Friday, October 03, 2014


speak and act so as to make it appear that 
something is the case when in fact it is not

Apparently, a lot of my memories go back to my Catholic upbringing.  It does seem a little odd since neither one of my parents went to church with any regularity.  Actually, the only thing my dad did do with regularity where church was concerned was to drop the rest of his family off at St. George's on his way to the French Club.  The French Club was a place where he could drink with his buddies--on Sunday.  He may also have been a bartender there.  I am pretty sure he was a bartender there.  And he was not French.

My grandmother was a devout Catholic--saying her rosary every day and praying to her favorite saints.  I can remember going into her kitchen and seeing the statue of Saint Jude, who is the patron saint of lost causes, facing the wall.  Apparently, she was not happy with his handling of her lost causes, one being my dad and his lack of church attendance.  

My dear grandmother, bless her heart, took every opportunity to encourage us to go to church and to pray and light candles for our dad.  She was our example of what a "good" Catholic looked like; and because we loved her, we did at least try to honor her requests.  

So every year when Lent rolled around, we were expected--at least by my grandmother--to give up something--besides the mandatory meat on Fridays.  Most years we gave up candy like the majority of people--which really was not that challenging since candy was hard for us to come by.  

One year, feeling particularly spiritual--for the lack of a better word--I gave up watching I Dream of Jeannie.  It was to be my greatest childhood sacrifice made in an effort to please the Lord--and my grandmother.  

I Dream of Jeannie was my favorite show.  It debuted in September of 1965.  I was eight years old. Jeannie had been shut up in a bottle for some 2,000 years before Captain Tony Nelson, an astronaut, found the bottle and released her.  Overjoyed, she promised to serve him forever.

The story appealed to my eight-year-old heart and mind; but that bottle--that bottle represented everything I wanted in life:  my very own cozy place--with lots and lots of pillows--and shiny things.  

The next year, when Halloween rolled around, my mom,  an expert seamstress, made an impressive looking I Dream of Jeannie outfit for me.  I am sure that every kid in the neighborhood was just drooling with jealousy.  Wouldn't you have been?

That outfit allowed me to take my pretending to a whole new level.  With that outfit on, I believed that I could cross my arms and nod my head and get results--just like Jeannie. I created my own bottle in our backyard on a mound of dirt behind a hedge and pretended it was adorned with all sorts of genie things.  I even pretended to get small in order to fit through the hole in the hedge top of the bottle.  

My bottle was off-limits to everybody except Tony.  Tony was pretend, too.  

(This obsession might be likened to today's Frozen craze. I could not LET IT GO.)  

In all honesty, I don't think there was much difference in my pretending that I was a genie hanging out with Tony and my grandmother pretending to manipulate Saint Jude by making him face the wall.  Both required vivid imaginations if you ask me.  You didn't ask me?

I am not proud of the fact that I did not last the 40 days without Jeannie.  I tried.  I really did.  Lord have mercy.  And I don't doubt that Saint Jude was required to face the wall on my behalf on more than one occasion.  Lord have mercy again.

All posts from the 31 Words project can be found here.


Emily Noe said...

"Playing pretend" is an essential part of a healthy childhood. One of my favorite pastimes as a child was to pretend I was a school teacher. I would prepare my lessons for the day and line up my favorite dolls and stuffed animals on my blue canopy bed. They were the model class which made teaching so much easier :) Although, I made sure discipline was lovingly administered if needed. I wrote math and spelling lessons on my small chalkboard easel and chose my favorite read alouds in hopes that my class would enjoy them as much as I did! I especially loved checking the correct answers on their papers (which were actually my old worksheets) with my bright red pen! Stickers and smiley faces were given out in abundance! Little did I know that I would one day grow up to be a homeschool teacher!

Heather Sparks said...

