The Election

The grownups are freaking out. Something called a Presidential Election is happening out in the world. All the grownups want to cry, they are having meetings and pacing around, wringing their hands with twisted worried faces.
Evil men out there are going to start something called “World War 3”.  If the one called “Ronald Reagan” becomes “The President”.
I’m so scared, we’re all going to die. Why? Why do these men want to kill us? In my secret place in the bushes by our bus I pray and wish and wish and pray that the bad man, Ronald Reagan, does not become The President so no one gets hurt and we can all live. I love our bus and everything around it and don’t want it to blow up into nothing. It doesn’t make sense, it’s not okay to hurt people and everything is so nice and pretty; the animals, the trees, the moss, the sky, the plants -how could anyone destroy nice things for no reason? I pray pray pray the grown ups can stop these bad men.
They are going to do something called voting. If enough people vote for the good man, he will be The President and the bad man won’t be and won’t kill everyone. The president is the ruler of all the ignorant people called “squares” out there who don’t live here. The grownups are very worried because all the square people out there are not smart and might vote for the bad man. They have to go out there and vote for the good man and make sure he wins. Squares are a shape like a box. Why are they called squares? What does it feels like to be a square person instead of a normal person? They don’t look like squares, they look like human shapes – are squares their favorite shape or can their flesh morph and squish into the shape of a square or do grownups just call them that for some silly reason? Sometimes grownups are silly and don’t make sense.
I am 4 and don’t understand it all but I understand it’s very serious, the most serious thing that’s ever happened. We are barely balancing on the edge of a world wide planetary fiery explosion if Ronald Reagan becomes President. After they vote, if he wins, he will click a button that blows up the world and everyone and thing- BOOM, we’re all gone, we’re all dead.
Killing people is very, very bad. Guns are evil little things that kill people, and bombs are way worse than guns. We are not allowed to play guns. If any kid is caught pretending a stick is a gun or if they hold their finger like a gun, they get in huge trouble. Really huge trouble. They get screamed at, spanked, stashed and viewed as a terrible person for a while. That’s how bad guns are. I can’t believe how brave some of the boys are to play guns outside and wonder what it would feel like to hold my fingers like that. I can imagine how naughty and good it would feel to stretch my fingers into that position and point them at something and pretend some kind of power is shooting out of my finger…but it would probably not be worth how bad my butt would feel from a spanking, so I just stare in awe at the boys who pretend their hand is a gun. I don’t tell on them because I don’t want them to get spanked. They aren’t actually hurting anyone with their fingers, they are just pretending and playing. Why does it make the grownups so mad even though it’s not even real? Could their fingers magically become real if they pretended hard enough? The look on their faces seems so careless and unafraid when they’re doing it, even though any random grownup coming from any direction could see them and it would be all over. Fury from the grownups would rain down upon them, I cannot believe the incredible risk they take.
I ask my mom why anyone would have war and hurt people they don’t even know. She says some people don’t like other people because of the color of their skin. Like if they have a different color. I don’t believe it. That can’t be real. That’s not possible. It’s just not humanly, physically possible in any way. It’s totally impossible and there’s no way that can even be a thing at all. I cannot even fathom how anyone could even come up with such a wildly impossible idea, much less implement that wildly impossible idea. It’s the most impossible thing I’ve ever heard of. Even if there was another reality, like in some dark tunnel outside of this reality, where impossible was possible, it couldn’t even be possible there. Because no matter what color someone’s skin is, they are still a person, just like you, so it would be impossible to not like them just because they had different color. There’s just no way that could be. But my mom says it really is true. I stare off through the trees… somewhere out there is an extremely strange world with extremely bizarre people that make no sense at all.
hippy-kids-in-the-woods
After a while, after the vote, our worst nightmare comes true! Ronald Reagan does win, he does become The President. It’s time to die.
But miraculously, we don’t blow up. And the grownups just go on acting like everything is pretty much normal again, acting like they never acted like we would all be blown up if Ronald Reagan became The President.
But they all get cartoon t-shirts. I play outside our bus watching the big tall men stomp by in their cartoon shirts. The bad men are on their shirts, their cartoon shirts that say “TAKE THE TOYS FROM THE BOYS”. Do these men want to take toys from boys? That’s mean. I keep observing the grownups and their weird shirts so many of them wear now. The 2 giant cartoon men are sinister, ugly and laughing and they have a big black bomb they want to light. One of them is Ronald Reagan. I finally get it, the bombs are their toys, even though it’s not a toy, it’s a bomb. And they are the “boys”, even though they are not really boys, they are men… They are bad men and they are real, not just cartoon shirts, they live out there and wear dark suits, and want to blow up the world and kill everyone with their bombs. That’s why we need to take away their bomb toys. But if the evil square guys want to blow everything up, and they have those bombs, why haven’t they? Why hasn’t Ronald Reagan blown up the world already?
take-toys-from-boys-by-patty-iburThanks to Patty Ibur for pic of shirt she pulled out of chest. It’s almost like I remember! I wrote the story before seeing this image I hadn’t seen in decades, so it’s not perfectly accurate but the description of the impression it made on my child mind, is. lol

