Friday, August 24, 2007

Was I ever that small??

This photo was taken of ME on "the ranch". We didn't own the ranch or the horse - probably not the camera -my Dad worked the ranch. In Tucson, Arizona.

My Dad decided Chicago was no longer for him; he wanted to move the family to California.

Ah, yes, beautiful, sunny California!

I don't think it was a coincidence that we were moving at about the same time as Lucy, Ricky, Fred & Ethel were moving to California, either.

Only they made it all the way. Daddy's car broke down in Arizona. Not quite California....

But he needed to stay and take some odd jobs in order to have the money to fix the car. And "odd jobs" they were. Ranch hand, caretaker of a convent, carpenter, roofer, ceramics factory worker, you name it.

He even worked for the infamous mobster Joe Bonnano Sr. ! No, not as a hit man, silly! As a carpenter. And for the famed Arizona artist, Ted De Grazia. It is reported that Mr. De Grazia tried to give my Dad one of his painting, and Daddy refused it -saying it really wasn't his style.

We never knew Daddy was in the "in crowd"!

I'm certain he probably made enough money to actually finish the trip, however, we stayed in Arizona until my brother and sister graduated from High School.

Then, when they were both married, the rest of us finally made it to sunny California! Only, it wasn't all that sunny, especially for my sister, Gerri, who, by that time was a real cowgirl. And missed her mountains. And her horses and her dessert. So, one by one, we moved back to Arizona. We now consider that where we're "from". Three of them still live there.

Times were hard. Mother was sick most of the time. Depression. Can you blame her? Born and raised in Chicago, transplanted to the Arizona dessert before swimming pools and golf courses were the "norm".

We had rattle snakes and coyotes. Tarantulas and Gila monsters. Black widows and scorpions. Ick.

But we raised rabbits and chicks, not for any other reason than that's what my Dad wanted to do. We felt they were the best of times. I'm not so sure I look back now. Very hard for Mother.....which made it hard on Daddy.

The "ranch" is gone. A very large and very expensive development now sits where we walked and played in the corrals. But, a few years ago, while visiting my brother, he, Randy and I drove by the old house. It was still there.

Only MUCH smaller that we had remembered it to be. And, now sort of in the middle of a bustling Tucson, not out in the "middle of nowhere" were it once was...

Progress. Yes, it's good.

But the slower pace, ahhhh, sometimes that sounds so good.

When we thought our house was big, when we didn't care if Daddy owned the ranch or not, and when photos were a once-in-a-while-special thing.

It's good they took a few pictures, though. For no other reason than they spark so much "re-memberies"

Remember the good times and minimize the bad - you'll be better for it!
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Kristina Werner said...

I SO love to hear about your past and childhood! You write so well and it's a joy to read. :)

Joyce said...

Dear Colleen; thank you so much for visiting me on my blog, and the sweet comments... I love your blog! You have quite a talent for writing.... I have a little mexican cookbook, which has DeGrazia's illustrations in it~ it is my favorite and I love looking at his art... I'll be back to visit often! :-) Joyce

Utah Grammie said...

Hey "Little Sis"

I love reading your Blog. It brings back wonderful memories of our childhood. Things I haven't thought about in a long time. We really did have a great childhood in spite of being poor. We were rich in so many other things.

We did own horses, remember "Hot Stuff" and "Midnight"? They were our horses.

Your "Oldest Sis"