Category Archives: childhood

The First Day

daily life color243 (2)With my sister Patti, 1953, setting out for that big journey across the street for my first day in the first grade.

First Day of School

In our house, a pencil sharpener fastened to a shelf
with a little handle I could turn myself.
All the curls of wood and lead safely caught within,
as I gave the pencil sharpener one more little spin.

Five newly sharpened pencils, clutched tight in my hand,
then bound into a secure bunch with a rubber band.
Dropped into my school bag with eraser, tablet, ruler.
Everything unused and clean.  Nothing could be cooler.

The school warning bell rings out as my saddle shoe––
crisp black and white, unblemished, for it’s stiffly new––
makes its first step out my door to cross across the street
and with other six-year-olds, to find my proper seat.

Lynnie, Henrietta, Sheila, Diane, Sharon.
Clevie,  Meridee and I, Rita, Linda, Karen.
Lyle, Keith, Clinton, Jeff, Georgie, Jimmie, Billie––
come from all directions, running willie-nillie

to get to school before the bell sounds its final peal.
All those years of playing school finally here for real.
We stand in lines inside the room as she calls our names.
No more days of playing random childhood games.

Reading and arithmetic, that little cardboard store
where we learned to count out change, make shopping lists and more.
Spelldowns standing up in front, facing towards the class.
Your hand up when you had to ask for the bathroom pass.

Marching all around the room singing “Charming Billy.”
Can he bake a cherry pie? Those lyrics were so silly.
Then we stomped and pointed–our volume without match
as we sent the boys out yonder  to the paw paw patch.

Are you too young to remember? Or is it that you’re old,
your remembrances supplanted, your memories grown cold?
Do you not recall  the ink wells and chalk erasers?
The recess bell, the sandbox, the swingers and the chasers?

The teeter-totters creaking and the merry-go-round?
Every playground adventure? That cacophonous sound
of shouts and jeers and teasings, the tether ball and slide.
All the joyous sounds before we were called inside

to spend time with Alice and Jerry,  and with “Run, Spot, run,”
reading words over and over before the day was done?
They swirled around in all our brains––phonics, words and numbers
stirred our active childhood minds from their former slumbers.

It was so many years ago that we set out that day
upon a road that later would carry us away
from that square white building with its tower and tolling bell
that for the first eight years of school we would mind so well.

Streaming in from all the sides of our little town––
brilliant students, dunces, class bully and class clown.
It was a collaboration that ultimately made
eighteen little boys and girls ready for second grade!

The prompt was collaboration.

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There are two faces in my first grade photo that I have no memory of.  They left before second grade.  I am the little blonde girl in the middle of the second row. If anyone remembers the little girl next to me or the little boy next to her, please let me know and I’ll add them to the roster.  In second grade, they were replaced by two newcomers, Clifford Leading Cloud and Judy Toni. Eleven of us in this photo completed all 12 years of school together.  Our first grade teacher was Mrs. Sandy. Her husband, Pink Sandy, taught generations of Murdo kids how to swim in Johansen’s stock dam!

Correcting a Wrong

I made a misstatement in my last “Odd Ball” post for Cee’s prompt.  I mistakenly said it was a photo I’d altered with my photo editing program (Photos, by Apple) when in fact it was a detail from a collage I did while at forgottenman’s house in Missouri a few years ago.

In response to the photo I posted, I got this query from anglogermantranslations:

I just made out ‘party politics’ in the newspaper clipping. Is it something political then? Do we see Trump’s hair ruffled by the wind in the left bottom corner? And feathers of a big bird? Is it a rebus? Are we looking for a particular word?
Which sent me on a quest for a photo of the entire piece.  An hour or so later, I have discovered this photo in my archives, along with a few other detail shots of the collage:
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And yes, anglogermantranslations, it is a political piece, although Mr. Trump had not yet come upon the scene in a political sense when I created it. He is a product of the theme, however, that dealt with the vanished innocence of our society and how the natural order of things has been taken over by big business and the profit motive. Was I right or was I right?

At First

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At First

Days were not over half so soon
when we ate passion with a spoon.
Swirled chocolate at the Frosty Freeze

melting in the prairie breeze
hot and redolent of soil—
chaff of wheat and rattled coil.
Summer days and summer nights,
rolls in grass and water fights
with uncoiled hoses, cooking pans,
rolled up cuffs and soaked white Vans.

Passion then was not so much
a thing of kissing or of  touch
as of smells and sights and taste.
Baking beans and paper paste.
Brand new tablets, pencil shavings.
Summer nights, then autumn cravings.
Cattle lowing, school bells,
Cool spring water from deep wells.
Throats that ached from drinking it,
brought to light from ancient pit.

All these simple remembered things
that thinking about passion brings:
spin-overs on the monkey bars,
rides on bikes and naming stars.
It’s true some passion rides on night
with pressing lips and gentle bite,
or trembles on the fingertips
straying over breasts or hips.

Yet simpler loves bring lesser rations
of what adults consider passions.
Words like passion must be allowed
to be unfettered, like a cloud
and not confined in connotation,
dictionary or denotation.
Sometimes passion can be bright—
A meadowlark or soaring kite.
Sun-chapped lips just touched with mist
long before they’re ever kissed.

The prompt word today was “Passionate.”

