Saturday, January 3, 2009

4,000 Questions - #1: Growing Up

While shopping on Amazon one day, I happened upon a book called "4,000 Questions for Getting to Know Anyone and Everyone."

I bought it because I wanted to use it at family get-togethers and other parties. I don't know if our parties are like yours, but so often, we only skim the surface with one another: how's work, what are the kids up to, can you believe the price of gas, and so on. We leave so much about each other unknown and unasked, mostly because we just don't think of clever questions to ask.

So, after buying the book, I put the questions on little slips of paper, and I pull them out at holidays. At first, everyone groaned about having to answer random questions, but they've come to realize just how fun it is to find out such interesting new things about each other and they actually look forward to it.

I also thought the questions might work well on a blog, so here's what I'm going to do...I'll state the next question in the book, provide my own answer to it, and then hope that any visitors ALSO answer the question in the Comments section. What do you say?

Question #1: Where did you grow up?

My Answer:

When I was first born, my parents and my 4 older siblings lived on a houseboat called the Wayward Wind in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. I have no memories of that, but have seen photos and it looks like it was pretty cool.

My father then felt the need for even more adventure, so he bought an old 1948 flatbed truck, named it John Henry (after that steel drivin' man), and proceeded to build us a home on wheels. I guess you could say it was an early custom RV! We had a wood stove for heat, kerosene lamps for light, no TV, but we did listen to radio shows...I well remember Fibber McGee & Molly!

On the side of the truck, he painted a map of the US, with the title: "48 States in a 48 Truck." Then, as we traveled, he painted a red dotted line to show our route on the map. We traveled all over the US during the summers; when it was time to start school, we just stopped in whatever town/state we were in and registered for school. By the end of our travels, there were 9 kids, 2 cats, 2 dogs, a bird, and other pets that came and went. I've attended schools all over the US, have been to 49 out of 50 states (still need to get to Alaska!), and have never lost the wanderlust!

Your answer...


Anonymous said...

-As a baby I lived with my parents in my grandparent's house

-I then lived in a cute, tiny house deep in the woods of a hill town, next door to a dog named Chester. I had a tree house and I used to play "school" in the basement with dolls and folding chairs. I had a pink sponge painted wall in my bedroom.

-After that, I spent some time in the house in the woods with my dad, and most of the time living with my mom with my aunt and uncle and cousins in a big yellow house that I thought looked like a castle.

-Then with my dad, I moved to a white apartment building with tons of flowers and rabbits in the yard, and with my mom I moved to a duplex in the same town, with a garden in the front, a porch that was perfect for watching thunderstorms on, and neighbors I was good friends with.

-Then, with my mom I moved a few blocks down the street to a cute great cottage-style house that is completely adorable and cozy.

-With my dad, I moved to a duplex that he painted tons of different colors inside, and I had a pink room there, too, just like the house in the woods.

-Finally with my dad, I moved in with my stepfamily, in a pink house in the woods an hour away from the cute green cottage I live in with my mom. I split my time between both lovely homes.


Alaska Steve said...

That is an amazing story of childhood, what a great start on life! I guess I grew up the complete opposite, in some ways, in the same house that my great grandfather built in a small town in Maine, the house my Dad lives in still. I never rode a school bus as all the schools were within walking distance. Every summer my Dad would load up the tent trailer and we would tour around the US for his 6 weeks vacation with the rest of summer spent at our camp, also in Maine, close enough for my Dad to make the commute in to work each morning. I've also been to 49 states having oddly enough never made it to Louisiana!

I love the 4000 Questions idea!

Cheers, steve

Lori Lynn said...

Great idea. Our family loves all sorts of games. I have a box on the table right now called Table Topics, you pick a card out of the box with questions on all sorts of topics.

I grew up in Chicago, live in Los Angeles now. Yours is a terrific story, now when are you going to Alaska? I drove a motor home up there. It is a beautiful place!

loveanewidea said...

What a variety of homes for one so young! You have a terrific writing style.

Alaska Steve
Maine...just around the corner from us! I wonder how Louisiana got missed in your travels? Do you have plans to visit so you can say you've been to all 50? Then, of course, I'll be very jealous.

Lori Lynn
Yay - someone else doesn't think the idea of questions at parties is cornball! It sounds like you've done your share of traveling too - love the idea of RVing in Alaska - it's on my list of things to do.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

how fun, I'm game...

regarding the question:

my immediate answer has to be - still waiting to find out.

