Community Childhood Memories...
I had a day yesterday reminiscent of a day my mother might have had 50 years ago had she not been depressed/social phobic/drunk. While other moms were outside hanging out on their front steps or on lawn chairs while their kids ran in and out of each other’s houses and lawns, my mother hid inside, doing whatever she did. She did sit outside from time to time, but she never mixed with the other neighborhood moms…partly due to the controlling nature of my father, partly due to her own personal demons.
I don’t hold it against her, she was a kind mother, kept us dressed, fed, and off to school on time, only she was vacant, and a ghost in my life. She never did protect us against my father, that perhaps being her greatest fault, but back in those days men ruled the roost, women had little power in the home as a stay at home mom, and abuse and other family secrets remained locked deeply with in a closet.
I lived in a neighborhood in Long Island in the 50-60’s, filled with tons of kids. I had a great time running around with them riding bikes, roller skating (those were the days that skates had skate keys), playing baseball, football, flying kites. Many of them ran inside each other’s houses, but our family was rarely allowed to do that, so we watched wistfully from the street, wishing we were allowed to have more freedom. That became my mantra for 18 years.
Still, those days of romps in the neighborhood, Easy Bake Oven bake offs, playing Barbie, and making homemade kites brings a smile to my face. As I sat outside with the military wives in the hot Kentucky sun, and kids ran in and out of each other’s apartments, on and off bikes, and in and out of the communal kiddie pool, I remembered my childhood romps, and my own days as a young mother, talking about divorces, love affairs, smoking cigarettes, and those late afternoon drinks….and was grateful for the warm sun, the energy of the young mothers and their children and the joy of the celebration of each and every moment of my life.
Patti O Memory
Photo of Alanna peering into my camera in a brief moment out of the pool. She is like her Mimi who LOVES the water!