Imaginations run wild in childhood. I love to watch kids create a make believe world full of all their favorite people and ideas. I spent many hours playing "house" with my sisters and cousins. I was not the most imaginative of the group, but I loved to play along and be a part of the others' great ideas. :) For a few Christmases, Mom made me and my sisters dolls. One year it was Cabbage Patch doll (came as a kit with real Cabbage Patch heads), another was tall, stuffed dolls almost as big as we were. She always matched the dolls hair to ours. Mine had light brown hair, Heidi ' s had dark brown, Holly's was strawberry blonde and Hannah ' s was yellow blonde. :) Our dolls were our "children". We would play for hours and hours with those dolls. I can still hear Heidi and Holly. They had the most hilarious voices for their dolls! Each one had a unique voice and they rarely messed up and used the wrong voice for the wrong "child". :) I never was able to create as unique voices as they did, but I think I enjoyed listening to them play as much as playing with them.
When cousins came to visiting we tended to play "church". I don't know how many times we made up wedding and funerals for ourselves. :) great memories!

Sabrina Starnes said...

This word has thousands of memories attached to it. It's really hard to pick just one to talk about. I'm gonna go with the one that I thought about yesterday. My granny owned several restaurants throughout my childhood. The largest one she had was a huge playground for my cousins and I. Our favorite game when we were all together was something we called "Giants." We would sneak around hallways, banquet rooms, an industrial kitchen, and the dishwasher room pretending we were invisible. The goal was to not be seen by the giants (adults) and if we made eye contact or was addressed by a giant, we had to sit "out" for five minutes. We also had a morse code we created to communicate from the public bathroom wall and the staff kitchen bathroom wall by knocking. Even though my mom and aunts were probably working hard at waitressing and may not have looked forward to going to The Four Seasons, I know it was the highlight of the cousins' week.

Karen Pashley said...

Day 4…Pretend

My mom was a clean freak. If yours was, too, then you know what growing up in a clean freak’s home is like. She wasn’t one of those OCD types, she just enjoyed havng everything in its place. I picked up on the cues early in life.

Saturday mornings were “clean your room” time. No big deal. I kind of liked it. Got a bit of a rush from seeing the results of my efforts. To make the activity more of a challenge, I would pretend that the president of the United States was coming over for a visit. The president was worthy of the cleanest bedroom a girl could ever present. So I straightened my bookshelves —the spines arranged from tallest to shortest. And I lined up the shoes in my closet, toes facing outward. I smoothed every wrinkle from my bed covers, vaccuumed under the bed, even ran a dustcloth over the doorknobs to remove any fingerprints. Because the president was coming!

Politics aside, it was a fun, innocent fantasy that I looked forward to every time my mom would announce, “Time to clean your room!”.

Jen said...

This one is hard for me. Nothing really jumps out at me, I guess I pretended a lot;) but one memory is there was a small playhouse in our backyard with an old time-y school desk. I'd go out there and play school. Of course being an only child I'd play all the parts, teacher and student haha! I've always loved school.

Lisa Biery said...

Day 4. Pretend. I spent most of my high school and college years pretending- even won awards for it. Not pretending in the way one might think--I was the type of person that what you saw is what you got. Wore my feelings on my sleeve, etc. My pretending happened in drama class and my passion became so strong that I ended up teaching it. I could go on and on about the importance of this art in life, but that's not the focus. For me "book" and "pretend" go hand in hand. The first time I read a play script and then was given the chance to bring it to life, unforgettable. Pretending on a pretty deep level, but pretending none the less. Those characters were just that, characters, pretend, but the lessons I learned from those moments and those characters will stay with me a lifetime.

Kolein said...

Oh my goodness! You have revealed so much about who you are in this post!!!!! *laughing so hard

I loved that show too. I had completely forgotten about it. And Tony. :D

Catholic statues always scared me as a kid. Have you seen the stuff they put in Catholic churches? Oh yeah. Funny how Jeannie didn't scare me at all.


Kolein said...