 

 

I Suck Therefore I Am

The grownups all hate me for sucking my thumb. Even stranger grownups I don’t know. They all hate me because for some reason, thumbsucking makes you a horrible person, though why, is a mystery to me.

Deborah tells me that sucking my thumb makes me look ugly. She emphasizes the word ugly with disgust. I climb up into the drivers seat of our bus in front of Deborah’s bed, holding on to the big black steering wheel, to stare at myself sucking my thumb in the long bus mirror, to see how it makes me ugly. I still look normal, just with my thumb in my mouth. Everything’s still the same, how do I look ugly?
 My thumb is my best friend. It literally belongs in my mouth, like a foot in a shoe, and it’s the absolute perfect fit. I would not be able to live without sucking my wonderful thumb, it’s what gets me through life. Doing what I must, sucking my thumb, which comes more naturally than breathing, is far more important to me than the grownups not hating me. There’s no contest – they can loathe, grumble, snap, growl, throw dirty looks, spank, stash and punish me all they want, but I will never give up my thumb.
The man who put me on the roof for sucking my thumb is always in the back of my mind. But not even threatening my life will stop me.
nobles in wagonSometimes people stop on the path by our bus and talk to my mom. I looked out my bus window gazing down upon some little kids my age, in a little red wagon, sucking their fingers, how interesting… I give it a try but it’s not good at all, the fit isn’t right. I feel a bit of camaraderie with the finger suckers, as I look into their eyes and they look into mine, that we suck something, but we are not the same, not thumb family.
Slipping my perfectly fitting thumb into my mouth is superior, to pretty much everything. Full on comfort mode is sucking my thumb, rubbing my index finger over my other thumbnail feeling it’s glorious smoothness, and rubbing my bare feet around and around each other. But that’s when I’m in bed putting myself to sleep, for the rest of the day just thumb sucking and maybe some fingernail rubbing suffices.
Deborah says I always have sucked my thumb and that when I was a baby, they got me to take it out for a special picture but only for a second. Ha! What a smart baby I was, to know how great thumbsucking is.
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smart baby me

