The Soccer Game

My mother was a hoarder. I couldn’t ignore that fact anymore. And I don’t think she meant to be, but that’s what she became all the same. So when she decided she was too incapable of caring for her home, I went to help her pack up her belongings. What I found was a tsunami of her life spilling out of every corner. After pulling box after disintegrating box out of her closets, I realized it was worse than I thought. But we had to start somewhere so I brought the boxes to her so she could make her decisions.

We started by making stacks. This stack was things to keep, this one was things to give away, this one was things to throw away. But the number of piles grew larger and larger. This pile was for the senior’s center in Morinville. This pile was for her friend Cheryl who sews. This pile was for the art society. She knew all kinds of people who might use fabric or bees wax or magazines or dried flowers or puzzles. I don’t know how many lists I was given with instructions where to drop them off. I finally gave up and started hauling everything to the dump. Only she thinks I delivered them faithfully.

Then there were the more personal items, mainly photos of each of us kids over the years. School photos where we smiled artificial smiles into cameras with other students. I was never so uncomfortable as on picture day. My clothes were not as pretty as all the other girls clothes. I didn’t like the way I looked while the others proudly combed their hair and smiled through their braces, simulated curls bouncing around their heads.

Mum made stacks and stacks of photos. Photos that I didn’t even know had been taken. Pictures of me with my chipped front tooth. Pictures of me with an uneven haircut. Pictures of me taken with my eyes half closed. Pictures of me taken while I was competitive swimming, almost like she was proud of me. These were all from a time when we had to load film into a camera and take the film in for developing, waiting a week or more for the finished product. Then we threw half of them away because they were out of focus or had a thumb covering part of the lens or caught a funny expression. It’s not like today when we can do 25 selfies in a row and discard the ones that are not flattering into the nothing that is the digital garbage. The pool of emptiness where all energy goes to die.

Mum made stacks for me and my brother and my sister. Our own personal photo history. Each of us possessing a unique brand of awkwardness. School photos, class photos, baby photos, photo albums started but never finished. Photos in cheap plastic frames.

I picked up one of my school photos from grade 5. There was the much younger me, off to the side with my burnt orange sateen shirt, bowl haircut freshly washed, smiling as I was told to, standing as though I were uncomfortable in my own body. They always put me on the left side of the class. I don’t know why. There, in the middle, was the boy who shared my first name. He was in every one of my classes from kindergarten to grade 9. It led to me being called Dale-Ann for the first ten years of my life.

“Look Mum. There’s Jeff Gruber.” I pointed him out. She adjusted her glasses and leaned into the light, squinted.

“Which one is he?”

“He was the one who always won the intramurals for soccer. And there’s Karla Kovak and Sandra Lopez and Dean Popescu.” I pointed to each one in turn.

“How can you remember them all?” My mother asked. I felt a tiny boost of esteem that I had impressed her with my recall.

“I guess because I was in the same class with them for so many years.”

I looked at my face in the photo and thought the girl smiling back looked happy, well adjusted. I would never have thought she was awkward, shy, self-loathing. She looked like a nice kid. But because I had spent so much time inside of her, I knew differently.

I remember those school days. We were poor so we had to wait for the first day of school to buy supplies. My mother took the list of school supplies to the welfare office where they gave her a check to cover the cost. She purchased the cheapest items to be stretched over four kids. So I sat there with nothing for the first two or three days of classes while everyone else looked over at the empty space on my desk. They wrinkled up their noses as if they were smelling something bad. What they were smelling was my poverty. I reeked of it. The rich kids came equipped with all the supplies they’d ever need right there on the first day when I had nothing. Binders with zippers and pockets and dividers, reams of paper, scented pencils, felt pens, highlighters, stickers. They weren’t rich really, maybe upper middle class but they seemed to have everything that I never had. They seemed to be rich from my position in the mud.

One girl in particular, always brought an apple for the teacher on the first day so she became one of the favorites. That was Carla. Not Karla Kovak, Carla Anders. Carla must have been a popular name the year they were born because there were two more Carlas in my class making four total. Carla Anders’s house was just a ranch style home facing the school field but to me, it seemed like a rich person’s house. I’ve driven past it a number of times as an adult and I see its banality, just a square home almost exactly the same as the homes on either side of it. It wasn’t a rich home at all but the home of a middle class, hard working couple trying to give their little girl a good start in life.

