"The Wondering Jew"
Apr. 22, 2007 - 20:14 MDT
My apprenticeship to life took about twenty years, give or take a century. The first few years were taken up by the mundane, learning to talk, walk, whine and cry -- with side trips to the bathroom.
The years when Mom and Dad were Deities to me, total belief on my part but punishment from above if I rebelled. My Garden of Eden was my home.
There was a period of about ten or more years of "Calvin Ball" wherein the powers that be, at home and school, kept playing the same game but changing the rules, it seemed,
Gradually I learned how things worked and even sometimes why they worked the way they did -- to my utter amazement.
And it wasn't just people who were changing the rules of their games. Life itself was changing scenes rapidly, Dust Bowl Days coupled with the Great Depression often made rules that were hard for everybody to live by.
I guess my grown up days began to solidify when World War Two began and rationing the routine for us. I had been working a job before then, but was still a kid in the head one might say.
In those few short years is the place I return to in memory so very often. Days when I felt loved, secure and comfortable.
I think it was Gracie Allen who once said, "You gotta take the bitter with the better." We all did, in our neighborhood we all occupied the same boat, and the bitter was the norm. Pinto beans and weiners, weiners and pinto beans with perhaps dessert of bologna and pinto beans. But with supper for me, was a glass of milk always, and with my breakfast was Shredded Wheat, milk and sugar, sometimes as a treat, sliced banana on top.
I remember being one of the boys whose shoes were whole in the sole but kicked out at the toe, sticks, rocks and cans doing a job on the front end of my vehicles of footprints. If we were going visiting I'd have to shine them regardless of the Holy condition they were in, "halos didn't hide holes." If I was lucky the soles would wear out and the heels erode and I'd get a new pair with shiny new toes to boot. Each time I got new shoes came the warning, "Don't kick things around with your feet." Yes'm I'd say. But the way home was quicker and easier, it seemed when the route was followed with a kicked can rolling ahead.
Most of us kids had a set of "good clothes," clean and carefully hung in the closet, including some kind of jacket or suit coat and the dreaded noose called "Necktie." It was dire straits if any of us got dirty while in clean, visiting clothes, death or worse threatened.
As I grew I began to realize that some day I would have to go to work, and that education insured a good living for a grown person. But I was a little kid for a bunch of those years and a rebel in my teens. The upshot is that I learned a lot from the grown ups and paid attention to some of it, pretty well ignoring the future.
My world while growing up was more rails than tires, railroads and trolley cars, automobiles few and far between and mostly used to go to picnics and visit relatives while using streetcars to go to and from work and shopping. I remember when my Dad bought a 1925 Studebaker coupe, a behemoth of a car. He rented space in a neighbor's garage, paid monthly for parking space in a garage near where he worked, he was quite frugal dickering for the best rates he could get. For us it worked, but still streetcars were my means of locomotion. And I loved them. They were wooden bodies on steel frames and when sitting in back one could see the front end sway left while where I was riding would sway right, repetitious back and forth, late at night when the motorman could get up a bit of speed the streetcar seemed to yaw a bit too. Guess that is where I got the urge to be a tourist, riding the street car past familiar places and seeing the new goings on. Then riding home after dark, peering into the lit rooms of houses was an attraction for me. Making up stories in my mind about the people I saw while going by.
Comics in the newspaper were my brain food one might say. Krazy Kat, Katzenjammer Kids, Gasoline Alley, Smitty, Fritzi Ritz and Boots and Her Buddies, Harold Teen were my fare. And then came Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. I was the first kid on our block with a flint loaded Disintegrator Pistol. My mind was rocket propelled even though my body was a slow poke and wouldn't fly a lick.
Have I actually said anything yet ? Not sure really, but my mind has been reliving my early years as my fingers stab at the keys.
I refuse to grow up until they bring Calvin and Hobbes back to my funnies - I'll grow up with them. Meanwhile I shall pursue my life of DISORDERLY PROGRESSION . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 comments so far