Written Spring of 2012
I spent a lot of time alone as a child. I remember playing in the sandbox at Halteman Road alone imagining friends that were with me. I remember sitting with my mom at the table (on County Lind Rd) after everyone else left for school and it was just mom and me. She used to take a mid-morning coffee break and I wanted to try coffee as well. She let me try it this time with lots of milk and sugar amidst decrees of how it would stunt my growth, wasn’t good for me, and other warnings. I thought it tasted good. I had just come in from playing on the swings in the backyard and it was a lovely day.
I remember the time (at County Line Road) when I went out to the garden to pick something for my mom and it was so windy it almost blew me over. I stood and held my arms out for the winds to cease as Jesus did on the boat with his disciples. The winds did calm and I felt my connection to God.
I remember playing with play dough at a really young age in the classroom (across from the women’s bathroom) at Souderton Mennonite Church, learning how to make snakes and cherry pies.
I remember sitting in the center of the downstairs at church singing before SS class began. The floors sloped down but we all sang as the piano played, probably by Nancy Moyer. We sang out of the red songbook—This is my Father’s World and Now Thank we all our God.
I remember when I was very little Steve took me for a bike ride on the back of his bike. He told me to hold my legs out but I must have tired of this and suddenly my foot was caught in the bicycle chain. I cried—it hurt! Daddy came running and took my foot out. It looked strange. The skin hung open and you could see blood but it did not rise past the surface of the skin. There was much crying and mass confusion but Daddy put a used plastic bag around my foot with a rubber band around my ankle. I can still see it now. Then my parents took me to Dr Warner in Kulpsville and he clamped my ankle shut, no stitches, but 4- 5 clamps that had to be eventually taken off. I still carry the scar of this eventful bike ride.
I remember lunches with my mom before I started school. I ate gravy bread as if it were the best thing there ever was. I never did like cold sandwiches, but remember fondly my mom’s white bread with last night’s gravy.
I can remember being with my cousins that played with Steve, like Alan and John Styer and they were fascinated that I had an imaginary friend named Pabey. So I gave them a piece of my life by telling them, “Quiet! Pabey’s talking.” Pabey in later years had a wife Seta and child Cocoa. My siblings remembered the names of this invisible family that seemed very real to me. I remember we walked among the flower beds together, discussing life’s mysteries.
I have a very young memory of my mom ironing and I was playing on the floor at our County Line Road house. The house in my memory looks different but it is an early morning and I have the comfort of my mom right there with me. She is commenting on what I’m doing and shining her love on me.
I also remember (and it may have been about the same time) that I was playing on the steps and Mom was in the kitchen cleaning, listening to the radio when suddenly she screamed, turned toward me as if I’d understand and said, “The President was shot!” I stopped playing with my dolls on the steps and just stared at her. I didn’t understand…but her fear was palpable. I was upset and didn’t even know why. Later, when I got older and people talked about where they were when President Kennedy was shot, I knew where I was….but how could I remember this? I was only 2 years old in 1963. I can only imagine that her fear was so unusual that I remember it today.