After watching that “Lost World” movie I couldn’t stop thinking about dinosaurs. Mom said they lived a long long time ago, before there were any people. I guess they were in charge of things back then. People were in charge of all the animals now, though mom said that people were actually animals too, called “homo sapiens”. But she said we were different from other animals because we could talk and do more thinking.
“There’s the theater”, mom said, pointing to the right as she drove the car. It had this big sign with words on it. Above the sign were even bigger letters on top that spelled the word “MICHIGAN” in red letters. Below it the sign was white, with black words on it that said, “THE LOST WORLD” and other words below that. That was the name of the movie, because I knew all those words from books mom had read me.
That “the” word was all over the place in books, more than just about any other word. It didn’t really mean very much, but it was before other words that meant something. “Lost” was the word for something you couldn’t find. People were always “losing” things and couldn’t find them. And “world” was a really neat word that meant all the places everywhere. There was that other word “Earth” in the Tom Swift books dad read to me that was like “world”, though Tom said that that “Mars” place was a different “world”.
I was excited. Dad and I were going to go to a Detroit Tigers baseball game with Molly and her dad. Dad said that mom and David should come too, but mom didn’t want to.
“I would love to see the game”, she said, “But there is no way I’m going to try to change a diaper at Briggs Stadium, and we don’t have the money to pay Margie to babysit.”
Since Molly’s dad’s car was one of those little “sports cars” that only two people could ride in, dad was going to drive us in our car.
It was morning, and David and I finished eating our Cheerios for breakfast. Mom had brought some of David’s toys that he liked to play with up from the basement and put them in the living room. Then she closed the door to the hallway that went to the bathroom and bedrooms. She did that, she said, so she could watch David in the living room while she “worked” in the kitchen. She took David out of his special chair and he ran into the living room where his toys were. She then put a bunch of pieces of paper all over the kitchen table. I looked at them and they had a lot of words on the left side and numbers on the right side. She also had this yellow paper “pad” with lines on it that she wrote words on the left side and numbers on the right.
Molly and her mom came over. Molly came down in the basement to play with me while mom and Molly’s mom talked in the kitchen. Molly had a “Sky King” toy airplane that her dad had got her. We played that I was Tom Swift and she was Sky King. Her airplane landed on my flying lab.
Dad had taken David out to ride his tricycle with Hannah. Even though she was older than David, I think she liked playing with him BECAUSE she was older. She never could be older with her sister.
Dad said he’d “watch” David so mom and I could go over to a “meeting” at Paul’s house. As mom and I walked down the street between our house and the park I was thinking that I wasn’t sure what a “meeting” was, even though I had heard the word a lot. There are some things I wouldn’t ask mom because I was worried that if I did, she would want to ask me why I was asking that question, and I wouldn’t want to tell her. But this wasn’t one of those things.
“What’s a ‘meeting’?” I asked her.
“Mmm”, she said nodding, “That’s an important word to know. A meeting is when some people get together to figure something out and decide what to do.”
“Why’s it important?” I asked.
Today was Saturday and it was my birthday. Mom made eggs and toast for breakfast instead of me just making my own cereal. The four of us sat at the table in the kitchen eating.
“Eric”, mom said, “I don’t know if we’ll be able to do Coop’s party out in the park like we planned. The thermometer says it’s 38 degrees out there, the wind’s blowing, and there’s rain in the forecast for later this afternoon.”
“Liz, it’ll be okay”, Dad said, “It’ll warm up, I’m sure.”
Mom would always be worried, but dad told her not to be worried though he still seemed worried too.
So the four of us sat at the kitchen table and had “Roberts Spaghetti” for dinner again. Even David ate it now, though mom cut his up into really small pieces. I don’t think mom liked it very much, but I liked it because it wasn’t too tasty.
“So Cloob, are you going over to Molly’s to watch that movie?”, mom asked me.
“Yeah”, I said, nodding.
“Twenty-thousand Leagues Under the Sea”, dad said, “Jack says the kids will enjoy it. French lit is not my expertise, but it’s one of Verne’s best known works, and Jack says the movie’s well done from a science and engineering point of view.”
I continue to podcast chapters of my autobiographical novel based on my odyssey backpacking through Western Europe in 1973 at age 18. There appear to be at least a handful of people who are listening to all or some of the episodes, and occasionally I get at least a bit of feedback. Even one or two positive comments are very helpful feedback that I’m on the right track with this.
I felt someone banging their hand on my shoulder and I heard someone saying “Coo”, over and over so I opened my eyes. I was in bed under the covers and David was looking at me and hitting me with his hand on my shoulder. I could tell he thought something was different. Something DID feel different.
David pointed at the window between our beds. It was happening outside, but we could feel it inside the house too. He said “open” over and over again. So I got out of bed and I opened the window. It felt kind of cold, but not as cold as it felt yesterday, and the air smelled different. It smelled like something was cooking outside that was kind of sweet, or that smell when you opened a box of candy.