Memories of some of her birthday celebrations through the years have been floating through my thoughts like the fluff off dandelions, wispy and full of summertime.
She spent her life mentally handicapped and unable to enjoy so many of the things I take for granted. Things I now wish I could have helped her enjoy.
This morning, I’ve been thinking about some of her favorite things.
She’d love the graphic above. As a teen in the 1960s, the bright colors appealed to her in a way they never spoke to me – born fourteen years after her arrival. She also adored Snoopy and could draw an almost exact replica of him free hand.
She loved crafty projects, but embroidery was one of her favorites.
She also loved dogs – absolutely loved dogs. My parents enrolled her in a dog obedience training class when she was in her mid-teens and she not only remembered but also used the information she learned with dogs she owned over the years.
She always had a dog and I remember some of the names of the dogs, too, like Sparky, Scamp, and Scruffy. I think she had a thing for “S” names. (Who am I to talk… at the ripe ol’ age of five I named my first dog was Rover.)
She loved hot dogs smothered in mustard, pancakes, and would only eat scrambled eggs on Christmas morning.
Nothing came between her and Saturday morning cartoons. She could sit for hours, laughing and watching the various shows.
Music from the 1960s and early 1970s drew her interest. I remember her listening to records of The Monkees, The Beatles, Jan and Dean… but her hands-down favorite was Elvis Presley. She had Elvis posters on her walls, Elvis memorabilia, all his records and she could sing the lyrics to all his songs.
I used to cringe any time I heard an Elvis song on the radio, recalling all the torturous years of listening to her play his records over and over and over again.
Now, I turn up the volume a little and let the bittersweet memories carry me along… Happy Birthday, Shelley. This song is just for you –