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The early days

                                            Our past does not define our future.
                                    Feel free to email me -  sandy@sandyland.net



My first memory is that of a child. Not the perfect beauty the books had promised the woman I called Mother. Small and pale, with only thin wisps of hair, nowhere for her to clip the pretty bows. Feeling from my first breathe that I was a disappointment. All I ever wanted was for Mother to love me. She did not, and she let me know every day.







 


It took me 60 years to understand that this woman was never going to love me, that she enjoyed cruelty, she lived for deceit, she could not love. It took so long to realize and believe, it was not me, it was her. She did not want to be a mother, the role was forced upon her, and the children suffered.






 



My father, he was a quiet man who always seemed sad and far away. I remember his scent, it is 
etched in my brain, 
stale cigarettes and Old Spice.  He walked around in my life, like a shadow in winter. In this environment I survived. I learned to eat for comfort. I learned to never speak of the darkness and abuse that I lived in. By 8 years old I was obese. 










My Grandparents were Bill and Frances














 My Grandparents were wonderful people. They were hard working talented people. They were the saviors of my sister and I. Always kind and full of fun, when they were around life had smiles. When I was very young we lived in their garage apartment, then when we moved to Salinas they  lived right around the corner from us.

 
 

My mothers youngest brother was  Scott who was just 3 years older than me, and always my partner in crime. Scott has always been my hero. 






      
When I was 8 years old, my grandmother an amazing woman with a bubbly witty humor brought to her “club”; TOPS short for Take Off Pounds Sensibly, founded in 1948 by Esther Manz. TOPS has been my refuge. 

I felt accepted at TOPS for who I was. I did not get to goal. I however did learn to journal my food, I learned what a serving size looked like, I learned to be accountable, I learned there is always hope and good in people. 

My favorite times were going to Recognition Days. Recognition Days are where everyone gets together and recognizes the people losing weight, and to honor the ever-admired KOPS. KOPS are members of elite club of people who are Keeping Off Pounds Sensibly. KOPS are heroes to all the rest of us. 

In 1968 I got to go to my first IRD, International Recognition Days. At 9 years old I was awe struck at the graduation of TOPS to KOPS. The new KOPS members came onto stage all dressed up and received their diplomas, a yellow rose, and a candle. As the KOPS left the stage, they joined the other KOPS standing all around the outside of the room, surrounding us. They began lighting one candle off another till we were all standing in a circle of their light. Then the song candles on the water by Helen Reddy began to play and they swayed holding up their candles to us. Their lights showing us all the way, it brought tears to my eyes, still does. 

I wanted with everything for to someday graduate at IRD. Over the years I have went to many Recognition days, even a few International Recognition Days. I always stood humbled and honored before the Queens and Kings of these events, dreaming of my day holding that yellow rose. 

My dream, my desire is to someday graduate at an IRD. 

 

Subpages (1): Life happened
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