Childhood Memories from Russia…With Love?I was born in 1950, in Cook County Hospital. I was the younger of two boys, by three years. Growing up, my family was not very different than most in our suburban Chicago neighborhood. Dad worked, mom was home most days (when she wasn’t volunteering at the local Parish). My brother and I generally got along.When I got out of high school and ventured off to college, I realized we were far from the television version of our family, the Cleavers, (though I don’t know how “average” they were, either). When I recounted moments of childhood, my friends would elbow each other and snicker, and I’d be met with indignant stares.What was so wrong with turning our cellar into a bomb shelter for fear of the Russian bombs? Was it because Dad also bought Russian vodka to mix with his Ginger Ale?
Wow, Paula! You got those words in so smoothly. Interesting write, too. Good job!
~HOME~SICK~I had never in all my eight years of life, had I ever felt so horribly, terribly awful. I had gotten the chicken pox but along with the most incurable itch in the world I’d also gotten sick with the flu and every other imaginable illness all at once. Absolutely the worst time that I’d ever experienced and it seemed to d r a g on for weeks. Or that is how it seemed in my youth. Time or the perception of it was a lot slower. “Charlotte, you have got to stop itching those chicken pox, you’re going to get scars,” my mother threatened me as I scratched indignantly despite her warnings.“I can’t help it, I’m SO itchy,” I explained, as I gritted my teeth and clasped my hands together firmly in a praying position.“My stomach hurts,” I complained as I writhed, rocking. The canvas of the cot that I’d been camping out on in front of the television creaked as I shifted my weight, trying to manage the pain.“Well, let me get you some more ginger ale and some saltines. Remember the waste basket is right there if you need it,” she stated as she motioned toward the off-white, plastic can near the head of the bed. The droning hum and lilting voice of the program had my belly rising and receding with the nausea I’d been experiencing. Rain poured outside and I could hear it pelting the roof-top. I watched as it rolled down the panes of glass in the windows. That was a little comfort. Propping up on one elbow, I tried to peer outside. I’d longed to glimpse the mud puddles filling in the yard, draining and pooling around the cement sill of our home. It would begin to leak in the cellar if it rained too much. ©H.G. 3/15/12
WAITING FOR THE SECOND SHOE TO DROPBenny was indignant.His mother had harangued him about the mess in his bedroom.“You’re a slob” his mother chastised. “I’m raising a pig!” she’d lament.Benny meant to straighten up a bit, but when she went haywire like that he put on this hard-ass front and became belligerent with his female parental unit. “I’M NOT A PIG!” he’d shout back. And with that, Benny grabbed a bottle of ginger ale and went to the cellar to watch some television. He propped pillows up so he would be comfortable. A TV tray was pulled closer to the edge of the couch so he’d have somewhere to put his bowl of nachos and his container of soda. Benny pointed the remote control at the television and leaned back.“Now, this is more like it” he said, stretching his arms out and sinking into the cushion further.Benny’s arm came a bit too close to the table, catching the bottle and toppling it to the carpet. The amber liquid glugged rapidly, emptying onto the Berber.“Shit!” he said “She’s gonna clobber me!”He put the pillows back and turned the television off. Benny folded the tray table and sneaked back up to his room. When his mother found him diligently cleaning the dirty clothes from his floor, she felt vindicated. Finally, she thought she had gotten through to her son.It would be another week before Benny’s mother would discover the sticky spot on the basement rug left there by her porcine progeny.
I remember kneeling over the vent in my grandmother's house, hearing the background of the television with elmo on. The vent lead to the celler and my brother and I dropped notes tied to a string down there. With pictures or scribbles orr even wavy lines, we didn't care!One day as I was sipping away at my cup on ginger ale, I got this brilliant idea. Sure I was a child and I was mostl likey on a suger high, but I told my brother, "Go downstairs!" In my shrill little girl voice. As a younger brother should, he headed downstairs. I got some old string and a peice on paper, wrote squiggles and wavy lines and stuckin in one of the square holes. As my brother tried to read for in, I cleaverly jerked the string back up, making him fall on his elbow. He started quietly sobbing and I flew like a bullet down the stairs and suddley thought that that was indignant treatment. He mostly thought that, too. From then on, we never used a string again, and never drank Ginger ale until we were 7. THE END!!!