Carla was in every class of mine since kindergarten but we weren’t friends. I remember going on a skiing trip with the class in grade six and she had a perfectly fitted, matching ski outfit in two shades of pink. How could I have been her friend with my large brown snow pants and grubby, blue/green jacket with faux fur around the hood that was shedding. I mean how does faux fur shed anyway? I saw her lavish clothing and looked down at my own, the rip that had started on the right knee, threads of polyester floating around like spider silk. I saw my clothing and realized how far beneath her I was. How money means everything to the people who don’t have it.

She had all the pretty girls as friends. There was a trio of them Madeline and Carla and Stephanie and the other girls circulated around them like planets around a star. They were the center of attention and happy to receive it. They were the source of warmth and light only-they really weren’t. It’s funny how that happens, how we accept the idea that other people are better just because they think so, not because they are. Imagine being a frumpy girl named Dale around pretty girls like Madeline or Carla, girls who wore nail polish every day, sometimes with glitter. They had their ears pierced and wore jewelry with half hearts, the other half given to a sister or best friend. Madeline and Carla wore half hearts like that, each one enchanted with the other and not afraid to let the whole world know. I couldn’t compete with them in any area except one.

The only way I excelled was creatively. I was the class leader in drawing and writing in every grade. For a couple of weeks in grade five, the boys were drawing pictures of cars and putting them on the wall near the back, above where the pencil sharpener was fixed to the wall, back by the coatroom and the cubbies. The girls didn’t put any pictures there. The girls didn’t really care. But I saw the pictures and knew I could do better. The boys gathered around the pictures and talked about them, about the different types of cars and the styles of the rear wings or the hood. That’s something that started early, boys discussing things with other boys. And even though they didn’t really know what they were talking about, they sounded like they did, nodding their heads, companionably in the style of boys from the beginning of time.

I wasn’t part of the group of boys, of course, but I knew I could draw a car. So I drew one in secret one day. And as I suspected, my drawing was far superior to the others. Mine was in proper perspective and had flames down the side and an engine that sat on the front hood of the car. I went to the back of the room to sharpen my pencil and looked around. Everyone’s heads were bent over their work, no one paid attention to me. So I pinned my picture to the wall by the others and nobody saw me do it. For some reason, I signed it “Barracuda.” I’m not sure why. But it was fun to watch them talking about who had drawn the red car with the flames. “I don’t know. I thought it was you.” they spoke in low voices, not wanting to sound too impressed. But I heard them and smiled to myself. Someone, I suspect Carla, suggested that I drew it which was met with disbelief. It had to be a boy who drew the car, never a girl. But it was easy. Easy for me at least. I could always draw anything.

Only one boy was not included in the group of males. His name escapes me. Poor fellow, it probably escaped everyone. He was fat and pale, like ghostly bread dough filling his pants to overflowing. His expressions were dull, occasionally he drooled and as far as I knew, he never spoke. One day he threw a temper tantrum and started crying. Nobody could figure out why. He rocked himself under his desk while Mrs. Collins crouched down on the floor beside him trying to talk him into some form of sanity. I don’t think she had any clue what to do with him. I remember feeling supremely embarrassed about the incident. And now, after many years of living, I only feel empathy for the poor boy who had no social skills and probably wanted someone as a friend but had no one. He wasn’t very good at school work either, or art. As far as I could see, he wasn’t very good at anything. But in the classroom, you can keep your head down and be part of the crowd. In the classroom, you don’t have to feel singled out. You can lay low and say nothing and be ignored. And that was my goal in school, to not be noticed. I think invisibility was the goal of most of the students.

Gym class was the worst. We were always judged by our physical capabilities of course. Sports were difficult for me because I was easy to intimidate. But I was athletic in a way. I was an excellent swimmer. I’d been swimming so long that I couldn’t remember not being able to swim. I could dive into the pool on one side and swim underwater for the entire length and come out on the other side. But land sports were a different thing. In competitive swimming, you don’t have to face your opponent, you swim side by side. With sports, when people ran towards me, I was cowed by their confidence, avoiding the confrontation that their approach implied. But if I were given some space, I could excel. One time, during a particular soccer game, a ball came towards me. No one else was there so I kicked it high over the heads of the other players and back onto the offenders side. I heard Dean Popescu say “Whoa,” and his head followed the track of the ball as it went to the other side of the field. I felt the subtle compliment he implied.

