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Friday, November 16, 2012

Memories and phone calls

Ruth Eleanor Brennan Combs
mid 1940s
This past week my mind has repeatedly gone back to my Grandmother Combs.  Things I have done, seen, said, and listened to have reminded me over and over again of her.  We lived with my grandmother until I was in Kindergarten.  When we moved away I would spend summers home with her and my other grandmother as well as many school vacations. 

I wanted to take dance classes when I was little.  Across the street from my dad’s store was a dance studio.  I watched the other little girls in their tights and leotards going to class and wish I could be one of them.  Once, dad and I sat in on a class.  I remember grandma teaching me basic ballet positions in her kitchen after that.  It amazed me that she knew so much and I practiced in her kitchen holding on to the kitchen counter as my bar.   Those lessons have stayed with me.  In college I started to take belly dance lessons and for 5 years.  Recently I have taken it back up, and grandma’s stretches, feet positions, and walking techniques are still there.

So, I called my dad.  He has a better memory of my childhood that I do after all.  He is always full of stories, and I was not disappointed.  He told me about how his mom taught square dance for the local 4-H and girl scouts.  She also enrolled his sister in dance classes at the YMCA and then made him be her practice partner.  Dad learned tap and ballet at home with grandma watching and correcting them both.
The memories and the stories didn’t end there, for either of us.  It was a wonderful conversation about all the odd things that I did growing up, how everyone acted, antics my dad got in, coaching sports, and so much more. 
My first sports picture
taken 1981
Here are some of the highlights:
  •  Dad telling me about karate drills when he was learning in Hawaii
  • Him coaching women’s softball teams
  • Me learning to play soccer, but not ever being able to pitch or hit a ball with a bat
  • His PE classes in school teaching dance to reluctant teenagers.
  • His memories of playing collegiate soccer
  • Me walking with a book on my head learning proper posture so grandma would buy me my first pair of pumps
We tend to talk for hours on the phone, and this time was no different.  Dad is in his 70s and living several thousand miles away now with mom.  I will take all the long phone calls that I can.

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