Early Memories

It’s interesting how the more I reminisce, the more these memories come back even after 50-60 years – on a shelf somewhere in my head.

 

It’s interesting how the more I reminisce, the more these memories come back even after 50-60 years on a shelf somewhere in my head.

Some of my earliest memories were roaming around on two acres with banty roosters waking us at dawn, and Chinese Pheasants flying overhead. Somewhere during my early years I was given a bow and some arrows. I remember going out with a friend to shoot those flying pheasants only to have to run like crazy when I shot the arrow directly over our heads -interestingly we actually found that arrow sometime later – both it and I were no worse for the wear.

My dad built our house and I remember that everyone called it “Smitty’s half-way house since he decided to build the front half first. That would have been OK except that it was a two story house and for the longest time the back door of my bedroom opened onto empty air. Fortunately it was triple bolted until the other half was constructed.  You do funny things to reach your goals when finances are tight after the Second World War.

We had a work shed out back of the house next to the chicken coup. My dad used to smoke cigars at that time – late 1940s – early 1950s. The shed like the house was in a perpetual state of change, update, or revision. Anyway, lots of window shelves of unfinished wood, so laying a cigar on one was no big deal. One day my dad reached for his cigar and almost dropped his false teeth – the cigar was not a cigar, but a big fat old brown lizard. Needless to say he put his cigars in a more suitable place from then on.

We also had a swamp next to us – to the left of our house as we faced it. It was a good sized swamp and offered some great times for exploring tadpoles and frogs, golden finches and dragon flies. It was a really fun place until the day my day burned it down. That’s right – not intentional of course.  He had been clearing quite a bit of brush and limbs from tree falls on the back property. This was all neatly piled in the middle of the swamp and seemed well protected from the surrounding area.  So it seemed like a good place to burn it al. Things went well all day and the fire seemed low to out by nightfall. Well, the wind came up and fanned some sparks and the next we knew there was a full- fledged conflagration – much to close to the house for mom’s comfort anyway. After some embarrassing moments with the fire department and the closest of our neighbors everything was pretty much back to order. However, much of the flora and fauna took considerable time to recover –if they ever did.

Speaking of fires, we had a big one in Midway when I was six or seven (see more information under Childhood).

We had some very old vine maples that grew behind our property. I didn’t realize how rare these particular maples were until I checked them out on the Web: “Acer circinatum (Vine Maple) is a species of maple native to western North America, from southwest British Columbia to northern California, always within 300 km of the Pacific Ocean coast. It most commonly grows as a large shrub growing to around 5-8 m tall, but it will occasionally form a small to medium-sized tree, exceptionally to 18 m tall….. Vine Maple trees can bend over easily. Sometimes, this can cause the top of the tree to grow into the ground and send out a new root system, creating a natural arch.”  Vine Maples-Wikipedia. Until I just read the preceding description I was beginning to doubt my memory. The ones we had such a great time on must have been very old since they were 8-12 inches in diameter and had grown into multiple arches reaching 8-12 feet at their apex. There were also convenient nodules that we fantasized were nodes of maple syrup just waiting to be tapped (though we never did). Those nodes made climbing easy and we would spend hours in those trees doing just that.

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