I'm serious. but seriously, I was a navy brat so until I hit jr. high we moved every couple-few years. when I got to 7th grade, my family moved to metro dc and I lived there through high school. I went to college and more in texas (chosen because I never had been to texas before and it offered me the best 'deal') I lived in fort worth for 8 years (which was the longest I ever lived anywhere). when it was time to move I said to my husband - lets move someplace with winter (I hated the heat in texas and bitched 7 months a year about how hot it was) we moved to connecticut where we lived for 16 years (which then became the longest I ever lived anywhere)....and now I live in the cleveland area (I identify with cleveland)....if the trend continues this will be the next place live longest .....


Loveanewidea said...

You've been so many places and done so many wonder your blog writing/concept is so rich.

Kelly said...

Just caughtup with the 4000 questions idea - good one! Will be checking back for your q's and a's.

Loveanewidea said...

Isn't it a fun idea? It helps me write things I wouldn't normally think about including in a post. I hope I see your answers on here!

Anonymous said...

I was born in the small town in Northern Luzon called Diffun in the province of Quirino, Philippines (population 39,000 as of the year 2000). My mom was a teacher in the local high school and my dad was an engineer for the National Irrigation Agency.

My childhood was care-free and happy for the most part until a life-altering incident.
Sometime in the 80s, my parents made the decision to immigrate to Canada. The sponsorship offer was my uncle’s idea and it was also extended to his other brothers and sisters and their families. My parents were hesitant at first, but an incident – well actually two – changed their opinion. The first incident took place a couple of months before our actual flight. One night, my house was ransacked by hooligans:

My house in the Philippines was pretty small. We were neither poor nor rich so there were only 2 bedrooms in our house for a family of 6. On this particular night, my entire family all slept in the same room. Yes, the kids were on the floor! But this was common. It was not usual for us to do this -- probably why were such a close-knit family now.

When we woke up the next morning, all the electronics and gadgets in our house were gone (not that there were a lot). An old tv, a stereo…
There was a telltale sign though that they had been in my parent’s room. They took the electric fan that was in the room where we were sleeping. Can you imagine what would have happened if anyone of us woke up that night? Still gives my mom the chills. This incident pretty much sealed the deal for our immigration to Canada as my parents were never comfortable living in town after that. To add salt to injury, my parents later found out that there were 2 other robberies that night – My sister and I’s elementary school and another local high school. Our house was the only house that was hit. AND my parents later found out that the robbers were students from her high school. As the mayor was a friend of my parents, they allowed her to confront these kids – I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that confrontation.

Without so much as a good bye to friends, my family left town shortly after to live in Manila. The only ones who knew were our close relatives. On February 5, 1990, my family boarded a plane headed for Toronto.

I’ve been living in Toronto ever since…

What about the 2nd incident? It involved a failed coup d’etat that delayed our flight by a couple of months since we were supposed to fly out in 1989. The Philippine Military was tired of the corruption in the country and tried to overthrow the government...but that's another story.

Because of the antics of a couple of high schoolers, my life took a drastic turn…was it for the better?

Loveanewidea said...

Wow, what an interesting story. Thank you so much for sharing!

Sean said...

OK, Liz, I'm going to give this a try, since we generally don't do memes over at Our Odyssey, but you have, instead, invited the answers in your comments (how thoughtful!).

I grew up, mundanely, in the same house in Emerson, NJ from my birth until I left the nest after college.

I did travel a bit, though, and, interestingly, I spent most of my childhood summers in the Berkshires, at a summer camp the Jesuits ran at their boarding school, Cranwell. (The school closed down decades ago, and is now a resort -- one of these days, I'd like to visit.) I've hiked through most of the range, and lost track of the number of times I've summited Greylock, which seemed huge to me at the time.

I, too, have been to 49 states, having missed only Maine. (May never get there, either, if the state passes the overnight RV ban that is in legislature right now.) Oddly, the six New England states are the only ones in the lower 48 that we have not yet visited in Odyssey. We'll try to look you up when we finally hit MA, though.

LoveANewIdea said...

I'm so excited to hear from one of the "Our Odyssey" authors (one of my FAVORITE blogs)!

We drive past Cranwell often, and I've been there many times for corporate annual meetings, strategic planning retreats, and even charming weddings. It is as beautiful as ever, but now has the addition of a golf course and high-end resort-style housing.

I hope you get to Maine, and I also hope you will let me know when you head this way - would love to meet you and see the Odyssey!

Sean said...

Liz, the golf course has always been there, and, in fact, is where I learned to golf. The Jesuits made a few bucks from it when they had the property, and I think it was actually one of the selling points for the resort company when they bought it.

Based on satellite imagery, I'd say the course is pretty much the same as the one I played in the 70s -- I'm sure I have the front nine memorized.

What I don't see anymore in the satellite photos is the concrete chapel, which was really an architectural gem. I know the resort had originally turned it into an opera house, and it was a fairly popular opera venue for many years. It looks to me like some of that "resort-style housing" occupies the site now.


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