Tag Archives: childhood

1569. A birthday treat

(The closing sentence for this story was suggested by Alex of Alex Raphael.)

Now that I’m older (I should perhaps say “old) I look back at my childhood and marvel. There were four of us, Natalie, Bevin, Cordelia, and myself. Our parents didn’t have much to go on. Dad was injured in the First World War and was frequently in hospital. It was his knees. Our mother made ends meet by cleaning other people’s houses. But us kids never went without.

When I say “never went without” I don’t mean luxuries like ice cream and vacations in Paris, I mean we had enough food (usually), and clothes to keep us warm, and school stuff. I realize now that our parents frequently went without themselves.

It was my eighth birthday. We never got much for our birthday, except perhaps a special cake our mother would bake, or maybe some homemade party hats, or some oranges. It was always a treat. On this particular birthday all four of us kids were messing around down at the creek, and we heard our mother call “Yoo-hoo, children!” It was a hot summer’s day. It was cool messing down in the creek.

“Yoo-hoo, children! Yoo-hoo!”

“What is it?” we called.

“Yoo-hoo children! I have a treat! It’s a watermelon!”

A watermelon! We’d never had a watermelon before! We started running immediately.

1345. The downs of childhood

Karl lost his mother when he was three years old. Now he was seven. His father had married again a year after Karl’s mother died. The step-mother was not very nice, and had three children of her own who were a little bit older than Karl. There was Margarette, Suzette and Angelo. Karl didn’t have any brothers or sisters of his own.

One day at school, Karl’s teacher dropped dead in the classroom. Just like that. It was very traumatic. The whole class got free counselling. Then Karl got his foot jammed while playing outside and he had to have his leg in plaster for six weeks.

When his father suffered severe injuries in a car accident, Karl was looked after by his step-mother. That was when the most horrible thing in his life happened. It made all other tragedies look like nothing.

His step-sister, Suzette, told him that Santa Claus was not true.

Poem 77: Now that summer’s over

Now that summer’s over
I’m a season older, and find
each summer season mines
less memories. It’s kind of sad
to think of times we had.
The heat-strewn days were glad when we
were children; so carefree,
chasing bees, climbing trees – the days
all melded in a haze
of ever-sunshine glaze. And yet…

It’s easy to forget
age casts far wider nets to catch
a varied vaster batch
of joys than those dispatched to girls
and boys. For in life’s twirl
of memory there swirls wise dreams
far deeper, so it seems,
than younger days we deem as fine.
Here, in my autumn time,
(I thank this God of mine) there calls
no need to live it all again.

 

(Based on the Vietnamese luc bat poetic form. For those who don’t know, I usually challenge myself with a weekly poem using a set poetic form each month).

145. Childhood landscape

145childhood

Leonard had always boasted to his three kids about where he grew up as a child. It was way in the boonies, in the whop-whops, beyond the black stump, in the sticks, in the outback, way up country. It was beautiful. It was a two hour drive to the nearest shop.

They lived in a river valley, full of trees, and grass, and mountain views. Fresh air! They would ride horses to their tiny rural, single-teacher school. It was an idyllic life on the farm. The sun always shone, so it seemed.

Down the valley flowed a wandering river. They would catch eels there, and trout, and fresh-water crayfish.

It caused a great deal of excitement when driving one summer to visit grandma in the far north. Leonard decided to detour and show his kids his place of childhood.

Soon we will be there…

It’s just around the next corner…

And there it was! Spread below them from their mountain view! A huge hydro dam! The river had been bulldozed, and the entire childhood farm lay drowned under water. Machines had left scars everywhere. The place was a mess. A huge landscape dump, with wires, and pylons, and all that stuff.

It didn’t stop Leonard in the future from boasting to his three kids about where he grew up as a child. It was way in the boonies, in the whop-whops, beyond the black stump, in the sticks, in the outback, way up country. It was beautiful.

“In your dreams, Dad. In your dreams,” said Leonard’s three kids.