Today's question comes to us from Susanne, my beloved Older Sister. :D
Didn't you live in WI when you were younger? How was life there?
Yes, yes I did live in the Land of Cheese for about a year as a kid. It was when I was 10 or so, so...good lord...20 years ago. This is going to be more a series of moments that I remember than a description of life really. :)
I'd seen snow before, but only on visits to Ohio, where my mother is originally from. We'd visited Ohio the year before to see my Opa, my great-grandfather. This was my first time *living* in a place where snow happened. I liked the snow at first, until I realized that no, it wasn't like rain where it was cold for a while and then went away. It was cold for a *long* time.
|This pic is actually from the Ohio trip the year before, but it's pretty much how I looked at that age! That's my Mom with my baby sister behind me.|
I went to school in, I swear to you, a one room school house. Okay, well actually the one room school house was just where the school had their science classes. There was a modern school building where we had everything else. I'm not sure why they were using a historic building to teach small children science, but there you have it.
And I had to go down an incredibly steep hill to get to the bus stop every morning. This was also my first (and only) experience with taking a bus to school. When we moved back down to Florida I always had a ride from either my parents or my grandparents and then I learned how to drive and bought my first car in high school.
We lived with a friend of my mothers' up there at first, sharing a house with her until my step-father moved up and we moved into an apartment complex. I liked living in the house, there were plenty of kids in the neighborhood and I remember one of them had a Hawaiian luau themed birthday party that was a *lot* of fun.
The house is also where I lost my hamster, Splinter. Splinter was an older hamster who had proven to be...territorial when faced with other hamsters in his youth. (He ate the other hamster I owned.) His wheel squeaking annoyed... someone in the house (I don't remember who) and we moved him down into the basement at night. Well one night he chewed through the plastic of his cage (hamster teeth are strong!) and fell into the sump-pump. :( We got another hamster after Splinter died, but she bit through my mothers' fingernail and so she went back to the pet store rather quickly.
When we moved into the apartment it was my first (and so far only) experience living in a rented place. We've been lucky enough down here to always live in our own homes.
The apartments were the place that was on top of the steep hill for the bus. We kids would never use the sidewalk in the winter to get to the stop, it was *way* too ice and slippery, so we walked through the snow on the side.
There was also a steep hill behind the apartment complex, which, in the manner of children everywhere, we apartment complex kids dubbed 'suicide hill' and sledded down. The sled path ended in a little rise that, as kids, seemed incredibly exciting.
The apartments were in a horseshoe formation around a central pond with an island in the middle. We would swim in it during the summer, all the way out to the little island, and then skate on it during the winter.
I got my first 'boyfriend' when we were living in the apartments. I can't remember his name or anything else about him, really, except for how he 'tricked' me into my first kiss. We were up in the woods on 'suicide hill' during the fall, when the leaves were all dying but before the snow started to fall and he asked me to close my eyes and hold out my hands because he had a surprise he wanted to give me. Being *ten*, I did and he kissed me, just a little peck on the lips. :)
Wisconsin was where I learned exactly how sheltered I really was in some ways. I remember attending a sleepover, all girls, and watching the original King Kong. Somehow we talked about bananas and one girl, keeping in mind that we were all the same age, started explaining about how bananas were shaped like penises and...yeah. The night deteriorated from there in terms of things our parents probably didn't want us to know for many, many years yet.
I remember that there was a church I wound up in sometimes. I don't remember if it was a church that my mother was attending (I think not) or an afterschool/daycare kind of set up (probably), but the older kids would all hang out in the basement in a carpeted section with windows that looked out on the cemetery. This was the first place that I felt, deep in my bones, was haunted and not in a friendly fashion. I remember having to go down there once alone for something and being utterly terrified and sure that something was going to grab me.
There was some sort of field trip that I went on (maybe for school?), where we learned basic survival tricks for the woods. We also learned how to hunt and track through the woods. We practiced by hunting each other. I kicked ass. Tiny, ten year old ass.
My mother spun out one time in the middle of winter up in Wisconsin. I don't know what happened, I assume that we hit ice or something. But one second we're just tooling along in the little red truck we had at the time and the next the whole world was spinning around and around and then we smacked into a snowbank, facing the wrong way.
Wisconsin was also where I first encountered missionaries and they proceeded to freak me out. Not, I must add, through any wrong doing or anything. Don't get me wrong. But it was a Saturday (I think - I was home from school at least) and I was home alone. They knocked and I just remember being very confused about what these people wanted and why they kept talking about lions and lambs and stuff. And they gave me a little pamphlet that had a picture of Jesus surrounded by all the animals that should have been eating each other on it and kids all around him.
|This isn't *quite* how I remember it, but it's close. Heck, it might be the actual pic and I just remember it a little wrong.|