Thursday, June 23, 2011

“Oh, You Can Make That!”

When I was a girl, I grew up in a fairly large family of small means. My father was an electrician and my mother was a stay-at-home mom who baked, did laundry, cleaned, sewed, and took care of other people’s kids for pocket money.

I never had a lot of toys like kids today do and whenever I wanted something in a store, my mother would look it over and say, “Oh, you can make that!” It didn’t matter what it was—doll furniture, clay, or whatever—her stock answer was always: “Oh, you can make that!”

I came to realize it was her roundabout way of saying, “No,” and I sure got sick of hearing her say it, too.

So I became a creative kid. I made things. I painted. I drew pictures. I made things out of clay. I sewed my own doll clothes. I made cradles out of oatmeal boxes a la Captain Kangaroo in which to rock my baby doll. I wrote poems and stories. I even made mud pies with live grasshoppers baked inside in the hot Las Vegas sun that I fed my two younger brothers. Ah, yes, I was a creative kid and a creative cook, too.

Then I grew up and went into journalism, one of the lowest-paying professions and a dying one at that. So my mother’s words became my mantra each time I went shopping. I made clothes for myself and my babies. I made my own Christmas ornaments. I wrote stories. I made useful things out of clay. I baked things from scratch sans the mud and the grasshoppers. I didn’t hire out painting, papering, or refinishing of furniture; I did it all myself.

Last winter, I decided I wanted a painting for my dining area but couldn’t afford any of the ones I admired at a local art gallery. So, I did what any good daughter would do and painted one myself:

Not much has changed over the years. Not much at all, and I always know that when I want something bad enough, I either can make it or make it happen.