On certain mornings you might find me serving my family French toast, croissants or crepes with a French accent speaking the handful of French words I know. They're used to it. These accents have been a part of my life - as Sonya Schroeder Tichenor or was it Mel Joe Tavares put in the BOOK post - "since the womb.”. This trait came by way of a father who is so incredibly gifted with vocal sounds, bird calls, singing, cartoon impersonations, yodeling, you name it. There really was no other way for me. Entertaining my friends in high school with a spot on portrayal of Julia Childs or Carol Burnette or Keith Partridge, “I think I love you,” or Cindy Lauper "Girls just wanna have fun" or a paint brush (I showed up at my BF's house with my new haircut, I dubbed “the paintbrush”) was quite the norm for me. Once at a high school party with friends, I saw my friend, Frank, across the room. We walked slowly toward each other, eyes squinting, as people made way for us. We stood nose to nose and began this “pretend” diatribe as though we were brother and sister. It lasted, without skipping a beat, for several minutes. We then stopped, turned around and walked back from where we came and chatted with friends as though nothing happened. Needless to say, friends came to expect this scene. So we happily obliged, every time. It's very natural, in the inner workings of my Hungarian, Irish, English, Scottish, Russian, German DNA to become someone else. I have quite the mix to draw from. When the beautiful opportunity arose for me to home school my sons, guess what subject I was most thrilled about? All of them! First of all, we need to eat everyday. So there's those foods and those accents. Then there's history and those accents. And art. Oh how I love portraying, Van Gogh or Monet or Michalengo. Then there's literature. Don't even get me started on that one. Jane Austen. Thomas Hardy. Charles Schulz. CS Lewis. JRR Tolkien. Characters in books. Personifying our dogs and their thought processes. Even falling leaves from a tree have a voice. It's so exciting to me and it was to the boys when they were wee ones, especially. “Boys, we're going to Italy today! Pasta primavera! Al Fresco! Mangiare!” They would literally run down the hall to see what was about to take place. Now as they are a bit older they laugh and join in.

My sister and brother would tell you with eyes rolled how many times I “made” them be actors in my plays when we were younger. We'd move the furniture around and create theatre style seating for the rest of my family. I was director, ticket creator, manager and actor. Not much has changed in my life, cuz isn't all of life a stage? For all the fun and laughs it is to pretend, my true self is as real as one can be. My mother used to say, “You always know what's happening for Kolein. She's either telling you about it or wearing it on her face.”

Recently as my husband and I were driving our sons to their sport's practice, we heard the boys carrying on in the background. My husband said to me, “Listen. It's an Orc and Golum. My God, they sound just like them. Wonder where they got that from?”

Sonya Tichenor said...

I used to take a card table and turn it upside down with the legs up. This was my boat. I would then begin loading it with provisions. This generally included pillows, my entire library of Children's Companion books, and a sleeve of crackers. I would use the table legs to steer. The set-up was elaborate and took some time, but I don't remember once lying on the pillows, or reading a book, or eating a sleeve of crackers. But everything was ready for me just in case the voyage was too long.

Kelly H. said...

Hmmm,hmmm-hmmm-hmmm...Can you tell which tune I'm humming? It's "Here Comes the Bride," obviously. Half-slip over the head, dandelions from the yard. You did it, too. I grew up a PK, so every time there was a wedding in our church, I would sneak back into the sanctuary during the reception. I would walk up the white runner, stand at the front among all the flowers, and imagine a day that I would be the bride. The morning of my own wedding, I arrived at the church - not the one of my childhood - and sat alone in the sanctuary for quite some time. I thought a little, hummed a little, and prepared my heart for my day before I prepared my face and hair. No longer a pretend bride, but a real one. Still love every single wedding I attend.

Lisa said...

Pretend.. I have wonderful memories of pretending and using my imagination to create my play. I was an only child and an only grandchild for many years, so I created playmates through pretending. As I grew older, my play changed, but my use of pretense and my imagination continued. One day, I was a doctor, the next an astronaut, the next an artist. I played for hours on end - content, by myself. Whatever I would see or hear would become fodder for my play. I loved my dolls, dress-up, and becoming something so incredible in my mind. It was so much fun. I miss that part of childhood and wish that as an adult, my imagination was still as vivid and engaging.

Lisa Balough said...

Manipulative. Bad sister. That was me because I was an only child for five years and I thought it should continue that way. I didn’t ask for a brother after all, I asked for a sister. So, one day, in the community sandbox behind my house I “pretended” the sand I had packed together was a cake. I told Luke to eat it. He declined, only because he was suspicious that it wasn’t really cake and he asked me where the plate was. I told him it was hidden under the edges of the cake. He was doubtful. Extremely. I continued with my charade until the little guy went against his better two year old judgment and took a bite. I thought pretending was pretty fun! I never repented of that until I was an adult. I repented of a lot of things I did to my little brother. I’m actually lucky that he speaks to me and doesn’t just “pretend” to like me, lol!

