Thursday, July 07, 2005

Three Acres of Childhood

The lovely and bodacious Lisa tagged me for a meme, one that's had me thinking. And thinking, and thinking, and....

The rules of this meme are as follows:

Remove the blog at number 1 and bump everyone up one place. Add your blog's name in the number 5 spot. Link to each of the other blogs for the desired mingling.

1) Shellubra
2) Moments in Time
3) Ringmaster Lily
4) Bored Housewife
5) Mona's Barbaric Yawp

Next, select new friends to add to the fun (no purchase necessary, no obligation, money-back guarantee). Sorry if you've already done this meme and I've forgotten, I'll try not to make you do double-duty:

1) Marcheline of Mental Meatloaf
2) Cynical Girl at HCPR2.0
3) Orange at OrangeTangerine
4) Sergei at Lowland Seed (when you get back to blogging, honey)

Lastly, answer this question: What five things do you miss about your childhood?

I was born on the east coast, lived there a few years, and then my family moved back to Michigan, to the country. Which simply rocked, people, rocked in ways that instills a sort of creativity in those folks willing to get off their asses and DO something, when you're surrounded by fields and trees and afternoons of your own imagination.

1) Summers Off. I realize now, as an adult, that if I'd played my cards right, I could have been a teacher and actually had summers off as an adult. Uh, perhaps in my next life. As a kid, there was nothing more magical than 3 whole months off, sleeping in, staying up late. There were always things to do, ya know, mow the lawn or work in the gardens (my parents were cruel and thought THREE gardens would be good...mmm...yeah....okay). Regardless, there was ample time for making tents in the backyard with blankets strung over the clothesline, and rocks holding down the corners. Making big jugs of kool-aid and pans of chocolate chip cookies (I'd saved enough money to buy a kool-aid canteen, which was the coolest thing a kid could own, back in the day in the country). Squirting my siblings with the hose, and playing hide-and-seek in between the peony bushes. At night, we'd stay up super late, watching the star clusters move across the sky. We'd make real popcorn: big pot on the stove...oil and butter...pour in the popcorn...let it pop...oops!...not too long...then pour it in a bowl...THEN...for the finale...while the pot was still hot, we'd throw half a stick of butter in there to melt, and pour it over the popcorn, with some salt. And sit and watch the night sky, in the warm breeze, and wonder if we could ever touch the moon.

2) Having Tons of Family Nearby. I had sixteen cousins on my dad's side, with 5 aunts and 5 uncles, and a grandma, and everyone lived within 10 miles of each other. There was always something going on, some party or corn roast or 'come-over-'n-play' thing. We loved and tolerated each other, we threw rocks and pledged our eternal love. We were tied by life and death. As adults, when we see each other, even though it's been years and lifetimes, we still hug and kiss and it feels like summer at the lake with them. Vanilla ice cream and styrofoam floats and sandbars and lemonade.

3) Dime Stores. The smell...AH...the smell! Absolutely nothin' in the whole frickin' wide world smells like the inside of a Dime Store. If you're too young to remember, or maybe they called them something different where you grew up, Dime Stores were the local "everything" store, before Walmart invaded the world. They had whatever you needed, and it was all super-cheap. Always with an upstairs and a basement. Always creaking wooden floors. A bit of dust, why not. Doilies and buttons and shirts and glassware. Downstairs...OOH!...the toy department! I cried and whined and finally, for my sixth birthday, got a dress-up set of plastic high-heeled shoes, jewelry, and a crown. I was the proudest girl around! The highlight, though, was the candy counter. My love affair with the sweet stuff was conceived standing in front of the glass cabinets stuffed full of chocolate-covered raisins, Smartees, Maple Nut Goodies, bubble gum, taffy, red hots...more...more...endless supplies of everything I loved. Whenever I went to the Dime Store with my grandma, she'd always get chocolate cream drops. They looked like little chocolate nipples, stuffed with the sweetest, most sublime white confection. I always opted for bridge mix...little o' this...little o'that. We'd walk to the cash register with our white paper sacks of chocolates, plunk down our quarters and dimes, and walk out onto the sun-soaked sidewalk, where we'd sneak bites and nibbles on the way to the park.

4) Fresh Fruits and Veggies...REALLY Fresh. Those endless gardens to be tended yielded the most succulent produce imaginable. We'd go out while dinner was underway and pick fresh sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, tiny green onions, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, string beans, pregnant pods of sweet peas, cucumbers, carrots. The big ones would go in the house. The small things, the beans and peas and carrots and cherry tomatoes, we'd just rub the dirt off on our shirts and stick one o' those warm veggies in our mouths and chew, slowly, tasting the summer. After dinner we might go to the orchard and pick a plum or apple or peach or pear right off the tree. And bite down on the smooth flesh and let the juice run down our chins. Or grab a handful of sour cherries from the tree, pop the swollen red balls in our mouths, and magically produce a pit, clinging piteously to a stem. Strawberries fresh by the handful. Nowadays, as a adult, the only strawberries I have are measly half-rotten things at the grocery store, that last exactly 3 hours before they have to be thrown out.

