Where I come from, it's small town Missouri. Can't be more specific than that, because I am, after all, still in the Blogger Protection Program. But I can elaborate on my idyllic childhood.
To start things off, my daddy was born at home. Yep. In a house. And it was not uncommon. Hospitals, shmospitals...that's the way my family rolled back in the day. I don't mean to put on airs, but I, myself, was born in a hospital. Uh, huh. Miss Fancy Pants Hillbilly Mom 1.0 got a good start in life.
My daddy worked for a drilling company and my momma stayed home to raise my sister and me. We traveled around a bit after Dad got on with Bell Telephone. Poplar Bluff was the farthest we got from my true hometown. That's the SOUTH, baby! Dad would stop the car along the highway and pick up cotton pod thingamabobs that had blown out of trucks, just so my sister and I had something to play with in the back seat. Those pointy pods showed me that pickin' cotton was no picnic. We hauled our house with us, that being a 50-foot two-bedroom trailer that we plopped down in mobile home parks. I didn't have the good sense to be embarrassed. Nobody in my class seemed to be any better off than my family.
Ma Bell was good to the entry-level pole-climbers, and by the time I was in 2nd grade, we were back in my little home town, on a lot next to Daddy's folks, with a concrete patio poured right next to our trailer. Grandma and Grandpa had a regular house. My mom was none too happy on the day she looked over and saw that Grandpa had my sister and me up on top of the roof, putting on new shingles. We were 7 and 5 at the time.
Life on easy street was...well...easy. We walked two blocks away from school to catch the bus to school. That's because you had to live at least a mile away for the bus route. In good weather, we would walk to school, down the street past Fanny Huggins' house, up an alley by a 500-million-volt metal box dealybobber, past the shed with the crazy dog locked in, right by the house of Patty, who the boys declared they wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole, up the hill past Bev's house, proud owner of a flying squirrel, down the hill past the funeral home owner's house, and there we were. School.
School was easy, what with me being a nerdy little brain, always the good kid, a voracious reader, a teacher-pleaser. My greatest embarrassment in elementary was the day I hid behind the door in the girls' bathroom and screamed BOO! at the next person to enter. Who just happened to be my 4th grade teacher. I wanted to die. It was like when June mistakenly sent a slip to school in the present that Beaver gave to Miss Landers.
For fun at home, we rode a wagon down the sidewalk while trying to steer clear of the open sewers on each side. We dug clay out of the creek and made pottery and painted it with watercolors that disappeared the next day as the clay absorbed the once-brilliant hues. We loaded ourselves with BB guns, pillowcases, and umbrellas to play army. Apparently, we were an airborne unit, using those umbrellas as parachutes to disembark from Grandpa's picnic table. We built a tank from a wooden phone booth box that Dad got his hands on. We became instant gymnasts when Grandpa took the metal bar contraption off the back of his pickup truck and set it in the back yard. The girls on our side of the street called a truce with the boys on the other side, just to be a part of history when the boys dug a pit that they called their baseball dugout. In exchange, we made a miniature golf course in the dust and gravel beside the road, a game to be played with marbles and twigs. The truce didn't last forever, though, and a name-calling, bike-swerving battle ensued one evening. Thus was born my most embarrassing moment at home, when I picked up a pebble to fling at a potty-mouthed boy, and it actually hit him in the head. You know how a face wound bleeds. My daddy didn't seem at all impressed that I had hit a moving target, a pin-head, really, with not a hefty chunk of asphalt or granite, but a mere pebble. He squelched my dreams of becoming a Title IX superstar, right there at the apex of my athleticism. And I wasn't even defending my self, but my little sister. My altruism knew no bounds.
Sweet Gummi Mary! This reminiscing sure takes me back! I might get a whole 650-post blog out of it. To be continued...