Monday, May 15, 2006

Warm evenings and feeling nostalgic

The weather is warm and the flowers are in full bloom with such colorful fragrances of my childhood.

It instantly takes me back from when I was a kid riding my stringray bike, talking on walkie talkies and wearing my hooded sweatshirt just by the hood on my head. My mom would warn us, "Watch out for strangers!" (which seemed like an unusual request now that I think back on it). Sometimes, Terry and I would hide out behind bushes and watch for them. Once we found two men scanning the school yard with their metal detectors and we were quite certain they were going to dig a grave and come back to bury us alive.

I remember riding in the back seat of the family ford station wagon, digging my hands into the back seat hoping to find a dime or two, only to pull up a half-forgotten seat belt. We drank water from the garden hose and drank warm Kool-aid in dixie cups that was left out in the backyard sun waaay too long. We would play all day long and never return home before it got dark where the doors were open and inside the TV light flickered. I remember 5-cent scoops of ice cream at Thriftys were in the shape of a square instead of being round. Instead of ordering two scoops for a dime, we'd order two one-scoops because then we'd have an extra cone! We walked everywhere, or rode our sting-ray bikes with the card attached to the spoke to make it sound like an engine. I had a steering wheel on my bike. We ordered it from the Montgomery Ward catalog. I LOVED that steering wheel until one day in the 5th grade, a fireman came to our school to talk to us about bicycle safety and warned my mom it was unsafe for me to have that on my bike and it was taken off immediately.

We hid in anyone's yard in those days and shouted "Ollie-Ollie-Oxen-Free!" as loud we could when someone kicked over the Folgers coffee can, freeing the captives we worked so hard to find in the early shadows of the summer evening. 'Course no one ever knew what those words meant. Or if we said it correctly. We had school clothes and we had play clothes. We poked holes in lids of mayonnaise jars to house our bugs and poked holes in clay to hold our pencils or make ashtrays for our parents. We made go-carts out of cardboard attached to a wagon and tested it down steep hills. I remember watching Romper Room waiting for Miss Nancy to see me in her magic mirror. I pleaded for her to say my name, but it never happened. Troll dolls and Lucky Rabbits feet lived in our pockets. I remember playing army with the boys and we would pour catsup on Kotex pads and wrap them around our heads and under our chins for bandages. We jumped off of high front porches with umbrellas attempting to fly. We would lay out an old kitchen vinyl table cloth in Terry's front yard and run water out of the garden hose on it and it became our own Slip N Slide.

We fell out of trees. We scraped our knees, but none of us had our eyes poked out or lost an arm if we put it out the car window. And no one sued anyone. And, The Three Stooges didn't turn me into a violent person, though at the time, I misunderstood my 4th grade teacher, Mr. Crabb. I believed him when he warned our class that The Three Stooges teaches us violins, so I took up violin that year in school.

Because of my childhood, I have grown into being a creative, risk-taking, imaginative adult with the ability for fun.

Which reminds me. I need to get outside now and enjoy the daylight before the sun goes down.


Janet said...

OOh...Shawn..this is the best! I'll have to go back and read it over again!!!

danny said...

This is a wonderful post! Wasn't it great to grow up in a non-PC world? I remember my dad or grandpa slamming the brakes and sticking his arm out to block me from hitting the dashboard, or letting me sit on his lap and drive...ahhh those were the days!

Deb Motter said...

OMY Shawn! That's a sweet picture of you! I remember seeing you in the mid 90s and you sported a similiar hair style! :)

My favorite memory that I tell my kids, still, is when you broke tiny pieces of cut colorful glass and placed it in a jar and buried it under your chicken coop in the 6th grade and then burned a fake treasure map around the edges (that you drew) taking us to that buried broken glass treasure.

You somehow got me to find the map and one long hot summer afternoon, we dug and we dug and we finally found the treasure which was the most incredible experience any child could ever have finding.

You seemed as happy and amazed as I was when we dug it up! What an imagination and adventurous spirit you had!

It's wonderful finding you after all these years and I was happy to run into you at the grocery store last week! I always wondered, whatever happened to Shawn Wallace!? Please keep in touch!