Thursday, March 8, 2007

Precious Memories

I finally got to actually see Roommate yesterday. We did end up moving the tv over adjacent to the kitchen and flipping the couch around. Now the tiny dining table and chairs are over where the tv used to be. The big chair continues to be a problem, but we did discover that my window seat is the perfect place to store videos and dvds. I have a lot of old, rare, recorded-from-television-broadcasting stuff. Like Pinocchio in Space for example. As well as about six different versions of Cinderella. Because five just weren't enough for my family, apparently. The majority of these videos were recorded by Mama and Aunt Ann (Mama's lil' sister), I guess as emergency entertainment in case us kids tried to stage a mutiny or something. Or possibly to keep us out of the Giant Aqueduct of Doom that was in my childhood backyard.
Y'know, looking back, I had a pretty awesome childhood backyard. It was almost an acre and there were two levels. The upper level was a covered patio off the back of the house. There was a very short set of steps down to the lower level, I think like four or five steps. I'm sure I fell down them at some point. The lower level consisted of a large number of different fruit trees as well as not a few walnut trees. Now, walnut trees are just about the greatest kinds of trees to have if you're a kid. They are big and have thick, spreading branches that just beg for tree houses to be built in them (As a side note, I think that it's rather telling of our evolutionary history that kids always want to reside in trees). We had one tree house in the tree furthest from the house. The absolute best way to pass the seemingly endless hours of the day was to have walnut fights with the neighborhood kids. A few kids would get to be up in the tree house (usually myself, I've always been bossy) and the rest of the kids would be on the ground. There was really no rhyme or reason to these fights, no real goals beyond pelting someone with an unripe walnut. For those of you who are not in-the-know, an unripe walnut has an incredibly hard green casing around it, but it is smooth. Much easier to throw, and not so many injuries that bled, like if you got hit with a ripe, uncased, sharp walnut shell. There were just lots of bruises, which are much easier to excuse to parents. A bruised child doesn't need much explaining, whereas a bleeding child causes all kinds of inquisitions.
Another great way to entertain ourselves was exploring the aforementioned Giant Aqueduct of Doom. This was, for all intents and purposes, a strictly forbidden area for my brother and I. So naturally we were constantly enamored of its murky, cobwebbed depths. It extended completely down one side of our backyard. Half of it was an open, concrete-lined ditch, complete with standing water and tadpoles. The other half was an underground tunnel. It was only wide enough to hunch our way down, being very careful not to touch the walls, until we reached the street in front of the house. At that point, the tunnel drastically narrowed and became even more cobwebby. My brother and I spent many an hour conspiring to get into that tunnel undetected. We were hardly ever successful, which I think also contributed to the appeal.
We also had a rickety playground/swing set. It had a slide, which Mama contends that I once tried to ride a tricycle down. It also had a strange bench-facing-bench swing that, if we stood with one foot on each bench and got it swinging hard enough, had the potential to tip over the whole set. I don't recall that we ever did knock the set over, but there is a strong possibility that we did. We had an above ground pool too. I really don't remember a time in my childhood when swimming was not an everyday activity. We always had a pool (in 125 degree weather, everyone did) and my Nana lived on the beach. In spite of this, and of living in a town that not only contained a lake, but that was named after said lake, the one and only time I ever went into that lake was involuntarily. I still don't like lakes, they just make me squiggy.

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