Here are this week’s questions, Remember that we’re moving up an age range. If you are comfortable sharing your answers, you can add them to the comments below. If you prefer to share privately, email either myself or Cee. Our email addresses are below our memoirs.
Where did you live? Describe your bedroom.
Who were the major players in your life? Did you have a particularly influential teacher?
Did you try your hand at any new art forms in this period?
What new freedoms did you experience during this time?
What were you bored by?
Describe a smell you remember from this stage of your life.
Describe a close friend from this time – real or imaginary.
Describe a favorite treat from this period
Describe a location where you remember spending time.
What other memories occur to you from this period?
Email: Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Age: 6- 12
I lived in the same house I grew up in. It was small. Living room, kitchen, my parents’ room and a bedroom I shared with my younger brother. We had bunk beds and I had to take the top one because they were afraid he’d fall out of the top bunk. He fell out of the bottom bunk instead and hurt something I can’t remember what. Arm, maybe?
What I hated about my bedroom is that I slept under a portrait of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, complete with blood dripping from his head wounds from the crown of thorns and from his heart. If you’re old time Catholic you’ll understand. It was gruesome and gave me nightmares.
Eventually my dad converted the attic into two bedrooms, one for me and my sister, the other for my two brothers. That was much better, but still a little crowded.
I loved my teachers. I went to catholic school, so I was basically raised by Benedictine nuns.
Art forms? No, not that I remember. I wasn’t particularly artsy as a child.
New freedoms? The only freedom I experienced was in books. I went so many places in books. I had polio as a kid, so I couldn’t do a lot physically, and escaping into books was my salvation. My mother would yell, “Put down the book and…”
Boredom? School could be boring because I was smarter than my grade level. The nuns did a good job of keeping me interested with new books to read.
A smell I remember? Hospitals. I spent a lot of time in hospitals and they had their own scent, just like they do now.
Close friend: Mary Lou. She lived down the street from me and was pretty much the only friend I was allowed to have. I grew up in an abusive household and keeping secrets was critical to staying off my mother’s radar. Lay low, keep quiet and avoid the dragon whenever possible. It didn’t always work, but I tried. We all grew up knowing that we should never bring friends home. Mary Lou and I didn’t have a lot in common. Her parents were older and had had trouble conceiving her, so her mother doted on her. She was dragged to ballet lessons, piano lessons, all that sort of thing. At least we had each other to confide in.
Favorite treat: Bit-o-honey bars and Boyer’s Mallow Cups and peanut butter Smoothies.
Location where I spent time: school until suppertime every day. The woods around my grandfather’s house when I was staying with him.
Email: Cee at email@example.com.
Where did you live? Describe your bedroom. For the most part I lived in Tofte, Minnesota in the US Forest Service Ranger Station. It had 4 houses and the town of Tofte only had 200 people. I lived there until I was 9 years old. I lived in River Grove, Illinois (suburb of Chicago) for 6 weeks (November and December 1969). Then moved to Oxnard, California for ages 9 and 10. I remember my bedroom in California, my mom bought ugly yellow floral bedspreads for both me and my sister. We shared a room. There was just enough room for 2 twin beds and 2 chest of drawers and a record player.
Who were the major players in your life? Did you have a particularly influential teacher? My parents and sister were my major players. My dad had what we called a “mental break” and quit the Forest Service. He took our trailer and left us at his parent’s house in River Grove and he finally settled in Southern California and brought us there. My parents began to fight a lot. My 1st and second grade teacher I remember quite fondly.
Did you try your hand at any new art forms in this period? None of my schools did any particular kind of art work. So not really.
What new freedoms did you experience during this time? I felt like my freedom was taken away. My sister and I had a lot of freedom in Minnesota because of the woods and lack of people. In Oxnard, we lived in a building that had 4 apartments.
What were you bored by? I don’t remember being particularly bored. I do remember feeling like a loner though.
Describe a smell you remember from this stage of your life. My sense of smell must not be very important to me, because I don’t remember any type of smell.
Describe a close friend from this time – real or imaginary. In Oxnard, I met a girl named Kathy Creager. She lived fairly close to me when I first moved there. Her dad was in the Navy and they were stationed there. He was a medic in Vietnam. We were friends for years, even though she only lived in the area for maybe 2 years. Her dad got transferred to Washington, D.C. and I visited her once I graduated. So we stayed in touch for a lot of years.
Describe a favorite treat from this period. In Minnesota, after church we’d stop and eat breakfast out and I could get a Three Musketeer bar. Once in California we didn’t get treats often because we were extremely poor. I used my “allowance” money and my sister and I would buy treats for ourselves.
Describe a location where you remember spending time. In Minnesota it was outside in the yard or woods. In California, it was spending time with Kathy at her house.
What other memories occur to you from this period? We took a trip around Lake Superior and by the end of trip my parents were fighting. They threw a lot of the camping stuff in the fire out of anger. At age 6 or so, I was attacked by bees and had a ton of stings. Actually, my sister and another group of kids were there. I had the most stings but my sister only had one. I also remember getting dressed in the middle of the night for school in Minnesota (first hints of my father sexually abusing me).