Monday, August 3, 2009

Meme Me - Part 1

Before I start, I’m gonna give you the definition of a Meme. I’m probably the only person in the known universe who thinks someone might need this. But the thing is, I read about them for three months before I had any stinkin’ idea what they were. Here’s what one dictionary says:

“An idea that is spread from blog to blog.”

So simple – why didn’t somebody say so? I don’t usually join memes and it’s not because I don’t think they’re fun. It probably has far more to do with the fact that I have a hard enough time shutting myself up about my own ideas. My list is already over 100 topics long and growing. Now, I have to fit in other things, too?

HOWEVER, I do not want the report card that says, “Does not play well with others.” I already have a binder full stating, “Does not work to potential. Does not complete homework. Needs to try harder and pay attention. Should attempt to close mouth and look intelligent. Should stop sleeping on desk. Should stop being hypnotized by dust motes floating through the air. Should not bawl every time the teacher asks her a question she doesn't know the answer to.”

But I always got a “Satisfactory” in Citizenship. Therefore, in honor of my Citizenship success, I will now participate in a Meme while simultaneously closing my gaping mouth.

My friend, Jientje, at Heaven Is In Belgium says, “I first saw this at Thom’s. He stole it from I don’t know who, and then Melli nicked it, too ( I think) and now it’s here …
Would that make me a thief, do you think?

If so, Jientje, move over. I’m sharing your cell. But you’ll like me. I play well with others.

1. Who was your FIRST date?

Well, THAT would be some nero jacket, peace-sign-necklace-wearing poindexter my mother set me up with so she could have a quiet evening with a date. He was her date’s nephew. I was 12. She sent me with my sister and her boyfriend. We went to the walk-in theater (yeah, that’s what we called them in the olden days all you younguns) and we saw the Beatles, “Yellow Submarine.” Sorry, Beatles fans, but that STILL reigns as one of the stupidest movies of all time. He tried to hold my hand. MAJOR cootie factor. I still haven’t recovered. I’ll be right back. I have to go wash my hand.

2. Do you still talk to your FIRST love?

Uh, negatory on that one. I’m not even sure he still treads the earth. I was 12, again. I dated him in our church youth group. He was 17 and had no idea I was 12 - I'm sure I looked at least 13. (The older girls weren't happy with this young interloper, they filled him in, and he dropped me like the proverbial searing spud). But he had ZERO cootie factor. I had a huge crush for two years though I ceased to exist for him. He was desperately handsome and moved to Hollywood to become a star. Very sadly, rumor had it that he became a heroine addict instead. I saw him once in a convenience store when I was 17. He looked the part of the rumors. I pray he recovered but I have no idea. His last name was Banks and I do remain acutely aware that, had things gone very differently and I had ended up married to him, my name would have been Robynn Banks. I’ll give you a minute. There ya go.

3. What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?

Well, this would fall into the “Series of Desperately Unfortunate Events” category. I was still 12. 12 was a big year. Actually, every year was a big year in our house. If there’s ever a Meme about the most uneventful year of your life, I won’t be able to write anything.

I was babysitting for Gail and Chuck. My mother worked with Gail. She and her husband had a little baby girl, Susie, who was nine-months-old and had life-threatening asthma. Very scary stuff. I called home frequently, terrified, as she coughed and threw up and struggled to breathe. They were complete idiots. They often left her with me so they could enjoy the high-life, as it were. But they made sure there was plenty of Fresca and an ample supply of reading material in the form of porn magazines so I guess they figured I was all fixed up. (Yeah, BELIEVE me, I'm still in shock as I ponder this from my perspective as a mother - uh, maybe just even as a thinking human being, or as ANY human being, or maybe even as a bean.)

The high-life doesn’t get any higher than New Year’s Eve and I was the chosen babysitter. When they pulled into the driveway and slopped into the house, dutifully liquored up to welcome in the budding year, they thought the babysitter should celebrate with them.

