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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Guest blogger of the day ... Robin

(Since Conny asked me to do my own intro here, I figured I’d give you the whole backstory. If I missed anything, just ask in the comments. I’ll probably answer…)

I was born… Oh, wait – that intro has already been used. Hmm. Okay, well, I WAS born. Almost, um, 50 years ago. Ugh, that sounds like my mother… Let me try again:

Obviously I WAS born. After that, I can pretty much divide my life into parts: childhood – pretty good, teens – had a blast, early adulthood – eh, and everything since – FANtastic! My husband and I have five kids between us, two of his, two of mine, and one of ours. And three grandkids, all extremely smart and incredibly cute. Of course.

I grew up in the St. Louis, Missouri area and gradually moved across the state, then to Colorado for not quite two years, and then Texas; we were down there for eight years. Back to St. Louis for an aborted attempt at law school, and then I got bored.
We opened our bookstore in October 2011, after a brainstorm in late July. My first book came out the following August – the inspiration of which was a really weird dream that came from eating salsa too late one night. While I was procrastinating on my second book a few months later, again in October, I thought, “Hey, I’ll start a publishing house!” So I did.

And here I am.

My friend, fellow author, and client Conny Manero mentioned that I could perhaps do a guest post on her blog about… bowling. Bowling? Well, I do enjoy the sport. And, yes, I could reminisce over a few interesting things that I’ve experienced in that realm. So, sure, why not?

When I was a kid, maybe 8 or 9, my parents were in a bowling league. I didn’t often get to go along, since it was their night out, so to speak, but they did take me sometimes on Saturdays. Had a lot of fun, and no, back then there were no bright pink kids’ balls and no bumpers – you either got gutter balls or a decent score, entirely dependent on your own efforts.

My mom’s co-leader for my Junior Girl Scout troop was a professional bowler and, since in those days there was no “bowling badge,” she helped our troop create one. I remember thinking it was way cool – we learned all about the game and how to keep score. And, like all good Girl Scouts in the 70s, we embroidered the badge ourselves!

The bowling alleys back then were smoky, mysterious places, with snack bars and actual bars; waitresses would bring your food and drink to your lane so you didn’t have to miss any of the action. There were all kinds of leagues: senior, adult, kid, and lessons and parties and special game nights. Going bowling was an event, not just a stopping place to hang out and maybe bowl a few lines. A lot of people had their own balls and shoes, and a lot of them wore team shirts – you know, those colorful polyester ones with the team name emblazoned on them. Hey, it was the 70s!

When I was fifteen, like many kids, I wanted to get a job. Guess what was just up the road? A brand new bowling alley! Perfect. I managed to get hired and I ran the snack bar. I worked after school, sometimes until 2:00 a.m. No pesky state laws to get me off work by 10:00 p.m. on school nights! I remember one night, after working there a week or so, I bolted upright out of a sound sleep and woke myself up saying, “That’ll be fifty-two cents, please!” That was the price of a large Pepsi, with tax.

And yes, a couple times when the bar was swamped and the bartender had to run to the restroom, I’d jump over there and pull beers. No one batted an eye. Besides the Pepsi and the beer, I made burgers, fries, onion rings, nachos, SteakUm sandwiches, and probably a few other things I’ve forgotten about. Then, after we closed, I’d clean everything, fryers and grill too. Still remember how to clean that grill: we had this big black block of… something, and had to screw in a heavy metal handle. That’s what we scrubbed it with, till it shone. Ick.

A bunch of guys from my high school worked there too – they’d unjam the pins, retrieve balls, and fix the automatic scorers. They taught me how to do that too, and there were plenty of times when I had to jump over the counter and help a group out with their machine.

As an older teen, my friends and I bowled a lot. I wasn’t working there anymore, but I still knew most of the people who did, so we’d hang out and bowl on Friday nights. Had a blast! And over the years, I’d still bowl occasionally, always remember how our Girl Scout leader taught us to pick up the ball, line up the pins, and maneuver just right to get that perfect strike.

Well, it worked sometimes!

Thank you Robin.  For me, as a bowler, that was a very interesting post.  

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