I remember summers at my grandmother and grandfather's house in Roselle, NJ. I was about 6 years old. In the eyes of my childhood I took such wonder in the small things that I found there.
I would often sneak outside to be alone and explore. I enjoyed being alone as a child, making up imaginary friends and talking to myself. Imaginary friends were the best as I could always boss them around and make them do what I said.
As I'd make my way out the door I'd run around the side of the house. I could always smell them before I saw them. The smell of the mint leaves. I loved to kneel down in the grass, pick the mint leaves with my little fingers and eat them. I would pretend I was chewing Wrigley's Spearmint Gum. It was always a delightful experience. Then I'd run to the back of the house where the honeysuckle was hanging. I'd gingerly pick the flowers and pull out the tall stem in the middle and sip the honey on the end. These were my secret outdoor treasures and I hid their riches in my mouth.
Upon finishing my seasonal ritual, I'd make my way to the end of the block. At this point I'd usually be dragging my bratty and sweaty little brother and we'd cross the street and run to the little bridge and hang over it and stare down into the brook.
As always curiosity would brew over and we'd be sliding down the bank to splash in the shallow waters. I would be picking flowers and my brother would be standing in the brook in his sandals trying to catch small fish, frogs or the occasional piece of strange garbage floating by.
Then my grandmother would come and get us for dinner. "Veneca a Comer!" She would say as she walked towards us. Which meant "Come and eat" in Spanish. We'd scamper up the bank and run home to wash our hands and and prepare for and eventful meal of my Papa's goofy faces while he tried to touch us with his "scary ugly finger". We called it the scary ugly finger because he had the tip of his middle finger sawed off in an accident once. He always thought it was funny to give people "the finger" just so he could show off how ugly it was.
The best part about dinner was after it was over, my brother and I would hide under the table and anyone who was barefoot was in for a brutal game of Toe Pinching. My Papa would hand me my dessert under the table while I acted like a hungry animal. Then my mother would scold my grandfather for encouraging me to act like a dog that was begging for it's food.
Evenings were polished off with me sitting in my Papa's leather recliner watching the original Battle Star Galactica or the Muppets. I'd have my great-grandmother's afghan flopped over my stuffed belly and I'd slowly drift off to sleep with my mouth open until my mother would pick me up and carry me off to bed.
She's Having a Baby
4 years ago