Manic Motherhood at it's FINEST!!

Why "I am NOT a VOLCANO!"

Why "I am NOT a VOLCANO!"
click the volcano for the due explanation
"In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured." — Gordon B. Hinckley
Exaggeration is the spice of life

Book I am Currently Reading: Peter and The Shadow Thief

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thursday's Writer's Workshop

(Sorry, Mama Kat- your button was making everything in my post underlined!)

Today is Thursday, which means I am participating in Mama Kat's Thursday's Writer's Workshop! Click the above button for more information, and to link up!!!

The topic I have chosen: "Childhood Memory Time: Write about something you loved to do as a child."

Okay readers. I have to apologize. This post is long. It's taken from an essay/short story I wrote when I was on my Literary Magazine crew in high school, and it embodies everything I loved about my childhood. My neighborhood, my friends, my ideas, my life. There are no pictures, because my mom has all the pics of me when I was a kid, and no one wants to see what I looked like in the early 90's anyway. It was awkward. Anyway, please read it. I hope you enjoy it.
P.S. Some music that always takes me back to this summer:
I Love You Always Forever by Donna Lewis
It's All Coming Back To Me Now by Meatloaf
Jagged Little Pill and Ironic by Alanis Morissette
Kissed By A Rose by Seal

Where I live,, there's a merry-go-round in the back yard. My mother's grandma lived down the street from my dad when my mom was little, so when she would go visit her grandparents, she would always go down the street to a little white house with the red roof and peach trees in the back yard, and play with my dad's sisters on that merry-go-round. My dad put it in our yard three years ago, the summer before I went into ninth grade.

My friends and I have lived on the same street for most of our lives. Many of us have been there since the neighborhood was started, and all of the summers have been what every little kid wants them to be; sidewalk chalk, and sprinkler systems on at four in the afternoon, when the sun is so hot that you don't really get wet because the water evaporates before it's cold enough to actually cool you off. We busied ourselves trapping bugs at night, catching frogs and snakes in the canal, and occasionally falling in. Even the hot asphalt of the street that left our feet calloused so that we walked carefully in new converse shoes the first week of school was perfect bliss.

I fell in love with a boy that summer, but I didn't mean to. At that point in my life, I had made up my mind to live my life alone and unburdened by the responsibilities of love and romance, and kissing and the pressures of when and how, and whether or not I would feel awkward every time i held his cold, sweaty hand. Josh was my best friends Jackie and Jessica's older brother. He was seventeen, and he had a car...well, a little red truck that only ran when it really wanted to, but it was still more than any of us had. Every little girl in that neighborhood completely adored him. Brittany,, a little eight year old girl with uncontrollably curly, white-blond hair used to come over and hang out with us girls, just to be near him, and being as young as she was, we were surprised that she talked just like we did. She even dressed like we did; cut off shorts and baby doll tee shirts over swimming suits so that we wouldn't have to change our clothes every time we jumped into the over sized plastic inflatable pools in my back yard.

We used to put up with Brittany and laugh when her back was turned, asking each other if we acted that way at her age. We always promised the other person that we never did. Of course we didn't. we had our own group, and when we were Brittany's age, all the high schoolers had crimped hair and blue eyeshadow brushed to their eye brows. None of us would have let ourselves dress that way.

Heather was JaNean's little sister, another of Josh's fans. She was two years older than Brittany, and she had more claim on us than Brittany did, as the parents told us. Unfortunately for her, she was one of the little sisters, and we could treat her any way we wanted to and get away with it. We used to have "seances" in JaNean's basement with smelly candles and pass them around, sniffing them until we were laughing so hard we couldn't sit up. The candles all smelled worse than the Brussels sprouts my mother was obsessed with steaming in our kitchen. Of course, the candles didn't smell like my kitchen, but they were just as horrible, like the worst one, watermelon, which we eventually labeled contaminated. Heather always wanted to be a part of our group. why she admired us so was beyond me. All we ever cause was havoc around there, but we used her to our advantage anyway, if you can call it advantage. we put ourselves through a lot of pointless suffering to make Heather do things that would make any of us older girls gag. During one of these "seances", Heather humbly asked to join the circle. We all looked at each other, and told her to stand outside the door with cotton in her ears while we decided. we had to let her anyway, because if we didn't then we faced the wrath of the adults in our lives, but since we viewed ourselves as a sort of sorority, we were under an obligation to maker her prove herself worthy. We all slipped our flip-flops and jelly-shoes off and told Heather to come in. We told her that she had to lick the big toe on each of our feet in order to join the circle. The poor girl did it, too, as she did everything else, from drinking a whole glass of water from the fish tank in Jackie and Jessica's living room, to actually swallowing a live gold fish from the same tank.

I, myself, never actually liked Josh until it was too late for me to notice it, and I didn't realize that I even started liking him, though the fact that he was always at our sleepovers (usually the subject of many early morning pranks) and that he was at every movie we went to, because we needed him to drive, probably helped the process. Every time we played street hockey or made ice cream sundaes, and for every water fight, he was there.

