I have been thinking lately about memories from my childhood, for lack of a better word 'traumatic' events that would shape my personality in later years.
I find many of them center around my mother. Now I should make it clear by most standards I had a "normal" "stable" childhood with no real want of money, attention or sense of love.
These memories are going to be completely random by sequence, but are, some decades later, still a part of my thoughts.
There was a time I recall as a child being, what I thought at the time, locked out of the house. I was not very old, maybe under ten. I tried the door and it would not open. I remember banging and even kicking it to no avail. Finally I crawled on my hands and knees down by the cellar window well to bang on the window. My mother was in the basement doing laundry, which later explained why she did not hear my frantic attempts to gain entry to the house. I remember feeling scared that I was being intentionally locked out and ignored for whatever reason. Looking back on it now it was one of many signs of the early onset of my general anxiety disorder.
The other day I was stocking products (March 2018) and I came across a wooden spoon. My father was the primary disciplinary in our household and really bad behaviour would prompt an open handed smack on the butt. It did not happen often but when it did it was definitely attitude changing. My mother, on the other hand, lacked the physical strength (guessing) to restrain and discipline a growing boy. This is where the wooden spoon came in, taking the place of a hand. I guess it is similar to a paddle used in the school days of my parents, outlawed most places in the seventies. I remember the spoon turning a light blue colour and thinking it was the result of all of the times it had been used. The thing is, looking back, I never wore jeans or blue pants that I can recall so why it turned blue (by that reasoning) I will never figure out. I guess perhaps it was because of the saying "black and blue" to describe the bruises from a real whooping (which I never got by the way).
I remember many autumns, two or three at least, building 'walls' out of leaves in the backyard. I think I was in my early teens. I would design floor plans of houses out of leaves. If my life path had been different I would have been an architect.
I did not learn to ride a two wheeled bicycle until I was twelve. I remember in March I finally figured out how to keep my balance. I rode down a neighbour's angled driveway and onto the slush shouldered street. I still did not really have the hang of it when my bicycle was stolen a month or so later and left hanging on the fence at my elementary school. I had to walk it home and the embarrassment I felt in front of my peers prompted me to learn. My first bicycle was a metallic orange and chrome one speed. I lost it after leaving it under the bleachers of a nearby baseball park. I never saw it again. It was replaced with a blue bicycle, the handlebars snapped off one day as I rode up the high school street. Next was ten speed, followed by a mountain bike.
I remember visiting a cousin frequently in the city. One time we thoughts it would be fun to soak wads of bathroom tissue under the tap and throw the wads out of a second storey window and out onto a busy street. Our parents only caught us when we went to retrieve the wads, splattered on the asphalt, and a car honked at us (me, to be accurate).
A neighbour down the street I grew up on had a pear tree in their backyard that a few of us kids would liberate ripe pears from each summer. I think they knew it was happening but we never got caught.
I recall a time, under age twelve, that i picked pretty flowers in the wilds across the street and took them home. I quickly learned that they were poisonous, known as deadly nightshade. My horrified parents informed the neighbour who proceeded to spray and kill off the plants.
I have a vivid memory of my grandparents house on the street by the river. I remember a view out the front window from a kitchen area and the long grass backyard with gardens down to the water's edge. My mother told me I was under five years old when they lived in that house.
I remember climbing trees, in particular the cedars, across the street from my house. They were perfect for climbing and friends and me would sit high up in them for what seemed like hours. Another tree nearby stretched out over the hill. It could be climbed but with less branches for support and the concrete retaining wall below I did not climb it that often.
It is late, I will write about more memories of my childhood another night...
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