Middle childhood did not always shape me in the most positive of ways, but my mom did open that door for me to the world of music, art and finer things, though she seldom ever had any of these in her life, whether by choice or not by choice.
She had albums upon albums of 78 records, and a few 16 inch records. I never saw her play any of them. They must have been from a time before her marriage, and just laid in cardboard boxes until I began to explore the closets. I played them on an old portable phonograph.
I also, for my own special keeping, had those little yellow vinyl 78 records that looked like miniatures of the regular sized ones. I still remember Dean Martin singing 'when the moon hits your eyes like a big pizza pie, it's amore'...someone else singing 'somebody stole the wedding bells'...and who knows what else. I had a small stack of them, but those two are the only ones I still remember at all.
The day a floor model credenza type stereo was delivered to our front door and mom turned the delivery man away, refusing to accept something she hadn't order; was the beginning of her personal lifelong deprivation goal giving new meaning of ones dedication to obstinacy.
Dad, without conferring with mom, decided to put themselves in more debt, more debt that mom totally did not want, debt that she had to accept to squelch all the arguing that ensued between them when dad discovered the stereo he ordered was turned away. She lived with that stereo that took up one end of the living room floor. Dad had it blaring away all the time, records and radio; but mom never, never, never ever played it in his lifetime or in hers up to the day she sold the house and gave the stereo away or had it trashed.
The only movies I remember mom ever watching were the ones when we all piled into the car with sleeping arrangements in the back seat, and spent the evening at the local drive-in movie theater. The only movie that made such an impression on me that it has been impressed in my brain in indelible ink to this day was 'The Blob'.
Mom NEVER went to the movie theater houses with us except in our little tyke years, and dad went with us only a few times when we were older; but we almost always had permission, so it was just me and my younger brother Eddie, or just me, watching those 25 cent movies with a 10 cent bag of popcorn and a 5 cent Popsicle.
I absorbed magazine culture from the constant supply of current women magazines mom kept in our home, and slowly built up a storehouse of knowledge of all the finer things in life, and was dismayed that none of them existed in our home. A one income household with five hungry mouths to feed, five growing bodies to clothe, and five inquiring minds to satisfy...the finer things in life for us were only all those things that money could not buy.
In later years, I would go antiquing with mom, sometimes buying small babbles to decorate the shelves or walls, mostly for mom, but sometimes for me. I loved and still love old doilies and runners that are crafted with a fine hand and eye for art.
As an adult, I've gone through times when I've had nice things, sometimes very nice things; but I've also gone through times when I've had crap...just crap.
I do enjoy all types of music, art, and finer things; and the seeds of these loves were planted by mom...the records, the movies, the magazines...even though she had very little of her own.
All the finer things in life, those things that money could not buy, I also learned from mom; but that's another story, another post perhaps later.