I remember we had these three lilac trees that stood in a triangle. There was a slight hill right below those trees and I remember endless hours of grabbing my bike and holding on to those branches, letting go and riding my bike down the hill. Scrapping my knees and elbows every time that I fell, but I remember not giving up, no matter how many times I fell. That was how I learned to ride my bike without training wheels.
I remember that my mom painted a hop scotch board on the sidewalk in back of our house. I always loved that...I loved playing hop scotch and it was fun to just run out back and start playing, instead of having to draw that board each time I had a hankering to play.
(Joey - a neighbor, Charlie, Kim - my best friend, Jimmy and me - in the red jacket)I remember when I was younger and my aunt and uncle lived in a trailer in our backyard. And at least once a week, I would run through the yard to that trailer and spend time with my Aunt Donna. She would wash my hair and she didn't even mind brushing out the tangles of a young girl with long scraggly hair.
Did you know that I have a scar on my forehead? You can't see it, unless you get really close. But it's above my left eyebrow. I got it when I was 3 years old. My family had ordered pizza which I think at the time was a big treat. And so I was jumping up and down on a chair yelling "I want pizza, I love pizza" and I slipped off the chair and hit my head on the radiator. We had those real old radiators in our house. I ended up with 3 stitches, a scar and a memory that lasted a lifetime.
(I'm the one on the right, with my cousin Wendy and Smokey)
When I was growing up, we had several pets....bunnies, dogs, I remember having a cat at one point and my sister had ducks. But, the one pet I remember the most was this the old stray dog that we took in and named Smokey because he was gray. I think he got hit by a car and my dad had to put him to sleep (which back then, meant taking him out to the woods and....well, you know). I cried my eyes out over that dumb old dog. "There will never, ever be another dog like Smokey, Daddy", in the most dramatic way ever.
I remember one year when I was 8 and my little brother was 3. Charlie (my twin) and I taught Jimmy (our little brother) all the states in America. My mom was so proud of him for knowing all those states, that one year for Christmas she took an old United States of America puzzle and made ornaments of the states for our Christmas tree.
(Charlie and Me washing dishes)
Growing up, one my chores was washing dishes (Man, I hated that job....still do!). I was often told when I asked if I could go play that I had to do my chores first. I remember so many times that my best friend Kim would come over and help me wash the dishes, so that we could hop on our bikes and ride to the little fruit market down the street. The store was on a main road, so we had to take the long way around, because our parents wouldn't let us ride on the main road. We'd clean my dad's garage and find all his old glass pop bottles and bag them up and go on our great adventure. We'd ride the old country road to the big old slate dump and push our bikes up the hill. Play in the creek and throw rocks in the stream, pick flowers and leaves and sticks on the way.
Then, we'd trade those old pop bottles for money and buy penny candy and quarter Cokes. We'd take our little brown paper sacks back to my house and hid out in our run down shack of a fort that we built out of old plywood and bricks. We thought we were so cool.
Our yard growing up was huge. At one point my mom and dad had it partially fenced in and my mother said that I was the first one to climb over it. I kept climbing stuff after that. I loved climbing trees and I remember climbing on top of our old metal swing set and walking across it like a balance beam. I also remember swinging off the monkey bars and knocking out my front teeth when I fell off.
(yep, that's me with pudding all over my face, proof that I always was a messy eater)
I remember when our family sat at the kitchen table for dinner. Our kitchen was used alot. We had birthday parties in there, family dinners, did our homework at the table. I remember tons of times when my parents would have friends over and they would play cards in the kitchen. I have memories of sneaking downstairs and peeking into the room to watch them, the room would be filled with smoke and laughter.
When I was growing up my father kept guns everywhere. Yes, he had some locked up in his gun cabinet, but he also had them under the couch, in the corner of the room....they were everywhere. My parents never had to worry about us hurting each other or playing with them, we were taught that they weren't ours and we weren't to touch. It was that simple. Life was so simple back then. No one worried like they do (like I do) now. We played outside til it got dark. We left our houses in the mornings and came home when we were hungry. We drank sugary koolaid and ate mouthfuls of candy. We played in metal sand boxes and rusty old swing sets When our parents told us something, we listened. I remember once telling my mother that I was running away. Her reply was, just don't leave the backyard and I didn't. We were content with cheap toys like jumps ropes and jacks and we used our imaginations. We played outdoors in the sun and snow. We didn't have video games or sit on our butts flipping through hundreds of cable channels. Our parents didn't have to worry about BMI's or body fat ratios. We didn't need expensive shoes or clothes or huge elaborate birthday parties. We entertained ourselves.
And while my childhood home may no longer exist and the pictures are starting to fade. Those are the memories of the house that built me.....Hope my children will have just as many wonderful and fun memories of the house that is building them.