. I loved having a pen-pal!

Debi said...

This is so fun to read. What a time to live, huh? You describe your life in such vivid details - I love that.
Seeing all your (not so old) pictures makes me want to get a scanner. {I wasn't abut to call them 'vintage'} :)
I have thoroughly enjoyed this journey - and to think - it's only 1/2 over.

Deborah Ann said...

Oh what fun! Those pictures really took me back. We must be close in age. I remember the 'Nixon' and 'Ford' chants from back in the day.

Back in the day, I shared a very small bedroom with 2 sisters. Shared a lot of hand-me-downs too. But what happy memories we had. Thanks for the look back!

So, I Begin this Journey...... said...

Ah, what a fun read!
I love reading {memories} of elementary years!
This was a perfect summer post! : )
Thanks for sharing!


Diana said...

Enjoyed your post so full of precious memories!!!

Dan and Donette said...

Wrinkled potatoes! Too funny! Unfortunately, that is probably pretty true!

Leslie @ Farm Fresh Fun said...

So many shared memories! I was in Switzerland for 6th grade, all innocence there and shocked to return to the USA for junior high! Thanks for inspiring me to write stuff down for my kids. My daughter loves ANY stories/details from my youth so I needed this push!
BTW, I replied to your comment on my own blog. I share & understand your food budget struggles! You CAN find a way to be happier about what you buy AND help others too! :-)

partialemptynester said...

We are definitely from around the same era, so this post took me back! Did your neighborhood ever play kick-the-can?

Mrs.B said...

That's awesome...going to read more. :)

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