Preparing for demolition
This 1950s wallpaper revealed.
The young boy’s heart, embedded on a wall.
No date for reference.
A rather frightening world is emerging while we Americans stand by and watch. In my thoughts about the random violence here in these United States, my thoughts turn toward the Middle East. I’ve been to the Middle East twice. School children and their teachers carry military weapons in Israel when on field trips (and maybe other times, but I saw this first hand in 1979). Obviously for protection, just in case. Often I’m sure has been the case when they came in handy. I’m wondering if life in these United States will become like the Middle East way of life. No one is safe. Radical religious groups have surfaced and created violent lifestyles over the centuries, it’s the norm there.
We used to feel safe, here in these United States. We are across the pond from violent tendencies. But now the violence has followed us, it’s not only entering our shores, it’s crossing our borders, and it is emerging from the tumors beneath the surface. It has taken people without direction, and given them “just cause” for senseless violence.
Where will it all end? Gun control could help, but those that own legally are not the perpetrators, it’s those that steal. It’s those that slip out of the FBI’s eyes when they shift, leaving that questionable person to continue, and then “didn’t see it coming.”
Remember Nazi Germany? The Jews were blamed for everything by the Fuhrer. They say it can’t happen again, but I beg to differ. Germany thought Hitler was wonderful, until he had complete control and the worm turned. This example has been brought up a lot lately, my concern is that those causing the violence will indeed blame those of us who are trying to defend our country and our freedom will take this opportunity to rob us of exactly that. I am concerned that the violence at the nightclub, then at Walmart in Texas, and further adventures in violence, may be the leverage our government will use to declare a military state and dictatorship. (I hope I’m not right.)
Is the election all a ruse, meant to distract America? What will happen next? Can we trust our government? I’m sorry to say, I do not trust them. In the end, I have to watch out for me and my own.
No answer here, but just watching and waiting, and hoping a Savior will arise…a theme throughout the history of the world…
I believe that most of us love to live in the past. We dwell on it, we thrive on it. I have noticed, on social media, that we focus on “the way it used to be.” Even Mom has “fallen victim” to this, writing about her life, and then dad’s, and then ours–there is great detail about childhood, but she skips around when it comes to being an adult. Don’t worry, Mom, I noticed that I do it too.
Why is this? I think that we look back on our childhood, for the most part, as a time of innocence, and we long to have it back. We have grown up, we are disappointed, somewhat, with the decisions we have made (because, everything is cause and effect and my decisions help aide and abet others’ decisions, maybe…). We long for the days when life was simpler….when the mud pie, though inedible, was the basis for our day, walking with our friends down the street, and the rattle of the little red wagon pulled behind us.
This is what America looked like, for me.
I grew up in a very small community, it had a thriving downtown. I walked “to town” daily with my grandmother, holding her hand, especially across the bridge that I was sure I’d be sucked down through the slats and into the water….she had her “shopping bag,” we’d collect the mail, go to the grocery store, and do the various other little errands that made up her day. We would visit the old old lady next door, she was friends with her and her caregiver, we would visit the old old lady across the street, she was friends with her and her caregiver, too. I’d crawl into bed with my grandmother in the middle of the night, and twirl and entangle my little 3 year old fingers under her hairnet, driving her crazy. Why did I ever do that? I have no idea, but no matter how much she protested, I still did it.
I have very vague recollection of our very short move to Watertown, New York. We lived in the upstairs of a house, which was backed (and fenced in) by the Black River. I remember an older girl, Peaches Sticklebar, held me and told me she was going to toss me down and I’d land in the little row boat by the edge and I could go across the river (oh man! No way! But I was three, and would believe anything). There was a convent across the street. Very mysterious (I’d love to go back and see if it’s still there).
Later, we moved to a small house on the outskirts of the village. Our summer days consisted of swimming lessons, riding our bikes (or walking) to the library, buying popsicles or penny candy at the gas station, and visiting our downtown stores: Ben Franklin (a department store that had the coolest in pencil erasers, I remember buying a pink squirrel pencil erase, I vaguely remember it didn’t work as well as I thought it would…), the Rexall drug store (candy, of course), Hoppies (Mr. Hoffman used to have an ice cream parlor, before my time, but during my early years he had a shop that had a big case of penny candy, records of the latest hits from the Beatles and others in 45 rpm, cards, comic books, etc., I loved his shop!
