The snow finally quit and our daughter had made her entrance, Denise had made her first statement. She was one of those happy, smiling babies that most people yearn for and never get. She was one perfect infant and rarely cried, she learned how to do this later. She slept all night from the age of 3 weeks. She thrived on all the attention she was given by everyone who knew her. Pictured her is her first "protector". Our dog Heidi was an overloved & overweight Dachshund about 4 years old. Heidi adopted Denise from the very first day. Heidi was by her side every minute of every day.. and slept underneath her bassinet - and later on her crib. Also with Denise nearly every minute of the day was her big sister Tami who was the perfect little "mom" and the greatest helper I ever had. Her older brother Rick was fascinated by her - he told her how pretty she was every single day. Her nickname of "Princess" was given her by Rick - and he still calls her that today. Your dad, still working the nightshift, would sometimes just "accidently" wake you up when he got home in the middle of the night. He would hold you and give you that "midnight" bottle you occassionally wanted, talking to you all the time.
You were a princess in every sense of the word. We all catered to you, spoiled you and your repaid us with your smiles and laughter that was the highlight of our days. The years slipped by and you became the neighborhood "princess". Our very family oriented street accepted you as one of their own. You invited yourself over to lunch and/or dinner with whatever neighbor you happened by. On one occassion you even went next door, stripped down and jumped into the bathtub with our next door neighbors girls. Marian didn't mind, she just said, "With three girls to bathe, what's one more?". Our neighbors got used to you just walking into their homes as you pleased and sitting down at their table or parking yourself on their couch to watch TV. Thankfully, our neighbors watched out for you and generally sent you home when it was time. I almost always got a phone call, with them telling me where you were.
You started Kindergarten with a smile on your face and so eager to go to school. For years you had watched your sister and brother go off to school, begging to go with them. Now finally your day had come and you were beside yourself with excitement. The curls and the hair ribbons were so much a part of your day, even before you went to school. You were always (still are) particular about your cloths - everything had to match and everything had to be pretty. You changed clothes about 9 times a day until I finally threatened to lock you out of your closet.
School now brought you another circle of friends as if you didn't have enough already. You knew everyone in your class and tried to bring most of them home with you. I would pick you up at noon and there would be four or five kids you had "invited" home with you.
A funny little story needs to be told here. I had gone shopping one day, left you home with your dad. I learned later that he had taken a nap on the couch and seeing this, you thought it would be a great opportunity to "go to the store", because he would never know.
The next day I was in the grocery store and the clerk (who knew us all) casually asked how Denise had enjoyed her marshmallows. What marshamallows I ask ?
Seems Denise had a taste for them, walked up to the store while dad was sleeping, and helped herself to a package and waltzed out of the store with them. The checkout lady really didn't think too much of it because she thought I was in the store too. When I got back home and asked a few questions I found
out that Denise had shared her marshmallows with the little girls next door. Marion thought that I had just given them all a bag of marshmallows to eat !!
The freckles began to show up on your nose about this time and just like your sister you were unhappy with them. I tried to convince you that they would be the number of boyfriends you would have (I wasn't far off). The ribbons and pretty dresses were still a big part of your wardrobe and I wasn't unhappy about it, as long as we could afford to "dress" you. You never passed a dress that you didn't want. You had about 500 hair ribbons and barrets. Since Tami was now a teen-ager you began to "borrow" her things.
It was about this time that we realized we had outgrown our house and that you two girls needed a room of your own. It was time to look around for another home. You were delighted with moving - not a bit unhappy about leaving your friends because you knew that you would just make more friends. Unlike your sister who felt that she was "deserting" her friends.
It was around this time that you decided that you no longer wanted curls, ribbons or bows. You just had to be like the rest of your friends, with straight hair.
Gone was our little "princess" and our little "frilly" girl. I'm pretty sure this is the last dress that I ever made for you. It was probably about the time you put your Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls away along with all the other "little girl" toys.
You adjusted very well to your new school in Buffalo Grove and still bounded out of the door anxious to meet a new day. You made all the new friends that you thought you would
and our house was filled with the friends of all our children all the time.
This is the time in your life when you decided you were ugly and that you'd never be pretty. It was that "gawky" stage I've always called it. When everything grows out of proportion to the rest of the body, but with patience and a little time, will soon turn out just fine. We also tried to tell you that curls and accessories might help, but you would not even consider such a thing. You hair must remain straight and that was final.
This phase of your life is what I'm always called the "Kristy McNichol" look. For those of you don't remember she was the teenage star of a TV series called "Family" in 1976, slightly disfunctional family. Denise was moving into the teens with her own special flair. You had found out that you weren't as ugly as you thought you were at all.
You had now found the joys of a curling iron so we were beginning to see some of the look of the younger Denise with the hair getting curlier. The boys were taking notice and you were enjoying the attention.
Your world took a rather hard hit in 1979 when your dad & I were divorced. This really "together" family now found itself split apart and we were all left wondering what had happened. But you tried to take it all in stride. Your dad & I had moved to McHenry in April of that year in an attempt to bring things back together again. For you the change in schools was not a good thing. It was an unhappy year for you and as soon as the divorce was final I moved us back to Buffalo Grove.
The smile returned to your face and you rekindled the friendship of your old friends. Rick was out on his own by this time - Tami had just graduated from High School so their lives were at a different level than yours was. You were still a teenager and you still needed the stability to finish out those childhood years.
The move back improved your state of mind a hundred percent, and it wasn't long before you and your friends were getting into the normal "teenage" trouble.
Such as the "Variety 81" show at your James Fennimore Junior High School that you and Lisa were participating in. It was held on Friday & Saturday nights, February 20 & 20. You and Lisa practiced for weeks and had perfected your dance to "Greased Lightning".
The trouble began when you appeared at dress rehersal wearing what the school considered "inappropriate" attire. The principal had to take you over to K-Mart and find something "appropriate" to cover you up!! But the show went on and it was wonderful - you two stole the show with your act and I was so proud of you both. Now your niece will understand why the name "Vickery" sent teachers running when she attended that school. She had to live down the fact that both her mother 'and' her aunt were students there.
Then there was that time in High School when you and Lisa "stole" the Driver's Ed car with the teacher in it. Of all your tricks, this one has, and always will be, at the top of the list. I won't go into detail of all the trouble you both got into but as usual you both wiggled out of it. I'm still not sure who was evil influence with you two but there was never a dull moment when you were together. Her dad & considered putting you both into military school, but they wouldn't take you and besides that you would have both loved it.
(Chorus) I traced her little footprints in the snow
I found her little footprints in the snow
I bless that happy day when Nellie lost her way
For I found her when the snow was on the ground
I dropped in to see her there was a big round moon
Her mother said she just stepped out but would be returning soon
I found her little footprints and I traced them in the snow
I found her when the snow was on the ground
Now she's up in heaven she's with the angel band
I know I'm going to meet her in that promised land
But every time the snow falls it brings back memories
For I found her when the snow was on the ground