Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Memory for a Friend...

A dear friend of mine, who lives in Sri Lanka, once told me that she comes to my Blogs but is somewhat surprised to find that there are very few entries about my childhood. We have been exchanging stories over the past few months and her memories of her own early times are sweet, funny and captivating.
She tells of games made up with her friends, pranks pulled and scrapes that left minor scars ~ and I'm sure that any of us reading this can relate to all of that!
Nowadays, we both agree, children are not always allowed to use their imaginations, much to my own dismay...being an Artist all my life I have wonderful recollections of made-up stories that I lived out, Faerie Tales that came true and the Muse that I have always followed in my own life. It would certainly have been a shame if I had not passed this on to my own children, and looking back on their younger days I can safely report that I did just that. Their own memories are happy ones indeed ~ and not all filled with Nintendo and PlayStation, reality TV or boring Anime.
I promised my friend that I would begin writing more of my own memories here in this Blog, and today is the first day of more of that...
As I sit here thinking of all that I can remember, so many times of my life come flashing before my mind's eye, and I cannot choose just one to write about. There is a general idea that I would like to get across, tho', so I think I'll just start with that.
We live in the suburbs of Detroit, MI, and parts of our neighborhood are quite rural. As we drive along, I like to observe what is "out there" (when I'm not the driver, of course, lol) and one thing that always fascinates me is the old farm equipment that people have adapted to decorate their property. There is one old house nearby that keeps an old water pump and a wagon-type trailer in the front yard, repainted in bright colors and no longer in practical use...but their very presence brings to mind old-time images of days gone by when such implements were considered necessities.
My old backyard had a wagon-trailer just like the one in this yard ~ painted dark green and fitted with two giant wheels, one on each side, a long hook-up handle in the front for connecting to the back of a car. My Dad kept it on the side of our old one-car garage and my Mom kept it "off-limits" to our play. Of course, we paid no attention to that rule! Daily, five of us would climb into it (there were six of us children in the family) and one would remain stationed at the front end.
When everyone was safely inside, being careful not to scrape arms and legs (the wood was not sanded ~ just painted), we would all huddle at one end. The person on the outside would then tip the wagon to the other side and we would all go tumbling and sliding down to the down-turned end, laughing and falling over each other as we went.
Unfortunately, however, the bad part was that the non-sanded wood of the wagon would tend to leave slivers in anyone's skin who was not safely covered up; sadly for yours truly, there was more than one occasion when this was the case...but it never stopped me from doing it again the very next day.
As you can well imagine, my Mom was never happy with us whenever she could catch us playing in this old trailer and finally, to her own delight, my Dad decided at last to re-do the entire yard.
He had crews come in to install a brand new chain-link fence, a new 2.5 car garage and a brand new driveway to match...and that was the sad end to our trailer. My Mom made sure that it was taken away, never to be seen again. We do, however, have pictures of the old garage being hauled away down the unpaved street that was the path to our fantasies of so many years ago.
When the men were laying the groundwork for all of these new goodies, which of course included brand new sod and garden space for flowers, they put down stakes and string for leveling the yard and this was what gave my parents the idea for a brand new brainchild that would go on to become the source of unlimited pleasure for many more years of playtime fun.
What could be more inspirational than that!?
How wonderful, how magical, how incredibly FUN!!!
And that was how we ended up with the best backyard in the entire neighborhood...a huge play area that my Dad told the crews to leave filled with sand...about ten x twenty feet in diameter, and extending even further back behind the garage.
He later told us that the idea had come to him as he watched us out there playing in all that sand while the men were busy elsewhere, and when it was time to leave certain areas so they could lay sod, cement, or whatever, we would very reluctantly get up and leave our "playground".
Of course, part of our new sand box was taken up by the brand new swing set ~ *grin* ~ but who could resist such a yard as this, eh?
Not me...
And even today as I remember all the good times we had back there, safely under my Mom's watchful gaze, I wish I could go back to the "wonder" that was our backyard. I am now and will always be grateful to my parents for allowing us to exercise our imaginations when we were children. It was by far the best childhood that I could have ever wanted.
Every boy and girl should have the same magic...

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