Monday, February 4, 2008

How Did I Get Here, Where am I Going? A Serial

I was born July 14, 1963. I really don’t remember much of my early years. I do remember intentionally crawling under a moving swing – one of those two-seater jobs. It knocked me out. Other memories are hard to come by until I was 4 years old. Then I remember pre-school, where we drove around in little pedal cars and took naps. I think I will begin with the memories of a 5-year-old.

I was always obsessed with blocks. Lincoln Logs, Legos, Tinker Toys, and any other building toys that never caught on. While I loved to build with these toys, I was happy just to lay them out on the ground and design with them that way. As I got older, I got all kinds of games for Christmas and Birthdays, yet instead of reading directions and inviting other kids over to play these games with me, I would just use the parts and make designs with them. I was quite a fan of Spirograph, too.

In the photo shown, I have just turned eight and I don’t look too happy about it. I don’t know why. I am at my Grandmother’s house, one of my favorite places in the entire world to be. Lord knows what I would give up just to have a day to play in her house right now.

There was very little that was off limits in that house – only my Grandfather’s closet and underwear drawer. Everywhere else was like a fantasy land for me.

Of all of my Grandmother’s belongings, my favorite "toys" were her beautiful handkerchiefs. I don’t recall how many she owned, it felt like dozens. I will never forget one with an ivory Dogwood blossom on a dark brown background. I used to lay out these hankies in all sorts of patterns: light to dark, pinks and purples, pastels, primary colors. Then I would arrange them much as I would arrange a quilt now.

Then there was the drawer of costume jewelry. I loved to match the rhinestone brooches up with the hankies. I was dizzy with color!

Even the candy drawer kept me mesmerized. How beautiful those nasty orange Circus Peanuts were placed against the even nastier chalky pink peppermint tablets.

Another day, I would pull out all of her bitty fabric samples. My Grandmother was a large woman who found it difficult to find clothing in stores and who probably was at her most comfortable in stretchy polyester clothes. Every few weeks, my Grandmother would receive catalogs and fabric samples from companies that manufactured highly unattractive dresses and pantsuits. My Grandmother saved all of these swatches for me, and I would spend hours rearranging these bits into "quilts". All of these fabrics were singularly ugly, but once the herringbones were placed next to the limes and fuschias, they all became beautiful.

Perhaps it was on Fridays, that I pulled out the greeting card collection. My Grandmother bought the things in bulk. Twenty-five or 30 to a box, these things covered weddings, deaths, birthdays, Easter, Mother’s Day, etc. What do you think I did with the cards?

Next Monday, we will take a trip to my other Grandmother’s house.

1 comment:

Misplaced said...

We were born around the same time- I love the pants- I don't think I owned a pair. I was more of a velor shirt kind of guy with yellow jeans. The late sixties /early seventies were the best!!!!