Every day, my family occupies a small Ranch-style house in one of Little Rock’s older neighborhoods—Broadmoor, in Midtown, near UALR. My husband likes to say we could pay our mortgage by collecting aluminum cans (almost true).
We love living in the middle of town, in a well-built, affordable home, which we never thought of as a starter-home. It has. however, been our home since the day we married, 15 years ago. And it should be paid for before the boys get out of high school.
A lot of (most) people in my peer group would not be content to live in a house that size (1,300 square feet), in that part of town (ethnically and socio-economically diverse) and in the Little Rock School District. Those are the things we love about Broadmoor! We choose to live in Broadmoor because it’s reasonable…frugal…practical…interesting…diverse…full of character…in the middle of everything…and we have access to some of the best educational resources in the state!
This may be way off base, but if people lived within their means, would our society and economy be going through so much turmoil with banks, mortgages, etc.? For me and my family, it has been a good lifestyle choice.
I have an irrational, emotional attachment to the Arkansas State Fair and the State Fairgrounds. Coming over the train viaduct on Roosevelt and catching that first glimpse of the midway lights *still* gives me goosebumps. I regret there are haters who use space and accessibility arguments as reasons to move the event to an area with a different ethnic, socio-economic makeup, cuz that’s what I think it’s really all about.
My dad always took my friends and me to the fair when I was little. And on the way home, we’d stop at Harlow’s on Asher Avenue for do-nuts. There’s a pawn shop there now.
Today, I love going to the fair with my boys. We take it all in…food, rides, livestock, Hall of Industry, people who make alternative wardrobe and body decor choices, loud music on the midway, second-hand smoke, fabulous canned good and photography contests…and did I mention food?
It’s like the Main Street Food Truck Festival without the lines. Chances are good that I will get that long-awaited-for funnel cake at the State Fair, and I won’t share it.
September 30 would have been my brother Philip’s 57th birthday. He married and moved out of the house when I was only four years old and died just before I turned eight, so I really don’t have many memories of him.
Photos and other’s memories tell me he was 6 foot 4 inches tall, had long curly hair and a beard, was brilliant in math and science, liked to have a good time, was kind, had a wonderful sense of humor and loved his family.
When he died, he was a pre-pharmacy student on the dean’s list at the University of Arkansas. He and his wife Kathy lived in married student housing in Carlson Terrace which has since been torn down.
As a mother, I cannot imagine how devastating it is to lose a child. My mother must grieve Philip every day.
I’d like to think that we would have been good friends, despite our age difference. In his honor and memory, I named my first son James Philip (my dad’s middle name as well). It turns out my son has a lot of Philip’s qualities. It warms my heart.
For the last four days, I have enjoyed a trip to Chicago with my niece Mylinda. We ate, shopped, visited, looked around, completed a half marathon, ate some more and rested. It was a much-needed break for me from work and family. And it was wonderful to spend time with my niece, who moved to Reno a few years ago.
She’s what I call a “real runner.” I am a walker, who breaks into a run on occasion. My goal is to finish, not to set any personal records. My husband always tells me, “You get your money’s worth out of the course.” He’s right. And guess what? My medal is the same one the people received who came in an hour before me.
I like being in the back of the pack. For one thing, I am not built for speed. Even at my thinnest, my body type is a little too statuesque for racing. Also, we stragglers are true die hards, Little Engines That Could, Energizer Bunnies. And I love getting to know my fellow back of the packers. They all have great stories about why they’re there. We encourage each other. We don’t “look like” people who complete half marathons. I love the look of surprise on people’s face when I tell them I’ve done a full marathon (but never again). Here’s the deal, you don’t have to play to win in long-distance running/walking races. Just start and finish. There’s no feeling like it.
On Sunday, in the last two miles (when they’d moved us off the course), I caught up with a woman I’d seen ahead of me around mile 6. She was a fellow mom (two small children and a husband awaiting her at the finish line) from Chicago and this was her first time to do any kind of race. She was struggling. I know how that feels. As we arrived at the last quarter mile, in sight of the finish line, we had a Thelma and Louise moment. Although we didn’t hold hands and drive off a cliff, we buckled down and ran to the finish line, together. I cried as my niece placed the medal around my neck and I saw my new friend’s family greet her with hugs and kisses. We finished.
Today, I wore my official race shirt to the airport. It’s a great conversation starter and it was cool to see several others in the airport wearing theirs. Two women sitting behind me at the gate noticed my shirt and said they’d done the half as well. And they were from Arkansas! Woo pig sooie!!! For 45 minutes we talked about that race, the Little Rock Marathon and other running events around the state. Real women who run, it’s a sisterhood.
Years ago, I attended a Women Run Arkansas clinic in Little Rock and it changed my life. Although I’ve never experienced a runner’s high (chocolate works for me, thank you very much), I love walking and being outside. It’s my time to think, which I covet.
The only negative experience I had this weekend was my niece telling me that I snore. Sad face.
Since they were one and three years old, my boys have attended Little Rock public schools. First at the Rockefeller Early Childhood Magnet, then Rockefeller and Carver Magnet Elementary Schools and now Dunbar Magnet Middle School.
My husband and I are impressed and pleased with our sons’ education. They’ve had amazing teachers, access to fantastic technology and learned real life lessons. Most of this time, they’ve been an ethnic and sociology-economic minority and it has been good for them, we think.
It’s funny sad that I know a young woman who has made a series of very destructive life choices for her and her four-year-old daughter (drugs, abuse, etc.) yet she doesn’t want her white little girl to attend the pre-K program at Wilson Elementary because it’s all black kids. In my world, that deserves a big ol’ Seth and Amy REALLY?!?!?!?!?!
What amazes me is the unrealistically high standards some parents have. Everything must be perfect. All the time. Really? Was your school like that? Mine wasn’t. Was anyone’s?
I always called them pom-poms growing up. But then again, I also thought it was called a cumberbun.
In the 1970s and ’80s, cheerleaders and drill teams had HUGE pom-pons and I thought they were fabulous. Have you seen the stubby things they use now?
Bring back the monster poms.