Just a Poem I Wrote (Because sometimes that’s what I do…)

Memories of My Childhood

 

Standing on tiptoe,

my eyes search

the dark recesses

of the closet…

 

There it is.

 

I reach up,

slide the box

off the shelf,

and crouch down.

 

Gently I place the box

on the floor

in front of me.

 

I peel back the cardboard flaps,

somewhat apprehensive

of what lies inside.

 

Peeking at the contents,

I carefully reach in and pull out…

 

A pale violet Easter dress,

with lacy white cap sleeves and neckline-

just one of many dresses

sewn for me by my mom.

A red hoppity horse,

the source of giggles and gales of laughter,

as my aunt

navigates around an obstacle course of trees

at my family birthday party.

A bunny shaped birthday cake,

covered in white and pink flaked coconut,

adorned with red licorice whiskers,

and black jelly bean eyes

for all my kindergarten friends.

Dollar bills

carefully folded and placed in my little ‘flower girl’ hand,

after polkaing with family members

at my oldest sister’s wedding .

Murmurs of  “Bug a Boo” and “Pootsie Pie”,

as I am tucked into bed

by my mom and dad.

 

A coffee can filled with water and a layer of butter

to dunk ears of roasted corn,

A pig with an apple in its mouth,

and stuffed with sauerkraut,

roasting over a spit,

Peanut butter and jelly pudgie pies

cooked over a campfire,

Pixie Sticks, Tootsie Rolls, and Dots

bought from the campground candy store,

Sand castles with moats,

and drawbridges made of sticks,

A mud pie concocted of wet sand,

pine needles, and leaves,

and topped with a sprinkle of dry ‘sugar’ sand.

A backwards fall into the fire pit

while delivering the pie.

 

Grandma’s ‘molly’asses cookies

dunked in my special cup of ‘coffee’.

A small, ceramic fawn figurine,

with a ‘broken’ neck (repaired by my grandpa with super glue),

the result of an unfortunate collision with a sparkly super ball.

Carrots carefully pulled from the earth,

rinsed by the garden hose,

and munched on while sitting on the steps with my grandparent’s house.

Pounding on the cottage door in the middle of the night,

a long car ride home,

and my grandpa’s funeral.

 

“Picture Rock” where I modeled my bikini,

and every new dress received for my 4th birthday.

Pink foam curlers

wound and clipped in my stick straight, brown hair.

 

Miniature cakes

baked by the light bulb

in my easy bake oven.

Four kittens and a momma cat

mewing in the hollowed out base

of an old oak tree

outside my bedroom window

one rainy summer day.

 

Forts built in the tree line

in the field near my house.

Twigs tossed in the creek,

disappearing in the culvert

under the road.

Backyard sleepovers

in tents (and sometimes under the stars)

with Jenny, Angie, Jill, and Jolene.

Night games

of ‘Kick the Can’ and ‘Sardines’

with the neighborhood kids.

Day games of kickball,

trees used as bases.

 

A lime-green, one-speed, banana seat bike

pedaled up the ‘big hill’ on the way to school.

A King Arthur puppet

with a painted clay head, and robe fashioned from scraps of baby blue silk,

and emblazoned with a navy felt ‘A’.

Duso the dolphin

leading the class in song

(‘Hey Duso! Come out to play!’)

Snow forts built at recess,

jeans soaked by melting snow (‘cuz in 6th grade snow pants were so not cool).

Kickball games on the playground,

and crawling over the fence

to retrieve balls from the farmer’s pasture.

 

A school spelling bee won

with the word ‘liable’.

And a city spelling bee missed

due to the death of a great aunt.

 

Matching pajamas worn at slumber parties,

cheerleader formations…

all captured on film.

A record player spinning Shaun Cassidy’s ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’

over

and over

and over again

until every word was known by heart.

 

After hour Baskin Robbin’s parties…

staying up all night.

 

Weekends at the cottage,

building cities in the sand,

teaching friends how to dive off the dock,

and rowing to the island to play castaway.

 

Suddenly…

 

I am aware

of the lump in my throat

and the tears in my eyes,

and the smile on my face.

 

Carefully I pack each memory

back into the box,

grateful for the gift

of the childhood I had.

 

Karen Hovie

2017