It is true, everything in my childhood is not pleasant to talk about but that is not the focus of this post. On the contrary, let me tell you about the joys of my childhood.
The joy of swimming for hours on end in the neighbor’s pool. They didn’t have any kids which makes sense since they were two men. They maintained that pool just for us. We pestered Mom into bringing us to the pool after working the night shift. She sat there baking in the sun, watching us. When our fingers were pickled by chlorine water and our lips turned blue, she had to make us landlubbers again though we thought we could turn into dolphins and swim away.
The joy of sleigh riding down the neighbor’s hill (different neighbor). Every kid in the neighborhood slid down that hill. A retired couple lived there. I have no idea if they cared or not. They never yelled at us. We would stay out until our feet were frost bit and could only warm up in cold water.
The joy of neighborhood games like the Little Rascals, no adults supervising, we organized and played with not one parent in sight.
Buildings forts in the woods. Scrap lumber and sheets of siding were never hanging around for long because some kid was going to haul it off and create a fort. We used to spend all day building, ‘furnishing’ and then sitting in our forts.
Wild strawberries from the field, and gooseberries, blackberries, apples, frost plums plucked from trees.
Ice skating on the frozen pond a couple of miles away and yes, we walked there alone, as children and joined the mob of kids already there. Everyone knew if there was water in sight, don’t go on the ice, stay on the edge where the ice was white. No one died.
Bushels of peaches that my mother bought from the farmer’s market and we could feast on as we liked, we liked them a lot! Can’t forget all things Christmas; decorating, Christmas songs blasting through the house, all the glittery, shiny decorations, the lights, the crafts at school (phone book angels that were spray painted gold!), Christmas Eve, stockings stuffed with goodies. Cookies, cookies, did I mention the cookies?
I could go on and on. With all this good, you would think I could say, I had a great childhood. But that’s not my story, only part of it and I’m deeply grateful for that part.
So what’s the writing connection? Writers are always counseled to keep the action, conflict, tension and terror coming on in good measure. It makes for a page turner or what I like to call ‘a book devour’. Even so, in the midst of the trauma and constant impending doom, there needs to be some moments of good. A quick thought of love, enjoyment of a favorite food, cup of coffee, blue sky, something that gives character and reader an endorphin break. The key is to keep it short and sweet so it is only a pause in the momentum instead of a bunny snooze trail.
Write on people!
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