Thursday, October 23, 2008


Lately I've been experiencing an intense nostalgia for all things from my childhood. It started with a sequence of dreams about the first house my family lived in- a home I grew to 14 years of age in. After that, we moved to the "rich" side of town, aka California Park.

California Park is a housing development built on a man-made swamp of a lake, which somehow gave the developers an excuse to give each property a half-scoop of backyard. It's like, they thought that we'd all be hanging out at the lake after work and school. Hanging out with the dead fish on the banks. Who would ever want a pool, anyway, when you can take out a little paddle boat and make lines through the green film on the surface of the lake?

Anyhow, our California Park home was beautiful from the outside- a replica of an old Victorian complete with a white porch and swing. The inside, however, was undecorated for the most part due to the mortgage not leaving much room for that sort of thing. This whole scenario is in stark contrast to the old home. We'll call that one Cimarron.

Cimarron was a track home. I remember feeling like I had walked into another dimension the first time I visited Robyn, my friend who lived around the corner. Her home was exactly like mine!

How could this be? This is my house! How did you get one made to look just like it?

I didn't understand that all of the homes in my neighborhood were examples of one of three Drake Home models. Later I enjoyed visiting my "other homes" to see the endless decorating possibilities.

Cimarron wasn't much to look at on the outside, and even the inside was a cozy middle-class cliche of mauves and floral wallpaper. My mother's rattan shelves displayed her unicorn collection and white porcelain praying hands. The entry way let to an arch-framed Japanese Room, as we called it, that housed oriental-print couches and Japanese figurines galore. The crowning jewel of this room was the Geisha doll that stood forever posing in her glass case. The fans on the wall seemed to be the backdrop of her stage, and I would sit watching her quiet performance, dreaming of a Japan who's sky consisted of fireworks and dragons. Also in this room was my parent's reel-to-reel. I gauged my maturing body by how well the oversized earphones fit on my head. About the time I no longer had to hold them to my ears was about the same time I could sing Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven all the way through.

Years later I would loose a friend in a car accident who's favorite song was Stairway. In remembrance of him, I would sit for hours in the Japanese room listening and crying. The static on the song would always make me think he was trying to communicate back somehow. I would listen and pretend he was telling me that he was fine.

My favorite part of Cimarron had to be the backyard. It was a child's paradise, complete with a pool, hot tub, deck, swing set, playing field, fruit trees, and a secret garden for tea parties. At night I would go explore my kingdom while my parents slept. Possessing courage only children have, I would walk around the pool with eyes closed, feeling my way on the narrow edge with my toes. I would run around the yard and spin in place while looking up at the stars, pretending the whirling was getting me closer and closer to space. The swing set hung from the moon, as far as I was concerned, and all I needed to do was kick off a little harder to find out.

I miss the magic of childhood. I want it back.

What things do you do to recapture the magic?

Or am I the only one who thinks about these kinds of things?


Shannon said...

I have so many memories of Cimarron- at your house AND mine. :) And just think about how many of those track homes we toilet-papered... ha.

Erica said...

i feel like all i do is did life go by so fast?

ms. lee of the lemon drops said...

sometimes i don't think about my childhood because it was so delightful. it makes me real sad.

i think in heaven, we won't get that feeling.

that's why i think God gets so sad when people do hurtful things to kids. there's only one time in the eternity of the soul that kids can eat ice cream for the first time--or run around like wild things.

ms. lee of the lemon drops said...

okay, so i just read the above post and it's kind of depressing. so here is some joyous magic:

tents that took up the entire room, my older brother and sister throwing skittles in the air and yelling "taste the rainbow!", bike rides in deserted fields, the big drainage tunnel by our house, pretending i was anne of green gables in real life.

love you angie.

Angie said...

Ms. Lee, I miss being able to write comments on your blog so I will write one here instead.

I love the "taste the rainbow" memory so much that I am going to buy skittles next time I go to the store. Which will be today I think because I'm out of dryer sheets.

More happy memories:

checking the mailbox 20 times a day. my dad helping me float on my back in the pool while singing twinkle twinkle little star. my dad walking me around the block on his shoulders before he left for work every night, just in time to catch the first star and make a wish. drawing a symbol for the next day's weather in my secret dirt patch in the front yard to tell God what I'd like the next day to look like. picking strawberries and cooking them in a saucepan with sugar when my mom wasn't looking. the time my older brother fed me crawdads. playing "ants in the pants" and marbles in the entryway with my younger brother. sleeping in a bunk bed. my glow worm. my blanky. easter egg hunts. finding animals in the clouds.