I swear to God I am going to kill my ISP. Too bad you can’t hack AT&T to death with a machete. Fitting punishment for a so-called provider of internet service that in reality is doing a pretty crappy job of providing this evening.
And now Winamp is refusing its cooperation.
Some days, it’s not even worth turning on your computer…
Ask me where I’m from, I’ll tell you Ocean View. I really don’t care what others think of the place, that it’s a seedy den of drugs and prostitution, but I never saw any of that. I was just a little girl, doing what little girls do… playing Barbies and My Little Ponies and running around barefoot.
Find Ocean View Elementary School (built in the 1930s, and an excellent example of the architecture popular then), and two blocks away is my house. I walked to school every day, going to pre-kindergarten (half-day) and kindergarten (full-day). Some days I walked on the sidewalks, and other days I cut through people’s lawns. Once in a while I managed to wheedle a ride out of my mother in her rusted Pinto with the plastic alligator keeping guard on the dashboard. I would play with the alligator, sticking my finger all the way down the poor thing’s throat and folding his mouth in strange ways.
My house is the white one next to the one on the corner whose address shares our street name but faces the adjoining street — something that always confused me as a kid. The steps are now red, but the paint flakes off to reveal blue and white and a rainbow of other colors. My mother planted roses along the house, and when we first moved in, when I was just two years old, a white picket fence surrounded the property. I kid you not. :o)
Come into the house, and you’ll find yourself in the living room. Behind the door is my mother’s (and maybe some of my father’s) bowling trophies, covering an entire buffet table of some sort. Past the coat closet is the shelves where my childhood books were stored — all my Little Golden Books and the Disney Books my sister and I shared. I used to lay under the coffee table in the middle of the living room to watch tv — the same one that my sister fell onto when she was a toddler, jamming one of her teeth up into her gums.
On either side of the room were two lamp tables, each with a cabinet underneath. I could never remember which one held the treasures I was looking for, and if I guessed wrongly I found the telephone books instead of the family photo albums that I really wanted to look at. Even at that young age, I was fascinated by the photos of our family… of Momma, of Michele, of me.
That little house was just seven rooms (eight, if you count the utility room that was only large enough for the washer and dryer), but it holds so many memories for me. My mother and sister may be surprised at every detail I remember, that I remember what it looked like the day we looked at it before we moved in, even though I was still a toddler. That I can remember the hardwood floors of my sister’s and my room that was then covered with a rug of moss green carpet, the way the sunlight slanted through the metal-edged windows that were later replaced with wooden sills that I loved to draw on. That I know there was a man there with my mother, which, if it wasn’t the real estate agent, is my only recollection of my mother’s second husband — the less said of him, the better.
My memory of this little house in the heart of Ocean View, just a few blocks from the spit, is so sharp because of the major role it played in my life. I lived there for four years, during which time I have very little memory of day-to-day life. But after my father got custody of Michele and me, that little house was a home base of sorts while we moved all over the country. I could always come home to the crepe myrtle trees and the orange kitchen and my sister’s dance photos on the wall. Going through that house in my mind was at times a way for my brain to settle down enough to sleep late at night.
So I suppose it’s not too surprising that I remember so much when I was still so little. There’s no other place I remember quite as well… and no other place that tugs as my heart quite as much. I don’t really like going by the little white house where my sister and I played like little kids do — Red Rover in the yard and Cabbage Patch Kids on the walk. It’s packed too full of memories.
And, as they say, you can never go home again.