I was once a feisty little girl who hit boys so hard I could make them cry.
I loved paper dolls.
I was a tomboy.
I threw footballs as hard and as accurately as boys could.
One of my brothers nicknamed me "Ramona Gabriel" after the quarterback
I loved waking up to the sound of chainsaws far off in the forests on
warm summer mornings.
I wore lots of hand-me-down clothes.
School was very easy for me and I was often very bored.
I was deeply afraid of bats.
I could eat a whole watermelon if I could get away with it.
I loved bubble gum.
I loved drive-in movies.
Being the only girl in the family I never had to share a bedroom.
I was very secretive.
I loved playing Hide 'n' Seek past sunset on summer evenings with all the neighborhood kids.
I was very jealous of my youngest brother when he was born over 6 years after me.
But I grew to love him.
I was my Dad's "Missy McGoo".
I loved riding high on his shoulders and dancing on top of his feet.
My mother would tell me, "I hope if you ever have a daughter she's twice as stubborn as you are so you'll know what it's like trying to raise you".
(I know now.)
I was always "Sis".
I was always on the outside looking in.
My Swedish grandfather didn't like me very well.
But I didn't like him either.
I once received a beautiful fancy Valentine in 3rd grade and never did know who gave it to me.
I loved going to the docks at Westport and watching the fishing fleet coming in with their catch at the end of the day.
I loved picnics at the lake.
Bonfires on the beach.
Butter clams cooked on the fire at Hood Canal.
Rowing across the waters with my Dad towards the Navy ships and never seeming to get any closer, they were so far away, singing "I've Got Six Pence" and "Row Row Row Your Boat" at the top of our lungs.
I loved hamburgers from "Mr. Gene's"
and milk shakes at "The Beehive".
And chocolate ice cream cones.
Little League baseball games were the highlights of our summers.
I loved the first day of school.
I loved the last day even more.
I loved the penny candy table at Bullard's.
I loved Dairy Day parades.
I loved Grape Nehi soda.
I loved swinging bridges and lazy river bends that were perfect swimming holes.
I loved riding my bike.
I loved summer evening walks with my mom after the dishes were done.
I loved it whenever Uncle Winky would come to visit.
I loved my calico cat Knucklehead.
I loved sour green apples and sour green cherries, picked from the tree before they were ripe.
I loved my childhood best friends Laura Ruth and Angela.
I loved my small town childhood.