As for myself, I am Winter Shaw, born in Grass Valley, Ca in 1982. That makes me currently 27 years old. I lived there with my family until I was about eight years old. I remember the day we moved I was very sad, so sad in fact I believed that I myself had made it rain. It rained the entire drive of about twelve hours. I had my ever faithful companion Georgie, a stuffed monkey I have had since birth, wrapped in my arms the entire ride. I do not recall the car in which we drove or who sat next to me. I remember rain. When we reached our new town, Huntington Beach, it was awash in rain, flooded streets and foggy beach. For those that live in Huntington you know that when they built it they never thought it would rain, so the streets are always unprepared for the massive liquid that wants to run its course and find an escape. We arrived at our house a two story condo in the Surf Side Villas, which I assumed was a high class mansion in comparison to our trailer-house conversion we had in Little Town of Washington. Things here were much different. Little Town, comprised of 128 people, a one room school house that held k-8 grade, and old mining trade post, a rustic hotel, and a general store, was amazing to me! The river was our playground. Nature surrounded every bit of life. Supremely tall trees, crystal hunts, and Alpha diggings clay were fond memories I still hold dear to my heart. My mother had transformed the old trading post in to a restaurant while my father built a saw mill. I and my sisters climbed rocks and ran amuck, playing on the merry-go-round or walking to Nancy's store where she had two wiener dogs that I loved dearly. Those people were my family too. They watched us grow from bumps in my mothers belly to smart young ladies
full of gusto. After we moved though, everything was big, new and not as easily accessed. The road next to the house was no longer dirt but a four lanes of Beach Boulevard. Which is humongous for a small child and for me still. It's like a freeway. Matter of fact its larger then the freeway that my current apartment in Grass Valley is next to now! We were big city girls now, with little town hearts. I attended Kettler, then Dwyer, then Huntington High. It is strange to think that my father, Aunt and Uncle all went to Dwyer and Huntington too! I really like that I got to continue that tradition. Even surrounded by all the bigness, we were still little town people.
My grandmother, Jessie Mae, is one of my favorite people and she taught me a lot. Our favorite activity was shopping and going to the library. Gramma is amazing to me, always dressed in fabulous shades of violet and purple with golden beauties wrapped around each finger. My affection for her is endless. As the youngest child in a family of five often I lacked discipline and Gramma knew that. I always got away with everything, but even when she knew I was ornery, she wouldn't say anything she would just look at me and that was enough. I am most like her in many ways, from my massive closet collection, fancy jewelry,to my attitude. We spent many a days together shopping at my favorite place and hers, Savers the greatest thrift store there ever was in Huntington. My favorite purchase, an eight and half foot long orange couch that was slightly fuzzy. I chose to have it rather than a bed and Gramma gave me the money to get it. She knew it was an amazing find and deal at only twenty dollars! I had that couch forever and when I moved I stored it for years in her garage. My Auntie wrapped it in plastic and I would come and visit and check in on it, along with my 200 stuffed animals I also couldn't part with totally and had them store for me. Isn't family great, I can't believe they held on to all those little things for me. Now however, a creature of some sort took up residence inside my couch and played with my toys in such away that the are no longer attractive to humans but what was one to expect after ten years of disuse. Before they removed my items they did ask me if I wanted to try and save them, even though they were umm, not in mint condition any longer. I parted ways with my collection, retaining only the memories of our times together.
Speaking of good times. My Auntie Rosie is also my favorite, we share a birthday and she always made that special . Do you remember when Disneyland and Denny's would give you free stuff on your birthday. I do. My auntie every January fifth would pick me up from school or whatnot and take me to Denny's for our free birthday breakfast. Then we were off the Disneyland. This was when all you had to do was show with birthday proof in hand and you were in for free. We always had fun. After the Disney adventure, we slumber partied. Those were the best birthdays ever.