The grownups detest me for sucking my thumb, and I detest them for making my life miserable. They are obsessed with destroying my ultimate happiness and comfort. Why can’t they just leave me alone? I’m not hurting anyone. I think super hard about why sucking my thumb is so bad and… it’s not. I love it.
“Unplug” they all snap and growl at me everywhere I go. I don’t want to unplug, I just want to hide from them where I can enjoy my thumb in peace.
The grownups of Dogwood Blossom come up with a new plan to stop me from my favorite activity. Between the house and the woods is a small household garden and they are eager to use jalapeno peppers, growing in the little garden, on my thumb. They take me outside in front of the house, retrieve a jalapeno pepper, cut off the top, stick my thumb inside the whole pepper, squeeze it around rubbing it in, back and forth.
They are extremely pleased with themselves convinced that this was going to cure me of my thumbsucking disease.
Then they set me free. I sulk up the dirt path towards our bus as my thumb burns. When I put it in my mouth, it burns my mouth. I don’t care, I will endure the burning, I will endure anything, to suck my thumb.
One day I hear I’m going to be babysat at Cat Fish Pond, a big silver house across the valley on Huckleberry Rd. Everyone over there has big, amazing houses. Cat Fish Pond is especially big, looming with 2 stories, intimidating with perfectly structured walls, like a giant rectangle box, much different than the household our bus is part of, that is just like some random boards nailed together with crazy rooms jutting around. I’m a little scared but excited to get babysat at such a big, important house. And I really, really want to see the pond with the cats and the fish, that only people special enough to be at this big house get to see. It must be a small pond near the house, around the side or back between the house and tall trees, hidden from common bystanders like myself who’ve only seen the house from the road before. It must be really magical with tall interesting plants growing around it and the cats and fish are really nice and happy to share the little pond  -they must be for a whole house to be called Cat Fish Pond, named after them and their pond. In my mind I can see the cats and the fish with all their faces out of the water with really big smiles hovering around the pond. I couldn’t wait to see it.
When I get dropped off, the grownups have a conversation about me sucking my thumb, how I’m not allowed to do it and all the things they can do to make me stop. It’s embarrassing and now I already hate being here and now more grownups don’t like me   .
This house has a lot of kids, we mostly play downstairs in the living room, following the directions of a grownup. Upstairs there is a long, long dark hallway with endless doors to square rooms. It makes me feel sick, I hate it. I would hate to live here. I love our little green cozy bus illuminated with sunlight shining through our little row of windows. This dreary, dark, cold big house is so depressing. The other kids act happy, the sickening cold eerie darkness of the house doesn’t even phase them, but I find it disturbing.
One of the grownup ladies see’s me sucking my thumb and I’m in trouble. She takes me to the kitchen and puts something called cayenne pepper all over my thumb. It is red.
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Photo credit: Time Magazine

I go outside, feeling ostracized and humiliated by strangers, but try to hide my tears and anger so they don’t see through the windows and get me in more trouble. They think I’m bad and now they think I’m even more bad for coming outside by myself. Rubbing the cayenne pepper off on my shirt is futile, I can’t get it off and am going to get in more trouble because it’s smeared on my shirt. My shirt is light colored showing the red stain so I’m definitely in trouble. Probably going to get spanked. I shove my thumb in my mouth and suck the burning hot off until it is gone, pacing the sloped yard back and forth in front of the big house, trying to keep my face turned from the windows so they won’t see me committing the colossal crime of sucking my thumb. I hold my head down, stomping around as I determinedly suck away, pouting, hurt and angry, lifting my eyes as my head stays down, trying to see if they are watching me. It’s so hard to try to look while keeping my head down, but I can’t let them see my face. I can feel them watching me, hating and judging me for sucking my thumb.
Why are grownups so mean?
This house sucks, ‘Cat Fish Pond’–the name is a lie – there’s no magical pond with cats and fish, there’s not even a pond anywhere around.

