Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Baby it's cold outside... and a moment from the past

I am having a great time listening to Christmas music this year, much of it, as previously discussed, inside my head.  The song Baby It's Cold Outside seems to be my favorite right now.  I'm going to be piddling in the house a lot today, so I will have some nice Holiday music on whilst the piddling occurs. Maybe I'll have a new song tomorrow morning.

Since we have had our Christmas, I am not sure what I will do tomorrow.  I might have one more little gift for Mikey, since he will be over to the house for dinner at some point.  I also have some other things to send, but I will prep those for the day AFTER Christmas, because at this point it doesnt really matter, you know?

I got a little Christmas card in the mail yesterday from a person I haven't heard from in a few years.  Her name is Janet Johnson, but she was married, so she has another last name, of course.  There wasn't any letter or anything other than the wishing of a Merry Christmas.

A card from Janet always makes me smile.  I met Janet when I was in 5th grade.  My Grandma and Grandpa Oberley were foster parents to many children after their own children grew up and left home.  I imagine they were about my age when they began doing that, maybe even younger.... I am sure I could do the math and figure it out but, you know....... math.......  no.

Anyway, Janet is my age and she was one of the Native American children that they fostered.  Grandma and Grandpa lived in Walker, MN in the northern part of the state and was a place that we vacationed in every summer.  It was an AWESOME way to spend 2 weeks in the summer.  They lived across the street from Lake May and the beach was just a 100 feet down the road, and their dock was across the road.  It was a utopia for us four farm land kids from southern WI. We were in the lake like little fishes 3 times a day, unless they dragged us away to go visit some relative (God forbid we had to go to North Dakota a couple times) or some park somewhere.  REALLY, all we wanted to do was stay in the lake and get sunburned and go fishing.  But I digress.....

Janet had a sister and brother as well and they lived in my Grandparents home. Grandma and Grandpa had a few families of children over the years, and this bunch were awesome kiddos. They had a tough upbringing, obviously, and Janet and I got along famously.  She was/is so beautiful with her dark hair and olive toned skin. And had the kindest heart.  We began writing to each other after I went home and it has continued until this day!  We almost lost touch a few times, but through a few events have managed to keep track of each other.  The main thing these days is of course I haven't moved since 1982.  That helps people out if there is someone who is relatively stable in their living accommodations.  Janet was adopted after a while and they moved to an even farther north town.

Janet lived in a few places, mostly in Minnesota, but when she got married she moved to Alaska. They lived in Juneau for a long time, and she had her two boys while there.  Things didn't work out so well apparently with her husband and there is a lot of tragedy and sorrow that I don't think is my business to share.  But I am always amazed when I get a card from Janet.  It brings me back to my childhood, to my Grandparents house and to a carefree time of the  year, where we were allowed to come and go as we please, as long as we told where we were going and we were back by meal times and we waited an hour after eating before swimming.  Oh the ways they tortured us.

Janet came to visit me in Janesville when I was at home for Christmas from college I believe.  Or maybe it was when I was in HS.  I can't remember that clearly- but I do know that I had NO IDEA she was coming.  She came in on the greyhound bus and called from the bus station. I thought this was incredibly brave and a little crazy.  She appeared in my life unannounced and I had a nice time with her.  I do not recall what we did, I don't remember what my mom said, or too much about it.  I remember driving to the bus station in Janesville, which was a place I had never been. I never in my life could imagine just hopping on a bus - going at least 500 miles and hoping for the best. I really did admire her gumption.

I will absolutely be sending her a Christmas card today, and it won't make it to Alaska for a while (yes, she still lives there) and I will tell her my email address and maybe she has facebook. That would be grand!  I have a suspicion that she does not, though.  I think she lives a very simple life.  Which is not a bad thing at all.

I will always remember her as her 10 year old self, the girl that I went to a Pow Wow with in Walker, and walked around town, and went swimming with and hung out in her bedroom and talked and laughed and spent time with one summer.  And those little connections come back to say hello every so often.  And they can many relived moments of joy!

I will post a pic of Janet when I find one later today.  So if you are interested, watch for an edit/update.  I am pretty sure I have one.  I really should go through and edit this whole thing, as rereading it I notice that my stream of consciousness today is quite random and not linear at all in a way that would make this somewhat more enjoyable to read.  Oh well.

Until next time, send some joy.  Christmas cards might not be as popular anymore, but they are worth the time and effort in ways you might not realize.

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