The water fight we had at the end of June that year was one of the biggest events that anyone can remember. It became big when Canden Schow, a little sixth grade boy my brother's age that lived across the street from me, dragged a rubber hose through his front door from his back yard in order to get an advantage on Josh and his friends and Morgan Jensen, another Little sixth grader, turned it on when Canden was only half way through the kitchen. It flooded the whole upstairs level.

This water fight started in Jackie and Jessica's front yard. There were half a dozen of us girls there at first, and we weren't expecting a water fight. We were bombarded with a hundred water balloons filled until they were about as big as my head so that they exploded on contact. we never moved, and we never screamed, which scared the Josh and his friends half to death. By the looks on my friends' faces, and what I assume was on mine too, we meant payback.

We slept over in my back yard that night, planning our revenge. my dad refused to turn off the sprinkler system, which came on at around six o'clock in the morning, but we didn't want to sleep in the house. There were three inflatable swimming pools in my yard to choose from. The biggest one was big enough to hold a group twice our size, the sides displaying yellow and purple and orange fish, holding books, and wearing glasses. We hauled it onto the trampoline, and lined the bottom with unzipped sleeping bags and blankets, and climbed in, all sitting up against the edge. We didn't plan anything. Instead, we fell asleep, and in the morning, we discovered that the pool, even set on top of the trampoline, didn't have high enough walls to black the sprays of water that came from the sprinklers.

It was only when our mouths were stained blue by the blue-raspberry Popsicles from the Maverick two black s away that we began talking about revenge again. But the boys beat us to it, dumping ice water from plastic milk gallons over our heads. They attacked us on my front porch.

We claimed Jackie and Jessica's yard, and the boys claimed Mrs. Hobbs' yard across the street while the younger boys, who we didn't accept as part of the war at first, claimed Canden's yard, next to Mrs. Hobbs' house. There were two hoses in the back yard of our territory, and buckets of all sizes. Josh and his friends worked out a system that worked well for them, and not so great for us. They all ran around one side of the house, except for josh, and he ran around the other side. When I was fourteen, I was a very tiny girl, and my own brother, who was three years younger than me (siding with the boys in Canden's yard) could have beaten me in any kind of physical contest. Ironically, I was the one in charge of guarding and manning the hose on the side of the house that Josh came on, while the rest of the girls ran around to combat the other boys.

At first, I tried spraying Josh with the hose, sure that I would keep him away, but the kid was invincible, and he just walked right through the water as if I wasn't even holding the hose at all. About the fourth time that Josh grabbed me around the waist and held the hose over my head while I kicked, and screamed and gulped and flailed until my army came back and saved me, I just dropped the hose and ran away.

Eventually, we all lost our territories, and the whole thing turned into everyone against everyone. Every kid in our neighborhood that could walk was involved in that water fight by the time the first half hour was over. Kids were running in and out of houses dripping wet, and buckets of water were being hauled out of Canden's house, but more were being brought in with so many children that ran in and out. I lost my turquoise butterfly ring in the rocks out in front of Mrs. Hobbs' yard.

The beginning of July went on as usual, and on my birthday, we slept in JaNean's back yard. By then, I liked Josh a lot, and my theory of joining a convent when i was old enough was wavering like jello. Still, I wouldn't let myself admit it, though my friends saw straight through me.

JaNean's dad raised bees behind the fence in their back yard along the strip of land by the canal. We hated bees, and two of the girls were allergic to their sting, so we had one of those big candles that stink as bad as our seance candles that keep the bugs away.

Pyromaniacs were common in our neighborhood. One of them was my brother, who burned down an entire field behind a house my dad was doing the drywall in when he was 8 years old. Two of the others were with us that night. Amie Smith and Heather Hawkins- not JaNean's sister- used a whole box of matches, lighting them in the flame of the bug candle, and watching them burn to their fingers before they dropped them into the liquid wax of the candle. When the matches were gone, they started burning handfuls of grass. We all did because it smelled considerably better than the candle itself did, if you got enough grass to burn at once.

Soon, orange and blue flames leaped out of the bucket, and we dumped a glass of water on it, which only set the water to boiling. Heather, the "little sister", had the ingenious idea to smother it, which we did, with a pot lid that she snatched from the kitchen, and it worked...after about five straight minutes without oxygen to keep the flame awake. After that incident, we didn't make Heather do anything disgusting, humiliating, or self mutilating in order to hang out with us. After all, she saved our lives.

Only a few days before school started again, Josh's mom paid everyone who would do it ten dollars to swallow a fish from the fish tank. (She never did discover that Heather had done that only weeks before) Josh swallowed three, and Kelly, his cousin, swallowed one, but she bit off it's tail by accident and spit it in the sink.

That night, we watched "Fire in the Sky" just to scare ourselves, then we slept outside beneath the stars. It really didn't work; Jessica and I spent most of the movie time trying to avoid josh, who threatened us with ice cubes. The night was hot and I wasn't very comfortable on top of ten kids and all of their blankets on top of me. I couldn't sleep.