5) Sleeping Well. I loved staying up late as a child, even if it was just lying quietly in my bed. We had no air conditioning, so in summer we'd have screens in the windows, and the night breezes wafted in and rustled our sweaty bodies, our clinging hair, and the crickets and bullfrogs would sing and keep time with the temperature. In the winter, the frost would build on the windows, and the occasional plane overhead would echo lonely and expectant in the sky above us. The tv antennae tower was right outside my window, and the cord linking it to the television would hum all frozen, and make a sound like an alien baritone, like that instrument called a theremin which is played by moving your hand between two electrodes. I had a big, soft bed, and gentle noises to fall asleep to, and I dreamed a lot (and remembered them the next day!) and had nothing to worry about to keep me awake.

M'kay, now I'm all nostalgic and squeepy and distracted. With a hankerin' for a white paper bag full of maple nut goodies.


At 8:29 AM, Blogger your fiend, mr. jones said...

I couldn't follow the instructions on the blog listing part, because I'm very old, but the missing the childhood thing- that I got.

Most of these have to do with the summer.

1) Buying comic books at the Pic-N-Pac. Okay, maybe this is just my age talking but wasn't there a time where there convenience stores that weren't part of gi-normous corporate chains. In Mississippi, in the little town I grew up in, there was a neighborhood one called "Pic-N-Pac". And they had the best selection of comic books in town. My brother and I would go there with other fiends and get comics and Icees during the summer. It was great.

2) Walking barefoot in the summer. Jeez, what's up with my feet? I can barely get out of the front door before my feet are screaming for some kind of covering. When I was young, did I have some sort of special foot pad that has eroded with age??? Walking barefoot was so convenient.

3) Trees could be hideouts and sewer tunnels could be too. Nuff said.

4) Making ice cream. As God is my witness, I will own an ice-cream maker and make homemade ice cream.
Before the future Joneses are brought into the world.

5)The Gong Show and Sanford and Son reruns. There was a summer my brother and I watched these shows religiously, then went out to play. I know I can watch these now on cable, but somehow they don't play as well. Especially since viewing "Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind".

At 4:23 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

da-aaaaaaaaaaamn, that was awesome!!! I loved reading about your childhood, and found myself saying, "well, yeah...that's what I meant..." heh. You must have lived in a city on the east coast...? I lived in the country, there, so my childhood was a lot like yours. Grammie across the street, cousins the next house up, all of us on a private road about 1/4 mile from a sand beach at the ocean...poor as hell, too. :)

you're a good sport, and you rocked it, Mona!!!!!!

At 8:00 PM, Blogger Pisser said...

That kicked butt. I trust you're re-creating some of this for your little ones!

I miss penny candy. We used to go to the pharmacy and load up on Jolly Rachers 'n shit. That was mighty fine. And my grandma Betty would buy me whole, adult-sized candy bars. Now I'm diabetic, but happy ;)

Did you read "The Second Worst Beating I Ever Got" over at Buggydoo? I loved her descriptions of the garden as well as your'n :)

At 11:51 PM, Blogger Mona Buonanotte said...

Mr. Jones: That's funny, 'cause most of mine had to do with summer. Is that what we remember most about childhood, the summers off? Interesting.... Oh yeah, the bottoms of my feet used to be think like a Birkenstock, and now I step on a piece of dirt and go..."OOH! That hurt!" I'm a sissy now. (And I did see 'Confessions...Mind' because I have a secret crush on Sam Rockwell...shhh...don't tell.)

Lisa: Thanks, lady! Yeah, a city, not a HUGE one, but still pretty durn big. Growing up in the country is da best, innit? Esp. with a gramma who constantly has candy...mmm....

Pisser: Yes! I did read 'Second Worst Beating', and laughed my ass off! 'Cause that's what kids do! (I'm just waiting for that fateful day when one of our kids does something drastic...not that I'm looking forward to it, but it's bound to happen!)

At 2:18 PM, Blogger Orange said...

I am working on my version, but damn, I sure can't top your idyllic American childhood. I can write mine today if Ben will watch a DVD or something. Summer is too short if you're a kid, but it sure is looong if you're the kid's mom...

At 2:44 PM, Blogger annush said...

I just really wish I was a child.
It's not even because I miss it but because I am tired of adult life!!

and to think I have at least 50 more years of this to look forward to...

At 2:44 PM, Blogger annush said...

I just really wish I was a child.
It's not even because I miss it but because I am tired of adult life!!

and to think I have at least 50 more years of this to look forward to...


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