Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Roanoke Memories Revisited: Part 2

Forest Park Elementary School, Roanoke, Virginia Posted by Picasa

This is the grade school I attended for second through fourth grade. It was within walking distance of our house in those days, but probably not today. North Cross School, where I attended first grade is a large, well-know private school in the area that now goes through 12th grade and has a rigorous college prep curriculum. I am impressed. It no longer has class in the old two story house and has over 500 students.

This is a continuation of the Xanga Files as Nyssa might call them although I like to think of it as A Mother's History For Her Child.
Xanga Files: Thursday, March 10, 2005 @ 8:35 PM
(Continuation from Sunday, March 6th)

Life was different then. There were no color televisions, computers, calculators, air conditioning in cars, videos, Nintendo, Sega, CD players, or boom boxes. I had a small box record player that played 78 rpm records for kids. They were all colors: red, yellow, blue...a lot of church songs for kids. I had a favorite stuffed animal...Jumbo...a brown bear...he finally was loved to death. I slept in a full size four poster bed; in fact it may be the one I sleep in now. I think my folks borrowed it from the grandparents.

I did watch television some. On Saturday, I would get up at the crack of dawn to see cartoons...not the strange Japanese things of today but Bugs Bunny, Looney Tunes, and TV shows like Rin Tin Tin (dog on army post), Lassie, My Friend Flicka, Sky King, the Original Mickey Mouse Club, and the Lone Ranger. On weekday mornings Captain Kangaroo and Romper Room were my favorites. I dimly remember one program that showed real operations in a hospital and I loved that...hey, maybe that's what's wrong with me.

Most of the time, particularly in the summer, I would play outside. I didn't have any brothers or sisters until I was nine so I played by myself, with myself and my imagination. I read "National Velvet" and being convinced that I would be a jockey or cowgirl when I grew up, I fabricated a whole universe where I was someone else. The only problem was a choice of names...I liked so many characters from the horse programs and the books I read that I couldn't decide. What I came up with was...Lori Cleopatra Velvet Anne Edwina Martin. I think the Velvet and Edwina came from National Velvet (There was also a TV show by the same name) and Cleopatra came from reading the Shakespeare play (Mom had a book of the complete works of Shakespeare that I wore out by age 12), but I can't remember where the rest came from. It seemed to roll off your tongue and I felt special when I pretended to be her. I rode a large black stallion with a white star on his forehead...this was a broom before I could ride a bike and was my bike afterwards. I pretended while swinging, running around the yard, under the carport making mud pies...anywhere and everywhere. That pretend world of my childhood still is one of the more comforting times and places to remember.

We lived next door to a little boy about my age. Our house was small and brick but his was even smaller and wood with old siding, slightly slanted walls, patched roof and very rundown yard. Ivy and climbing vines grew up the sides and intertwined around the old porch posts. He was thin and had red hair. His name was David but I have forgotten his last name. He lived with his widowed grandmother. I don't know where his parents were and he never talked about them. I don't remember that he went to the school I went to, now I wonder why, but I remember that he was Seventh Day Adventist so he went to church on Saturday and couldn't play. And I had church on Sunday and couldn't play outside. But in the summer we did better during the week. I had a little swimming pool and he would come over and play in the water. Together we learned to take turns as he had a major imagination as well, but he liked to play pirates and not cowboys. So we alternated playing in our imaginary worlds together. I was not a very good pirate.

At the back of our property there was a small garden with strawberries and a small chicken coop. (That is another story all together.) Beyond the coop was a small hill and on top a house much larger than ours and the others in the neighborhood. A little boy lived there too but he didn't play much with David and me. He was rich but a lot of times looked very lonely by himself on the hill. We waved but he never came down to play. I never knew his name.

There was a small community center about two blocks from the house. Since there were no major streets to cross I got to ride there on my bicycle. One summer I faintly remember doing crafts there. Strange how certain things pop into your head...We had necklace candies there...either given as treats or we bought them...They looked like the ones you can still get today but weren't sour. The taste...that is what I remember...banana...they tasted like bananas.

Those were the best summers...making up imaginary stories and acting them out...riding my pretend horses...and banana necklace candies.
(To be continued)

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