Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Memories on Loveland Avenue

It was 1977 in Erie, Pennsylvania. I was eight years old, and I was looking forward to many things that Christmas.

Every morning my sister, brother, and I would bound down the green-shag carpeted stairs to untie a Tootsie Roll from each of our Countdown to Christmas charts. There was always the temptation to eat tomorrow’s piece of candy too, but we somehow resisted. My littlest brother had just been born that September so he wasn’t counting down with candy yet.

That Christmas there was SO much snow. Drifts as high as the top of our garage door! Piles and piles of plowed snow along Loveland Ave! Perfect conditions for snow forts, snowball fights, snow tunnels, and snow men. Dad had a snowmobile back then and he would take us out to the “dirt hill” as we named it (an undeveloped piece of land between our street and the trailer park), and he’s ride up and down the hills and even wipe out on purpose on occasion. The dirt hill had great sled riding too, and it was all about how FAR you could go on your sled—typically sledding head first, belly down was by the very best position. If the neighborhood boys had given out trophies, I think I would have made at least the top 3.

Regarding my Christmas wish list, I had taken great care to circle my favorite things in the Sears catalog, the JC Penneys catalog, and I had written down a few extras from commercials on our four TV channels—Barbie stuff, LiteBrites, and the game of Operation were all the rage!

To be honest, I knew that many of the items in the catalogs I probably wouldn’t get, but it was still fun to dream about what I wished I could have anyway. Dad worked two and sometimes three jobs, but it was still hard to keep up with all the expenses our growing family had. I knew I’d get a new homemade nightgown from Grandma and a new handknitted pair of slippers from Aunt Pearl, but, other than that, Christmas morning would be a complete surprise.

The countdown to Christmas continued and soon it was the night before Christmas. We rolled out the sour cream cutout cookies, decorated them with icing and sprinkles, and sampled a few reindeers with broken legs. Mom made her delicious homemade bread too. We headed to Asbury Church that night and sang in the Junior Choir in our red robes, surrounded by poinsettias and candles. It was beautiful! Then it was home to bed and lights out so Santa had time to visit our house on Loveland Ave. I always wanted him to land his team of deer on our front porch, but he never did. He must have always used the roof.

Christmas morning 1977 finally came. Under the tree, each child had a gift marked Open Me First. My sister and brother had BIG gifts with that label on them. Mine was very small and I was so disappointed. I tried to hide it, but mom knew what I was thinking. She said with a big smile, “Beth, sometimes big things come in small packages!” Well, I knew it wasn’t a Lite Brite….so I wondered what kind of Christmas this was going to be. Getting ready to pout, I ripped off the paper and saw a yellow Kodak box. My eyes lit up as I got my first camera for Christmas! What an incredible gift for me. Even at age eight, I cared about capturing memories. I wrote things in journals. I made my own pinhole camera from the National Geographic magazine. I cherished my picture album, and now I had my own, easy-to-use camera! What a great gift it was! Luckily for my baby brother, I was immediately a shutterbug. Without that camera, there would have been very few pictures of that cute, red-headed baby boy.

Mom was right. Sometimes big things do come in small packages. Oh…so many fond memories from Loveland Avenue. I’m glad I had that camera to capture them.

Copyright 2006 LifeBio, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

A LifeBio of the World's MOTHERS

LifeBio believes that each person has "real world" wisdom to share. That's why we're asking people to answer questions about what they've learned from everyday life. We plan to compile these answers to make it clear that EVERYONE has a life story to tell. Our first LifeBio of the World is about MOTHERS.

If you're a mother, LifeBio wants to hear from you. Answer this LifeBio question about being a mom...

"What is the best part of being a mom?"

Please pass this on to other moms that you know around the world. Won't it be amazing to hear their opinions too?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

LifeBio Web Site in the Top 100,000

The LifeBio.com web site breaks into the top 100,000 web sites in the world! This is according to popularity rankings from Alexa.com. According to Netcraft.com, there are currently about 78,000,000 web sites. This puts LifeBio.com in the top 0.13%.

Thank you for making us one of the top web sites in the world.

LifeBio.com makes it easy and affordable to record you life story, or another family members life story.

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Pam's Real World Wisdom

Every day I meet amazing people because of LifeBio. Pam Hamburg-Robbins recently won our Name That Cat Contest. As a result, I got a chance to speak with her by phone. What an amazing woman. She's had her share of tragedies in life, but keeps a "glass is half full" attitude and appreciates every day of life.

Here how she answers a few of LifeBio's life story questions....this is "real world" wisdom.

By Pam Hamburg-Robbins

  • What has life taught you?

    Life is still teaching me so many things! So far, I have learned to:

    - Believe only half of what you see and nothing of what you hear. Find out both sides.
    - Do not trust coworkers. They are your coworkers, not your friends.
    - Blood is not necessarily thicker than water. We all start with a biological family. This changes over the years. We leave our biological families as we grow up; sometimes we begin shedding them for various reasons and adopt new family by way of friends, marriage, etc.
    - Life truly is what happens while you’re busy making other plans. Nothing is forever and life can toss those curveballs relentlessly sometimes. Learn to roll with it.
    - While saving money is crucial to our futures, so is spending what one can afford without going into terrible debt. Don’t be a miser; you cannot take it with you.
    - Experience life to its fullest. One never knows when one’s life will end.

    As I said, I am still learning every single day. I pray a lot along the way. I feel that I have my Master’s in life, but I’m still working on the Ph.D.

    It’s been said, “The best things in life are free.” Is this true?

    I’d have to say that this is true for the most part. “Free” things to me are a sunny, warm day and being outside to enjoy it while doing or not doing anything at all, my son’s beautiful smile and when he gives me a back scratch, my pets’ unconditional love (as long as I feed them, heh-heh), my husband’s appreciation of a good meal (yep, the way to a man’s heart is partly through his tummy), satisfaction in knowing I performed a job well, the immediate gratification of washing a car or some other physical, mindless task, praying anywhere I want to….oh, I could go on with this one for a long time!

    What are some of the things you learned from your children?

    They have taught me so many wonderful, valuable things. Sometimes I think they’ve taught me much more than I’ve taught them. They taught me what unconditional love is. How even though I’m an adult I still have to feed the little child inside that still wants to play…play is healthy. Having kids is great because when I’m out with my son, I can do fun stuff and no one thinks anything of it because I have my kid with me! My late daughter taught me how short life can be, but no matter how short that life, it had extreme value. She taught me that love is all there is. Both my kids have taught me to never read the label! Under each “book’s” cover can be a worthwhile person. There are so many “books” and so little time! Let the house/yard work go and enjoy your family. This takes work, believe me. Try to ignore the “I should be….”

    I’ve wanted to write all my life; I’ve always enjoyed it, from the time I first learned to read (first grade, imagine that!). But it never seemed to be the right time, whatever that is. Not to mention the fact that I don’t have an ending yet! I feel that I ought to get started, though, so I can finish what there is. Guess I’ll maybe have to wait for the ending to occur or have someone else write it when it occurs.

    I only wish I could do this full-time. But I have to work to keep health insurance on my son and myself (we both have pre-existing conditions) and the money is only secondary thanks to my late husband. At least for the time being. Give me another two, three years and I will be out of my government job, yippeeeeee! And I will finally have the time to do exactly as I please. I’ve always said that work interferes with my real life!