What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Writing Prompt: Lots of Questions

When I asked for some writing prompts, Janie had a lot of questions and ideas!  I relied back to her that I felt like this would be n US Weekly Magazine - "26 Things You Don't Know About (insert celebrity name)."  I'm certainly no celebrity, but here goes some of her questions and my answers.

Hobbies as a child:  Hmmm.  I don't think I had any hobbies as a child.  I did have a collection of miniature animals but that was the only thing I remember collecting.  I used to ride my bike a lot.  We lived out by the lake - up on top of the hill that lead down into the lake park itself.  It was a long hill down, down, down and then there were curves and more hills.  I would ride all the way to the Marina and then ride back home.  Going back was HARD.  I had to walk my bike up all the hills.   I would be gone for hours and no one worried about me.  Sometimes my Mom would even pack me a sandwich and I would just be gone all day on my bike down by the lake.  Isn't that just a weird concept now?   I loved to write and to draw.  And, by write - I mean just my name in different scripts and coloring and drawing things.  My favorite thing to received was a new fresh pad of paper, crayons, paints and markers.  I still have a serious thing for Sharpies.  I had a Lite Brite and a shoe box full of Lego's that I played with at the dining room table.  I don't remember having a ton of toys, but the ones I did have - I loved and I played with every day and for years.  

My cousin sent me this photo not long ago - I had never seen it.  This is me with my little cousin. We are in my room playing in my kitchen.   I adored that stove and refrigerator.  I had play food, dishes and pots and pans.  But I was always pilfering things from the kitchen that were small and would fit in - boxes of raisins, cans of tomato paste.  From this photo I still own - the stove and refrigerator, the pots and pans, the wooden chair and the pink teddy bear in the mirror.  I guess because I didn't have that many toys is why I still have them - they just became part of my possession and I never let them go.  (I could have had lots of toys - I just never asked for more than I had and I loved what I owned). 

Were you a Girl Scout?  I was a Girl Scout for two years.  We had a leader then she waffled on us, so my Mom became the leader.  I went to a very, very poor school where most everyone ate free lunch and the nurse took a lot of the kids shopping for shoes and a winter coat each year.  I was bussed in from the lake - I was a rich kid according to some of the kids.  We weren't rich - we just weren't poor. 

Anyway, because of lack of funding, my Mom had zero budget to work with to help us go on field trips and to earn badges.  She managed to get us a tour of the Dairyette that was within walking distance.  We walked to the back of the playground at school and watched the airplanes take off at the airport.  We made Easter baskets and took them to the nursing home beside the school.  All on zero budget.  As for a badge - she found a tablesetting badge that she thought we could earn.  My Mom brought all our nice dishes, silverware, tablecloths and napkins in to the cafeteria and we all learned how to set a proper place setting.  Looking back, most of those kids probably didn't even have a dining room table, let alone all those nice things we used.  I hope they all do now and the remember how to set a proper place setting.  (Do you Susan?)  That's my 4th grade class photo -- they didn't tell us it was going to be picture day and we were all upset because we had on our uniforms.  It's a good thing we did because that is the only picture I have of me in it.  

Major in college…favorite class…did you graduate: I majored in Journalism, I loved all the creative writing classes and the graphic design classes.  I HATED Botany and anything that had to do with science.  Except meteorology - I liked that class a lot.  I didn't graduate.  I went two years and I lost my funding because my parents divorced and the figures said my Dad could afford to pay for college.  He couldn't.  I wish I had gone back.  I wish I had a degree now at THIS age.  Blargh.

First "real" job:  Since I lost my funding for school, I had to get a job.  I started working at the local grocery store chain where my Dad had worked my whole life.  I was not happy about it, but I threw myself into it and I worked HARD.  I worked in the General Merchandise Department stocking light bulbs, automotive, pet toys, etc. - all the non foods that grocery stores used to carry.  I mean, they still do - but not ALL THE THINGS like a Wal-Mart Super Center.  I worked at one store for a few years, an then they built a new store very close to my apartment, so I trasferred to that store.  I worked the HBC ( toothpaste, shampoo, makeup, pills, etc) for about a year and then I was named GM Department Manager.  This was just in the early 1990's, but computers were just so new that no one knew how to use them.  I had a chance to learn the computer system for the scanners, which was a new high tech thing too.  I would fill in for the scanning coordinator when she was on vacation, plus do my regular job.  The Main Office was just starting to implement computers into the offices and they got wind that I knew how to use a computer, so they called me up and offered me an OFFICE JOB.  I was a "Problem Solver" for about 100 stores - they would call my office with their problems involving paperwork, ordering, whatever and I would attempt to fix it or find them an answer.  I was also in charge of designing and planning all the planograms for the checkouts. That means it was ME that put those bags of balloons, safety pin packages and other impulse buys at the register.  I actually really liked my job and I loved all the people that called me all day long.  They had issues, but they knew I would fix them.  Or at least kill myself with kindness trying to fix them.  When word got out I was having The Bean, I got baby gifts from almost every store.  Hand made quilts, spit up rags, so much baby stuff.  It was just so nice.  The girl that was in the same office as me was a complete and total bitch.  I am not kidding.  We butted heads.  She took credit for my work, she was twenty minutes late EVERY day, she was late from lunch every day and so much more.  But she also kissed the bosses ass, wore tight skirts and plunging necklines and got herself a big fat promotion.  Having The Bean was my way out of there and away from her.  Hallelujah!  

Unmet goals:  God lord.  Let's save this one for a post all it's own.  SO MANY.