I remember also summer days of playing with the neighbor children across the meadow. The four of us spent our eternities of summer days with hopscotch marathons, jump rope marathons, picking strawberries, and later on as we grew a little older, we helped them sell corn on the side of the road (50 cents for a baker’s dozen).
Then my mind chooses to skip over the teen years. There are some memories, but not too many worth recording, or not worth recording for others to read. Days of summer band trips, babysitting younger brothers and sisters, not wanting to go on vacation because I was too grown up to do so (I had to get into the car and go anyway). College and it’s anxiety, I quit because I got a job (don’t worry, I followed through a few years later and go my associate’s degree). Marriage. Skipping through Philadelphia for three years, moving to Allentown, and then the years just skip around a lot. I remember things, but mostly things that were difficult. Is this the way it is? Is this why we choose to dwell on our childhood? Surely our childhood couldn’t have been that good.
It’s interesting to take stock of our years, to figure this all out.
And, by the way, yes, it was that good. In my own personal reality, it was the best. This is why I ended up back in my little home town. This is why I ended up buying the house next door to my childhood home (not the one on the edge of town, the one in the village).
In my days as a substitute teacher, the kids were doing a project for Home & Careers and I heard one child say, “My childhood sucked.” My heart dropped. How sad that this child felt that way. My prayer is that, one day, she will look back, and remember it with the same fondness that many of us share.
I’m certain that my days were not all good, but our memories in childhood collect the good. I’m sorry for those that do not. Not everyone is as fortunate. War torn countries do not have this pleasure. But, my guess is that the children do hang onto the good memories. That’s what children do.
Now I realize that I’ve finished this article, I haven’t touched on what I intended. But that’s the nature of writing, isn’t it? It’s the soul working itself out into stories.
I don’t know about anyone else, but my mind is constantly playing MUSIC. If you read yesterday’s post, it was Barenaked Ladies, “If I had a Million Dollars.”
Unfortunately, this can tend to drive me crazy, until I change the record. How do I do that? Sometimes I have to deliberately think of another song. Sometimes it’s the power of suggestion that changes that song. I recently found a mouse in the snap trap in the cellar. My brain went into an old nursery rhyme about the cat who visited the queen, “he frightened a little mouse under her chair.”
Another way to change the record is to turn on music. I just find it very interesting, when I think about it, though, that my brain constantly seems to have to have a rhythm. Even if it’s one that I made up as a child, it has followed me all of my life.
That, and/or counting my footsteps. Have you ever done that? I’ll be walking down the street and avoiding cracks or counting how many steps between each sidewalk slab or division.
There is always a rhythm, always a song of some sort in my mind.
On that note, here’s a favorite…
In the 1970 television series, The Immortal, Ben Richards has a rare blood type which makes him immortal. Throughout this series, he gives his blood to save those in need, and is on the run, while bringing goodness and life to those in need.
While this is fiction, we all strive and desire immortality, yet every day we are one step, one day, even that day, of our own mortal (human) destiny.
We seek it through our children and those that remember us well. I was reminded of this with my precious little almost three year old granddaughter. She doesn’t know me well, it’s difficult for her to warm up to me because we do not see each other often enough, but she knows that I am her grandmother and she has a duty of love. I was looking for my lipstick. Failing to find it, she said, “Grandma, you can use mine.” She got it, I said, “can you help me put it on?” And she did, with her generous little heart. Another happy thought for this grandmother, and one I will take to my heart for the rest of my time.
We are immortalized, after all, through the generations of our children and grandchildren.
So this story is for you, my little one.
I took a three week break from my readings, and have now chosen to return to Emerson. I have had need of a clear focus, and for me this works.
As a tidbit on the wisdom of youth, he writes the following:
Infancy conforms to nobody: all conform to it, so that one babe commonly makes four or five out of the adults who prattle and play to it. So God has armed youth and puberty and manhood no less with its own piquancy and charm, and made it enviable and gracious and its claims not to be put by, if it will stand by itself. Do not think the youth has no force, because he cannot speak to you and me. Hark! in the next room his voice is sufficiently clear and emphatic. It seems he knows how to speak to his contemporaries. Bashful or bold, then, he will know how to make us seniors very unnecessary.
I chuckle as I read these words, for I am reminded of my grown children, their wisdom, and their children, whom we talk baby talk, try to get their attention, try to teach them, only to be confounded by their childlike wisdom, and as they grow and conform to their peers and siblings, we become the appendage or, “what do we do with Grandma?”