Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Where I Lived



It's raining today. And cold. But, if I sit very still and close my eyes, I can almost feel the warm of the Arizona sun on my bare shoulders. I can smell the oleander bushes with their white and pink flowers that grew along the fence.  I can taste the bitter pecans that we picked up from the ground and cracked with rocks on the hot sidewalk. I can almost feel the freedom. The freedom of childhood.

Our days were spent outdoors. In the morning, my sisters and I would walk to the swimming pool for lessons. Afterward, we got our hand stamped then walked back home. Chores were done cautiously, lest we wash off the cherished stamp that would allow us entrance back to the pool in the afternoon. There we would try out our new-found skills, and play tea party at the bottom of the pool.

We played jacks on the porch, careful to sweep up all the little metal pieces before the ball had a chance to bounce. Some days, we would strap on our roller skates with metal wheels and a large rubber stopper in front. We'd skate down the street to the office park, where the sidewalks were smooth and bump-free. Others were spent chasing each other over the crunchy, yellow grass, or running through the sprinklers while our towels warmed in the sun.

A few houses down lived Mrs. Hawkins, my second grade teacher. One bright sunny day, while she was surely enjoying her summer off, my sister and I got up the courage to visit her home. She welcomed us in with her warm smile and silver hair. 'Take off your shoes and feel my new carpet.' Shoes were left at the door as we scrunched our toes in the baby blue shag. (I had no idea carpet could look or feel like that!) She ushered us into her front room, all decked out in shades of the palest blue. She fed us cookies and chatted about our summer.

The street where we lived was populated with young families and lots of children. Being lonely was rare.  We played from morning until long after the sun went down. Hide and seek and tag were much more fun in the dark. Our parents would wander out to the porch and shout our names, knowing we would pretend not to hear. When we finally made our way home, we collapsed into bed, weary and dirty, dreaming of the warm days ahead.


{Today's prompt comes from Ann's Rants. On her blog, today is "Where I lived Wednesday".}

9 comments:

  1. I love how personal and specific this is and - at the same time - SO universal.

    The exact details of our childhoods may vary, but oh, do I recognize the thrill of a hand stamp that would get you back into the pool!

    Back then, it was all about the little things.
    And if you had a hand full of jacks, you were rich, indeed.

    p.s. On second thought, the details of our childhoods seem pretty damn close.

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    1. It seems we may have grown up very close, if not in location, in spirit.

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  2. Aching for summer. Thank you!!

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  3. I can feel the warmth. I need that, on this cold, cold day.

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    1. Arizona summers are made for kids. Much too hot for me as an adult!

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  4. Sounds like my elementary school neighborhood. The swimming pool and the library were just blocks away. I walked them in the summer. I pedaled my pink Schwinn a few blocks beyond them to the library to fill my white basket with books I would read curled in the yard under the shade of a tree.

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  5. What a lovely neighborhood! It seems like a wonderful childhood.

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  6. Mmmm. I'm basking in this. I love your details and the dreamlike quality of it, while at the same time it is so real.

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