When I was a tween, my grandmother lived in Sedalia, Colorado. At the time, it was about six by twelve houses wide, a spit of town scattered behind a Johnson’s Corner on a narrow two lane highway between west Denver and I-25. A train track ran along the road in front of my grandmother’s house, and when I slept in the living room, I was absolutely sure that the noise would shake my heart out of my chest and they would find me dead on the sleeper-sofa in the morning. Luckily, that didn’t happen.
Last night, I found myself remembering the hammock she had there. It was green canvas, hung on a structure of hollow metal tubes that were taken apart for storage. We (that would be my siblings and I) fought over that hammock like crazy, which we set up in the side yard in the grass, in the shade, nearby the wading pool.
The bad part was setting it up, because pincher bugs loved to hide inside the tubes and I was terrified of their pinchy parts, sure they would attack and hurt us. (It occurs to me that I never once had a pincher bug pinch me, or have ever known anyone who was pinched by one.) Setting it up required gingerly dragging the metal tubes out of the garage while jumping around, shaking off hands as necessary, squealing as the bugs scurried away. Then, it took at least two of us to get it put together, and then we had to take turns lying in it. I was the oldest and the most imperious, plus I was the biggest reader (also shamefully played on my grandmother’s shocking favoritism) and spent the lion’s share of time on it. Lying there, swaying slightly, the breezes brushing over face and lanky brown arms, a pocket full of hard candy snitched from my grandpa’s stash–heaven. I read The Diary of Anne Frank that summer, and started keeping my own diary, which I called “Kitty.” It was a heavenly summer–the last one of pure childhood, as it turned out, though I didn’t know it then.
What do you remember about a childhood summer?
Creative Commons photo by Mangus9
5 thoughts on “Summer rituals”
Swimming in the deep creek behind my house–which is now wrecked because they built a bridge and screwed up the water flow. Spitting watermelon seeds off the balcony of my portable classroom. Riding my bike wherever the wheels took me and ducking the magpies as they divebombed the shiny handlebars. Horseriding in a dusty paddock. Sleeping with one of those “satin” dressing gowns covering my pillow because it gave some relief in the unrelenting heat and humidity. Reading reading reading reading–mostly Trixie Belden.
The life, she was good! 🙂
Since we’re talking grandmothers’ houses… sleeping on the terrace, which had been made cool by washing it with buckets and buckets of water; playing hide and seek in the small, unused rooms of her huge old house with a gzillion cousins and friends; going to get my favourite strawberry ice cream with my sisters; sitting outside with my mother and grandmother in the semi-cool evenings and listening to my grandmother chant her usual stock of prayers to make the electricity come back during interminable power cuts…and yes to the reading too – mainly Enid Blyton.
Ah, Trixie Belden. Yeah. And watermelon seeds. Love watermelon, still.
Tapsi, I love that visual, washing the terrace with bucks and bucks of water to make it cool! Did your grandmother have a specific prayer for electricity, or was it a general one directed toward electricity?
Well, we used to rag her about it because it never worked and if the prayer ever coincided with the electricity coming back it was an occasion for some laughter. It was just a general prayer to the Goddess Kali (usually believed to be the Goddess of destruction) – I actually dont know why she chose it for this particular purpose of recalling electricity, I must remember to ask her. As a child, I would beg her to recite it and then would begin to chant it myself, for she refused to overuse it herself. This was when I would be scolded soundly because it’s apparently a very powerful chant, to the easily offended Kali… and prayers to her are not something you want to mess around with.
Ah, that was fun to remember and share…
That is interesting that she chose Kali. There must be some reason and I would love to know the answer if you remember to ask her. (Lucky you that Grandmother is still around. I’ve been missing mine a LOT.)