Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Monday, June 3, 2013

Lessons Learned


Mark, right and Erik, with Grampa Tolley in the background

To complete his master's degree, my husband moved our (then) little family to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Also know as Winter-peg or Windy-peg.
Either one is apt.
And I found myself, for the first time, living in a large city.
There was the usual adjustment period.
Okay, I'm lying, there was no adjustment 'period'.
I never did adjust.
For eight months, my (then) two sons and I hardly left the apartment, unless accompanied by my husband.
Funny how grocery shopping can start looking like a 'date'.
I was homesick for my prairies and open spaces.
I did get a lot of reading and sewing and cleaning done. And my boys discovered the wonder of 'cable TV'. I soon learned just how much they watched . . .
Grant had taken us for a drive. He had an errand to run and his family was suffering from 'cabin-fever', a common enough ailment in Canada in the winter.
You can look it up . . .
He was making a quick dash into the mall.
Now those of you who know my husband know that a quick dash anywhere . . . isn't.
Quick, I mean.
The boys and I were sitting in the fire lane in front of the Zellers store long enough to celebrate birthdays.
Okay, I'm exaggerating, but you get the picture. It was quite a while.
Erik was buckled into his car seat directly behind me, happily blowing bubbles and Mark, his older brother by eighteen months was opposite him, with the clearest view of the storefront.
I was reading.
Again.
Mark was chanting something, just loud enough to be heard.
It took a couple of repetitions before I noticed.
I put down my book.
"Mark, what are you saying?"
He repeated it.
"What?" Sometimes, deciphering almost-three-year-old speech takes a Master's degree. And where was the one person in our family with such a degree???!
"Say it once more."
"Zed-E-Eleven-E-R-S."
What on earth was he talking about?
I looked where he was looking.
The front of the Zellers store.
Suddenly, it hit me.
He was reading the letters over the front doors.
Zed. E. Eleven. E. R. S.
Well, almost.
It made perfect sense! If you were two.
What a clever boy!
Genius.
And I had raised him.
Okay, for a very few seconds, I did a bit of back patting.
Very few.
Then reality set in.
The only reason he knew all of those letters was because of his copious amounts of time spent watching Sesame Street. On a good day, he could catch the program twice!
Funny that my son's showing me how advanced he was, showed me, at the same time, what a neglectful parent I had been.
I'd like to say that things changed.
And they did.
Afterwards, when Sesame Street came on, I was watching with him.
Before long, we were nearly on the same reading level.
A few more months in Winnipeg and I might have caught up to him!

15 comments:

  1. I got my best rice pudding recipe from Sesame Street.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh! I LOVE rice pudding! May I have it???!

      Delete
    2. cooked rice/egg/sugar/vanilla, bake for half an hour at 350.....I have no measurements but the stuff comes out solid and you slice it and pour maple syrup over it it. Maybe I should call it rice cake lol. It's so sweet. I haven't made it in years...hmmmmm.

      Delete
    3. Definitely going to give it a try! Thank you! I can already feel the weight gain!!! :)

      Delete
  2. Hilarious! And kind of amazing that your son could pick that much up watching TV alone - he was a smart little fellow! I think Sesame Street was one of the best, but our Canadian shows like The Friendly Giant and Mr. Dressup were also very kid-friendly and instructive. Our kids and I watched them, usually together, although if I had to get something done, that was a good chance to do it :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to wait patiently every morning for Friendly Giant! And I remember, too, how shocked I was when I first saw the program in colour and realized that Jerome had BLUE spots! Blue! Wow. Our TV never showed that!!!
      P.S. I LOVED Dressup!

      Delete
    2. Blue?! I don't remember that! Hahahaha!! I STILL think of TFG and Mr. D. in black and white, which is how I watched them when I was a kid. Maybe TFG wasn't on for my kids after all ... hmmm *mumbles to self* ... But Mr. Dressup was, I'm sure of that :)

      Delete
    3. Total shock! And you know what's amazing?! You can still catch episodes of either on Youtube! Sigh. :)

      Delete
  3. We sure didn't learn how to spell watching Friendly Giant. We just knew Rusty, the chicken and Jerome, the giraffe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahh, the Friendly Giant! "Here's one little chair for one of you. And another for two more to curl up in. And for someone who likes to rock . . . a rocking chair in the middle."

      Delete
  4. So cute Diane... I don't think I could handle Winnepeg weather... lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I've lived through COLD in Edmonton, but Winnipeg was C-C-C-COLD!!!

      Delete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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