My grandparents were the ones with the cool toys for us. My grandfather painstakingly made a doll cradle for my sister and me – it was maybe 30” long, painted pink, with teddy bear decals. We used to dress up our dog in doll clothes and lay her on her back in that cradle. We used that cradle as a bed for the black kitten we snuck up the stairs because my mom had said “no” to her. On day two, after my sister and I had fallen asleep, the kitten got out, wandered down the hall and headed down the stairs as my mother was heading up in the dark. Her scream woke everybody up – she thought it was a rat.
We met up with our aunts, uncles and cousins for sure twice a year – we had a family Thanksgivings and Christmases the Sundays before the actual holidays. My mother and her two brothers rotated the holidays – one year someone had Thanksgiving, the next year Christmas and the following year was a “bye.” We would get quite dressed up… after-five wear. One year I made myself a velvet “cage” dress: the under-dress was a pale celery heavy velvet with sequin straps, and the long-sleeve “cage” over it was in a matching lace. My youngest cousin, then about two, managed to dump his plate of spaghetti all over the front of it. I should have never gone near that high chair.
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