Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: when we were wee...

In childhood, there are many places to hide. And the best are those where no one will find you. My mom remembers my sister, my brother, and me as all being remarkably quiet kids. She searches her memory and nowhere does she find the noisiness of childhood existence. And so it was easy hiding out and getting lost in these interminable stretches of soundlessness. I never minded this. My childhood heroes were Orphan Annie, The Boxcar Children, and Billy from the book, Where the Red Fern Grows. I was the middle child and never afraid of the freedom that it afforded me. I very easily lived in a world of my own creation--one that functioned ever the better with as little parental supervision as possible.

As a kid my childhood hiding places included an infamous closet and sitting in front of the shelf behind my child-size rocking chair. It was there that I lost myself in books even before I was able to read. There were also the stick and pine bough forts constructed out in the woods where I lived on the sweet sap of honeysuckle blossoms and crackers.

When my grandpa built my sister and me a playhouse, I wasted no time and "moved" in at the age of six, promptly inscribing my very first word into the plywood walls, "HOME." I had everything I needed and my parents saw very little of me from that moment on. By the time I was a teenager I had managed, quite easily, to slip in and out without being noticed. After all, near silence had become a habit in my family--but I was not unhappy with this. I had much better things to do than explain myself or beg for permission to take leave, as many of my friends had to do. My parents trusted us kids and I, for one, took full advantage of it.

I have found that the older one becomes, the fewer hiding places there seem to be. However, at the age of 18, I was luckily still innocent of this and (much to my parent's dismay) thoroughly enticed by an unlimited landscape inviting me into its game of hide and seek. There were times that no one knew where I was for weeks. I remember it, so far, as being the best and most earnestly lived time of my life. I was finding hiding places as good as any of the Boxcar Children's hideouts--yes, even including a few boxcars of my own.

I left through the back door of my imagination while sitting in the darkened closet of my childhood. It was an easy way to leave behind the drudgery of an otherwise plain and uneventful existence. I embarked with little planning on a quest that brought me to many extraordinary hideouts--following the lengths of highways and railroads to their ends where I found caves and forests, mountains, jungles, oceans and deserts tucked into an endless expanse. I followed into the now of the corner of this room where I sit writing and remembering--where I have come to enjoy the way that hiding out is really a means of diving in.

19 comments:

Paris Parfait said...

Books ----- whatever would we do without them??!! Fascinating post about finding your own way.

GreenishLady said...

This is so beautifully written. I love the theme of hiding and how you have done something very subtle and very strong with it.

GoGo said...

Very nice. Nice to find you hidden among the blogs.

bella said...

Thank you for visiting my blog and for your thoughtful compliment. I really enjoyed reading your entry.

AscenderRisesAbove said...

this is really well written; interesting how you prepared to be independent as a child. you are right; perfect for diving in...

Shannon (Sentimental) said...

What a wonderful take on being ourselves and being comfortable with it somehow.

I love this post. Thanks.

AnnieElf said...

Oh Jessie, I too had one of those special closets. In fact, it was a room behind a closet wall. I passed many happy hours there. Thanks for reminding me. I'll have to write about this in my memory blog.

Marilyn said...

Positively LOVE this post. That last line KNOCKED ME OUT. I love where you took me with this.

eliza said...

ooh... so intriguing. i've always been pretty easy to spot, myself. and noisy. thanks for the peek at the pros of skulking catlike and shutting one's trap.

ever listen to kate bush? there's a song on her latest record called "how to be invisible" - the feel of this post called it to mind. here's a link to the lyrics. cheers!

http://www.dongrays.com/kate-bush/song/htbi.html

Maggie said...

What amazing adventures! I was a Boxcar Children addict--I was so upset to learn that only the first 12 were "real" and writeen by the original author. Your life sounds like a story in and of itself.

Mark said...

Luscious writing. So was your entry re Toni Morrison. You are on a roll, which is your readers' good fortune.

kelly rae said...

hiding out really means diving in. i love that

Loralee Choate said...

My heart almost stopped when I saw the illustration. I LOVE THE BOXCAR CHILDREN.

I don't know why being an orphan, and living in a boxcar in the woods eeking out a living on wheat bread and thinned out vegetables eaten on plates salvaged at the dump sounded SO appealing as a child, but it DID and still does.

That also has to be the longest scentance I've ever written.

This is one of my favorite posts you've done!!! I need to go find this book now.

Cee said...

What an amazing post - I love this. Especially the last paragraph - gorgeous.

tara dawn said...

Oh J, I love this! It makes me want to go find a new hiding place right now...to find a tiny space in nature to surround myself with nothing my thoughts and my imagination...a place where the worries of school and unpacking and work cannot enter. What a wonderful post...as are the several that came before this one. I am just now trying to catch up with blogs and still no real time til after finals. Just know I am still here, thinking of you, and wishing you were here to explore the new trail down the road that supposedly leads across a creek and down to the rumbling river. Georgia is overflowing with Spring time...I so wish you were here...we could play outside all day and drink coffee and talk all night. In case you can't tell...I'm wishing you were here.
I promise I'll be in touch more once finals are over.
Love ya,
TD

Mardougrrl said...

I was there with you, relishing that freedom to live in your imagination. I loved this!

erin said...

hey girl - here i am at the end of this long line of readers, saying the same thing. i love these sunday bits. where do you get the prompts?

liz elayne said...

The boxcar children and where the red fern grows...some of my favorites as well. (I tried to read where the red fern grows out loud with my husband, he had never read it, but I started crying as Billy is on his way to get his dear friends so we didn't finish. he will have to read it without me one day.)
The images of the quiet haunted me a bit as I read this. And all I kept thinking was that I wanted to read more. Know more. Beautiful.

megg said...

I want to hear more about those adventures - I don't know if you've spoken about them before this, but your ife sounds like a book in itself!