Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Golden Age

Think of the place where you were happiest as a child. Where is it?

I thought of several:

Grandma and Grandpa Spencer's condominium swimming pool. I loved swimming. To be suspended in microgravity, with freedom to move in any direction. To play and move. And then, wrapped in a towel, with wet hair and burning eyes, to eat fluffy chocolate chip cookies in the cool air of the condo.

Our orchard. Rows of apple trees, seemingly endless to young eyes. I was privileged and could wander; my neighbors contained themselves in rigid boxes made of fences. I helped: pile up pruned sticks in the spring for a bonfire and hotdogs; scatter white fertilizer pellets near the trunks; plow furrows with the tractor; harvest sweet apples, peaches, plums, cherries.

Our wet lawn. Inch-deep water from irrigation. Bare feet, bare chest, sneaking pea-pods and black-caps from the gardens. Chasing chickens for sport.

Our rectangular trampoline. It had more bounce than any other I knew. On hot days, I would wait impatiently for the sun to fall behind the house and I'd drag the tramp almost to the bricks; with a little shade I could spend all evening there, especially with the smell of fresh-cut grass or a family reunion barbecue.

The Fort. It was a collaboration. And a creation. Something that would not have existed but for our imaginations and our proactivity. Kris led, I worshiped. We salvaged scraps from Uncle Paul's housing construction (and one local eatery); we taught ourselves carpentry; we furnished and adorned it; we lived there as a refuge from rules and parents; we invented; we pioneered: we even farmed. It was our frontier, our manifest destiny. My Zion.

5 comments:

hosander said...

Love this. I agree with all of those (except to a lesser extent the trampoline and the fort) I love that we grew up in a safe, eclectic environment where we could experiment, rehabilitate butterflies and play (and work) endlessly

Mr. Gillespie said...

Wow- I agree too! I love all those things. I would add dirt in all its forms- ie the mudpit, sliding down dirt hills, the smell of hot dust in the summer, the wet clods and painful clumps on barefeet that you had to step on if you were going to avoid the thistles on your way to the fort, or the Norris' or during irrigation.
Fabulous post brother.

Bus Gillespie said...

Great memories, nowhere do you mention digging out the basement and hauling all those rocks to their designated piles? It still amazes me that we accomplished that little task.

LauraLee said...

I miss the fort! What a great memory!!!

Jancisco said...

Great memories. Well written. We had a great childhood.