My friend's house was all kinds of fun. They had horses in their pasture to pet and feed sugar cubes to out of our flat palms, a real barn, and a friendly red Doberman named Jake who ate horse poop and then let out big, smelly gas bombs. There were loud hard core wrestling matches on the living room floor and running races on the back lawn that left me breathless. They had a big extended Italian family filled with Vanessas and Angelicas and Vivianas and a kitchen table loaded with homemade ravioli and spaghetti on Friday nights. There were apple trees with hard little green apples that we tasted over and over again waiting for the sweetness to arrive and garden beds brimming with marigolds that we pulled apart for their seeds, saving the long seed pods in glass baby food jars to plant in the spring. There were messy closets to hide in and big shady evergreen trees out front to pretend under and a big lawn with old fashioned chug chug sprinklers to run through when it got too hot to bear.
Our house held its own collection of charms, including an old spray booth room in the garage that my parents converted into a play house for me, filled with doll beds and a high chair and a little rug on the floor where we'd play for hours. Our garage was also sometimes home to deer my dad had hunted, strung up upside down from the rafters while he dressed them and us kids stared in morbid curiosity. And once, to a moving blanket full of baby snakes in shock to be shaken from their nest. We had a big billy goat, appropriately named Billy, in our pasture, who loved to be scratched between his horns. Billy came home in the backseat of our brown Mercedes when he was just five days old, on my six year old lap. There are pictures of him barely bigger than my easter basket, and I fed him milk from a glass Seven-Up bottle with a big black nipple attached. When I got the chicken pox, my mom let Billy come in the house to keep me company where he sideways jumped on the sofa and skidded over the coffee table and left brown goat pellets behind. He grew up huge, with big curved pointed and ringed brown horns, and loved to wrestle with my father and butt against his legs with his big goat head, while always remembering to be gentle with me.
|Billy & me|
|Always a purple bike|
|Quack & Splash|
I loved my mom and dad inch worming me to bed each night.
But then, one day, my parents sat me down in that living room and told me that they were divorcing. My dad moved to an apartment a few miles away, complete with a waterbed for him and his new girlfriend, a pinball machine in the living room, a pillow chair, and sleeping bag weekends on the floor.
I can still remember the phone number to our little house, the ivy filled front yard, the olive green carpeting and the oven that sat on a drop down table instead of being built in. I clearly recall being so little that the doorknob in the bathroom was taller than I was. I remember when summer felt like it lasted forever. I remember my puppy growing up and my daddy moving away.
But that first house, that house was childhood. My being was wrapped around its rooms, caught up in its pasture, sewn up in its walls. It belonged to a time before the world became real, when it only existed there, in my imagination, when I believed that everything would always remain the same...that little girls would take forever to grow up, that puppies and goats would never grow old, that daddies would always love you.
I was so very lucky to have it.
This post inspired by Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writing Workshop.