Snakes With Legs

Turning 5 is my ultimate life goal. No need to bother looking further into the future than big, huge, important number 5. It is such a sturdy, official sounding number. I will be significantly bigger and know so much more when I’m 5. I’ll be more important, a big kid. When people ask how old I am and I proudly say “FIVE”, people will know – I am really going places.
A plethora of extremely valuable wisdom will be downloaded from the universe directly into my brain right when I turn 5. It will be like a whole new world because I’ll be able to do all the things I can’t do now. Yep, when I’m 5. It’s going to be amazing. Probably the best thing ever.
 praying hippy kids
Behind the little household garden, behind the clothesline, behind Dogwood Blossom – our household down the path from our bus, is a graveyard. A pet graveyard. The other, more used side of the house has tiny, bumpy Dogwood Lane and a little yard and isn’t scary. This is the wild, scary side with rocks and tall weeds. Maybe every rock is a gravestone. Eeks! The bigger boys who live in the house tell me ghost stories and creepy things about it to make me scared. I don’t know what pets Dogwood Blossom has ever had besides the feral cats that make hideous noises, crawling on the roof, coming and going as they please. But I imagine there’s all kinds of animals buried there and it’s spooky so I don’t go back there by myself. When I’m 5 it won’t be a problem, I won’t be afraid of anything, but for now I’m still cautious.
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One day, playing alone, I summoned up the courage to tip toe past the pet graveyard to play in the woods. And I made it! I was in the woods all by myself! I am an explorer!  Poking around through the trees, I am careful not to go too far down the hill into the valley, but there is plenty to discover on the crest of the hill with the house still in sight. It’s so exciting searching around. I’m definitely going to find something marvelous. I lift up a big rock at the base of a tree and, oh my god! I knew it! I just knew I was going to make a fantastic, historical new discovery of epic proportions today that would change everything we thought we knew!
By bravely slinking through the graveyard and exploring the mysterious forest, looking for new discoveries and lifting up this rock, I did it – I discovered a miracle nestled into the dark damp dirt under this rock. I found snakes – with legs! A whole family of them! The mom was several inches long, shiny black with white spots. The babies looked exactly like her, except much smaller. And they all had legs! Incredible! I made the discovery of the century – snakes with legs! The mom snake looked at me with her babies huddling close. What should I do? This easily could be the greatest discovery ever made!
I carefully put the rock back over the snakes with legs and bursting with the most excitement I’d ever had, bolted for the house to let everyone know that snakes with legs had just been discovered. We would all celebrate from this day forth, the most amazing discovery ever made in the whole world, right behind our house! I can feel a blissful hysteria emanating from deep inside my stomach throughout my whole body, even my body cannot contain the thrill of being the first person to discover snakes with legs, the thrill is beaming out of every pore.
Finding my mother in the kitchen doing grownup things with other grownups, I squealed “Snakes with legs! I found snakes with legs!“. They look slightly amused but didn’t drop everything and come running? They didn’t understand. “SNAKES! WITH LEGS!” I screamed some more tugging at my moms skirt. She is way above my head, I come only part way up her leg so they don’t take me seriously but they will after they see these snakes with legs. They are really there! I really found real snakes with legs!
Snakes with legs! Snakes with legs!” I keep shrieking fervently until they acknowledge my need for someones attention to this most urgent, pressing matter.
A bigger person comes with me. On cloud nine, flipping up the rock by the tree, I show them my monumental discovery, the family of slimy little snakes with legs. For some illogical reason, they are not shocked beyond belief and dancing for joy around the woods ready to crown me as the Queen of Best New Discovery in all the land. They chuckle and tell me the creatures are salamanders.
Salamanders?
What? Clearly, these so called salamanders are funny little snakes with legs.
No, the big person assures me, they are not snakes at all, they are salamanders. As we leave the snakes with legs -salamanders- under their rock, making our way back up towards the house, my walk is a limp shuffle, my ecstatic excitement is replaced with lackluster disappointment that my great discovery isn’t so great after all.
But I can’t stop thinking about the snakes with legs, or salamanders, whatever they are called. The only thing on my mind as I fall asleep is the extraordinary slimy salamander family with their shiny deep dark black color and white spots. The mom and all her cute tiny babies cuddling in the dark wet dirt, etched into my memory forever. The snakes with legs.
I run to check on my new family the next day, I don’t even care about the pet graveyard.
Sadly, they are all gone. But I saw them. I saw them good. I’ll be able to confirm their curious existence for the rest of my life.
Photo from: NPS

