In many ways, I have a love-hate relationship with the Internet and my smart-ass phone. I don’t try to understand it. My mind just doesn’t work that way. It’s much too complicated. I think it’s magic. Real clouds that store my stuff. I’ve looked up in the sky, but as of today have yet to easily spot Neese’s safe, impenetrable cloud. Shouldn’t my cloud hover over my head? Staying close in case quick retrieval is ever needed?
|iPhone may be smarter than me, but lacks sarcasm…|
One of the most disturbing aspects of all this magical gobbledygook happened about 5 years ago. Still remains, firmly entrenched and causes a frown every time it resurfaces. I had been shopping in Grand Haven, which is about 15 miles south of North Muskegon. I was on my way home, driving on 31. Late afternoon, 4-lane highway was not busy. I was following a slow moving school bus. It was loaded with students, all who appeared headless from my angle. I moved into the passing lane. (this lane is used for passing, then I moved back into the right lane. Don’t even get me started with # 1 on my very long pet peeve list).
|Lori as cheerleader mascot, basketball season, 1959-60…|
I glanced sideways a couple of times as I scooted past. Brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. Dumb I know, but it still bothers me. No students (pretty sure they were of high school age) were talking to each other that I could see. Not one. All of their heads were either hanging down, which is why I couldn’t see any as I was following them. Or their heads were bobbing up and down. Lost in a world of their own music. In a bus filled with the biggest, fastest talkers, no one was talking out loud. To each other. They were probably texting each other, but not any I glanced at for those few seconds were talking or joking with each other. I found that very troubling. Still do.
|Rock Valley school and bus in the 50’s & 60’s…|
Living a couple blocks away I never rode the bus back and forth to school. But I did to special events. Mostly away games for basketball or football. We had so much fun on our pep bus. We’d be hoarse by the time we got back to Rock Valley. Laughing, teasing, flirting, singing. I wanted those little bus zombies to experience what I did 50 years ago. The fellowship, goofiness, camaraderie. Do you understand this love-hate thing I got going on?
|Getting ready for a pep bus adventure, 1967…|
I discovered something huge this week. Monumental. The impact of a hidden piece of my past I didn’t even realize I had. Or was missing. It all started when I got a friend request. OMG. Could it really be her? It’s not like I ever forgot her. She was a big part of my life for 5 years. From 1955 to 1960. In kid time, that’s about 20 years. My family moved from the west edge of Rock Valley (sparse population) to the center of town. Near the business district, close to school and smack dab in the middle of a large neighborhood, filled with families. In my one block, backside and front, there were at least a dozen kids who were my age. The Beumer’s, Van Ort’s, Buckley’s, Miller’s, Klein’s, Hamann’s.
|Neese, Cindy and the Schmidt dog, Skippy, 1957…|
And the Wayne and Helen Schmidt family in the corner house. They had a daughter named Lori. We were pretty much inseparable. She was a couple years younger than me, but that never mattered. She was sweet, adorable, and cute as a bug. She had 2 older brothers named Gary and Rodney. Rounding out the family was a new baby sister named Cindy. I didn’t remember Cindy’s name until Lori mentioned it from a picture I sent her. I’ll admit, it shook me up. I had to go back and find the story I wrote several months ago. I’ve always remembered my 2 favorite dolly’s names, but didn’t recall if I used their names when I wrote the story. Yes, indeedy, there it was. I called the story, ‘Charmed.’ Mostly about finally unpacking and rediscovering all my old childhood toys after our move to Jackson last fall.
|Lori, Rodney and Skippy about 1956…|
In this particular story, I talked about my favorite baby doll. How much I loved and spoiled her. Rubbing her with real baby lotion. Can you imagine how long that took? Buying real baby clothes at Ben Franklin’s. Changing her diaper after feeding her water from her own baby bottle. Swaddling her like a newborn. She slept next to me every night, along with my menagerie of stuffed animals. But my baby doll always got top billing. Walking her up and down the sidewalk of 15th street in a doll stroller. Covered with a handmade quilt made by my neighbor, Bessie Jacobs. Who loved me a lot.
|Quilt made by Bessie about 60 yrs ago…|
Playing with Lori in my fabulous backyard playhouse. Swinging on my handmade swing set, both built by Dad. Playing house. Walking our dollies or sometimes her baby sister up and down the sidewalk. It all came flooding back. Not only because Lori somehow (magic?) managed to find and send me a friend request. I don’t even go by my maiden name of Gerritson on Facebook. But because of a name. My baby doll’s name is Lori Jean. Named 60 years ago after my little bestie, Lori Jean Schmidt. Which was not that surprising. I loved Lori Jean Schmidt as much as I loved my favorite doll.
|Lori Jean when we became neighbors and besties, 1956…|
The part that really surprised me was in a different part in the ‘Charmed’ story. My walking doll, who refused to walk beside me. So I decided to play hairdresser and cut her hair. Much to my Mom’s dismay. She’s always been one of my favorite dolls, although not cuddly like my baby doll. I didn’t remember why I named her until Lori mentioned her sister’s name. I named my walking doll after Lori’s little sister, Cindy. I was completely baby crazy about all things Cindy after we moved to 15th street. Holy smokes, I’ve been impacted by the Schmidt family my whole life.
|My walking doll Cindy. Named after baby Cindy Schmidt in 1957…|
There is magic in the world. Ok, Internet, I’ll give you that one. No doubt. How is it possible for me to keep discovering so many people from my past? I’m a retired, deaf loner who lives in her own small world. There is no way I would be in contact with at least 60 or more of my Facebook friends without this Internet magic. Too many married names and moves by all of us. I’m in awe and sometimes very afraid of what’s possible with the Internet. Definitely not smitten with all aspects, but the world is very different than when I was a child. I’m forever grateful I was a kid who grew up in the ’50’s and 60’s.
|Still my favorite doll, Lori Jean…|
I tried to watch a you tube video yesterday. The star was a little boy, not yet 3. Gyrating, lip-syncing this hip-hop song. I was very close to a smile, but after a few seconds I thought, he should not know the words to this song, let alone have it memorized along with the dance moves. Failed to see anything cute about it and turned it off. Why are we in such a hurry to have our kids grow up? I can tell you from this mom’s perspective, my three kid’s childhood flew by way too fast. Now there’s proms with limos after preschool graduation, ears are pierced at age 2, and kids wear grown up clothing. Adulthood is not all it’s cracked up to be. And time just goes faster and faster. Just for a few days, I long for 1957. My brother Larry is still very much alive. I would thank God for each day and appreciate the time Larry had left on this earth with me so much more. I would again be a happy, carefree, little girl. Living in a town I love, with parents who did their best. Playing with my favorite baby doll and my best friend. Both named Lori Jean…
|Lori Jean Schmidt. My first best friend, 1958…|