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Dicy McCullough: Once upon a time

When you hear the title, ěOnce Upon a Time,î most people think about fairy tales. However, this story is not a fairy tale, but a story about a friendís mom and the home she made for her family.
I happened to overhear not long ago my friend, Norma Thomas, explaining how her mother managed to drive two cars at once. I had to stop and ask, ěWhat did you say?î She just laughed and said, ěMy mom drove two cars at once.î I couldnít wait to hear her explanation.
Norma began, ěMy mom, Jean Anne, was from Iowa but moved to Florida when she was 16. She met my dad, Paul, who happened to be 11 years older, while living in Florida. They soon fell in love. My grandparents decided to move back to Iowa to try to stop the romance. Unfortunately, the move didnít work because my dad followed my mom up north, whisked her away and they eloped. Itís hard to believe they were able to pull off such a feat, but it really did happen. Mom had her first child when she was 20, and eventually, there were five of us children in all.î
I began to get the feeling life in this family was never dull. Jean and Paul lived in Florida after they were married, with Paul being the only one working. Norma said it was a good thing her mom could make money go a long way because her dad only made $1.25 an hour at the Florida Power and Light Co. She also went on to say her mom and dad looked at life as something to be enjoyed, always finding the good in any situation. They appreciated what they had, although not very much at the time, and taught their children the same values.
Finally, Norma gets to the part about driving two cars at once. It seems, one day not long after Jean Anne and Paul were married, Jean Anne was at the local store buying groceries. She loaded them in the car, but the car wouldnít start. Paul worked only a short distance from the store, so Jean Anne decided to walk the few blocks to the power company and get his car. Once there, she brought the car back to the grocery store, put the groceries in the car and went home.
Jean Anne felt bad that Paul didnít have a way home, so she took the bicycle out of the garage, loaded it into the car and took it to the Florida Power and Light Co. Before going back home, she then stopped at the grocery store to check the car one more time. Much to her amazement, when she turned the ignition, the car started. She thought she could now leave her husbandís car at his work. It seemed perfectly natural to her, to drive one car 50 feet, stop the car, get out, and then drive the other car 50 feet until she arrived at her destination. She just happened to drive in the parking lot right at shift change. Paulís co-workers saw what was going on and couldnít help but laugh. The next day, the co-workers went to the trash pile and found the ugliest bicycle they could find. They parked the bicycle in Paulís parking space and left a note for him. It read, ěFor Paul when his wife decides to drive two cars at once.î Norma said her dad never lived down that episode, and even years later her mom and dad would laugh about it.
Norma refers to her mom as a mixture of Lucille Ball, Maude and Carol Burnett. Their home life was one of joy and laughter. This seems like a wonderful environment for children to grow up in, where Mom and Dad enjoy life, and donít mind laughing at themselves once in a while. I see so many children that look at life in a negative way because thatís all they know. Their home is not one where the family enjoys being together sharing good times and each otherís company. The only coping skills they know are how to get mad and be defensive. They have no understanding that calm resolution, and perhaps a little fun, are better ways to solve issues instead of being angry or getting mad. ěOnce Upon a Time,îparents taught their children to resolve issues in a positive, peaceful way. When this becomes a reality again, for every child and family, then we all will have a better chance of living happily ever after, and that wonít be an ending just in fairy tales.

Dicy McCullough is the author of a childrenís book, ěTired of My Bath,î available at Literary Book Post, Treasures Hidden, Corner Books and More in China Grove and amazon.com.

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