We weren’t allowed to participate if we wore a skirt either. So this rule only applied to girls. My mother said it was ridiculous because she went to a school that had a uniform and wore a skirt every day and played all kinds of sports. She didn’t make it a priority to make sure I had pants. But sometimes I didn’t have a choice. I only had so many clothes. And if the mountain of dirty laundry in the basement was still piled high, I could only wear the clean ones. Sometimes I had to dig into the pile to find the clothes that were marginally clean. And sometimes I had to wear the skirt because it was the only thing left. Mrs. Collins made me sit at the edge of the field in my skirt to watch everyone. In retrospect, I should have worn a skirt every gym day. Then I would never have had to participate. But I didn’t think of that at the time, I wanted to be good, to have everyone like me, including Mrs. Collins.

Every sporting event started with picking teams. We all took turns being the team captain. Mrs. Collins picked two students as captains and she rotated us so everyone had a chance. The team selection always seemed to be an adult approved form of humiliation. No matter who got to be captain, the same kids always got picked first and the same kids always got picked last. Sometimes players were picked because of their popularity. The girls would pick Carla or Madeline. If I picked them first, maybe they’d let me hang on to the exterior of their world, like a pet. Or they’d pick the most athletically gifted first. A much better strategy of course. Pick the athletic kids to win an athletic game. If there were a game where we competed in the arts they would have picked me first because I would have won. But it was a game with physical prowess being the deciding factor so they picked the tall ones with broad shoulders. The quick ones who might be a little leaner. But there was a group, maybe about 8 or 10 kids who always got picked last. They had to play because everyone had to, but no one really wanted them. When we got to the last 8 kids, the captains looked them over, rolling their eyes and deciding which was the least inept. I was one of the ones picked in the middle. But some were always picked last and I felt so bad for them looking uncomfortably aware of their low place in our lives.

I wanted them, for one time, just one time, to be picked first. I was sick of the way we selected players. So sick of the whole demeaning process that made some kids feel shamed, and always the same ones. So I developed a plan. I knew I’d be captain soon. I’d be captain and I’d be in charge. I’d be the boss. And I’d do something different. I was going to pick the worst kids first. I was going to let them hear their names picked first. Just one time, I wanted them to hear their names first. I thought maybe they’d have a boost of confidence. Maybe they’d rise to the occasion and show everyone up.

So Dean Popescu and I were captains. All the other kids lined up facing our way, looking expectantly to see who we’d pick. The kids who often got picked first seemed unconcerned, knowing they’d get chosen. This was their arena. Dean Popescu picked first and he picked Jeff Gruber, the tall guy with the large lower jaw, the one with the straight back, the one I had a crush on my entire childhood. Jeff walked over to the opposite side and all eyes turned to me. Usually, this is where the captains got competitive. We’d battle for the best and the fastest. Because picking the best meant winning and nothing was as important as winning.

“Craig,” I said.

Dean Popescu looked surprised because Craig was a skinny kid with coke bottle glasses and he usually got picked last.

“Fatima,” he said and the slender hipped Lebanese girl, the fastest runner, did a slow jog over to Dean’s team.

“David,” I said, picking the pale boy with the badly repaired cleft lip.

Dean must have thought I was incredibly stupid. He seemed to realize I was going to pick the worst of the worst and he couldn’t believe his luck. Starting with the ones at the bottom, I moved my way up. He started at the top and moved his way down. We met in the middle.

So his team was made of the finest players, mine the worst. And my hope was they’d be bouyed by the novelty of being picked first and play like animals, like predators who finally found their teeth.

But that’s not what happened.

We were slaughtered. No goals at all. And a goalie with coke bottle glasses who was afraid of being hit by the ball. Offensive players who were consistently outrun. Defensive players who bent down to pick dandelions during the game. It was carnage. And I spent the entire game, disheartened because I wanted to prove to everyone that we could do better. But we didn’t. We only lived up to our reputations. I wanted them to feel wanted, to feel like somebody cared. I thought it would make them rise. But the truth is they were comfortable in their position on the lowest rung. It was the thing that was most familiar to them. They were used to their place and moving out of it distressed them until they performed even worse. I felt hopeless because when I saw they were unable to be better, I knew I could never be better myself. It made me feel like no one could ever surmount their circumstances. So I gave up trying. I accepted my place in the realm of the ignored, the ones who live on the fringes. I was just one of them and I had come to realize my place and know that I would never be anything else.

As an adult, looking back at the photo of all those innocent faces, I wondered what happened to them. I wondered if they remembered those days fondly or if they, like me, looked back, unsure how to feel. If they looked back to those days when we were small and had to find our way in a sometimes unkind world. I stood in my mother’s chaos and knew that she didn’t comprehend anything of my journey as a child. She was too preoccupied with the weight of four children who needed food and a home and clothes and doctors visits, forget about our need for love.

