I took bucket baths

Across the street the street from us on 1st Road was a house called Strawberry Patch and along the road in front of the house there was an embankment of dirt where some boys would play cars. I wanted to play with their little cars so bad. I walked by them, slowly, eyeing their cars, pretending I had reasons to linger, wishing I could play with them. But they probably didn’t want to play with a girl. When they weren’t occupying the awesome dirt embankment of little car roads and caves they made, I investigated. The little holes in the side of the dirt were so extremely cool. I played there, making little holes for the cars. If only I had some toy cars to drive along the dirt into the holes! I wanted to play with little cars so, so bad.

I soon discovered I hated getting babysat at that house. Because we didn’t go play cars in the dirt. They would always make us play Ring Around the Rosie. The grownups would act like I was bad if I wouldn’t play. But I hated it because it was so scary because these particular kids at this house seemed crazy. Like they wanted to have the most violent outcome they could at the end of the song when everyone going in a circle suddenly lets go of each others hands and “we all fall down”. Since I was smaller I would go flying backwards every time with no control of what was going to happen to me. It was way too scary. I despised it. I just didn’t feel like getting hurt. Why did I have to play this stupid, scary game that hurts me? Why couldn’t I do something else? What was wrong with these people?

I was glad that at least my little brother didn’t have to play because he was a baby and couldn’t walk yet. He would just sit on the floor in his diaper. At least he was spared from this wretched activity.

I heard talk about pre-school. I think pre-school was at the Sunhouse. It sounded so formal and official like I would be disconnected from my mom too much. I didn’t think I wanted to go. But I did go play at the Sunhouse in the grass with a bunch of other little kids. Was this preschool? Naw, it couldn’t be, this wasn’t so bad. We just played and played.

I knew I was going to have to go to Kindergarten up near the soy dairy someday which, I thought was called Kindergarden, of course. And I was really excited to grow big enough to go to Kindergarden but relieved I wasn’t big enough yet. I adored my mom more than anything and didn’t think we should be apart very much.

My mom liked to wash me and my brother. She liked our faces clean. If we weren’t near water, she’d lick her thumb or make me lick her thumb and she’d clean my face. She grumbled about other parents who let their kids be dirty and she would wash their faces sometimes when they’d walk by our bus. We carried clean water from a water pump to our bus in buckets. I would take bucket baths. I would go in butt first so my feet and head were sticking out and there’d I’d sit happily splashing in my bucket right outside our bus.

I loved going down the steep hill past the other houses to the creek. We’d go down in big groups to where two creeks met which made it look like 3 creeks and all us kids, big and little, would play and swim in the creek. There was a little pool, a circular indentation in the creek bed that seemed pretty deep, it was scary and fun for us little kids. There was a strong tree with lots of roots where older kids had carved letters. I liked to come up out of the creek to visit my mom sitting under the tree and tell her when a bug bit me. For some reason I got bit more than the other kids. The mosquito’s bit me all over, I had red dots everywhere. My mom would hold up my arm, turning me around, looking at them wondering why I got bit more than the other kids. Then she would tell me it was because I was so sweet. Then I would decide I didn’t care anymore because I needed to rejoin the other kids around my age in the creek to lift up rocks and find crawdaddies.

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