Transformation

Tottering on stubby legs,
Reaching for the world,
Another child once nested
Now slowly comes uncurled.
Stretching out and learning,
Forgetting childhood woes,
Opening to each new thing,
Reforming as she grows.
Meet her in the springtime
And meet her in the fall.
The child you met the first time
Is no longer there at all.
One more child a woman,
Now a mother, now a grand.
Always we are changing,
Led by nature’s hand.

Libraries cannot answer
If changing has an end,
For we know not if transformation
Ends around the bend.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/transformation/

At Play

“Ring Around the Rosie” for my sister’s birthday & a backyard production of “Cowboys.”

At Play

“Annie I Over,” ” New Orleans.”
In shorts or dresses or cutoff jeans,
we ran and threw and played and shouted.
our pent-up energy thus outed.
“Send ‘Em,” “Ditch ‘Em,”  “Cops and Robbers.”
“Poor Pussy” turned us into sobbers.
Do you remember these childhood games?
All vastly varied, with different names?

Before TV or internet,
games were as good as one could get
for transport from reality.
Back when we were cellphone-free,
“Drop the Handkerchief” we knew well
along with “Farmer in the Dell.”
“London Bridge” went falling down
each birthday party in our town.

All the long-lit summer nights
“Cowboys and Indians” staged their fights.
“Cops and Robbers” led to searches
of school ditches and behind churches.
The whole town our playing ground,
each chid lost, each child found
in hours long games of “Hide-and-Seek.”
Count to one hundred.  Do not peek!

In childhood games of girls and boys,
imaginations were our toys.
Does such magic now reside
in minds of children safe inside
their cushioned worlds of rumpus rooms,
sealed safe within their  houses’ wombs?
For dangers real now lurk in places
that formerly hid playmates’ faces.

Safety dictates different measures
for insuring childhood pleasures.
But oh, I remember so well
joyful flight and heartful swell
of friends pursuing through the dark
back then when life was such a lark.
Now children seek  play differently
on cellphone screens and Smart TV,

scarce imagining a world
with internet not yet unfurled.
Our world had not yet been corrupted
with connections interrupted
with wireless servers on the blink,
for we needed no further link
than friends pounding upon our door
to come outside and play some more!

daily life color161 (1)Stylish cowboys Karen Bossart and sister Patti.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/playful/

Every Child’s a Child of All

Every Child’s a Child of All

Though some of them are ill-begotten,
our childhoods cannot be forgotten.
Filled with love or merely fuss,
still, they are what started us.
Those in their good fortune who
got to the front of childhood’s queue
happy and content and loving
without undue stress or shoving
need to thank each lucky star
that they’ve turned into who they are.

For there are children born in stress––
to poverty or loneliness.
They live next door  in every land,
unguided by parental hand.
Born carelessly into this world,
inside of each, a self lies curled
needing  care to help it grow
from shadows into sunlight’s glow.
These children belong to us all
so if you hear them, heed their call.

There are so many different ways
to parent them–with smiles or praise.
Share what gifts you have to share.
Each child is valuable and rare,
although, it’s true, they may not know it,
help them find a way to show it.
Teach them, praise them, love them, show
each child you meet the way to go.
For, in places tame or wild,
It takes a village to raise a child.

Send a Kid To Camp

Music               Art               Dance              Mask-making               Storytelling

 

This year Campamento Estrella will again be held on July 25-30 for 30 children (age 9-12) from San Juan Cosala, the village where I live. (For those of you unversed in Spanish, “Campamento Estrella” means “Camp Star,” for it is our belief that every child is a star.) The photos shown above are from last year’s camp, which was a smash hit. This year we will be stessing kind treatment of animals, town history, serving the pueblo and personal hygiene and ethics.  These themes will be dealt with through the activities listed above as well as  interaction with town elders and young adults from the pueblo who can serve as excellent role models to the children.

We are currently seeking donations to cover the cost of art supplies, food, equipment rental, camp T-shirts and the salaries of the young Mexican camp counselors. We greatly appreciate donations in any amount.

Donations may  be made via Paypal to jeredepaul@yahoo.com 

If you live in the Ajijic area, donations may be made at Diane Pearl’s, Viva Mexico Restaurant in San Juan Cosala or by contacting Judy Dykstra-Brown at jubob2@hotmail.com (387 761-0281), Audrey Zikmund at az62343@gmail.com (766 106-0821) or Jere Fyvolent at jeredepaul@yahoo.com. (387-761- 0813.)

The camp will culminate with a dance performance by camp participants as well as performances by the San Juan Children’s Orchestra and Chorus and the Ajijic Ukulele group at 3-5 p.m. on Saturday, July 30 at Viva Mexico. Please call 387 761-1058 for table reservations if you wish to attend that performance. They will be serving from their regular menu. Admission to the show is free, but any donations to help fund next year’s camp will be gratefully accepted. Next year we hope to include a second week of camp in El Chante. Why not set up a camp of your own.  There are children waiting to become stars everywhere on earth!!!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/childhood/

Dreams of Flying

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Dreams of Flying

Lying on my back in clover, I was sky blue––
wishing for the wings of night
that lifted me, unsurprised,
to hover and then swim the air
above the ordinary.

Sixty years later in the green Pacific,
buoyed as expertly in the waters of reality
as by my dreams of youth,
I see blue sky above me
and know I am a part of it
even here below
where I float in the arms of ordinary,
knowing it to be enough.

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/sky/