I look back and I wonder what has become of those faces in the photo. Some may be dead, some married, some successful, some not so. I wish I could still see what they’re up to in my quiet way, sitting back, hiding around a corner, listening to segments of conversations. I could watch them and hope they found happiness of a sort. And maybe they’re standing somewhere on the surface of our planet looking at the same photo and wondering what became of me.

I hope they’re all happy in their lives because so few are. We hold it apart from ourselves, happiness. We keep it at arms length, scared to let it graze against us. We worry about money, about faithfulness, about our weight, our prosperity, our place in the world. Worry about all these things keeps happiness distant. It shines on the horizon but rarely comes close enough to brush us with its colors. I hope they find it. I hope everyone does, Dean and Jeff and Fatima and all four Carlas. It’s never too late to open our arms and embrace it. Lets hope we all have the wisdom to do so.

For more about Dale:
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If you want to read some of my fiction, download my book, Zoo of Human Frailties, for $2.99 USD https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07YZ123DY

243 thoughts on “The Soccer Game

  1. I just really enjoy your style…fun to read. Plus I slogged through it hoping to see a pic of that chipped tooth and crooked haircut.
    I was always the one with a tie and homemade cords. Stylin’ with embarrassment.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. I’ll have to look for them. I’m in the middle of packing up all my belongings and most of them are packed somewhere in boxes. But that’s a good point, I could post them. When I find them, I’ll alter the post.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Yes but that was a few months ago and I had to pack everything up and put it in storage to pack up my own house. I have them somewhere I’m just not sure where.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Funny how each generation has one big name. We had Carla H, Carla P, Karla K, and Carla A. And you’re right, I had no problem but my Mother couldn’t tell them apart.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I was the only Dale except for a guy. How’s that for building self esteem. I love the name now but sure didnt as a child.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Your mom had it tough and she, it sounds like, lacked getting the love and support she totally deserved. I don’t know your complete family dynamic/ history, but I appreciate the glimpse into it which you so colorfully pointed out here. I can relate to the school stories of the sexist/ discriminating ways that PE/ PT (physical exercise/training) was conducted. I was part of the sexism and the competitive nature of the captain and team selection, and, in hind sight, it was wrong. As a soccer coach of a Recreaton Soccer Team currently, I try to balance my approach and atone for my past decisions, by rotating captains and by playing all players in different field positions, whether my players frown at me as if to say, “me, a center forward, coach…I’ve never considered myself a center forward” and the focus on having FUN whether you score or not. Parents often react by saying I think you are an awesome coach (which I’m not by today’s standards), but they keep signing their child up for the same team which leads me to believe they and their child might actually be doing something they like. That’s good enough for me. Thanks Dale for capturing so eloquently the facts and fun history of your life, which I’m sure you enjoy reflecting on with your siblings or even with your family at occasions. Keep them coming friend.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I’d love for you to have been my coach or the coach for my kids. And my mother did lack some loving skills, she’s British and they can be kind of cold. But she’s made up for it in the past few years. And she’s always been there for me. I just don’t want to write any stories of my past and lie about the way I felt.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. really loved your recount… and enjoyed the depth of emotion that shines through so much in your writing! Great insights too!
    I can relate to a few things- not belonging to the select group etc. I was never an asset to any team and resigned myself pretty happily to not being the most coveted player. Guess I didn’t care enough about sport😉

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I didn’t care about being the most coveted player either, just didn’t want to be part of the whole process. But there are some awesome coaches and teachers who do it well. Even Mrs. Collins wasn’t bad, just had an uphill battle in some ways.

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  4. Wow. Great heartfelt post, Dale. I think this may be the anthem of our generation. I was always the new kid in class, shuffled into the corner, picked last, ignored unless I was being beaten up, wearing hand me downs and never having friends. I became the nerd, studied hard and was usually top of my class, which made me even more ostracized. I developed a had shell and soon really did not care. I had to please me and be happy with me, as I was all I had. Despite not being able to afford university, I worked to entry level jobs before getting into what would become my career. Almost 39 years with one company and in charge of our construction network in 4 provinces. My school years were obviously preparing me for something. I just did not know what at the time. Like you, I wonder what became of my old class mates (the school president was busted for drug possession, the brainy girl went on to do missionary work and so on). I never have to wonder what happened to me. I grew up and excelled, despite being the outcast. Outcasts rock. Allan

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I think you’re right. We’re so used to rejection that adulthood doesn’t surprise us at all. The anthem of our generation, what a compliment.

