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“Auntie Kiss, it’s the first day of school!”

These words were fairy godson’s greeting to me this morning, when I arrived at his house to help walk with him on his very first day of school ever.

As in, it will never happen again, EVER.

It’s probably a good thing that Practical Man and I don’t have any children.

I don’t think the Kleenex industry could handle it.

Never mind that my heart has a tendency to plummet its beats per minute, without warning, and make me faint.   Yes, my biological heart is a drama queen.  But, my metaphorical heart is also kind of high maintenance.  I’m the person who cries during every Downton Abbey and Little House on the Prairie episode.  I can’t get through a whole verse when I’m singing the song that reminds me of Ugly Orange Sweater Guy’s mom.   I even get weepy at TV commercials (there was one when I lived in England, 30 years ago, that still makes me choke up.)

Suffice it to say, we go through a lot of Kleenex around here.  The extra-strength kind.

Yet, somehow, I manage to forget this fact from one minute to the next.  I run around in life, completely un-prepared, when it comes to mopping up my emotions.  The 3-ply Tempo tissues from Germany that I bring pillow-sized packages of back, every time I visit, are piled neatly in the hall linen cupboard. Practical Man buys the bulk boxes of Kleenex so we’re never, ever out.  I even have some lovely vintage handkerchiefs but, they are not tucked into the wrist of my sweater set, like they should be (in 1952).

5 vintage, embroidered handkerchiefs

Fat lot of good all this preparation and stockpiling does me when my eyelashes runneth over (as they do multiple times daily).

Case in point:  I turned up this morning and there was Fairy Godson, aged 4 years and 32 seconds, looking cute as a button for his first day of school.  Immediately, I realized that I Was In Trouble.

Double decker doo-doo kind of trouble.

If ever there was a day to carry on-board swaths of cloth for the mopping up of my eyelashes, today was it.

Little boy wearing a baseball cap

Sniffle, sniffle.

So, I distracted myself by helping his parents take the requisite First Day of School photos on the front steps and then, Fairy Godson and I headed to the back yard so he could open his “Schultuette”. This is basically a giant cone (the closer the cone is in size to the child, the better) that is a tradition for a child’s first time s/he goes to school, in Germany.  As my former German exchange partner said, “I’m surprised it hasn’t caught on in other countries.  It’s great for kids and also for commerce”.

A red German Schultuette with a ribbon tied around it. (Name has been smudged)

No kidding.

We can’t buy ready-made Schultuette here (but, this could be my million dollar business idea #823, ho ho!) so, Practical Man and I wielded the trusty packing tape gun and with some grunting and contortions, managed to fashion a piece of bristol board that I had cut, into some semblance of a giant cone, in which to put treats and school supplies.

A few M&Ms.  A couple of gumdrops.  Some jelly dinosaurs (a “Stegosaurus – that’s the one with the points on his back, Auntie Kiss”.)  Crayons.  Stamp markers.  Pencil case.  Frog and Ladybug magnets to hang artwork on the fridge.  Mini chocolate bars.

If my stolen idea from Germany catches on here, may I suggest one minor variation to the Canadian version of a Schultuette?   Ours should have treats and school supplies and TISSUES for the Auntie Kisses in the crowd.

Small boy opening his Schultuette cone

This is how you know your Schultuette has been a success: the child loses his arm down in it.

Sniffle, sniffle.

After all the treasures were discovered and Kite Papa gave Fairy Godson permission to taste one M&M and a jelly Stegosaurus from one of the treat bags in the Schultuette, we headed off for school.

I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Fairy Godson wasn’t sure what to expect either, since he was only born three weeks ago, by my count, but he was running at the beginning of the journey, so I’m pretty sure he knew that whatever was coming his way, it would be lots of fun.

Little boy skipping ahead of his mom

In the schoolyard, it appeared to be controlled chaos.  Kids and parents everywhere.  Giant backpacks on impossibly small-ish people and water bottles and teachers wearing name tags.  It was loud and busy and I felt as if I’d stepped inside the pages of a Richard Scarry “Busy Day” book (without the piglet firefighters).

I’m 47 and a half years old, not to mention 5’9″ and not waif-like.  I am pretty much built for handling a crowd.

Fairy Godson, on the other hand, is only 2 months old.

Oh, wait.

Anyway, he is small and sweet and was wearing a ginormous backpack that contained all the things he needed for his very first (never happening again, EVER!) day of school:

Lunch.

His water bottle.

A sweatshirt, in case it gets cool.

His “inside” shoes.  (Apparently, this has not changed since I went to kindergarten some 43 years ago.  Perilous the child without indoor shoes!)

And a partridge in a pear tree.

Why not?  Christmas is already happening in Costco, after all.  It’s only a matter of time before it ends up in kindergarten backpacks on the first day of school.

Small boy wearing a very large backpack

Fairy Godson’s Kite Mama pointed out some of his neighbourhood friends and friends from his daycare, too.  He was quieter now, looking around and holding his parents’ hands and taking things in.  It was very, very busy and hot and loud and all kind of new and strange, if you ask me.