Photo from: NPS

If Wishes Were Band-aids

I was on “the skinny kid list”. Kids on the skinny kid list were suppose to get extra food. I heard I had got a banana one time for being on the skinny kid list, but, I cannot remember that banana, though it must have been something spectacular as exotic food from the outside that did not come from our own fields was unheard of.
There was a girl, Rebecca, that lived down the hill who was also on the skinny kid list. We met one day when I was taking a bucket bath outside my bus and we became friends. She was kind of strange because she had a cross eye and lied a lot but I felt sorry for her because the other kids were mean to her so I played with her. We liked to sit in the backdoor of my bus with our feet dangling, pressing down on our upper legs as hard as we could to try to see who could make their legs look bigger. I was so impressed with the ladies who had big upper legs that had ripples and jiggled when they walked. It was so womanly and we wanted to have big legs too.
One day, while straining with all our might to make our legs big, insisting back and forth to one another that we had each just pushed hard enough on our own leg to make it bigger than the others leg -“Look how big my leg is!”, “No, look at my leg, it’s bigger!”, “Nuh-aw, mine is!”, we looked up and walking right by us, in shorts, was one of the ladies with big upper legs. Time stopped as we watched in awe her amazing legs shake with each pounding step. Wow. How powerful she must feel with legs like that.
The Farm commune
The lady with amazing, powerful legs was friends with my mom, they were both single moms, and lived in the house with her daughters, Rose and Summer. Rose was around my age and we played together a lot. She was pretty with dark hair and her eyes entranced and mind boggled me to no end. I really wanted to know why they were different than everyone else’s. “Why does her nose go over her eyes”? I asked the grownups. It was amazing. No one else had a face that their nose ever so slightly extended the tiniest bit over their eyes. I got in trouble for asking that question, I wasn’t suppose to talk about why or how her nose went over her eyes but I desperately wanted to know. I wanted to examine the phenomena closely. Why was everyone not astonished about this? Why did they act like her nose did not go over her eyes? “Why does her nose go over her eyes?”, I would plead only to be reprimanded with no answer. Years later I finally discovered that her father was Asian but at the time it was perplexing mystery. Why couldn’t someone just give me an answer? They made me feel bad for asking so I finally stopped inquiring about the extremely curious meeting of her eyes and nose to avoid getting in trouble and just secretly analyzed her special eyes wonderstruck, agonizingly imploring deep inside myself how and why they were different.
Somehow it didn’t occur to me be more sympathetic about not making such a big deal about her eyes, as I myself was startled when people would make a big deal about my eyes, finicky about their color, undecided if they were blue or green, often changing and switching, sometimes one eye blue and one eye green. That’s when people would freak out. Strangers, especially visiting grandma’s, would grab me by the shoulders excitedly exclaiming and yelling “Look at her eyes!”
Deborah told me it was also because I had long, dark lashes that contrasted against my wispy blonde hair.
I climbed up on the old, still intact drivers seat by my moms bed to look at my eyes in the bus mirror. What were they freaking out about? My eyes were totally normal, two different colors was nothing as biologically intriguing as eyes that are a different shape – that’s what we all should be marveling over!
My friend with the eyes I wasn’t suppose to mention had an older sister, Summer. My sister did not live with us so it was Summer who taught me how to skip and tie my shoes. I painfully lusted after the glee the older girls must be having watching them skip around like care free skip masters.  One day, up the very rocky, bumpy Dogwood Lane towards 1st Road, Summer taught us little girls how to skip. It was hard at  first but we finally got the correct stride and were freed from boring old walking and regular running. We wanted to skip everywhere.
