Sunday, October 02, 2016

Another Rare Bird

Immature White-crowned Sparrow
No, not the sparrow... I lived in the center house  from the time of my earliest memories 'til I was 8 or so. It was my grandparent's home and our family lived upstairs. 

The house to the right as you face them, the downhill side, housed two elderly ladies, sisters I think. The lower enclosed porch was open then, with huge hydrangeas burgeoning over the railing. Snowball bushes they called them. For some reason I hated them....maybe because the flowers were usually green, rather than resembling snow in any manner. I wonder if those ladies enjoyed the daily....or oftener...visits of brother and me, when we whiled away the summer hours, regaling them with our adventures and listening to their stories. It was a real old fashioned porch of the sort songs are written about today, where people sat and watched their world go by and neighbored.

Between that house and home was a row of lilacs where we sometimes tied the egregiously naughty hound dogs we always had. I remember one that ate the linoleum under the kitchen sink.......Down at the bottom of the block i was bitten in the face by a dog. My own fault . Guess he didn't want to be hugged by a strange kid.

Next to our house was a wide bed of lilies of the valley, which we were allowed to pick to our hearts' content. We knew just how to pull them smoothly out of their sheath of leaves so that they had a nice, long stem. I never smell their heavenly scent or see their fragile bells without remembering my father's mother.

The backyard was an entire world to my brother and me. We played there endlessly, running under the sprinkler when grandpa watered the lawn, and building tiny forts for our toys among the roots of the giant maple trees. We rode horses and shot toy guns and were cowboys and such, with no thought for political correctness, which hadn't been invented yet. 

The street in front was lined with other massive maples; indeed the street at the top of the block was Maple Street. Under their shade we pounded caps on the sidewalk with stones to get a bang, if our latest cap guns were broken again. My brother was coordinated enough to light matches (a skill I later acquired) so we could fire up those black pills that turned into "snakes" of ash too. All the kids had them, and sparklers every 4th. Somehow we managed to survive, with only memories to show for our daring.

At the very top of the hill was our school, to which we walked each day.

At the bottom was a corner store selling any grocery you could ask for. Malls were a thing of the future, and family-run groceries were a staple of small town life. We walked there too, with a quarter for a quart of milk or a loaf of bread. There was usually a reward of penny candy for the gofers from the change.

We had everything that kids could ask for. Aunties downstairs who spoiled us silly. Uncles in the military who came home every now and then with tales and souvenirs of exotic locations. We didn't understand the danger they were facing, but we enjoyed the celebrations and family meals eaten downstairs with the grandparents when they came home.

We were free to come and go pretty much as we pleased. No internet. No TV or not very often, except for grandpa's, always tuned to Yankees baseball until the Mets came along.

Those were the post war days when America was a pretty lively place. I don't remember grownups paying us a whole lot of attention, although they certainly must have, as we grew up to be more or less civilized. 

Anyhow, i hunted down a street view of the old house just for the heck of it, and the past was just unleashed for a minute.


A. Montgomery said...

I'm looking for the picture. You were being watched. Your Aunties and I took turns. We did have a wonderful life, didn't we> Love Mom

Tewshooz said...

That description brought back memories. That was my childhood, too. I ache just thinking about those good times. For me, it was Long Island, NY. Thanks for the memories.

threecollie said...

Mom, click the link in the text and you will see it. Love you

Tewshooz, we grew up in a world that is not only gone, but mostly forgotten now. Thanks for visiting.

Terry and Linda said...

I had a wonderful life like your also. I played outside BY MYSELF or with my brothers all the time. There were swings to swing in, the creek to wade in (without life jackets mind you)the orchards to walk in, bikes to name.
Our children had the same experiences only a little different because of where we live on the a different type of farm.

Today kids are encourage to GO OUTSIDE and PLAY for 60 minutes...without an electronic in their hands. Sigh.


threecollie said...

Linda, sad isn't it? We did most of the same things. How many thousand miles I traveled on my tire swing. It was every kind of horse there is! I am thankful that Peggy can have some of the same experiences, although of course she is far too small to out by herself yet. Still she goes to the barn every day and has exciting adventures.