Jessica and Amie were awake too,so we went inside and put on the movie "Batman and Robin", planning to swoon all night over Val Kilmer. It wasn't long before Jessica spoke up.

"Hey, Brae?"

By then I was lounging on her mother's rose colored leather chair, and finally getting rather tired. "What?" I said. I didn't mean to snap at her, but I think I did.

"So...what exactly do you think of Josh?" Jessica was wearing a smirk to make anyone confused.

Her question woke me up easily, and it took me a long time to answer, stuttering the whole reply. Amie and Jessica, who were sitting close to the open door, hoping for a breeze that never did come, were laughing hysterically at me. I didn't know it wasn't because of my stutter. I did end up admitting that I liked him though, thoroughly against my will. I still believe I was forced, or suckered into it at least.

"So, what would you say if he asked you out?" That was Amie. She more like giggled it than asked it.

Sighing, I glanced out the window. "You guys, he can probably hear us." I didn't want any of the kids out there to hear me either, on the chance that one might tell Josh.

"Oh, he's asleep. I promise you." Jessica said, crossing her heart. Amie was still giggling.

I glared at them and turned around to watch the end of the movie.

"Well? What is it?" Amie probed. "What's your answer?"

I didn't think before I answered, but I knew what I said was my right answer, even if i didn't like it. I nodded my head and whispered "Yes", just in case Josh really WAS awake.

Amie squealed as if it was the best thing that happened to her since she first put on a training bra. Jessica leaned over to her and whispered something in her ear. Amie's smile dropped into a serious frown, but she chewed her lip as if she wanted to laugh anyway, and made a nervous glance at the door. I simply ignored them, convinced they were only plotting against me to make me beg the to tell me their secret.

Only minutes later, Jessica told me to follow her. we locked ourselves in the bathroom, and she told me that Josh had been standing outside the door the whole time, and that he had been telling her what to ask me. I wanted to punch all three of them. Amie came in, squealing again and told me Josh was watching those weird late-night shows, and that he was going to ask me out. I told them I'd come out in a second and as soon as they left, I locked the bathroom door and cried for a long time. when I finally came back out, the girls were conked out on the couch and Josh asked me to be his girlfriend.

After all that the both of us...all of us, had been through that summer, and after two hours of holding hands through re runs of "Tales From The Crypt" , I ended up telling him no. I changed more than I expected myself to, and more than I wanted myself to. I think we all did. I learned more than I expected too, and I learned that change happens only when you don't want it to. And change happens only when you don't expect it to. We grew up over a summer, and when we finally did make it to ninth grade, being the leaders of the school, we really were as responsible as we thought ourselves to be at the beginning of the summer- back when we still thought that drawing hearts with arrows through them with pink chalk on the sidewalk was art.


Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Oh, that story reminded me of of all the water fights we had in our yard, which was almost 6 acres. And the big mud fights, and the swimming pool that had 3 inches of mud on the bottom after we all jumped in once the mud fight was over.... I miss that house and all the memories it holds.

Anonymous said...

Awwww! You said no. I love it. Pretty good writing for a high schooler!

CaJoh said...

Stopping by from Mama Kat's…

We never had water fights when I was a kid, but we typically have them whenever we go camping now.

Sounds like an amazing summer. Thanks for sharing,

Jeanette said...

You just described my childhood neighborhood perfectly! The sleeping on the trampoline, the water fights, even the friend's brother who asked me out right around that same age (I said no too). How fun. Thanks for the memories (even if it was about your life and not mine). Love it!

Sonora said...

Wow, this brings back memories. I haven't thought about Tales from the Crypt is so long. This is well written. Thanks for sharing!
BTW I have a few awards for you over on my site. Come check em out!

singedwingangel said...

Wow you are an excellent writer.. Kind of makes me ashamed of mine lol. Came by from Mama Kat's hoping you have a blessed day..

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

That was really sweet. I love how vivid all of the details of your memories were. It could be a movie, it was so good.

Anonymous said...

That was an awesome story- you are a great writer!

Thanks for stopping by :) Happy Thursday!

Phoenix said...

What a great story... I love the visuals of the peach trees during the summertime and camping out at night. "Fire in the Sky" did indeed terrify me.

How funny are girls at that age? Conspiring against each other, conspiring with the boys...what a great little summer romance.

And huzzah for not setting the entire state on fire! Good lord, kids and fire... ;)

Emmy said...

What a wonderful story!! Sounds like you grew up in an awesome neighborhood. That really was so great to read.

Lourie said...

It's too bad kids today don't have that. I never slept out under the stars, but I can remember the whole street playing hide and seek! This was a great story. Thanks for sharing it.

Lourie said...

PS I am now following you too. :D

Lindsey said...

I think I remember that Merry-go-round. I definitely remember sitting on the edge of the back wall past all the fruit trees and grape vines, talking about who knows what and gazing on another world behind that retaining wall. Ring any bells for you? Love you, Cuz:)

♥ Kathy said...

Nice :)

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