Skipping gave us new and improved confidence and powers. Now we had the gumption to skip up Dogwood Lane and be know it all snotties to the meany neighborhood boys across the street who had somehow always seemed to have the upper hand before. But now we could skip and we had a sure fire way to prove that we were smarter than them when we were yelling insults back and forth arguing who was smarter and better, boys or girls. All we had to do was say “Oh yeah? Well, what letter does Celeste’s name start with?” Though none of us could spell my whole name we all knew that oddly enough, it started with a C, not an S. The boys would yell back “S!” and we would all laugh at their naive stupidity, so content and happy that our little trick worked like a charm every time.
A pleasing sense of pride would wash over me with a smile that my name was our main secret weapon to slay the boys in the battle of wits. Deborah said she picked the name Celeste and my father picked Melody and they fought about which name should go first. She did not want people to call me Mel. “Celeste Melody!” she would say sharply when she was mad and about to count to 3.
The best thing about getting hurt was possibly getting an incredible band-aid if there was any. Having a special band-aid sticker was so cool. Something clean out of a rarefied packaged wrapper, something from the outside world, something that wasn’t horse poop, something that was just for you. They smelled peculiar and had lots of tiny perfect holes. If another kid was lucky enough to scrape themselves bloody and get an amazing band-aid, envy could not be helped. If only I could get hurt too so I could bask in the glory of an extraordinary plastic band-aid. Any kid with a marvelous band-aid displayed it proudly and kept the flesh colored plastic treat on as long as possible for the rest of us to admire and pine over. It was a sad day when your tiny morsel of sticky delight, the only thing that made you special, would finally loose it’s stickiness, unable to cling any longer no matter how hard you smushed it down praying for the artificial slither of awesomeness to stay on. Who knows when you’d be so blessed to get another one instead of a plantain leaf.
baby  sink bath on The Farm
One day Rose and I decided to skip down to the Sunhouse right down the hill. The path was packed smooth dirt except for one small, scary rocky part where we both fell down and scraped our elbow. We both scraped the same elbow! We both cried and went back in to Dogwood Blossom explaining what had detoured us from our visit to the Sunhouse. They fixed us up and we were on way again, happily skipping down the path once more, certain that the rocky slope would not stop us this time. But suddenly we both tripped again! And we both scraped our other elbow! The same other elbow!
Once again, we repeated the process of going back, getting fixed up, hurt but quite amused that we had scraped the same elbows at the same times.
Skipping down the path for a third time, thinking how we’ll tell our friends at the Sunhouse how utterly crazy it was that we fell down two times and scraped the exact same elbows each time, the rocks conquered us, again! This time we both scraped the same knee! It was so scary falling and it hurt so much but this synchronized falling and maiming was so ridiculously funny. Again, we hobbled back to the house to get fixed up, more amazed each time, and finally, set out for a forth time convinced that of course we wouldn’t fall again. Strangely enough, this time we both fell again and scraped the other same knee. Laying in the rocks crying in pain, all four joints, elbows and knees officially scraped, our minds were blown. Although this may have been the best band-aid heaven ever, the harmonized falls and matching scrapes were just too incredibly unprecedented and magical. It was our best story for a long time that we told in pure awe and bewilderment, about this experience of absurdly coincidental skipping accidents, and we had the scars to prove it.
farm ride
(Note: I was trying to write this without naming names but realized that no names would be detrimental to the thread of the story telling…so names beyond my own family, I am slightly changing though still trying to keep the essence of the name).

