Teresa and I grew up in a time when there were no VCRs, DVDs, cable TV or satellite channels to watch. If you wanted to see a movie, you saw it at the theater or on TV with all the commercials. The 4 or so TV stations we had in Dallas back then, even went off the air at some point during the night, right after playing the National Anthem while showing the flag gently waving in the wind. The Wizard of Oz was one of our favorite movies and it came on one time a year. It was a BIG EVENT to us. It always came on after The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday night. I can just see Teresa and I, freshly bathed and on the floor in front of the TV just waiting for it to come on. The flying monkeys scared the bejebers out of me! I found out a couple of nights ago that Teresa used to sing Over the Rainbow to her daughter B to get her to sleep at night.
My birthday is January 7th and Teresa’s was June 16th. After our parents divorce, our father could never remember what day each of us was born on. He remembered each of our months but he’d mix up our dates. He’d call me on the 6th or the 17th and I’m sure he did the same kind of thing to Teresa. We talked about it recently. She always thought that was endearing. I was the one who was initially irritated by it, and then later, I found a way to also just roll with it.
Maybe it was because our birthdays were always a little bit of a sore subject for me. It was never Teresa’s fault. When we were young, our relatives always seemed to give Teresa a birthday gift for my birthday when they saw us at Christmas time. Of course at her birthday, only she got a gift. It brought out my little green eyed monster. Then, one year, she got to choose whether or not she wanted a birthday cake or a watermelon for a “cake”! She picked a watermelon and I was forever jealous of her summer birthday. Even now, I’d like nothing better than to celebrate my birthday with a Texas Rangers baseball game and watermelon. Ah, that would be great! Hard to do in January.
Our parents divorced when I was 10 and Teresa was 8 years old. Momma went to work. We stayed with various neighbors for a few years and eventually were old enough not to need a babysitter. Times were safer then too, so we were still fairly young when we were left alone, but it was OK because we knew we always had good neighbors nearby to go to in an emergency. We had an emergency one summer day. I think we were watching TV and one of us looked down at the living room floor and there was a red, yellow and black striped snake on the floor! Now there are 2 snakes in TX with those colors. One is a king snake, which is nonpoisonous and the other is a coral snake which is one of the more deadly snakes in the state. We managed to climb on furniture to get to a phone book to open and throw on top of the snake. I stayed there watching the phone book to make sure the snake did not get out from under it and Teresa ran across the street to get Mr. Burns to come help us. He worked for the parks dept. of the City of Dallas and came home to eat lunch every day with his wife. He came right over and got the snake out of the house and chopped it’s head off with a hoe. By the time I got my courage together to go out and see what kind of snake it was, all of the parts had slithered off. I think it was a coral snake though. I remember the colors being bright and the king snakes that I’ve seen photos of aren’t bright.
Well, those are all of the stories I can think of today. I can’t promise you I won’t think of more. Teresa’s funeral was nice, but difficult. These stories are helping me. Thank you for “listening”. Tomorrow morning, I head back to California to help my son and grandchildren with their grief and home life. Right now, I’m going to rest and pack in the morning. Love to all.