Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thoughts of the past

Today, I was waiting for Mia to come out of preschool when I heard a song on the radio. "Summer Breeze," by Seals and Crofts, dating back to 1972. It seemed funny to be sitting in a fall rainstorm listening to a song about the summer but I guess they were trying to invoke some personal warmth in their listeners, and they did.

I was born in 1969 in Dallas, Texas. My mom was a sahm and my dad worked second shift. I don't believe there was a lot of jasmine blowing through their minds. Mine either, I don't even eat the brownies. We had a brand new house, that was painted in some pretty odd colors. The living room wall was bright yellow, a kitchen wall was bright red/orange. Later, my bedroom became Pepto pink. I had a dog, swing set and a blue tricycle, all the things that a happy childhood has.

I have memories about that time in my life, a lot odd snippets of things that don't make a darn bit of difference now, but that are still clear in my mind. One, is this song. I can remember my dad taking us to Monkey Wards, me not strapped into any type of child restraint, and hearing this song, the hot Dallas wind smothering me and stifling my breath. We were probably riding in the copper colored Buick we had, leaving precious skin stuck to the vinyl seats in the hell-like Texas summer.

I also think back to the gas shortage, where we sat, depending on our license plate number, waiting in a miles long line to get gas at the Gulf station a few blocks from our house. Once, again precious skin lost on a hot day to a car seat.

I think back to my elementary school, right across from our house. I went there for nearly 4 years. I can see it like it was yesterday. Being thrust into the first grade from a kindergarten class that spent most of the day painting and playing with blocks. I traded my blocks for bottle caps for learning to add and subtract, no more dress up and a hateful teacher that spilled paint on my dress.

I remember driving across a city that was shut down by an ice storm to see the Pompeii exhibit at the fairgrounds. It was neat and I learned a lot. Some of the exhibit was in the basement bomb shelter that the park had. The door was painted institutional green and was 4 feet thick and shut like a coffin door, over the stairs and the airless basement. I was terrified because I knew it was a fallout shelter and was worried that we would be stuck in there, or worse, we lived far away, how would we get there in time? Ah, the things a child worries about.

We moved to Colorado when I was 10. The times changed, the music changed, we all changed. And, yet, nothing really changed, the memories are all there, locked in the back of my mind.

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