Meanwhile, I was inwardly fuming.  I  couldn’t believe they didn’t let the parents (and Auntie Kisses) stay for the first week or few months.  Y’know, just to get everyone used to things, like how my heart is probably breaking and fainting because for goodness sakes, Fairy Godson is just a baby!

Look how small his shoes are and his little hat.

Sniffle, sniffle.

I was without tissues and I had turned into a helicopter Auntie Kiss.

The time came for Madame to lead Fairy Godson and his classmates into the school.  I took a deep breath and followed along at a distance.  And then, it happened.  This was the moment where Fairy Godson had second thoughts.  He clung to his parents and turned his face away from the red, brick school that he had talked about, with such excitement, all summer long.  He cried all the way into the school with Madame.  I cried right along with him.

We’re kindred spirits, y’know.  That’s how fairy godmother-ing works.

parents leading their son into school

Believe it or not, there was NO volunteer handing out tissues (or therapy) to the parents and Auntie Kisses at the door.

Heartless, heartless, education system.

I can say that, because I’m part of it.  I work at a university.  In fact, it’s my turn for the first day back, tomorrow.

Sniffle, sniffle.

Of course, I won’t have any tissues.

Copyright Christine Fader, 2016.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet

 

 

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There was a message on our voicemail the other day.

“Good morning,” said a little voice.

Then, “How are you?”

It was a very polite little voice.

It’s strawberry season in south-eastern Ontario and my fairy godson, age 2 and 3/4, was calling to invite me out for the picking.

Or, as he knows it:  the eating.

strawberries, up close

I like strawberry picking, except for the bending and standing up (which makes me feel faint-ish) and the turning-my-head and picking (which makes me feel spinny-ish) and of course, there is The Nature to contend with.

But, how could I resist an invitation from someone who calls me “Auntie Kiss”?

Oh sure, my name is “Chris” and you might think this is his 2 and 3/4 year-old way of pronouncing my name, but even when he’s 14 and possibly slightly stinky and drama-tudinal, I like to think this will be my fairy godmother name forever.

Auntie Kiss.

(As in:  one who gives kisses and loves to receive them.)

Tra-la-la.

Is there a better name for a fairy godmother than that?   I think not.

So, after the lovely invitation, I met Fairy Godson, his Kitemama and baby Fairy Godsister at the patch.

It was soggy and muddy from all the recent rain, so we wore our rubber boots (one of us had new and very exciting firefighter rubber boots!) and squelched around in the mud in the parking lot.

Squelch, squelch, squelch.

You know how The Nature can get sometimes.   Verrrrry squelchy.

Then, we waited for the tractor to come and pick us up to take us out to the part of the patch we were picking.

tractor pulling a wagon full of people

It was a “big, DEEN TAK-TOR with a bucket!” and someone wearing new firefighter rubber boots was pretty excited.  We hopped on the wagon with our empty baskets and the giant, DEEN TAK-TOR tires squelched around the muddy trail to our patch of the strawberry fields.

Squelch, squelch, squelch.

Little boy, facing away from camera, squatting in strawberry plants

Then, we squatted in the field and searched for bright, red pockets of sunshine to put in our baskets.

Fairy Godson had two baskets because he knew to look for the “really red ones”.  He also knew how to deftly remove the stems, fling them into the plants, and pop the “really red ones” in his mouth.

Fairy godson tasting a berry

Squelch, squelch, squelch.

As you do.

Kitemama and I got going with the bending and standing up (which makes me feel faint-ish) and the turning-our-heads and picking (which makes me feel spinny-ish) and of course, The Nature had made everything sort of soggy but I was having a great time picking berries and squelching in the mud.

Fairy Godson guarded the berries for me, polite child that he is and soon, the DEEN TAK-TOR came to pick us up for the ride back.

Fairy godson with two buckets

Squelch, squelch, squelch went the TAK-TOR through the mud.

There was a little sprinkling of rain from The Nature but, we didn’t mind as we were already soggy and our new firefighter rubber boots were muddy anyway, and with a belly full of strawberries (at least one of us), we got off the tractor and lined up to pay.

baskets of strawberries at the till

 

And then, I had my annual, mild heart attack at the price of 8 scant litres of fresh, local strawberries.   But, I also remembered about the bucolic, vintage pleasures of the tractor ride and how good the “really red ones” taste and how many were in the belly of a small helper–and no doubt, countless other helpers across the field–and I opened my wallet and handed over the money.

Tra-la-la.

After a stint driving the play structure TAK-TOR at the entrance, we carried our treasures to the car.

Bye, Bye Kitemama and baby Fairy Godsister.

Bye, Bye Fairy Godson.

Bye, Bye, Auntie Kiss.

Squelch, squelch, squelch.

Not the mud, that time.

My heart.

Fairy godson, carrying baskets full of berries

 

Copyright Christine Fader, 2015.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet


When I was 5 or 6, I decided to run away.

I can’t recall what unspeakable childhood injustice led to the moment when I flounced into my room and started packing my suitcase, but I do remember the dilemma:

how to fit everything in?

