Sorry for the dearth of posts, I have come down with a huge case of the "lethies". Such is what a high school friend used to call being over come by lethargy. A frequent occurrence, deserving of its own name. She and I, owing to our bit o' German heritage, also had pet names for each other: She was Kraut Butt and I was Thunder Thighs. Skinny everywhere else, no amount of running ever managed to alter this. Being tagged by the marvelous Mojavi
for a flurry of childhood memories got me musing on such. While I have nothing to remotely rival her experiences, which only leave me to wonder how the hell she is still drawing breath, with all her limbs and digits intact, I submit the following:
1) You know me. I love to read. In fact, I was so reading obsessed that, as my dad has told me more than once, I am partly to blame for my sister's aversion to that whole reading thing. She apparently was horrified enough by my nerdly and isolating hobby that she basically forswore the whole reading thing as much as possible. Well, one day, as I lay on my stomach on the floor of my bedroom, around the age of 8 or 9, I became irrationally irritated by a bit of bangs that were growing out and kept hanging in my eyes. Thinking to teach the intrusive hair a lesson, I grabbed a handy pair of scissors and lopped the hair off, about a 1/2 inch from the scalp. Unfortunately, not only was this hair in the front (being former bangs and all) but also occupied the spot of honor, right over the cowlick, just over my right eye. The remaining stub of hair now stuck straight up, much to my mother's horror and my father's glee, earning me the nickname of Dagwood.
My advice? Think the use of the scissors through very carefully. Thankfully, hair grows.
2) This next one is fairly obligatory in many kids' memories, probably with suprisingly few variations: For mine, it was at the wedding of my aunt and uncle. It was a small affair, thrown in their home, maybe 30-40 guests, just enough to make the place crowded and distract everyone's attention from my sister and me, the only 2 kids. I was about 8 and she, 5. It was summer, hot, the two of us in our fancy dresses. We were each given one cup of sweet, red punch, which we downed quickly. Being polite kids, we waited for someone to ask us if we wanted more. And waited. And ate cake and finger food, which made us thirstier. And then noticed the large punch bowl on the corner table, the one with all the cups around it. Deciding that we had been patient enough, and knowing our parents valued self-sufficiency, I led the way over and filled cups for us, which we gulped down, and had more. Lots more. Tasted like red punch. Then we got sleepy. And giggly. Don't really remember much more but was told that I was found to be slumped in an arm chair and Gail was on her back, spinning in circles on the floor. For some reason, our parents watched us like hawks at any and all further parties after that, and our cups were kept full of child-acceptable beverages.
3) The next, I still shake my head over. A life lesson, if you will. Sort of a poor After School Special sort of thing. I am 11, it is spring and I am in 6th grade track. Basically, this means we run a bit after school and have 1 meet at the end of the month with like 2 other grade schools, or maybe it was just one other school. Anyway. Me, running the vast distance of the 440 (pre-metric track events). Before hand, Dad, the running expert, pulled me aside and recommended that I walk the track and make sure there were no suprises. I blew this suggestion off. I mean, what surprises? Land mines? Gopher holes in the surface of the rubber high school track? Clowns lurking with cream pies? So, we line up, get the standard instructions for this event, which are to stay in our lanes until half way down the back stretch and to be at least 2 strides in front of any other runners we cut in front of. I am also chanting the advice to cut to the inside as soon as possible, to minimize the distance run as the outside lanes are longer around the curves. The starting gun goes off and I jump to the lead! Pulling away in front! And there it is. In the middle of my lane, and only my lane, a massive hurdle. Literally. A hurdle. And it is before we are allowed to leave our lanes. I slam to a stop. I wait. Everyone else passes me. I decide to break the rule and go around the hurdle, briefly going into the other lane. I race off again. I cut to the inside lane. I am catching up! I am reeling in and passing everyone! There is just one runner left, she is in the inside lane but I am gaining!! I pass her just a bit before the finish line and, JUST AS TOLD, but without thinking a whit, I cut in to the inside lane, cutting her off and cross the finish line, in first place. I am, of course disqualified. There is a bit of hope when the judges find about the hurdle, but they rightly find that that does not excuse the cutting off of the other girl. I never EVER fail to walk the course again, both in running and in a lot of other metaphorically similar life situations. It also takes me a while to do things, not wanting to make that mistake again.
4) This next is just a sort of general childhood smile, nothing specific, no particular day, just something that I think of when remembering the few years I spent living in central Illinois aged 5-7. Dad was stationed on the now defunct base of Chanute, outside that thriving metropolis of Rantoul, population 17 or something like that. Lots of dust, cornfields, and horizon. The base was like any other. Duplexes and yards and no fences. Sidewalks and quiet streets for riding your bike. Flat streets with storm drains that no one seemed to clean out, because, clearly, if they were cleaned and therefore able to do their job of draining the rain water away, then STREET FLOODS would never happen. First, the summer thunderstorm and deluge would occur, with the ususal prayers for no tornados, and then we would all burst from our houses, the kids to splash in the warm, oily, water that was 6" deep in the street, laughing in the waves that were made by slowly driving cars or quickly ridden bikes. Our parents to gather, watching, laughing and talking, beers in hand. Impromptu dinner parties no doubt being scheduled. I hated the constant moving, I hated being the new kid at school; but the community that existed in the military, the instant acceptance, will live in my soul forever. And you wonder why I love storms?
5) Lastly, a sappy one: We are living on McCord Airforce Base, just outside of Tacoma, WA. I am in 3rd grade. We all have to make posters for the energy conservation contest. Someone from each grade will win the amazing prize of a tour of some planes (hey, what else do you do on an air force base), lunch at the Officer's Club, and our picture in the base's weekly newspaper. I really don't want to win as winning will call attention to me. I am nothing if not shy. I come up with a picture that I am sure will lose, as I am not sure if anyone will get the joke. It is a lamp in sunglasses on an end table saying, "Hey, man, keep me cool!" (Hey, man, it is the mid '70s.) I arrive at school the day they announce the winners, a bunch of my classmates drag me over to the window. (It is before school is open for the day and everyone coming early hangs out, playing on the playground, unsupervised, of course.) There, written on the board in large letters is "Congratulations, Diana!". Yup. Best laid plans and all that. So I win, get the grand prize ( I still have the clipping of the picture in the newspaper somewhere), including seeing inside a cargo plane, and a club sandwich at the Officer's Club. In the picture, I am grinning fit to bust. Guess it was not so bad to be the center of attention that one time, after all.
So there. A few of the things that shaped me. Nothing life threatening, unlike my poor sister who ate some sort of red berry that might have been yew and had to go to the ER to vomit it all out. Just wholesome. Makes you wonder where I get the sarcasm.
Probably from my German thighs.
I will not formally tag anyone but will, again, love to read anyone else's. Well, I lie. I will plead for Stacy
to share some of her childhood antics, like the one involving the rocks and vehicles, and the arson one, and the lunch box one, and there was the time she and her poor sisters played missionary. She really needs to blog about those. She also needs not to feel she must limit herself to 5.
Labels: I Am A Sheep (Memes), Past Life/Life Past