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  5. In school, I was immature, physically and otherwise, and always the last picked. A few years out of college, everything evened out and I became an athlete and a social leader. But as I’ve aged, my grade school insecurities have reemerged along with various mental illnesses. I’m battling hard to not feel like a loser all over again.

    Your post brings to mind Silver Girl by Leslie Pietrzyk. It’s a book of insecurity and self-doubt. It’s beautifully written even though it chronicles some pretty ugly events.

    Liked by 7 people

  6. I think your name is beautiful, much cooler than the typical names. I was usually the last one chosen for teams, dreaded that humiliation, I never liked competitive sports even though I was athletic. Growing up in neglect and poverty while surrounded by affluent neighbors, my siblings and I wore the same dirty clothes for a week, but those experiences also strengthened me. Making art and writing were my outlets of sanity… I think childhood is a trial by fire.

    Liked by 7 people

  7. I feel as if this was pretty much all of our lives between 70s-90s. I wonder if the wildly popular kids have memories of treating others like shit or if they consider their time in a self-aware, reflective way at all.

    My cousin’s name is Carla, by the way lol I think she’s in her 50s, so yeah, not sure where the name came from, but it definitely was picked up by a few people.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. I was the captain in the story picking my team. I still played. I didn’t play when I had a skirt because they didn’t let me but I didn’t wear a skirt all the time.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yeah, kind of stuck with me too. I still remember it all these years. But it only stopped me from playing a few times.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. You and your writing are absolutely astounding. Thanks for improving the internet with it. I had tingles from the top to the bottom. I think I’ll read it to my kids. The whole school thing is killing me all over again now that my kids are going through it. This might help them feel less alone. Would be wonderful actually if this were read aloud to school classrooms.

    Liked by 6 people

  9. This was amazing and made me feel so many emotions ! It made me remember my middle school years a little too well. I had a similar experience to you except I loved to read instead of draw. You’re such a descriptive, beautiful writer!

    Liked by 5 people

  10. School is still a nightmare for many and mine similar to yours I was the kid with the elbow darn in the crook of my arm where my mum unpicked the sleeves and reversed them but always clean and neatly pressed…Well written but not so far from the truth of today in schools methinks 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Thank you so very much for sharing this beautiful post. I’m sure most can resonate with the people you speak of – I certainly can. School was like this back in the day. people formed cliques and others stayed on the sidelines. I too came from a place of poverty so I can resonate with the situation of sitting there with nothing whilst the rich kids all around seemed to have everything. Your post brought up so many beautiful memories and also traumatic ones from my own childhood and it was wonderful to read. I was incredibly moved by the fact your mother kept the photographs too. Please keep the posts coming I absolutely loved it. Thank you also for your like on my blog.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. She did keep them. I was surprised at how much she kept. And as distant as she could be, she kept the most important things to her which was us. I’m in the middle of renovating a house so I might not be posting for a month or so. But I plan to keep writing afterwards.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Ah yes, I was one of those kids who was picked last in gym class. But one day, during a baseball game, I somehow hit a home run and no one was more astonished than me. Everyone stood there, watching the ball sail into the sky, until the gym teacher said, “Start running!”

    I loved reading your memories of school – the awkwardness and the achievements and how we don’t want to stick out in the wrong way. A person never forgets those things, do they?

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Never. Most people say that we’ve experienced anything worth writing about by the time we hit our teens. Nothing sticks with us like those early years. I think it’s why time seems to go slowly.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. My mother was just the opposite. She was a neat freak…to the point that I didn’t have to clean my own room. You could eat off the floor. But, you couldn’t sleep on the couch and if you sat on it, when you got up, you had to smooth out the wrinkles. When I was 16, she suddenly decided that she didn’t want to do my laundry anymore. So, she didn’t. But, she didn’t bother to teach me how. I had to get my paternal grandmother’s help to learn. I think she may have been on the autism spectrum.