Life now is much different then when I was small, not only are things not as mysterious they are not as shiny. My family has since gone its separate ways. My elder brothers I haven't seen in years. One in Israel the other just retired from the military. I will always remember their antics though. Michael never let you quit monopoly, you must finish the game or we will not play, he also made us pay taxes when we built out lego city. he had sooo many legos all neatly organized in clear plastic tubs divided into body tops, 1x1s, 2x 6s, and so one. I was not allowed to play unless supervised and I couldn't handle that. He always knew when I had touched them, even if I hadn't taken it out of the room. He was just too smart. Before he left for what was the last time we lived together he gave me some items I still cherish and hold to remember him, a golden colored metal card holder, a gram of silver in coin form, and a puzzle box that I hide thing my sister Sunshine made me in. I was always impressed by him and his eraser-less pencils. He told me he didn't make mistakes so he didn't need an eraser. I gave him my Sanrio pencils, which were wood non eraser pencil, because I definitely needed erasers. By the way, I still have my big black bear Michael brought me from Russia. He now only has on eye but he is still well loved.
Shawn, the joker, I don't know why but I always fell for it. " Hey I got something in my back pocket for you come get it!" then he'd fart loud and smelly. Other than this , I recall his wedding in which I was a flower girl I was seven-ish. I had a lot of fun. He was also very strong, and would pick me up. I liked that. After the wedding was the last time I ever saw him in person . With war and marriage and distance it was hard to keep in touch , plus I was young I couldn't even keep in touch with myself. Maybe someday we will get together again.
My sisters, oh the sisters. we were closer in age and closer in life. Ours little games and fights, side taking, ganging up on one another then flip flopping to the other side went on and on. I love my sisters and miss our time together. We had a lot of fun.
Our mother was exceptionally fun and excellent at entertaining us. I would have never known we were broke as a child. I felt we had everything. Yes we had our problem a small town filled with drugs and alcohol, but she made the best of it. We always had food that was delicious. My mother could make anything taste great even government cheese and powdered milk. I don't know anyone that cooks as well as she with as little as we had. My mother made us clothing and toys. Our favorite outing besides the river, Cornetts, a little 5 and dime just in town. She always made us birthday cakes and we had great parties. She made dolls from liquid, poured it into molds, painted them, and dressed them like princesses. It was amazing. My mother is also the reason I hate scary movies and love Halloween. As a small child I was terrified from all the horror movies we watched, so much so that I do not watch anything rated over pg-13. Halloween is always a treat. Mom's costumes were amazing. She was the headless horsemen complete with horse, bloody stump neck and pumpkin head. She hung it in the closet before Halloween and told my sister Summer to please get her something out of it. It scared her for life. It still makes me laugh, mainly because it wasn't me. The most memorable costume however, was the penis. Yes, you read correctly, penis. A 8foot tall paper-mache penis with a hole in the tip that she squirted mayo out of. Mind you, I was about six or maybe even five at this time. But it's still a vivid memory, that I cherish of the most creative woman I have ever met.
My father was strong and quite and back in the day he always wore a plaid flannel, jeans, and one of those plastic trucker hats. He seemed to always smell of wood and dirt. He is ingenious and can build you anything. I recall him having to repair my dollhouse coat rack. I was amazed, i sensed his disappointment in his own repair since he had to wrap string around it then glue it. He gave it to me and said sorry. I think he thought I would be disappointed because it was not perfect and you could see the string and glue, but I was amazed at the fact that it worked. He was crafty too, we played clay one night when we were waiting for my mother to get back from work. He sculpted a coyote face out of purple clay. I tried to save it forever, but playdough doesn't last forever. As with all kids I had a pet caterpillar I found in the yard and one day it stopped moving. Totally distraught I ran to my father and said it was dead. He found me a beautiful coffin for my creature. A heart shaped candy box, it was perfect for something I loved so much. He helped me dig a hole in our personal pet cemetery next to our fruit trees and had a ceremony with me. Now that I 'm older I wonder if that caterpillar was dead or just in a cocoon. I think sometimes of my little friend buried in a heart shaped box, emerging into darkness from its natural transformation stage and it reminds me of the past, trapped somewhere and untouchable by the present. Poor thing! I often want to go back to our old house and dig up our past and set it free.
This was my family, our present is much different from the past, yet much the same. But will get to that later for now it seems I have gotten way off track and need to stop and get coffee. To many memories for one day and way more information than a"little back ground." Besides I totally forgot about Vena. I'll tell you her story next time.