Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Memories in a Hand Drawn Blueprint

One of the activities I did for my homework for my telecoaching class was to draw the floor plan of my childhood home.  Since I grew up in a lot of different homes as an Air Force Brat, I wasn't sure which home I would remember most clearly or which would be the most evocative as far as memories go.

I drew one for each place I have lived (several posts under the tag "Nostalgia" are about these places with Google Earth pictures).  A couple of interesting things happened for me.  First, it was interesting to really think about what I could remember of the places I have lived.  I remember 3 major childhood homes, and one other that I have a vague sense of where things were located, but more memories of the outside of the apartment building and the places we played.

The house that I used in my conversation was the first house I lived in until I was 6 years old.  My memory is filled with sensory moments - mostly visual snapshots.  Most vividly, I remember helping my mother make the beds.  She had a moss green chenille bedspread that had lighter, almost lime green fringe around the edges (it was the late 60s, early 70s).  I remember holding the ends of the bedspread and we would throw the fabric up to catch the air and I remember the sun shining through the windows, through the fabric and how safe I felt and how much I wanted to be like my mother.  I remember longing to go to school.  I remember the little alcove just inside the front door where we had a wooden carving of a siamese cat.  The doorbell rang from that alcove and I always thought it came from the cat statue.  I remember my dad bringing home a beagle puppy in his jacket pocket and him showing her to us right there in the doorway near that alcove.  

We had a room in that house and the apartment we lived in when we were on base housing in Germany, that we called "the little bedroom".  It was where we had a small TV, my mom's sewing machine, a couch that pulled out and our 8 track stereo.  My favorite tape was Kenny Rogers and the First Edition's Greatest Hits (the silver one that you can't really find anymore but that I have on vinyl).  My other favorite was the Fifth Dimension.  I remember dancing around helping my mother clean the house - I loved to help her dust with Pledge on all our wooden tables.  **Flash - just now I remember one time laying under our coffee table and drawing on the bottom with chalk.  When we moved, I was afraid my parents would be mad at me, but they weren't .  I had used chalk and it brushed off.

I remember the back yard with the swings and squirrels who lived in the porch.  I remember one time, I got in trouble and sent to my room.  I lay on my bed, but I was so scared of my mom being mad at me that I snuck outside and saw a beautiful flower - it was bright orange and yellow (I think it was a clematis  or amaryllis).  I didn't want my mother to be mad anymore, so I picked it for her.  When I gave it to her, I remember her just hugging me and letting me come out of my room.  Later, she told me that she knew it had come from our yard because that was the only plant around the city like that.  I remember we had a beautiful wisteria and my mom was so proud of that tree.

When we were getting ready to move, I took small treasures and hid them around the area.  I knew that we wouldn't be coming home for a long time, so I hid a Playskool plastic trike looking thing that was painted like a giraffe and hid it in the bushes at the doctor's office.  I took dolls that were not my favorite and hid them behind the garage in the back yard and in the bushes around that doctor's office.  It was a big black building with lots of shrubs along the walkway.  If any kids ever looked in there, they found a treasure trove waiting for me to return to it.

One time, my cousins came to visit us - I was about 4 or so.  We all went to the City Park that was across the medical center/doctor's office parking lot and across one more street.  We would say it was "kitty corner" to the house.  There were the 3 boy cousins, my sister, the dads and the moms.  We played on the swings and then finally, the dads said they would push us on the merry-go-round.  We gathered quite a crowd of people - lots of kids on the wooden toy.  The dads pushed and pushed and somehow, I let go and fell off, the centrifugal force pulling me under the merry-go-round.  I had rolled and ended up face down on the ground with the wooden merry-go-round whizzing past me, slapping me on the behind the whole time.  After what seemed like a long time, laying face down in the dirt, the dads got the thing stopped and pulled me out.  I don't remember if I was crying or not, but my dad carried me back home.  My mom had me change into my nightgown and as they were all sitting around shooting the breeze, they sent me over to my dad who took me over his knee, face down and spent the next however long pulling splinter after splinter out of my poor red behind.  Even at that age, I was horrified that they were all so casually sitting there chatting while my behind was exposed to everyone.  I loved my father for not hurting me while he was pulling the jillions of splinters out, but I hated him for doing it in front of other people.  

Happier memory - we used to take wax paper to the City Park and sit on it as we rode down the slide to make it go faster.  I loved to do that.  The more you waxed it, the faster you would go down the slide.  We used to go to the "Recreation Center" that was there and do crafts.  I learned to make potholders and did macrame, painted, made popsicle stick art and went to Shakey's Pizza for a party.  I remember that trip because Chicago's "Saturday in the Park" was popular and I got a migraine and threw up on the bus ride home.  

Good times.  Goal:  Get some of the slides scanned so I can add them to the posts.  Visuals help. :)  

[The photo is me in first grade.]

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