A Time for Telling
by Tornado Day
.......a collection of remembrance
What I didn’t know….
I’m a country girl. No, I didn’t grow up on a huge farm or anything like that, but my grandparents lived on a farm and we had a fairly large garden. We didn’t own any livestock, but we lived beyond the city limits – beyond the city lights. We had fireflies (or lightning bugs as I know them). Remind me later to tell you why the fireflies are dying off.
As for anything else, we didn’t have much. We lived in a two bedroom mobile home until I was twelve. My baby sister slept in a crib at the edge of my parent’s bed, and I shared an 8X10 bedroom with my sister and brother. There was hardly room to stand up. A single chest-of-drawers and a bunk bed took up the rest. We had one bathroom for six people and we made it work. When we moved into a ‘doublewide’, we thought we were kings. I remember walking up and down the hallway and feeling like a princess. For the first time, I had a bedroom big enough for a regular bed. Never mind the fact that I had to share it with two sisters. That didn’t matter at all.
My mother made most all our clothes and my dad rode in a carpool to work so that my mother could have the car in case of an emergency. At any given time, he had 35 cents in his pocket – which was enough to buy a carton of milk to go with his sack lunch.
We didn’t have a lot, but we had plenty. As a kid, you don’t see that. I saw other kids who had all the latest toys. They had new bikes instead of bikes that had been bought at the auction house and painted over and over (and over). They had bathrooms they didn’t share, and they never had to save the bathwater for the next in line.
But we had love. Of course, at the time, I thought everyone had that. If anything, it was almost an embarrassment the way my parents acted toward each other. Before we moved, there was a big mirror that hung above our 19” black and white TV (that was bought on payments from Sears & Roebuck). It was impossible not to notice my parents kissing in the kitchen. For a time, I didn't want to invite friends over because I was afraid my parents would embarrass me. Yeah, I thought that everyone’s parents were as weird as mine.
When I got older, I envied my friends who could stay out late and weren’t subjected to so many questions. They had a freedom that I envied, and some even had cars that were bought 'just for them'. I drove an old station wagon to and from college that my dad used for working on trailers, etc. For a while, there was a broken commode in the back. Really!
And still….I didn’t see.
But somewhere along the line, I realized that all those friends whom I had envied – well, they were envious of me. They were envious of a daddy that spent six months teaching me to drive a stick-shift and a mother than secretly hemmed my dresses a little shorter than what my dad thought was respectable. They were envious of the love I took for granted, and the parents who were interested enough to worry about me when I wasn’t home by eleven (even today, if I am going to visit my parents and it’s going to be after eleven when I arrive, I call).
They envied my wealth.
My parents still snuggle and kiss in the backseat (for goodness sake, get a room) though they’ve been together for going on 57 years. As for my brother and sisters, we've long since realized that no matter what the future holds, we need not worry for an inheritance. We’ve had it all along.
The world has changed a lot and children seem to have most everything they want, but sometimes I wonder whether they wouldn’t be better off with a little less privacy and a little more having to share. In my life, I may live to have a large house, but it can never compare to the mansion I had in sharing a 12X10 bedroom with two sisters, and being last in line for the bathwater.
when I have come
at last to home -
and wonder why it seems
the streets are less than
those I walked before -
the land of dreams -
was heaven here on earth
when gifted love -
I could not ask for more