They mixed vodka and orange juice – a combination I will never drink again as long as I live – and shared the joy with me. I have no idea how many of those I drank. I do remember missing the step-up into the kitchen, from the family room, and falling face-first onto the linoleum. I never put my hands out to break the fall. I didn’t feel a thing. I tried to go to bed – I was spending the night – but the room wouldn’t stop spinning. I felt like a blood sample in a centrifuge. It wasn’t long before I spent what was left of the night kneeling in the bathroom at the porcelain throne and thinking I was probably going to die. I’m not sure I was far off. I’m quite sure all 115 lbs. of me had alcohol poisoning. We all told my mother I had the stomach flu the next day. I knew I’d be killed. Their involvement never crossed my mind until many years later when I grew a brain and became an adult. If I’m completely anal about who my children babysit for, what those people have in their home, and what their character is, you’ll forgive me.

4. What was your FIRST job?

Hey, I was 11! We move off of 12. I babysat for a family down the street. They had three kids – a baby and a four and six year old girl and boy – Tina and Lance. How in the WORLD I can remember their names I have no idea. Don’t ask me what I ate for lunch two days ago. That’s completely gone. I also did their ironing and they paid me by the piece. Lance was determined I was NOT the “boss of him” and he was right. It was still a good gig and paid well. They were just regular folks trying to have a life. I must admit I question their judgment a tad. I was ELEVEN. I wouldn’t have left my kids with an eleven year old when they were that little if I had to go pick up my LOTTERY winnings.

5. What was your FIRST car?

Well, it’s what I learned to street race in and what the guy I married at 16 drove – we divorced by the time I was 19 when he left me for the secretary at work (thank you, LORD). So, I guess it counts as mine though I certainly wasn’t ever listed as the owner. He introduced me to drag racing, street racing, funny cars, stock cars, and modified engines of all types. I hung out at “Eddie’s Speed Shop” and lived with engines on stands in the living room. The positive side was I learned a LOT about cars and and what makes ‘em tick. The down side was my continuing education in violent men. And he met a violent death last year on a motorcycle. I was sad for those who mourned his loss but I wasn’t surprised when I got the phone call.


6. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?

To San Diego, when I was 13. My sister had taken her own life a few months before and my paternal grandmother, who hadn’t been much involved, now looked toward me with a sympathetic eye. I think a couple of younger cousins may have come as well. My grandmother had a knack for connecting with rich people though no one in our family had two nickels to rub together. How she knew them and who they were is gone to me forever but they lived in a mansion on a cliff over looking the ocean. They didn’t have a yard, they had grounds. They had a pool house/cabana. I was bowled over. I was happy. I was cocky. I told the guy looking through my bags at the airport that I had a bomb in there. He told me I could go to jail for saying things like that even though I told him I was just kidding. This was years and YEARS ago. I never forgot and learned, at least in some instances, to keep my big mouth closed. Had I only applied that to every area of my life I would have stayed out of a lot of trouble – and I would have also failed to fight for underdogs, defy bullies, and right some grievous injustices. Our weaknesses are our strengths, out of balance.

Okay, there’s more to this Meme. But each question has a story and I’m nothing if not WINDY so this is growing TOO LONG. I’ll finish it in the next few days.

If that means you'll wait a week to come back, I'll understand.

Copyright 2009

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  1. i cannot stand memes - HOWEVER - this was one that i couldn't stop reading. had no idea what your life has been filled with.

    who the heck gets their babysitter drunk? honestly i think i'm just a little ticked that i never babysat for anyone like that.

    can't wait to hear the rest of your answer.

  2. Good grief! When is the book coming out?

  3. I, too, babysat for 3 little kids when I was about 11 or 12. I was responsible for my age, but still I think back on that and think times must have been different, 'cause there's no way I'd leave my 3 little kids with an eleven year old!

  4. This is why I do the tablescape and transformation parties lol... Unlike you.. I'd bore folks to death with my stuff. Hope you're feeling better today.. if you found time to do an encouragement post.. holler at me..they post the link up at 9pm tonight.. I'll add both of ours if you did.. or you can use the one you did on Sunday. If you chose to do that.. you'll have to do an edit by inserting a code to put the linky list on it.. don't worry I have the code lol and I'll walk you through it.

  5. My goodness Robynn,times have changed haven't they...I couldn't imagine leaving my children with an 11 or twelve year old. My daughter was 13 before she began babysitting in the daytime!!! :0)

    You know I remember a few things from my childhood that just wouldn't happen in this day and age...

    Hope you are feeling better...

