I love this picture! My youngest brother, Kevin, is innocently working on the bike tire while Robert (L) and Darren (R) are in a scrape about something. Look at those faces. So hilarious!
Mom and Dad were very creative when it came to making a big family work.
Eleven kids can't be easy to keep "under control". I don't know how my Mom and Dad took us kids anywhere... but they did.
I remember when we would go to someone's house, we either had to stay in the car while my parents went in to visit (there were a few times the car "accidentally" got knocked out of park and might have rolled down a driveway or two) or, we got to go in the house, but we would line up in a row and have to sit with our hands in our laps and stay quiet. Seems we were constantly lined up in birth order.
The "camper" came in handy during extended evening visits, too. It became our babysitter/motel on wheels... we'd get put to bed at the appropriate time in the camper and would stay there until Mom and Dad were ready to go home.
They found ways to make life fun.
We used to pile in the back of the truck and go to Savon Drug store for ice cream. A nickel a scoop and we were allowed to get two whole scoops! One mint-chocolate chip and one chocolate chip for me, please.
We went to the beach (of course, they tied all us kids together on a rope so no one would go missing) and deep sea fishing.
We went on camping trips.
They found ways to stretch their money.
Dad worked year after year at Christmas to rebuild trikes and bikes (over and over and over again) so that they were brand spankin' new for the next kid on Christmas morn. (Notice the fire engine in the fishing picture above... it got worked over a time or two.)
He had his own shears and barber's apron and set up shop in the garage buzzing (and sometimes Mohawk-ing) all the boys hair. I recall us girls occasionally cut each others hair, right Suzanne? (Remember after you cut mine, I didn't want to go to school because I had chunks of hair missing??)
We dined in... rather than going out.
With the exception of our school uniforms, Mom made about all our clothes. See...
Can you find me in these pics??
They found ways to be alone together.
I remember going to bed while the sun was still up and Mom and Dad would have a "date" in the back yard.
I am so grateful for a childhood that is filled with innocence. My parents did an exceptional job of keeping us kids from the latest headlines during a time of war and unrest. I didn't have a care in the world. I was safe. I was happy.