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Opinion: Random memories from childhood

Is it just me or does everyone look at that metal box in the kitchen and see it as an expensive coffee warmer and a corn popper? It has other uses but for me, those are the two big ones. One year my brothers and I bought our mom, Quo Vada, a microwave oven for Christmas.

Although not a fan of technology, my mother was in awe of her magic box.

Years earlier we had bought her a washer and dryer. My eldest brother, Rocky Hill, benefited most from that gift. Although he was living in Fresno and going to Fresno City College, once a week he came to Madera to attend the American Legion meeting. He would arrive at our mother’s condo at about 6 o’clock with a hamper of dirty laundry. He would go to his meeting and when he was finished, he went back to Mom’s and drove back to his apartment in Fresno with a hamper of freshly laundered garments, courtesy of my mom. My other brother, Brian Hill, has lived in the Bay Area since playing football for Cal State Hayward. I had my own home and did my own laundry.

I often wish Mom had been alive to experience the personal computer age. She studied genealogy tracing her roots back for several generations. She would have loved the information found on

Alas, that was not to be. As I was the youngest child in my family, my brothers got to do everything first. I couldn’t wait to be a grownup.

Mom counseled me not to be in such a hurry to grow up. Once you are grown you will be grown up for an awfully long time, she would say. I, of course, thought she didn’t know what she was talking about. She and my father got married between her junior and senior years of high school. She absolutely knew what she was talking about.

I started school at age 4. At that time kids needed to be 5 years old by Dec. 1 to start the school year. Since my birthday is in October, I started school in September of 1960.

A very dear friend of mine, Jeff DalCerro, became furious as I got to start school that year and he didn’t. His fifth birthday came in April. He contended he was just as smart as I, and better behaved. He should be allowed to go to school. He wasn’t wrong.

His parents, Dick and Mary DalCerro, should have had a house full of kids, but Jeff is an only child. I often wished my parents had delayed kindergarten for me until the following year. Especially in high school when most of my friends were driving in their sophomore year.

Jeff and I were true children of the early 1960s. We loved President Kennedy and talked often of how when we grew up, we would be either president and first lady or president and vice president. Once a child loses a baby year there is no way to replace it. As I was a rather precocious and annoying child, I’m sure my mother needed me out of the house part of the day, just to enjoy the quiet. I now know what a high maintenance child I became.

This is another reason Fred and I don’t have kids. Dealing with a mini-me or a mini-Fred would have been enough to make us both crazy. We see other people with really good kids. We also know people who have children who are nightmares. And those are the healthy ones. A sick kid is one of the saddest things in the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has children returning to school. The idea their child might contract the virus is enough to scare any parent into homeschooling. The discipline learned in school prepares young people for a life where a job is necessary to survive. I hope our kids can go back to that structure soon.

Be safe and have a great weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

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