2:23 p.m. - 2004-04-16
I find that I tend to be a late night processor. The minute the lights go out is the minute the brain turns on. I suppose that would explain the extreme, technicolour, larger than life dreaming I do. Last night was no exception - lights out brain on mode. And what I always find funny is the domino effect thinking that goes on. One small thought leads to another, which leads to another, etc., etc., etc . . . until I am so far away from my original thought I haven’t a clue how I got here.
But for some reason I was recalling segments of my childhood. I am the youngest kid of three. The only girl AND I came into my parent’s life late for that day and age (family joke for years that I was a mistake – something that I took to heart and in many ways have never ceased carrying). My two brothers are 12 and 14 years older than I am, so I pretty much grew up on my own. I was left to my own devices very early.
None-the-less my late night mental wanderings led me to some funny childhood recollections. I thought I’d share:
- That when someone sold they’re house – they just traded locations with whomever bought theirs.
- My first 10 years on this planet was spent in a large town near Toronto, and at the time our road was in town but on the edge of farmland. For some reason in the 50’s it was someone’s brilliant idea to build a seniors home in our neighbourhood, but with a ‘long’ road (in my child minds eye) off of our street and nestled between railroad tracks and a large field that grew tomatoes. It was common knowledge amongst us kids that the residents of the ‘home’ didn’t like children, particularly the nurses. That if you ventured even remotely close to the home that the nurses sensed impending tyke hoodlums and would come out in droves to catch you, and give you large size (I mean fire hydrant size large) needles. The only way to avert being snared was to go up to the fruit orchards nearby, steal large bouquets of flowers and present them to the elderly. Very few of my peers were brave enough to defy this fearsome task save I. I was always, and still am, pretty good for a dare. There I would be, apple blossom bundles in hand, creeping slowly towards my doom. Large front door looming closer, hands extended, scared sh—less, but ready to meet my fate. I’ll never forget one of my last forays – I remember it like it was yesterday. I’d walked inside and asked permission to give the flowers to someone – anyone and the nurse pointed me towards a room. Just as I was advancing on the room an extremely ancient lady came down the hall towards me. She had her girdle (yes folks – these were the days when all ‘ladies’ wore girdles) on, but her night robe was completely tucked into it. I was so frightened by the thought, that I dropped the flowers and ran from the building never to return. (I have since revised my thinking on those in the ‘grey power’. They have a lot to teach, even if they tuck all they’re clothes into their undies and parade around in public).
- Another small memory about that same time was that along that same long lane back to the seniors lodge where many small ponds. Each spring you could hear the call of the frogs. That deep throaty “rrribit, rrrribit” of Fred calling to Ginger to come for a moonlit swim. This was one of my favourite times of year to grab my galoshes, jar in hand, and head out to the ponds to investigate. My dad had a number of tanks for tropical fish in the basement, and there were usually one or two smaller ones around not being used. Given permission I would set up a tank outside in the backyard and get it ready for my spring findings. Aka – tadpoles. I would catch as many of those small black wriggly bulbous babies as I could scoop up in my jar and take them home. I was fascinated with watching Mother Nature do her thing. Observing little black critters that slowly morphed into small green jumping frogs. I’d maintain the water level, name my new found friends, play with them once they gained legs – no bigger than the size of my thumb nail and watched them grow (once not in captivity could be as large as my adult fist). The disappointing part came when it was time be away on holidays, or a long weekend. My mom would make me dump them all into the grass. Or worse yet, just leave it for the sun to dry up the water and hence any newly acquired tadpoles. My mini aquarium finished for another season. Good-bye Fred Jr., Good-bye Ginger. Catch ya next year!
- I grew up in a day and age when it was safe for kids to be out on the street (so to speak). The late 60’s, early 70’s, in relatively small city/town’s were a good place for a kid to be. I will always have fond memories of being able to go out after supper in winter, grab my skates and head two blocks away to the outdoor ice rink in the park. They always made two small areas that they flooded over and then nature took its course and froze them solid. One was for hockey (boys), and one was for regular skating (girls). It was a lot of fun, and another thing I usually did on my own.
Well there are just a few things that rambled through my brain the other night. We often romanticize our childhoods, giving them golden warm hues. Sometimes we do this to cover up less than happy points. Other times because we’re just to freakin’ old to remember the situation correctly. I’m not sure which category I fall into, probably a little of both.
Cheers - LJ