Wednesday, July 16, 2008

G is for Growing up on Griffin

Like how I got those two G's in there (3 if you count the one hiding in ing)?  Aren't I clever?  Hahahaha?

Oh shut up.  Like you've never run out of stuff to write about and sit back and wonder what happened to that girl who was going to set the world on fire and had so many ideas and was going to write many stories and people would wait anxiously for her books to come out and complain about the fact that your favorite author takes too long to write and one book a year isn't enough, dang it…

Huh.  That sentence got away from me.  Anyway, been suffering a wee bit from writer's block lately.  But something happened this weekend that reminded me of something that happened in my childhood.  So I broke out the Encyclopedia of Dee Em again (I do not know what I would have done if Laurel hadn't done this first.  It's such a brilliant idea.  Except she has exciting things to write about like figure skating (I could figure skate if I didn't have the weakest ankles in the world)).

G is for Growing Up on Griffin

When I was 5, the guy who owned the house we were renting decided to sell it.  He did not actually inform my parents of this but put a sign under the pine tree in our front yard.  I found it one day when I was playing (I liked to hide under the tree.  Not sure why.  Oh, wait.  I'm shy (I am too!  I'm just shy in a different way than the rest of the world)).  So there was house hunting to be done.

We didn't go far, just a couple of miles.  My folks found a nice house on Griffin Avenue and we settled in.  I lived in that house until 1986, when Mom decided to kick me out because I was not doing very well in college (Apparently, if you don't go to class and instead choose to play Cribbage and Pinball in the cafeteria, you end up receiving poor grades.  Who knew?) and she said "You are just like your father!"*

*Alcohol and drugs.  Such a winning combination.  And yeah, I probably was a lot like my father at that time.  Fortunately for me, I grew out of it.

I am sure I have mentioned before that I don't remember a lot of my childhood, mainly because, as my father was quite the heavy drinker, I spent a lot of time in my bedroom reading.  I loved to read.  I still do, of course, but I'm not as voracious as I was back then.  There was so much more time in the day. 

I remember glancing at the sign for Griffin and wondering what it meant.  Dictionary to the rescue and there it was, a fabled creature - half eagle, half lion.  Hmm.  I wanted more.  Hello, introduction to Greek mythology. 

Here are some of the things that I remember (in no particular order (because let's face it, I am horrible with dates)):

1.      Playing on the swing in the back yard and pretending it was a ship.  Traveling to multiple islands.  The swing also was our rocket ship. 

2.      Acting out a play that I wrote (except I never put it on paper that I recall) where my friends and I were the planets that would come to life at night to be the Roman gods and goddesses they were named after.

3.      Wanting a pet rabbit desperately.  My parents were going to get me one but came home with ears of corn instead.  I was so very upset and was crying.  My dad told me to hush up and carry a bag inside.  He handed me a burlap bag.  I started heading into the house and was shocked when the bag started moving.  Huh?  Corn didn't move.  I opened up the bag and there was a black and white rabbit.

        I don't remember what I named the rabbit or how long we had it and the other rabbits that came along.  I do remember one of the rabbits we had was eaten by a neighbor's dog.  I think that was the end of our rabbit phase.  We stuck to dogs and cats after that.

5.      Finally being considered old enough to ride my bike on Griffin.  My mother, bless her, was somewhat paranoid that we were going to get killed if we were on Griffin.  All those cars rushing by (yeah.  One every hour or so).  Instead we had to stay on the street that ran behind our house. 

        Griffin had this incredibly huge hill (okay, it was huge for me when I was 13 (yes, that's when I learned how to ride a bike.  Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to have training wheels when you're 13?)).  I desperately wanted to be able to coast down it.  But Mom had put her foot down and so it was the much smaller hill for me.  And she caught me the one time I got up the guts to disobey her.  If I remember correctly, I wasn't allowed to go to the library that week.  Quite possibly the best punishment she ever came up with.

        When I was a bit older (15 or 16?), the restriction was lifted.  My friends and I would circle around the block and then head for the hill at full speed.  If I close my eyes, I can remember the way it felt to have the wind on my face, my hair flying around.  The sound of my bike hurtling down the hill.

        As I got older, I was then able to take my bike to the library.  You haven't lived until you've tried to get over 100 books home on a bicycle.  It is not easy.  Trust me on this one.

6.      The excitement of being first at the bus stop.  Why this was so exciting, I have no clue.  But there was this big race every school day to get up there.  This stopped being such a big deal once we were in junior high.  We were only two blocks away from the middle school.

7.      Mowing the lawn.  We had a huge lawn and I could typically convince my parents that the lawn was worth 10 bucks (5 for the back, 5 for the front) so I could have spending money.  I loved to cut figures into the grass - squares, hearts, triangles.  I have always had an overactive imagination so it was time for me to spin stories in my head.  There was one summer where these stories were about Bo and Luke Duke coming up the long driveway in the General Lee.  We would get into car chases with Boss Hogg and Roscoe P. Coltrane.  Hey.  I had a thing for Luke.  He was hot (and it worked out well because Kari fancied Bo). 

There are more stories, there are more things that I did growing up.  But these are the ones that stick in my head today.

Now I've got to go because Keem is caught up with her work.  See you.