Category Archives: Childhood memories

Dear Diary, Aug 20, 1958

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I recently found my old diary, pictured above. I was eleven years old when I wrote the entry below.

Dear Diary

August 20, 1958

Dear Diary,

After I got up I started to clean up living room and finished after dinner*. Then I read, played cards and watched t.v. Patti and I just had a fight. She wanted to listen to her radio and I was listening to t.v. or I should say watching it. Anyway, it causes a little static when the t.v. is on too so Patti turned off the t.v. I kept turning it on and she off. Well, finally I shut if off for a while and went up to listen to her radio. She didn’t like that either because I was humming, so she told me to read a book.  I wanted to watch one of my favorite programs so I turned on the t.v. She started crying and I can’t bear to see a woman cry so I turned it off and told her for a girl of 15 who thinks she’s a lot older, she sure was a baby sometimes. For that, she hit me with a book hard.

P.S I’m writing the part about our fight outside.

………….

*We called lunch dinner back then.

Love the last line. Ha!!! Sorry, Patti, but this was too funny not to share. She now lets me watch TV whenever I want to plus she pays my land taxes and signs my income taxes for me and performs all sorts of other generous sisterly duties.  xooxox

Collecting Myself

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Collecting Myself

My juvenile aspirations were not like any others––
my idols not my parents or my sisters or my brothers.
I wanted to be different, intrepid and exploring
regions and activities less mainstream and less boring.
I felt my whole identity tied up in what I did,
but my friends had just a glimpse of me–for most of me just hid,
waiting for a time when the world would want to see
all that biggest part of me that was really me.

When it finally happened, I came out bit by bit,
each part coming into view as I discovered it
through doing and by trying, by traveling and proving.
It seems I only sloughed off walls as I kept on moving.
Parts of me found here and there in every varied clime.
I’m still finding parts of me up to the present time.
Daughter, friend and lover, writer, artist, wife––
to discover all of them is what creates a life.

 

Today’s prompts are intrepid, differ, glimpse, juvenile and identity.

Summer Courtship

Our back yard. Lots of places to hide in yards like this up and down the block, as well as in the deep ditches of the school yard across the street.

Summer Courtship

Those summer nights of hide and seek where we were willing quarry,
our efforts to make curfew were too often dilatory.
Our neighborhood adventures stretched out under the stars—
those shadowed venturings abroad, hiding behind cars,
in barrow pits or hedges, darting through the dark,
avoiding passing car lights and the dog’s insistent bark.
Bigger kids the kingpins of this nightly sequestering,
lying still as death with our fears of capture festering.
That titillating strain of remaining undetected,
somehow in our memories has made us more connected.
How we so consistently lay spread out on the ground
cowering, but secretly hoping to be found
by that special someone who, in our pre-teen flush
even then, in passing, could bring about our blush.
All this search and parrying that we called summer games
very soon would fill our lives called by other names.

 

Prompt words today are strain, kingpin, nightly and dilatory.

Limbo

 

Limbo

My best friend taught me about limbo and saints,
Showed me their stacks of National Geographic.
You had to be invited into membership, she said,
not everyone could join. I rated them against
my mother’s Ladies’ Home Journals

and felt deficient, somehow.

No wine in our Methodist kitchen cupboards.
No tuna and salmon tins
stacked up awaiting Friday.
All those cans on my friend’s mother’s shelves in limbo
all Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,

that long summer when we were still twelve.

Wanting something we didn’t yet know the name of.
Restless stirrings the little boys our age 
did not know how to respond to.
All of them inches shorter than us
 except for one—a tall country boy
new to town school,
the most innocent of all.

How we waited to be chosen—
the fact that we’d already chosen in our minds
having little consequence.
How we watched. How we kept secrets,
even from each other.

I knew what to call it, at least,
if not much else,
that summer I turned thirteen,
expectantly,

and
absolutely
nothing changed.

Limbo.

The dVerse poets prompt is “Limbo.”

But Jimmy Cliff says it best!!!!

And “Limbo” of a different sort was two years in our future: 

Explorers

Click to enlarge photos.

Explorers

Sitting up past midnight, we search our mind for facts,
parting long grasses of the past for long-forgotten pacts
of secrets kept from parents and long-forgotten games:
“New Orleans” and “Send ‘Em” *. We comb our minds for names.

Of talents left to childhood, like flips off monkey bars.
Adventures dreamed on rooftops and the back seats of cars.
Favorite childhood dresses and jokes pulled on our folks.
Afternoons in Mack’s Cafe, sipping on our Cokes.

Hot beef sandwiches at Fern’s and running up the stairs
to avoid Mom’s fly swatter aimed at our derrieres.
Childhood dramas staged in trees or in our backyard lawn.

Teenage slumber parties that stretched out into dawn.

We journey through old albums, searching photos for
any tiny detail that will open up a door.
Each time I come to visit, we remember a bit more
on these safaris of the mind that we both adore.

*These are the names of childhood games. Did anyone else play them?

For the Word of the Day challenge: Exploring

Reviving Barbie’s Predecessors

I was reading my friend Mary McNinch’s charming blog about her play date with her granddaughter and my comment got so long I decided to turn it into a post.  Here it is: 

My housekeeper and friend Yolanda’s seven-year-old daughter Yoli was here one day and I dragged out all my old 9 inch dolls—precursors to Barbie.   Jan, Jeff and Cissette. (Although I couldn’t find Jeff.  Evidently they had a separation.) Yoli proceeded to dress them all wrong, putting Jan’s dress on Cissette (without belt and backwards at that) and dressed Jan in such a dowdy dress that it amazed me I’d ever chosen it in the first place. After she left, they stayed in place, waiting for her return, but school started and she hasn’t been back since. 

That is how, past midnight a few nights later, I found myself seated in front of my sewing table in my guest room, where I’d set Yoli up with the dolls and my Jill and Jan closet and the basket of clothes she’d neglected to put away.  After choosing the “right” clothes for each and dressing her, I replaced the detached doors of the closet, hung all the other clothes neatly in the closet, and posed the girls for best effect.  By then it was about 1:30 a.m. and I closed down the play date with myself and went to bed.  The next day, they had chosen to assume the same position I left them in. They’ve been there for a few weeks, but I have a party tomorrow night and decided it was time for them to go back into seclusion in my art studio.  Makes me kind of sad, though. Luckily, I had a photo shoot before assigning the gals back to the past. I neglected to do a photo shoot of Yoli’s choices of costume, but just as well, I don’t think her heart was really into “retro.”

Click on first photo to see larger views of photos and to see captions.

My World as of July 2, 2018

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Tell us about your first bicycle or car? My first bike, the one pictured above, was inherited from my sister, complete with training wheels.  By the time this photo was taken, the training wheels were far in the past and I had about outgrown it.  Christmas brought a brand new Hiawatha girl’s bike— beige with rust detailing. My most lengthy adventure on that Hiawatha involved a ride to the North Dam with my friends with a picnic lunch in our bike baskets.  I also remember riding it on the two-lane highway to White River, pulling off onto the gravel shoulder whenever we heard a car coming up behind us.  It was a different world!

What fictional world or place would you like to visit? I would love to visit a different friendly planet if I could get there quickly and return to earth quickly as soon as I wished to.

If you could have someone follow you around all the time, like a personal assistant, what would you have them do? Organize all my files, then compile stories and poems into books and attend to all of the publication details.  Heaven. When they were finished with that task, they could organize all my photos and convert all my slides to computer images.  I have the machine to do so, but not the time.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  Please see the video below:

https://theconcourse.deadspin.com/criminal-couples-harrowing-attempt-to-escape-convenienc-1827242416