Ghosts at The Gate

Several times a boy, I think his name was Vernon, came over to our bus to get babysat. He was my age, we were the same size and he had hair just as blonde as mine. I thought he was my boyfriend. We took naps in the middle of the afternoon together in my bed wearing our diapers. He was always nice and fun, I adored him. I think we even held hands and whispered secrets. He must be my boyfriend because we look almost just like each other, he’s like a boy me!
(99% sure the boy on the far right is Vernon)
I can barely remember the huge, two story Visitors Tent up near The Store. I slightly recall the awe I felt from the green army canvas noisily slapping in the wind, making me want to hold my moms hand tighter and not get too near it. The outhouse in that area, next to a main path, was an opulent outhouse – it was made from concrete blocks instead of wood and actually painted, with a little white sink on the side and had private stalls with two separate doors, not shared stalls. But it was stinkier, with the poop piled high because more people used it. I only used it if I really had to because I felt like I was imposing on someone else’s first class outhouse and the poop mountain was so gross and intimidating.
Men with a big truck called “The Shitter” would come suck up the poop out of all the outhouses with a huge, fat tube, but I think they had trouble keeping up. Seeing The Shitter Truck go by was really exciting. The times it came to our neighborhood, all the kids would come running gathering around, like it was a big holiday event, to watch it suck the poop up. The Shitter is here! Yay!
shitter truck
The Gate was really far away from all the houses, way up past “The Pond” which was surrounded by trees that I suspected were way bigger than all the other trees because they had so much water to drink.
Being the main portal to the world outside, The Gate was very busy. There was an older gate, but this was the one everyone used now, no one used the old one anymore down by the distinguished white buildings where the grownups have important meetings and where The Bank Lady is. That gate was tiny and I couldn’t imagine how it could have handled all this serious gate action. While at The Gate, it was often like witnessing a parade, with long lines waiting to go in and out, an eccentric cast of all types of transportation apparatuses.
There always had to be people on Gate duty around the clock to record all the ins and outs, answer phone calls, talk to visitors, open and close the gate. When my mom worked there, she did not have time for me, she was always doing something so I kept myself busy. Sometimes there’d be other kids there and a place to play out in back of the gatehouse near a pretty outhouse that had a rainbow on it which made it one of my favorite outhouses. There were some special rooms that were always really clean which made me feel like I had to carefully creep through them. The kitchen was weird because it had no windows and was a more normal kitchen than our makeshift kitchens. The whole building was weird because it was made with bricks and had nice floors and windows and things, not like our makeshift houses… so being up there, ever so slightly brushing against the outside world, watching traffic and visitors, was peculiar and fascinating. There was a back room, it was narrow and long and I liked it because it was light and felt warm, not cold, dark and lonesome like the other rooms. But I didn’t get to go in there, the grownups would have meetings back there where they would laugh and smoke. They also liked to laugh in groups on the big porch.
When my mom would ask a driver of one of the many kinds of vehicles that came through – buses, vans, trucks, semi’s, cars, tractors, wagons – where they were going so she could jot it down in the log book, the one I remember, because I found it so amusing was, “Mount P”.  Mount Pee?  There was somewhere out there called Mount Pee? Too funny. Little did I know they were abbreviating a nearby town called Mt. Pleasant.
Sometimes I helped open and close the big metal gate when someone would need in or out, which we also liked to swing on. The nice grownups would let us get on it for a ride. I think I had to mop the floors in the special, weird rooms and special, weird kitchen. It had nice floors – contrasted to all the other house’s bare wood plywood floors with nails and cracks. I was relieved when I’d finally finish making sure I had dragged the wetness over every inch. Relieved that I could finally run away from those dark, empty, cold rooms that were even spookier than the upstairs attic-esque guestrooms. For some reason I thought The Gate was haunted.
Usually most grownups did not act very interested in what I had to say. They mostly just told me what to do and what not to do but one day at the gate I made friends with a visitor man. He was very interested in talking to me and wanted me to tell him stuff. While the other people were busy with other things; my mom working at the desk that lined the front windows, people talking on the porch, people going up and down the stairs, we sat on the couch talking about amazing things. I wouldn’t usually talk to a grownup like this but he acted like I was equal and what I had to say was truly important even though I was just a stupid little kid and he was a big, smart grownup; like we were real friends despite our massive age difference. The small couch was in the main room against the stairs, he sat reclining on the right side, I sat on the left side with my legs dangling and my hands in my lap. I told him about ghosts. I told him you couldn’t see them if you looked right at them but you could see them if you didn’t look right at them. He believed me. He said that was called “looking out of the corner of your eye”. Yes, I agreed. We looked out of the corner of our eyes. I think I saw a glob of light about the size of a person pass by! Yikes! I didn’t want to see the ghosts! But this was so provoking having such deep, stimulating banter with an adult who obviously not only liked, but respected me and my silly, childish wisdom. He was so nice, my friend.
When the bustle of the day would die down and the sky would start turning pink behind the trees, we would start the long, long walk home. I really hoped something would come by and give us a ride. But not until we passed by the neato pond with the gargantuan trees. We could stop there and get a drink from the water pump and I could relish this ethereal place for a few moments, staring at the dark pond under the trees, transfixed and enchanted by it’s watery secrets, mysteries that maybe the croaking frogs hiding in the grass had the answers to…
After passing the pond, we cross to the other side of the road to the little path in the grass hugging the fence of the horse pasture. Deborah likes to sing while we walk, she likes to sing all the time, she knows so many songs. If someone comes along this skinny path towards us, that I will have to shyly say hi to as we pass because everyone says hi, there won’t be enough room on this narrow path, who will move to the side? If it’s someone on a horse, we will, but if it’s someone else walking, who will it be? A person on a horse comes much faster and it’s over with quick, but another person walking; the process is slow, you can see them in the distance, making the agony of anticipating an awkward passing last and build…until you finally pass them and it really wasn’t bad at all. The passing actually went quite smoothly, even pleasant. Most people here are pretty nice.
We make our way around the horse pastures towards the important, superior white buildings and The Horse Barn. Hopefully we’ll get a ride before we get to  Band Land, The Laundromat and Motor Pool. If we don’t get a ride, we’ll definitely have a few more pass bys of other people walking. I must trot to keep up with my brisk mom. I wish I could ride in a baby backpack like my brother.