Kimberly Hoyt said...

Who doesn't go through a phase, pretending to be a movie star or famous singer? My best friend and I loved to pretend! One summer we collected all our costumes from skating shows (me) and dance recitals (her) and then put together a program where we danced and sang (well, lip synced) to some of our favorite songs. We called ourselves the Groovy Grapes. Just thinking about it makes me smile! We charged the neighborhood kids a dime to come watch us :)

Niki Carroll said...

I know you will not believe this Denise but I use to pretend I was pregnant. I always stuck the baby doll inside of my shirt and yes..... Can't believe I'm sharing this, but I would pretend to give live birth. One of my cousins was always the delivering doctor. I always had girls. I was the best mom in the world. What was I thinking???? Is this why I ended up with 3 girls and 4 boys? ��

Mel said...

My earliest memory of pretending was of myself and my best friend getting our big baby dolls and swaddling them to look like real babies, then rocking them on the front lawn, hoping neighbors would stop and comment. Wait for it. Wait for it..........we lived in a rural area on a back country road. SHE was my nearest neighbor, who lived 1/2 mile away. There were only 9 cars that ever drove that road. 7, if you exclude our parents. I'm pretty sure all 7 households knew that those weren't real babies, but they'd stop and ooooo and ahhhhh and wave and say "Take good care of them, and don't stay outside too late!"

Audra Picarello said...

Ahhh, pretend. This goes back to my memory for "anticipate". :) I had a really vivid imagination as a kid, so I remember so many different things - stalking across my grandparent's front porch, yelling at "rogue villains" (I felt SO SMART for knowing both of those words back then, though now it makes me chuckle because it's a bit redundant.....). I remember pretending to be my sister's schoolteacher, or acting out different scenes in some of my favorite series (Elsie Dinsmore, anyone?). Victoria and I used to pretend that we lived back in the 1800s with all the dresses we would play in. Pretend also got me in a lot of trouble sometimes... :)

MsHouse121 said...

Shona Bare House When I was growing up me and my siblings would always pretend we actors, entertainers, and singers. The closet would be our back stage and we would take turns putting on shows. The audience anyone we could fine to come to our bedroom for the show which mostly consisted of mom and dad and grandparents. One of the favorite pretend games we played was our own version of the "The Gong Show" remember that ? lol. Of course we would all fight over who was going to be the gonger. Of course me and my sister would always gong our brothers and then the fussing was on until we heard dad coming down the hall. ! Our father band us all from watching "The 3 stooges " because he said he didn't want us acting like them all the time. Oh and no Jerry Lewis either, his always wired us up! lol . Needless to say we got our tails beat several times for acting too crazy! Laughing! Cops and Robbers was always a fun thing to pretend play while riding our bikes. I could go on and on but I will spare you ! lol Pretending to have a restaurant was always a lot of fun it featured my famous mud pies! My brothers and my cousin would actually eat them. Bless their hearts, Now you know the rest of the story. I could go on and on!

Kathy Wiedemann said...

Day 4 Pretend pt.1
Oh my. I laughed out loud when I saw today’s word! Ya’ll just have no idea! I will try to keep this short and sweet, but, mercy, this is a biggie for me!
Being raised in a military home meant we were always moving, always the new kids in school. About the time I was in 3rd grade that started to get to me. Every time I’d have a close friend it was time to say goodbye. I had decided I wasn’t going to be friends with anyone because it hurt so much to leave them. I became very shy and withdrawn and wouldn’t really talk to anyone.
We moved to Texas (Fort Bliss) near the end of my 4th grade year. I didn’t really get to know anyone in class before summer break, but by the time 5th grade started I wasn’t the newest kid in class. Her name was Kim. The teacher put her in the empty desk in front of me and she immediately turned around and introduced herself to me. Huh? That had never happened! Only grown-ups do that! I thought that was awfully strange and decided I might play with her at recess, just to see what this kid is all about.
To this day I still don’t know how we became so close. We are polar opposites…in everything, it seems! I am shy, she is not. Her father was an officer, mine was enlisted. She lived in the “fancy” housing, we, of course, did not. She had lived in England, and that intimidated me for some reason. Her home was beautifully decorated and full of antiques, while our home was sparse and the opposite of decorated! (My mother did not like packing and least of all, unpacking. To her, no décor meant no work. We literally did not have one single thing hanging on any wall in the house!) Whatever it was, something drew us together that first day she arrived and we’ve been close ever since!
How does “pretend” fit in you ask? Well, here goes….

