Like, not to the Victorian era, or to ride a T-Rex. But to, say, your teen years? Or college years?
Growing up, we weren’t poor, but we sure as heck were not rich. We did not go hungry, but we bought off-brand. We didn’t have central air or city water. We didn’t take family vacations and our parents didn’t buy us cars when we got our licenses.
I’m the only one in my family to go to college, and I didn’t know that my family (mom, dad, sister—brothers were working) had to do without and struggle to get me through it.
But sometimes I remember my room. I had a (used) queen sized bed all to myself. My room was open to whoever came up the stairs. It stayed hot in the summer and I had a big fan sitting on a table at the foot of my bed to keep cool.
I had a laptop that I got for college (layaway) and a desk I bought with my first paycheck from a job I quit in high school because my grades were dropping. By this time it was basically falling apart from moving it between rooms.
All I had to worry about in the summer was burning up in my room, what story I was gonna work on, and walking quietly past my dad’s room through the kitchen to get to the one bathroom at 1am. He got up at 3:00 to get ready and go to work.
Even further back, my sister and I would quietly clean the kitchen for our mom, who slept on the couch in the living room, because dad was way too warm and the bed hurt her hips. She used to sleep in the recliner. When her dad died I slept in it when she went down to be with her family.
And there was one time when my brother was sleepwalking and looking for a football (he played in middle and high school) and lifted the end of the recliner up. With mom in it.
My first nephew was born the summer before my senior year. I wrote my memoir for my portfolio about him. We were buddies. He’s TWENTY YEARS OLD NOW. he used to come up to my room, when I wanted to be alone and annoy me. But I loved it, really.
I remember recording him saying, “I love you, nanny.” For my mom’s ringtone.
I also remember when my sister’s chihuahua went into labor IN MY BED and her water broke ON MY PRETTY GOLD COMFORTER. We managed to get her downstairs, where she eventually had nine freaking puppies. Yes. She was massive before they were born.
Speedy. Can’t forget Speedy. Yet another “hey mom this dog was in the side of the road and I just couldn’t leave him” situation. My dude was scared of storms and loud noises. But an absolute amazing dog. Always happy to see you.
He’d follow us when we climbed this hills, way back behind the house my grandma, years and years ago, raised a garden. There was also a building, more like a shed, that had chicken boxes. That became our little clubhouse.
One time, my sister, an old family friend, and myself were up there “playing school”. Of course I was the teacher, and I remember being in the middle of saying something, looking up, and staring in the hole of one of the chicken boxes. They looked at me and I just pointed and IT WAS A FREAKING BLACK SNAKE.
I don’t remember if we went back up there after we high tailed it out of there like someone had lit fire under our butts. But I do remember screaming.
Even further back my brother decided to dig a pond. He put a fish in it that he’d caught. But failed to realize that it would dry up without a constant water source. It was beautiful back there. I wonder if that “garden” is grown up now. Are there trees where empty field used to be?
If I could go back in time, just to relive some of those experiences. I don’t know that I’d change a single thing. I don’t know that if want too. Maybe save a life or two. Prevent some broken hearts. Not mine, I didn’t have a broken heart, at least not then. I was often very lonely, a little depressed. But never had my heart broken. That came later in life.
I’d be a different person if my past had been more financially secure. I don’t know if I’d like who I’d be. I kinda like me now. I have my flaws—we all do—but I’m pretty cool with me.
I’m gonna curl up under my 20+ year old quilt my grandmother made. She had to replace the back when I was in college, and she cut off the cigarette burn made by my brother. I would have kept it. History and all.
He’s lucky the patches in it are mostly 70s polyester, or he woulda burned himself and my bed up. He liked my bed better.
Now, time to go to sleep and dream of days gone by.
Thanks for reading.