    Your experience in school was very similar to mine only, I didn’t have your art abilities. I developed knee trouble at 12 so, any athletics were out of the question. I wasn’t dynamic enough to be a cheerleader. I did manage to march in the band for two years in the Color Guard. Other than that, I was a B student & unremarkable.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Everyone seems to have a different experience with their parents and school but they seem to identify with my story. I don’t know which is better, to have a mother who’s disinterested so you have to learn how to do things yourself or to have an involved mother who doesn’t allow you to grow. I was a B student too. And in all other ways I was unremarkable as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup. I’m helping my mum move into the city after 40 years of accumulated trash. My son has lost his job and broken up with his girlfriend and they were paying me rent for a house I own. Now I can’t afford the payments so I have to sell but it hasn’t been updated in many many years so I have a monumental task to get it ready for selling. I lost my second job so I have only one income which earns me about half what I need to pay all my bills and live. I’m still putting my other son’s tuition on my visa so I’m almost maxed out. So I haven’t been doing art. I feel like I’ve been treading water for a long time with weights tied around my ankles and I’m about to go under. So no artwork. But if I can get through the next month I think things will be better.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I keep hearing the same things, over and over. I have so many friends that are losing jobs, struggling to pay bills, losing homes… I’ve been unemployed for the last three years and underemployed for five years prior to that. I live with a retired cop who has a small retirement income but, he is a 76 year old raging alcoholic that, everyday, I wonder if I will wake up next to a dead body. I exist on borrowed time. His health is slowly deteriorating and…so is mine and, I’m only 52. I blog to take my mind off of it and feel useful.

        I hope things get better for both of us.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Me too. Sometimes I think it can’t get worse but it can and I know it. You know it too.

        Like

  14. Life is hard, to say the least. Without The Lord, I’d be a total basket case (not just part of a basket case). Anyway, I liked reading your story as it brought back memories of my childhood. We were not poor, money-wise, but were poor, money-wise, because Mom spent all the money we had on alcohol. She was an alcoholic. So, it made up financially poor. Otherwise, we would not have been so. It’s not her fault as she had an addiction, but still… life is hard.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Everyone has their own version of a difficult life. The more I meet with people, the more I realize we all have our own situations that make it difficult for us to go on but we still go on. How brave we all are.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Gorgeous, thought-provoking post. Happiness seems so elusive to so many, yet all we need to do is kick a ball (or practice a down dog), pick a friend, smile at a stranger, spread joy, and viola, we’re happy.
    I love your motto: “A Total Eclipse of the Art.” Clever!

    Liked by 4 people

  16. You are wise. 🙂 Just do keep the photos. Don’t throw them away. They’re a part of you. And write the names down. At the back if necessary. I now realize I have forgotten some of the high school names I have not written. 😉
    Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. This is beautiful Dale. I could not stop reading your personal and touching story. When you wrote it, did you have any idea how much it would resonate with others (like me) who could relate to it all? Being a kid in poverty among middle class kids…ugh, it definitely shaped me. Your perspective is warm, and human, and encouraging. Thank you.

    Liked by 5 people

  18. I find that the elderly people at my mother’s retirement home have a better recollection of the distant past but not of recent happenings. Does it seems that your mother had that syndrome as well. In that sense, children never seem to grow up the eyes of their parents.

    Liked by 5 people

  19. I loved it, Dale. I think you read my poetry because very few others do. I remember as an adult teacher I got involved with basketball because the head of my art department was a sort iconic sportsman – footballer – Australian rules style and basketballer – in the countryside – and he wanted a teachers’ basketball team to enter a competition. I could dribble – but that’s about all. While other staff members were athletic and able to score baskets almost at will – I couldn’t. So when we practiced we used the selection method you described so eloquently – and guess what – I was selected last. It hurt.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It makes me so happy when I connect with people through my writing. I think our stories I think it’s the best way to connect with people

      Like

  20. Enjoyed the read. Brought back similar memories. I smile and grinned all through but when I got to this : “players who bent down to pick dandelions during the game” I cracked up. I knew kids like that and they always got on my team somehow so we always lost.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. If there is a blog it will have to be written later. I learned how to put tiles in the bathroom and how to deal windows and replace the kitchen counter. I still have to lay some linoleum and put a new roof on the garage

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Geez woman, I could potentially get carpal tunnel scrolling like that to reach this spot to leave you a comment! Anyway, ’twas another fabulous read. I am glad you shared it. It is relatable on quite a few levels, and I hope why ever you are packing things, it is for a good chapter.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. So far so good. But lots left to do. I feel like I’ve made a pretty big dent. I have to do the whole house because we’re selling

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Glad it’s happening well. Dents can feel good. I never foresaw putting that as a sentence, but there it is. Being a professional painter for a decade or so, I was told I repainted our interior so many times that square footage has been lost. 🙂 Now I make sure there’s adequate air flow for Lil’ Murph when I paint. He watches occasionally, but overall, is unimpressed.

        Liked by 3 people

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