  6. Wow, wow, wow... how DO you sound SO with-it!?! You are an amazing woman. I baby-sat TWO times in my life. One of the times, I remember looking in a drawer for something and found some funny smelling, dried-up parsley looking stuff -ha.
    Enjoyed the read!

  7. Oh, Mrs. Reilly, you do make me laugh. :-D

  8. Robynn,.. if we didn't have this whole dang country between us I know we'd hang out together.... drink coffee or tea and tell all the old stories...

  9. Oh my goodness!! What a LIFE you have led... it's like something out of a novel! Unbelievable that people could get a 12-year-old drunk! You went stock car racing! And lots of other not so good stuff...

    You are AMAZING, my friend!

    I'm waiting for your autobiography to come out...

  10. I enjoy reading memes because I learn so much about the blogger writing them and yours was no exception. Great stuff and great writing Robynn.

  11. Robynn you are a hoot!! Hurry up and finish the meme. I am hooked!!

  12. What a great Meme! I thought you were going to talk about grandma's.

    I have to say, I'm more intrigued by you. Finding peace after chaos of a childhood is a daily goal for me.

  13. I enjoy reading the memes just not much time to do them though.

    I do think you need to be working on a book!
    You do have a knack for story telling.
    Have a great day.

  14. Hehheh...this was VERY entertaining, Robynn!! That first love sounds like a real winner. :D

  15. I enJOYed reading your meme! Thanks for sharing!

  16. I have so missed reading your blog. Next time you don't see a comment from me come hunt me down. LOL. Life stinks around here but reading your words always bring me to as happy place. Thanks

    Oh and I spent my amazon cift card finally and my item arrived today, thank you thank you thank you

  17. Thanks for telling the blog world what memes were. I hadn't a clue either. There's so much computer / blog terms that are a mystery to me.
    Waiting for installment two. Thanks for sharing....
    Robynn tomorrow I'll be posting my Crock Dill Pickles.

  18. Once again, I laughed out loud! You are too funny! Robynn Banks put me over the edge! Thanks for the fun!

  19. I'll tell you what is worse than vodka and orange juice... gin and orange juice. I could probably still point out the very gutter I blew my innards out into in Stillwater, OK. Nastiness personified. Demon gin has never passed my lips again. I wonder how fast the vitamin C in the orange juice got absorbed before it left my system. Even worse we got back to my friend's dorm late, were locked out and I had to sleep in the back seat of a Corvair Convertible... all 5'9" of me folded up like a drunken pretzel.

    Great fun post, my friend.


    w.v. - durblyr - run with it baby sis! I know you'll think of something to do with it.

  20. I almost forgot. I need your prayers this evening that I didn't crapped my knee out this evening. I posted the story and pics... to long to tell here.


  21. crap my knee out... pain meds screw up my proofreader...

    WV- opyra

  22. Woohoo, I almost missed that one! Now that would have been a real shame! Oh my Robynn, the stories you tell, the things you've been through, that's something else!

    Can't wait to read the rest!

  23. YOU are fascinating enough that I would read anything you wrote.

    And I'm not a reader, trust me. ;-)

    I always laugh when I see those "What book are you reading now" things because I'm a shallow magazine kind of gal. Anyway....

    Your story of drinking at 12 made me cry. What an awful thing for a kid!!! Ick.

    Oh, and I had no clue what a meme was.

  24. I am a "One Meme A Week" kind of gal. Mimi Lennox hosts that one on Tuesdays.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this because of the way it was written. However, there were things that made sad. Gail and Chuck should be hog tied and horse whipped for treating you that way.

    I babysat for folks who left the porn laying around too. Ugh.

  25. Compared to you, I have really lived a dull life! No wonder your blog is so interesting all the time!

  26. My son would DIE for that car.

    Now, I don't know you at all, so I have to ask, are you kidding about those report card comments? As a teacher, I find them upsetting!! I'm sure I would have found you a delightful girl. (That said, I do teacher emotionally disturbed kids, HAHA)

    I think you should check out my Friday Fragments--They're a way to gather up a bunch of random thoughts/observations, etc. that are too small for stand-alone posts, but too good to let go. If you're interested, there's a green button on my sidebar that gives more detail. I'd love to have you.

  27. Robynn, all my love to you. I think we lived enough to be 100 by the time we were 50. We look really good for the shape we are in.