Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Academy -- Part II

(Part I)

After living in various places in California and Oregon we finally settled in Beaverton, Oregon, which was at that time a smallish suburb with rural areas of mostly hazelnut and apple orchards. It is ironic that although I now live an hour away, I work in Beaverton, which is now an overpopulated city (home of Nike!) with clotted freeways and photo-radar intersections. I drive by my old house occasionally to make sure they haven’t cut down the grape vine in the backyard. So far so good. Although they did cut down the apple tree upon which my dad grafted pears. Fascists.

The old house was pea-green and had two small bedrooms and one bathroom with a deep tub but no shower. The area under the kitchen sink was covered with curtains and it was where we kept the bucket for kitchen scraps which would eventually be put in the compost pile outside for our perennial vegetable garden. I shared my room with my obnoxious sister (I like you much better now, Mia, but at the time you were a huge pain, unlike me who was nearly angelic. Stop choking.) who is six years older than me. There were built in drawers in the room and if you opened them you couldn’t open the bedroom door. Which was how my sister locked me out of out room on a regular basis while she chatted with friends about Leif Garrett and Scott Baio. I retaliated by following her and her friends around as much as I could and asking obnoxious questions and steal her Bonne Bell lip gloss.

Our neighbor and landlord lived next door on a corner lot. He had a huge Queen Anne cherry tree and we’d climb high into its branches, eat cherries, and drop the pits onto cars passing below. On the other side of our house was the neighbor where I practiced piano before I had my own. She was old and her house smelled like old things but was extremely fascinating to me and I liked to explore it since it was much bigger than ours. Like my mom, our neighbor had a pantry with rows and rows of sparkling Kerr jars of tomatoes, peaches, applesauce. We made grape juice every year from our grape vines, dried fruit from our fig tree in the dehydrator and canned tomatoes from the garden. Every house I’ve owned as an adult I’ve had a vegetable garden and we plant trees. Currently we have apples, plums, figs, peaches, nectarines, pawpaws and olives. Trees are a very important part of my life. Must have trees!

I played by myself most of the time. I was mostly a Hot Wheels car girl and made roads in the dirt. I had a few dolls, but had the most fun with homemade paper dolls and the Dandelion Ladies (see instructions in my previous post) that Mia taught me how to make. Childhood seemed to last a lifetime, which was sometimes good and sometimes not. But elementary and junior high ended, as did life at the old house.

5 Comments:

At Sunday, April 30, 2006 5:05:00 AM, Blogger lostgirl said...

Sheryle: Oh, I remember the grape vine out back! I drive by both your old house and mine, usually every time I'm in Portland. Wasn't it Mrs. Brown on the other side and they went to church with us?

 
At Sunday, April 30, 2006 8:07:00 PM, Blogger Sheryle said...

lostgirl: Lol, I'm glad to hear you drive both those old houses, too! Yes, it was Mrs. Brown who lived on the other side, along with her "spinster" daughter, (and later her daughter's adopted daughter from Africa) and they did go to our church. She used to store onions in old stockings and hang them in her garage. She had sacks and sacks of old stockings...oh boy, here go the memories again, I better zip it.

 
At Monday, May 01, 2006 4:47:00 AM, Blogger lostgirl said...

Sheryle: I had forgotten about the spinster daughter and the daughters adopted daughter from Africa. Wasn't the adopted daughter in our grade? Maybe 6th grade or so? LOL! Of course I didn't know about the onions and stockings. I remember her hair though....wasn't it the long gray braid wrapped around her head like a crown? Love the memories!

 
At Tuesday, May 02, 2006 7:52:00 PM, Blogger Sheryle said...

lostgirl: No the adopted daughter was older than us. You are thinking of Alice who came to our school in 6th grade. I always wondered what happened to her. She was very smart and funny.

Yes, Mrs. Brown had super long grey hair that she always braided and wore crown-like on her head and her daughter had a matching 'do! Good memory!

 
At Wednesday, May 03, 2006 3:39:00 AM, Blogger lostgirl said...

Sheryle: That's right! Alice and I were buddies at least for awhile in 6th grade. Was she with us in 7th? Didn't she have a brother a grade or two ahead of us? Who was the girl with corn rows and multi coloured beads on the end? She was petite....I have a mental picture of her mother...?

Don't recall the daughters 'do or even her face.

 

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