Tag Archives: childhood

Clubius Incarnate Part 18 – Christmas

It was still dark in the house and out the window in grandma and grandpa’s backyard. I so wanted it to finally be morning, Christmas morning, that I could hardly sleep all night. I just kept having things that I had to think about or just wanted to think about over and over. I knew I was going to get to open my presents. I had looked at them carefully and had ideas about what they might be, at least which ones were likely to be toys, the thing I wanted most.

There also had been a lot of other things yesterday that were hard to stop thinking about. There had been a party at the house yesterday with lots of people that I didn’t know but some of them said they knew me, from when I’d been here before. All the grownups had that colored liquid stuff in those strange shaped glasses and they got all excited and laughing and even being silly which was not what grownups usually did. Except I guess at parties.

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Clubius Incarnate Part 17 – Westwood Court

It was still dark but mom and dad said it was morning. I wondered if in this “Binghamton” place it was dark in the morning. Mom had David in her arms, and he looked around trying to figure out this new dark place too. Mom just kind of stared in one direction, blinking her eyes a lot, which weren’t open as much as they usually were. I heard a person calling out.

“Sis! Sis! We’re over here!”

I turned and saw the person who was yelling and waving her hand in the air. She looked familiar but it was a memory from a very long time ago. She had on a long blue coat and shiny black boots. Her hair was like mom’s but a little bit shorter. She looked kind of like an adult but her energy was more like a kid like me, which was what made me remember her. She also reminded me of Margie who would come and play with me and David when mom and dad went to parties.

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Clubius Incarnate Part 16 – Roomette (December 1958)

Pullman Roomette

[Note: Having finished my backpacking through Europe memoir, Two Inch Heels, I’m returning to writing a more imagined “memoir” of my life starting at age three. This is chapter 16. If you’re interested, you can see the first fifteen chapters by clicking here.]

I was so excited! Today we were going to take the train to go “back east”, wherever that was, to visit my “grandparents”, whatever they were. I did know what trains were, because I had seen them on TV, on cartoons and other shows. I had also seen them for real when we were in the car and we had to stop and wait for a train to go in front of us. But I had never gone on one myself.

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Clubius Incarnate Part 14 – Cider

Molly was excited when she came over to get me. I was going with her and her mom and dad to the Dexter Cider Mill. It was a cold, cloudy, windy day, and I almost forgot to bring my jacket, but my mom reminded me. Molly and I walked across the street together, looking both ways like our parents had told us.

Molly’s mom and dad were coming out of their front door and Molly’s mom called out to her, “Molly, you and Coop can sit in the way back if you want!”

Their car was called a “station wagon”, because it had more seats than a regular car. A regular car had a front and back seats. But a station wagon had another seat behind the back seat. Molly called it the “way back”, because her parents had told her it was the seat “way in the back” of the car. Molly and I both liked the way back seat because it was far away from the adults in the front seat. Also because it was different, when you sat in it you were looking out the back window of the car. You could not see the adults driving, so it was easier to pretend you were driving, even though the car was going behind you not in front of you.

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Clubius Incarnate Part 13 – Tom Swift

Dad read books and sang songs to me when it was bedtime. He told me it was the favorite part of his day, to sit in the wood rocking chair across from my bed and together get “lost in a good story”, and then “raise our voices in song”.

We finally finished reading the Tom Sawyer book. I was sad when it was done, because I liked hearing about all the things that Tom did. I did my best to keep pretending I was Tom sometimes down in the basement or out in the backyard. I knew that Tom was special because his life was an adventure that was in a book.

“So Coop”, dad asked as he sat in the rocking chair, “What should we read tonight?”

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Clubius Incarnate Part 12 – Television

My mom had shown me that you could “divide” things into four “quarters” by drawing an “imaginary” line across the middle and another one up and down the middle. Where those two lines crossed was the “center”. She said it worked for things that were square or round. She liked doing things like that, thinking with lines and numbers, and writing them on a piece of paper.

So it worked for square things like the basement. When you walked down the stairs to the bottom and turned left, that was my quarter. It was perfect for me because I was left handed and liked to go that way anyway. It had my toys and the shelves my mom and dad made out of bricks and boards to put the toys when I wasn’t playing with them. They never did anything in that part of the basement. I could always play there whenever I wanted to. They called it “Cloob’s area”, though now they were calling it “Coop’s area” because of my new nickname.

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Clubius Incarnate Part 11 – Cooper

I heard the doorbell ring out in the living room. My mom was in my bedroom with me helping me button up the special shirt she had bought for me for dressing up. She said it was a “Campbell tartan” because “Campbell” was my “middle name”.

“Jonathan Campbell Zale”, she said. “That’s a name you can run for President with some day!” Her eyes twinkled when she said it. I knew that was something very special for boys to do when they grew up. We were dressing in special clothes to go to a party across the street at Molly’s house. My mom was wearing a bright white shirt under a blue “dress”. That was one of those things that only women wore that was open at the bottom instead of pants or shorts, which was what she wore the rest of the time. She had on the black shoes, “heels” she called them, that made her very tall but also walk kind of funny. Her lips were very red and shiny.

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Clubius Incarnate Part 10 – Brother

This morning my dad told me that my mom was finally coming home from the hospital with my brother that had been inside her. He took me over to Molly’s and then he drove off in the car. I still did not know what was really going on, so it worried me. I had seen a baby before but it just cried a lot. Why did we need to have one of those at our house?

Molly and I had been playing up in her attic bedroom when my dad and Molly’s mom appeared to tell Molly and me that the baby inside my mom had come out and was now my brother. My dad had asked me if I wanted to go and see my new brother at the hospital, but I didn’t say yes or anything else, so I stayed at Molly’s house.

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Clubius Incarnate Part 9 – Hidden

I liked to hide. I liked to be in a place where no one could see me or find me until I wanted them to. A place where no one could tell me what to do, or even say that they liked or didn’t like what I was doing, like adults. I liked it the most when, from where I was hiding, I could see and hear other people but they could not see me. Then I could watch them without worrying about them watching me back. If another kid was hiding with me, that was okay, because they didn’t count. Especially Molly. I never wanted to hide from her.

Molly’s mom brought Molly over to play with me. Molly’s mom always wanted to talk about the baby in my mom’s tummy.

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Clubius Incarnate Part 8 – Dirt

Killins Gravel Company

I woke up. My dad was wiggling my toe under the blanket on my bed.

“I’m going to drive the car to get fresh dirt for the backyard. You want to come along?”

I nodded that I did. I was excited. This was what he called “an adventure”.

My mom was still sleeping. It was early morning. The light coming in through the windows in my room was different when it was early. It was fresher and softer. I took off my pajamas and put on my clothes. Dad made me a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast. We quickly ate and drank orange juice sitting at the kitchen table.

Outside the air was cool and quiet. The sun was a big orange ball just hanging there over the trees in the park. It was just hanging there over the trees and it was hard not to look at. Dad said not to look too long or it would hurt your eyes. That made the sun seem kind of scary. He put two empty trash cans in the trunk of our car but the top wouldn’t close so he tied it with a rope. He put the grown up shovel on the back seat. It looked kind of like my shovel but much bigger. I got to sit on the other part of the front seat of the car.

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