My earliest memories are from when we lived in our house on Garfield Street in the City. This was before I was forced to grow-up too fast. This was before my school days began, before I had memories of little brothers, and a dog named, "Peppy" and anxiety.
I remember that half-house that we lived in. It was ugly. I remember the yellow, rusty guardrail that was lining the parking lot across the street. I recall playing on the sidewalk. I received a mini, plastic "big wheel" style bike for my birthday when I was 3 years old. I remember how much I loved it. It was shaped like a turtle. The handle bars were yellow and came out of it's head, and the seat was the shell, con caved in the wrong direction. It was a poor pitiful turtle now that I think about it. In the wild it would never have survived. I loved that turtle bike even past my being able to ride it. I was jealous when I outgrew it and my brothers used it. They wore the eyes off, and eventually it cracked, and it broke, and away to the trash it went.
I was always a dirty child. We were poor. Sticks, stones, and mud could entertain for hours. I was always dressed in hand-me-downs, but was not old enough to care. I still like getting dirty. Hiking,Tough Mudder, gardening, ATV riding... dirt is good for the soul. Almost every picture of me from childhood has me in dirty, stained clothes, with an even dirtier face. My mom saved the dresses for church and holidays...but boy could I get dirty!
I remember the neighbor lady. She was someone's Grandma. She just had to be. She was kind, just like my great-grandmothers. I remember her because she gave us something that was rare for us to have in the house. She gave us snacks of fresh fruit. Fresh fruit was expensive. We usually only had apples and bananas (and grapes if they were in season and on sale). I no longer like fresh apples, I rarely eat bananas too... I had them so often as a kid. I still remember the day she held out fresh peaches to my sister and I. She offered us each a HUGE freshly washed peach. It was such a treat! I was able to have a whole peach, and bite right in to it's fuzzy flesh, juice dripping down my chin, and add more beautiful stains to my already dirty shirt. Oh, how wonderful! For that, I have never forgotten that neighbor.
I remember Cheerios in Tupperware cups in the mornings. I remember watching Sesame Street until Mommy woke. I remember climbing over the baby gate to sneak in to the kitchen with my sister, where we would put paper cups of orange juice in the refrigerator to freeze in to popsicles. Surprise, Mom! We made our own treat! We most likely made a mess too, being only 3 & 4 years old.
I remember the bedrooms and bathroom. I remember cutting myself on my dad's razor when he left it out on the sink one day. It was a white pedestal sink. I remember my mom scolding me for touching it. I remember the bunk beds that were against the wall with the window. Those bunk beds were solid wood, and very sturdy. They became my little brothers' beds 2 houses later. I remember that my parents' bedroom was incredibly small.
I also remember the window where I got my hand stuck, resulting in my first X-ray. My father was an X-ray Tech at the hospital, and often worked evenings and overnights. I went to look out the window which was propped open with a board. It was summer, and A/C was unheard of, and we were poor. I placed my hand too far to the side, knocking the board out of the window, which slammed down on to my other hand. It was an old, heavy window. My mother had to search and search for a crowbar to pry the window off of my hand, as I remained there stuck and crying out. My dad took the X-ray. I remember thinking "they are putting my hand on a plate". I was so young that the bones were still so soft that they did not break. My hand appeared bent out of shape, but it was not broken, and it healed.
That same window was where I saw the "ghost". I woke one night. I was sitting up in my bottom bunk when I saw a figure pass through that window, straight to my bedroom door and out it. I froze. I sat there in my bed, frozen, for a while, until I was sure it was gone. I then ran screaming and crying to my parents room. It is the only time I can remember sleeping in my parents bed. My dad walked the house, up and down the hall, down the stairs and back up. With each step he continued to pray. I can still hear the sound of his voice praying. Praying over the house, and praying over our safety. Til this day, I pray over my home. When I can't sleep at night, I often walk through out the house praying from room to room. I pray for my family's safety, for guidance, for healing, for whatever is on my heart... but I make sure that every corner of the house is covered in prayer.
I remember my dad coming home late and waking us up to make us milkshakes, chocolate milkshakes, while mom slept. He worked a lot, and took college classes, so time with us was rare. I remember back then, feeling loved by my dad. I realize now how stressed he must have been, and that as we got older life was more difficult for him. But when I was little, I remember the good times. I remember him playing with us. I remember that he loved taking pictures of us, and he would have us smile nicely, followed by goofy faces of his choosing, whether we had our tongue out, or growl faces, kissy faces, or whatever.