The little blue suitcase that I kept my doll’s clothes in wasn’t nearly big enough to hold the non-negotiable running away necessities such as:

  • a flashlight to guard against bogey man,
  • books and books and books to read while “on the road”,
  • clean underpants (in case I was in an accident),
  • penny bank (a plaster, brown-and-white pig approximately the size of my entire torso),
  • and red-and-white checkered umbrella and raincoat ensemble (one can never be too stylish while running away),

let alone my TREASURES.

Red cowboy hat:

red cowboy hat and rubber boots on swing

There’s me in my red cowboy hat (and rubber boots, of course).

Thumbelina doll:

Thumbelina doll

Really quite small but somehow, trying to squish it in the suitcase, it seemed so very, very big.

Mickey mouse record player:

Mickey mouse record player

This played REAL records!

and my Elizabeth doll:

Elizabeth doll by Fisher Price

Elizabeth (and her companion, Audrey) were much-loved Christmas presents to my sister and me from Santa

 

I should have known right then and there, that I was never going to be a footloose and fancy-free kind of gal.

Too.  Much.  Stuff.

My new vintage suitcase evokes a 1974, running away kind of vibe too.

briefcase_fabric

As in, Practical Man wants to run away when he sees the loud pattern.

I think he might have some kind of rare retinal disorder.

I love him anyway.

This suitcase is approximately the same size as my old running away version.

vintage suitcase with wild flowers all over it

LOVE the vintage fabric!

The inside is pristine, as if someone 5 or 6 years old couldn’t quite fit all her treasures in there either.  As a result, it probably rested, only occasionally disturbed by a fleeting fancy of running away, until it was returned to under the bed.

I think it wants to be my new briefcase.  It is not only (obviously) fabulous looking but eminently useful with both interior and exterior pockets and a handy umbrella slot.  I can’t wait to take it out into the world and around the university, full of fun stationery supplies, snacks, a sunhat, music, assorted Sharpie markers, and life’s essentials:  books and books and more books.

top of suitcase with umbrella slot

Who wouldn’t want a briefcase like this?

Some things never change.


One more confirmation this week and with that post title:

Yes, indeedy,  I am one of those strange, childless people.

Stop snickering.

Case in point:  it’s October in southern Canada.   The leaves have tarnished to beautiful shades of russet, scarlet, sunflower and indigo and the darkness has started descending before 7:00 pm.  That’s right around the time my body starts poking me with messages of “why aren’t we in bed?  It’s dark!  Darkness means we should be in bed!”

Flower decal on our boler

Flower decal on our Boler travel trailer. Practical Man tolerates this flourish with only minor rolling of eyes

My body is rather bossy when it comes to sleep. October also means that the time for hot summer nights with the sunroof open and the music loud, having my summer romance with my car is over, over, over.

Our vintage Fiat 500 has to snore away the winter in a cozy building (luckily, it only takes a tiny, tiny corner). 1970 Fiat 500 No more waking up in the morning to open my eyes and admire the inside of our pudgy Boler travel trailer, resplendent in its vintage loveliness.

No air conditioning, tiny bed, avocado green appliances.  A world of retro goodness all wrapped up in an adorable fibreglass shell. boler Love it, love it. This summer has been busy, what with re-building after the fire last November and the giant mole that’s been digging holes all across our lawn.

At least, I think it’s a giant mole.

trench

A very large rodent has apparently been digging in our lawn

It looks a lot like Practical Man grinning, atop a borrowed Kubota tractor, as he digs a ditch for a new power cable to the shop building.

All too soon, it will be winter.  My vintage babies will be stowed away in their buildings, like hibernating bear cubs.

I picture them snoring which is perhaps unlikely, but so cute.

Boler in tent

Doesn’t our Boler look lonely?

There they snore and sleep and sigh the winter away, cozy and warm.  But, not as accessible to my every whim of affection.

The season of separation has barely begun but already I need to visit them, way across the yard, near the forest and all the nature.

And, possibly a man-eating cow.

I make the treacherous journey and then, I sit in them.  I talk to them.  I giggle a lot.

In the Boler, I dance and lounge on the couch and sometimes pretend I am Laurie Partridge from The Partridge Family.

Boler couch/bunkbed

This couch turns into a bunk bed suitable for people who are not 5’9 like I am

Shoop, shoop.  Sometimes, Zzzzzz, Zzzzz, if it’s nearly dark and my bossy body is insisting I should be in bed.

In the Fiat, I review double clutching (and sweat a bit about my first attempts at this next summer) and caress the steering wheel a little.

fiat dashboard

Look at that sophisticated dashboard!

Okay, there might be some kissing involved.

But just on the door.

And the roof.

Strictly first base stuff.

I l-o-o-o-ve my vintage babies.  I love real babies too.  But, weird and childless as I am, I have noticed that vintage babies don’t grow up, leaving me in their newly-sophisticated dust. Vintage babies stay cute and portly, forever.

Even when they look slightly nose-y when shot at an angle that does not elevate their best features.

Fiat - moustache view

The fiat’s “moustache” view, complete with dent. Re-built workshop will be the scene of much TLC and pampering of our little Fiat this winter.

Zzzzzzzzzzz.   Can’t wait for Spring.

Copyright Christine Fader, 2013.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet         You might also like my latest book.