Cape Cod Circa 1971

30 Best Days

BOARDWALK

As a child, I had no idea how amazing my life was. Caught up in the day to day doldrums of nothing to do, boredom, it is all about me and the inquisitiveness that is the mind of an elementary school student. Way too smart for my own good. I don’t recall most of my childhood, I never thought this was unusual until my own son recanted stories of days when he was wearing diapers. Although I do remember being the most amazing fifth grader who had bouffant hairdos. (Another blog post for another time…but my mom is a retired hairdresser and I got to be her subject).

My mom. Oh, my mom. Psychologists could conduct case studies and my mom could be the prima bella. A sweet, kind and detached woman who has nothing but love in her heart and no real ability to express it. It’s a cycle of sadness that gripped her most of her life.

I hated my mother. Beyond hate. I didn’t really know why – call it childhood self centered-ness. Call it lack of empathy for a woman who was sad over a husband that cheated on her and destroyed any ounce of self respect in one tiny moment of lust. Call it sadness that my own life had changed and taken an about face from what a “normal” childhood looked like. I spent my life avoiding family and my mother. But one day, I decided to start to look within myself for some real answers. That day was not until, after one dead husband, a failed marriage to a man who cheated on me with my best friend/maid of honor and the realization that my grown son was ready to fly away from the nest. I realized that I was just as alone as my very own mother after years of looking outward for what I really needed. And inward focus took hold at about 39 years old. It took that long.

My dad. Seriously, I am not sure how God made a smart, funny, totally devoted Dad appear in my life but let me tell you the love story I had with my father. No one could have been more perfect. And let me say that nothing could be further from the truth. Perhaps his leaving and starting a new family in Upstate NY caused me to long to spend time with him and his new family. Mostly, I just wanted a place to fit in and call home – where structure was the focus. My dad understood structure and created it well in his household. Re-married to a woman who could more likely be my sister, it seemed so happy and loving there. My dad loved to cook. A hot meal that was usually quite impressive every night. Sunday dinners that consisted of home made Italian delights! Hot tea in front of the TV after dinner while watching re-runs of the Lawrence Welk show. I still belt out in song every time I think about it…”Goodnight, sleep tight, and pleasant dreams to you, here’s a wish -tadadadada- and a prayer -tadadadada- that all your dream’s come true…and now, until we meet agaaaaain…adios, au revoir, auf Wiedersehen..goodnight!” It just felt like home to me. And this man could do no wrong. Much to the dismay of my mother.

I wonder how we all survived the 70’s on Cape Cod. We walked to the beach. We hitchhiked up Forest Rd. My dad used a thick leather belt to discipline us. My mom’s weapon of choice was a wooden spoon. And yet, we survived. We played card games, we read Highlights Magazines, we went outside and played kickball at the corner of Payson Path and Montague, we walked the little path between the houses up Webster all the way back to our friends houses, we walked down to the dump to see the flocks of seagulls, we spent most of our time around a big table in the kitchen, we wrestled and we dreamt of bigger and better things.

Life was simpler then. We dreamed big but lived small. I wanted everything. Love, wealth, fortune, a big singing career on broadway, travel, no kids, no husband…just a life of my own with no one to answer to and the whole world to command. My very presence would be known. And I have lived that dream….just on a much smaller scale. Growing up on Cape Cod gave me the humble beginnings that I was reminded to never, ever forget. My   blog is about my life starting with my small town upbringing on Cape Cod. It is really about the hilarity of my life and how growing up on Cape Cod in a Half Italian/Half Portuguese family built a foundation of love and humor that IS my life.  Which lead me to many new adventures and a journey that has provided me with love, laughter and some pretty funny stories along the way!

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