Biggest disappointment: And this one too.  Lord a mercy.  SO MANY.

Favorite teacher and why: My 5th grade teacher Ms. Pollard.  She was young and sweet and kind.  She liked my Mom and my Dad.  She treated us all with respect.  Many years later when I was working at the grocery store, I saw her walking down the aisle.  I asked, "Are you or where you ever Ms. Pollard?"  She got so excited and had this huge smile on her face.  I said, "My name is Shar...and she said...Shara Richardson!"  She remembered me!  After I left the store to work at the office, she sent me a card congratulating me on my promotion.  

Time when you were the most embarrassed: Hmmmm.  This one is interesting. I can't think of one time when I was the MOST embarrassed.  Mostly because I am usually embarrassed about something all the time.  Like I come off like an idiot or act stupid.  I dread meeting new people.  I hear myself on the answering machine and I am afraid that I sound like a big old HICK and no one wants to be friends with a HICK.  Or I hear myself laugh and think, "Did that come out of ME?"  

Favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon when you were a child: Ride my bike or go on car rides with my Mom and Dad

Top 5 things you would rescue out of your house (excluding family and pets): My childhood Crissy Doll, my Great-Grandmother's wedding ring, the pottery rhino The Bean made in 3rd grade, my box of photos and my box of family Christmas tree ornaments.  I've actually thought about this a lot.  My things are important to me.  

Talents: I can touch my tongue to the tip of my nose, make a realistic cricket sound and spot a piece of brightly colored poster board on a street corner from three blocks away - YARD SALE!

Extracurricular activities in high school: Newspaper.  I was the Editor my Senior year and on staff my sophomore and junior years.  I lived and breathed that newspaper.  We typed up the print and did the payout by hand with t-squares and xacto knives.  I helped take the photos and we had our own darkroom where I processed them.  The printing press was in the next building, so I went over there during printing to oversee that.  We sold the newspapers room to room were I "coincidentally: always sold to the room where THAT BOY was.  Some day I will blog about that boy.  The one that got away.  

What your neighborhood is like: My neighborhood is full of twenty year old homes.  Most of them are rented out but we own ours.  We used to be friendly with all of our neighbors, but I don't even know any of them except the elderly lady across the street.  She brought us a pie when we moved in.  She said that no one stays long here.  We told her we weren't leaving - that was twenty years ago this year.  We have a nice city park at the end of the block.  We only go there if it is cold and snowy or flooded.  It's nice, but mostly for kids to play.  

Favorite holiday and why: All the holidays!

First date: Ugh.  Knew the boy FOREVER through school.  He asked me out at least once a week for years.  He asked me out one day after I moved into my apartmetn and for some reason, I said "Yes". He just stared at me.  'What?" He picked me up, took me to a fancy dinner, a movie, to shoot pool (Uh, I don't' shoot pool) and then we drove around. I finally suggested that we go back to my apartment - just for that fact.  To go HOME.  End of date.  But, he thought I was "inviting him up" if you get my drift.  Akwardness ensued and that was the end of a pretty good friendship.  And, yes that was my first date.  I never went on a date in High School or had a boyfriend.  I had a Capital "L" on my forehead.  Actually, the truth is - all my best friends were boys and they were very protective of me.  Any boy that acted interested in me got the once over by my friends and then the boy got the idea that I was with the other guy and it was just a big old mess.  Hence, THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY.

Good lord, I can't believe I wrote all this or that any of you actually have hung on this long and read it all.  Writing all this was sort of cathartic.  Erase it from your memory.  Especially now that you know that I am a HICK that never had a boyfriend.  But, I can make that wicked Cricket noise!!!!


  1. I always enjoy your posts about your life. You have a way of sharing with humor and honesty that is refreshing and fun to read. Someday you should write a book!

  2. I'm glad I snuck in one more blog before work. Brilliantly written. Love the flashback pictures too.

  3. Always fun to learn more about a favorite blog friend!

  4. ugggh I am with you not wanting to hear the sound of my own voice. I did NOT know you can make wicked cricket sounds. You MUST send me a voicemail as a cricket. LOL

  5. I went on maybe--MAYBE--5 dates while I was in high school. If that many. I didn't have a boyfriend until my first year of college. So you are not alone!

    PS I adore you. :D Just want you to know!!

  6. We are lost souls ;-)
    At least YOU didn't get stood up for YOUR Sr. Ball!!
    Love Ya!!
    (and J was really touched that you did 'on-line' stalking for the 'O' )

  7. I LOVE that you would save your Crissy doll :) Now I'm going to have to think about what I'd save. Sure there'd be a thermos or two in there somewhere. I swear my 4th grade photo looks exactly the same as yours, down to the little black board they stuck those letters on.

  8. Fun to read your life snippets. Your talents are quite impressive. I can only do that last one.

  9. Such a fun post. I remember riding my bike by myself when I was about 12-ish down a country backroad highway to a friend's house. I used to go off on walks for hours by myself all over town. Such a different time, huh? Don't worry about sounding hick. You're not the only one. I got reminded the other day that I still sound like a Western Ky boy. That's a nice way to say "hick." Embrace it! It's hip to be hick! Woo hoo! You sure put your merchandising experience to use in your booths. No wonder they look so nice!

  10. Growing up in Memphis,I still get weirded out by how southern my voice sounds.The only thing worse is when someone tries to imitate it(grates my nerves).
    I used to ride my bike all over the place too.We live in different times-I sure wouldn't let my kids ride all over creation like I did.


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