Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Where were you?

The GenLady has asked the question — Where were you during each of the U.S. Censuses?

U.S. CENSUS 1960

I turned 7 years old on the official day of the census in 1960. I don't know what possessed the government to make April Fool's Day the official census day, but with me, it was just a matter of being late, as usual. You might say I “fooled around” until 18 minutes after midnight before deciding to make my first appearance into the world. My birthday and the official census have been linked ever since.

My family lived in Fremont, Ohio, which is where you will find me each and every census. It was just my sister and I along with our parents. I was a first-grader at Hayes School. The first grade happened to be the year, and I might point out, the only year, that I threw up in front of the entire class. I had warned my teacher that I couldn't drink that whole bottle of milk, and I guess I proved my point. All of you did want to hear my throwing up story, right?

Oh, and first grade was the year of my first mutual kiss, behind the bushes on the corner of June and Whittlesey streets. I'm not counting the kiss I was given by a certain someone in kindergarten, as we lay on our nap rugs, because 1. I was HORRIFIED and 2. Some little goodie two shoes tried to tell the teacher about it and I was DOUBLE HORRIFIED that I might actually get into trouble for something that wasn't my fault, unless of course, my being irresistible was considered a fault. You will be relieved to know that my promiscuity peaked along with my popularity in first grade.

U.S. CENSUS 1970

I turned 17, and of course, I knew everything. And I mean everything. I loved my parents but they were “square.” My siblings, two more had been added, were annoying.

In that junior year of high school, my plan involved going to college to become an elementary school teacher and/or maybe saving the world. Important stuff to be sure, but my main goal in life that year was to have sleek, long straight hair ala Cher. I tried letting my hair dry naturally (as opposed to sitting under a bonnet dryer), rolling my hair into one huge jumbo roller on the top of my head, and ironing my hair — with an iron and an ironing board. If you think laying your head on an ironing board and ironing your hair yourself is easy, I suggest you try it. Thank goodness, it didn't work, or back surgery would have probably figured big in any future plans.

The summer of that year, I had my first non-babysitting job. I worked as a carhop at the A&W Root Beer stand. I got off to a rocky start when I spilled Black Cow down the side of one hapless customer's car. After that, things went well and I made good tips, on top of the whopping $.75 an hour that the job paid. I managed to save over $200 that summer, which my dad made sure, was deposited into the Credit Union — fiscal irresponsibility being akin to a deadly sin in my family.

U.S. CENSUS 1980

The 1980 census found me turning 27, married, with three children aged, 7, 3 and 1. A stay-at-home mother, those years are one long blur. I enjoyed being a mom, but the days went by too fast, and there were never enough hours in a day. I looked longingly at women who went to work and had an identity outside of mom. I didn't realize that they still had to take care of sick kids, buy groceries, run errands, wash clothes, pay bills and try to figure out how to stretch a dollar, IN ADDITION, to holding down a job and keeping another whole group of people happy. The grass is always greener, right?

U.S. CENSUS 1990

In the 1990 census, we received the long form to fill out. I was really ticked at the time, because it was a pain to fill it all out. Al and I had been married less than a year, and all six of our children were living with us at the time. Between the two of us, we had six children, 5 boys and 1 girl, aged 10 to 17. We never had a table big enough to seat all of us at the same time, and in fact, the very first meal we had together was predictably noisy and chaotic. I had just doled out the last of the spaghetti, when the youngest one ran in the back door announcing, “I'm here!” Al and I looked at each other horrified. In all the confusion, neither one of us had realized that one of our little chickadees was missing. Oh yeah, we were going to be GREAT at this blended family thing!

We still shake our head at those years with the whole crew. We always say
1. You have to truly love and like your partner to survive the stresses of a blended family. And,

U.S. CENSUS 2000

By this census, I was 47 years old and living in the country, half way between Fremont and Clyde, just my favorite fellow and me. I drove 45 minutes one way to work every day, and I would amuse myself by calculating how many weeks of my life I was spending on the road in a year. Ah, good times!

I was working at a bank and my friend, a loan officer who shall remain nameless and shameless, pulled me into a corner the day of my birthday and said in a James Bond fashion, “Do you have your purse with you today?”

My crazy nameless loan officer friend had me go get the purse. Then looking both ways and over her shoulders to make sure the coast was clear, she grabbed something out of her purse and shoved it into mine.

I looked down, and saw what I would later learn was a Mike's Hard Lemonade. She had brought it for me as a birthday present. Mike and I have been good buddies ever since. Ah, Carole, I mean Nameless, I miss you!

That's what I was doing during each census. How about you?

Until Next Time — Happy Ancestral Digging!

Note this post first published online, February 6, 2008, at Desktop Genealogist Blog at The News-Messenger Online

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