Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Ennbee's blog set me to fact, I'm using terms like "set me to thinking"....that's sorta of a Midwestern thing to say...she was talking about front porches and yikes....that set the tone for the rest of my afternoon/evening....

So here's some things that I still think about when I drift back in time and want to feel comforted....

I had the pleasure of growing up in a neighborhood and school where my cousins and aunt and uncle also lived. I also lived in a neighborhood where no on moved....ever. We all grew up together. And I mean GREW UP together. We ran home when the street lamps popped on and everyone else's mother had license to yell at you if you were in their yard on in front of their house instead of at home. Naturally, this never happened to me....but it did happen.

Every Friday night, my Aunt Mary Ellen and Uncle Pat held "open house". This meant that whoever wanted to could "stop and visit". They'd be on their front porch. Any and all combination of friends and family would sit and visit for a time throughout the evening...even if it was just for 10 minutes or for a few hours. They were always there hosting. Bring a dish, bring some pop, or just show up. Every Friday...rain or shine...plenty of parking in the church lot next door.


The sound of the screen door slamming in the kitchen. That was one of my favorite sounds growing up. It was a solid sound, one of connection. It meant I was safe inside my house. When I was in the house and heard it, it meant that someone had left, but more importantly, it could mean that someone was home...and that was even better.
The transistor radio...beige...WCOL...and the coolest disc jockey ever-"Mrs. Hopkins' Fat Boy Wes"...that's what he called himself...and I loved his show....

Mom's Sunday dinners-typically fried chicken or roast beef with potatoes.

Sneaking into the hallway to watch the Dick Van Dyke show and the Dean Martin Show. My Dad had to know I was in there. He just had to, right?

Discovering a bird's nest, or a cocoon, or some other incredible evidence that the animal kingdom was alive and well and we were witnesses to it.

Burying one of the myriad dead animals that the kids in the neighborhood brought to our house for me to bury. This was a solemn occasion. We would find a box, bury it, say some words, and then discuss with great detail where that soul was, if it was with Jesus, in Heaven, what it was doing, etc. Most of the kids were Catholic so purgatory was mentioned a lot. Sometimes the discussions were quite heated...who knew what kinds of sins those dead birds had to repent of?....Quite spiritual...

Walking to the candy store with some coins. Magic. I can still see that big candy case with the penny candy, the colors, the smells, the wooden plank floors, the rows of canned goods, the cash register that seemed so big and tall off the floor...sheer magic...

Hiding in a big shrub or bush. If it was spring, the fragrance of the flowers would be wonderful. I remember hiding in a lilac shrub and watching my aunt's mother brush her long gray hair...I was mesmerized by that vision...I remember hiding in a shrub and contemplating how babies were formed...I pictured them forming in a little metal mechanism, sorta wispy, like when you turn on a cotton candy machine (how food-oriented was I?)....that's how I figured we all started....

Sitting on Dad's lap on Sunday mornings, my head against his chest, listening to his heart beat while in the other room, my sister regaled mother with her Saturday evening escapades...

Warm windy afternoons, snow drifts over the back fence...

My brother David...first voice in the morning, last voice at night....I'm pretty certain Jesus said, "Look, I can't be with you all the time Debbie, so here's David, he's less than a year behind nice."
The I've said before....I think, just maybe...God's zip code might be in there somewhere....just sayin'....


Anonymous said...

i remember knowing what time every family in the neighborhood had dinner. and you knew to stay away from their house during that time -don't go ringin the doorbell at the jacobs' house at 6:00, cuz they'd just sat down, crossed themselves, and were diggin into the noodles. don't go ringin the doorbell!

and the ice cream man. the ice cream man, before he became the ice cream dirty old man.


The Katzbox said...

hahahahah...ahhhh yea.....and I remember the smell of the neighborhood at 5:00 pm on summer evenings, before air conditioning, when the windows were opened and all the moms were cooking before the dads came home....heaven.....

Stephanie Jette said...

I can totally see everything. It's the simple things that keep us going.

Diane said...

so many's like someone just opened a jar, they are tumbling out and I need to capture them, quickly. Love how you write.
And I love the zip code thing. Love it. 43204. perhaps.
And....WCOL????? ohmygosh. yes, transistor radios...always to WCOL. The car? WCOL...if Dad was driving. If mom? no promises. Usually something that made me want to take a nap.
I remember, when I was 15 years old, my Grandma and Granddaddy, got me an AM/FM clock radio with an alarm. A RADIO WITH AN ALARM! Did you hear me??? oh, and DIGITAL! I woke up to Marvin Gaye and thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Wicked cool, no doubt about it.

oh man....a plethora of memories, I'm telling you. An actual plethora. (and that's a lot)

Cindy said...

How wonderful! I remember leaving the house after breakfast to play and no one ever worried unless you were not there for dinner. The summer 4 of us played "beatles" all summer as we put on the records and used tennis rackets as gutairs. George was the least popular and I always had to be him. My rank was low.
Every listen to the song by Wynonna Judd "Flies on the Butter"? It is beautiful and reminds me of that time. I cried the first few times I heard it.

Cindy said...

Old tin roof, leaves in the gutter
A hole in the screen door big as your fist, and flies on the butter
Mamaw baking sugar cookies, we were watching cartoons
Heard her holler from the kitchen which one of you youngin's wants to lick the spoon?
Yellow jackets on the watermelon, honeysuckle in the air
Daddy turning on the sprinkler, us kids running through it in our underwear
Old dog napping on the front porch, his ear just a-twitching
Fell asleep on Granddaddy's lap to the sound of his pocket watch ticking

Oh, oh, oh - Oh, oh, oh
It doesn't seem like it was all that long ago
Oh, oh, oh - Oh, oh, oh
You can dream about it every now and then
But you can't go home again

Me and my best friend Jenny set up a back yard camp
Stole one of Mama's Mason jars, poked holes in the lid and made a fire fly lamp
Me and Billy Monroe sneaking down by the river
And I'm still haunted by the taste kiss I was too scared to give him

[Repeat Chorus]

There's a black-top road, a faded yellow centerline
It can take you back to the place, but it can't take you back in time

[Repeat Chorus]

Old tin roof, leaves in the gutter
A hole in the screen door big as your fist, and flies on the butter

Wynonna singing this is wonderful..really brings back a time and place

The Katzbox said...

Diane: I am thrilled that you remember WCOL...I wonder how many others remember that station?...and the thing about the alarm clock AND the radio...THAT is funny!!!...and don't even get me started on Marvin Gaye...don't get me started....

Cindy: Those lyrics are beautiful and make me think of my grandma making her cherry pies and her "butterfly gravy"....I can start to cry for those days as makes me think of the Dr. Suess quote that Emmy has in one of her books, "Don't be sad that it's over, be glad that it happened!"

Love you both.....

The Katzbox said...

I forgot to add one of the most important components to growing up in Columbus, Ohio in the 1960s...