Kathy Wiedemann said...
We only lived in Texas for about a year. I was, once again, the new kid in class in my ever-changing schools before our 5th grade year was over. We were playing at Kim’s house one day and came across some old albums her mom had been sorting. (Here, the use of the term "album" refers to the large, black vinyl kind used to enjoy music) We found The Beach Boys, The Supremes, Sam Cooke, and several others…but the one that stood out to us was The Monkees record! It wasn’t just the cover, but the story she told us about the band intrigued us. We would get those albums out every day and just laugh and dance! Well, time was coming up fast for me to part ways with my (first!) BFF and we started making plans to be reunited one day (as all Army brats do when it’s time to move). We promised to stay in touch and I was off to Germany.
I can remember the excitement of receiving that first letter from her. Many had promised, but none had ever followed through! My second surprise came when I opened that letter. There were actually two letters, one from Kim and one from Sue Ann Jones, the imaginary character she had created for us to share a story with. Sue was married to Davy Jones (lead-singer heartthrob of The Monkees) and she was writing to her best friend, Diane Nesmith (wife of Monkees’ Michael Nesmith) about their latest escapades in show business. Kim had created and entire life and story around these two made-up women (and picked my name AND my husband!) for me to continue this epic with her!
It was amazing! Oh the adventures we had as our alter-egos! We were jet-setting across continents in our private jets, spending time in our numerous mansions, raising babies, all the while looking like supermodels! Every week (for years!) we would send one letter from our “real” selves about whatever little girls talk about, and inside that envelope (which was sometimes quite large and manila!) was always a letter, multiple pages long, from our “other” self. Complete with photos we had cut out of magazines of our kids, houses, jewelry, latest car, etc. Keep in mind, we were actually WRITING these tomes! There was no computer to just type it out on! I can remember many a hand cramp once those stories started to unfold! We really had quite detailed lives by the time it was all said and done…which didn’t end until we were in high school, by the way. I think she used it as an outlet sometimes to get things out without actually dealing with them, and so I learned to play that role carefully. Sue could tell Diane things that Kim could never tell Kathy. I remember the tears when Diane got the letter telling her Sue and Davy had divorced. I was so shocked and torn for Kim. It was the only way she could tell me the devastation she was dealing with in her own family. She was the first person I knew that had suffered divorce in her family and had we not had our little “friends” to talk through, I may have lost touch with her permanently at that point.
Sue ended up being married three times by the time it was all said and done and ended up single and lonely. She had two children who also went through divorces but who love their mother deeply. Diane is still married to her childhood sweetheart and had three children who travelled the world. Funny how things worked out 
I still have most, if not all of those letters tucked away somewhere in the basement. I plan to pull them out and take them with me when I am once again reunited with my dear friend, who, by the way, lives on the same side of the country as I do again! (We have been stationed together with our hubbies on two separate occasions since we grew up and started using our “real” names and have not once thought to pull that stuff out to reminisce!)

Lanette said...

This post made me laugh so hard.

Lanette said...


This one is so easy for me. I loved to pretend. My house had a huge living room in it that had no furniture in it so I played there a lot of the time. I would ALWAYS pretend that I could sing - trust me, if you have ever heard me know I was pretending. I would pretend to have huge concerts where the walls of that room were the crowds of people and they would cheer for me. I would sing LOUD and to my heart's desire.

As I became a teenager, I would pretend to be a rock star and throw my hair all around like all those crazies did. Of course, I thought it was "cool" Hahahaha