Posted tagged ‘school compound’

“Because once you’re afraid of one thing, you can get scared of a lot of stuff.”

August 3, 2017

The air is so humid it feels damp. The sky is gray. The slight breeze does nothing to clear the air. We are starting days of hot weather. I will be a hermit sitting in the cool house with doors and windows closed. The Sox game last night was rained out. There was thunder and lightning. It missed us.

My laundry is done, but the pile sits in the living room waiting to be brought upstairs. That’s progress to me and a check off the to-do list.

Ghost Shark is today’s unbelievable movie. The shark can appear in water, any water, including bathtubs and water coolers. It doesn’t eat the bodies. It is after all a ghost but it does lop off heads or cut the bodies in half. Even to me this is one strange movie.

Clowns don’t scare me, haven’t ever scared me, though the clown in Stephen King’s It is scary. I grew up with Clarabell. He honked instead off talked except he did say good-bye on the very last Howdy Doody show. Maybe it’s clown make-up which scares people or their bad taste in colorful clothes with ruffles. I guess clown shoes don’t help much either.

I admit the man with the hook scared me when I was a kid. My father told us the story with heightened drama, hand gestures and the occasional grabs of our knees which made us jump. When he and my mother once went grocery shopping, we were alone which was fine until we heard scratching on the screen and no other sounds. It scared us enough we hid under the bed probably the first spot a crazed killer would look, but we didn’t have the time to discuss the best hiding place in the house. We just ran. It was, of course, my father. He thought it was funny. We didn’t at least until we caught our breaths and our hearts stopped beating wildly in our chests.

I do like to be scared but not about real things. I never expect boogeymen in the bushes or that my house will be targeted by roving marauders. I keep my inside doors open. I have no window shades. The curtains stay open to the sun though not all windows even have curtains. If I hear a noise, I usually investigate, a little timidly but I go anyway. The other night the dog’s backyard lights were triggered. She was inside. I went out on the deck to check the yard but neither saw nor heard anything. I just shrugged at the mystery and went back inside the house. I left the inside door open.

The first place I ever lived alone was in Ghana. It took a bit of adjustment, but after a while I enjoyed being by myself. My house was right by the back gate which I sometimes had to climb over to get back into the school compound after hours. The watchman pretended not to hear me so he could stay by his bedding and his fire. My inside door was always open even then. My house was broken into one night. I was sleeping outside and slept through it all. Nothing much was stolen as I didn’t have much. My camera was found outside the house. You couldn’t buy film for it in Ghana so it was useless to the thief. I had very little money which was gone, but Peace Corps reimbursed us. I had my pocket picked at the train station and was the victim of an attempted purse snatching. Despite all of those, I was never afraid.

I have lived alone my entire time in this house. I haven’t ever heard scratching on the screen or eerie sounds at night. Gracie used to bark at sounds but doesn’t anymore unless there is a knock at the door or the bell is rung. So much for my watch dog.  Regardless, I feel perfectly safe.

“Sweet are the thoughts that savour of content, The quiet mind is richer than a crown…”

March 25, 2017

It rained last night leaving today cloudy and dark. It’s warmer than it has been. All my chores and errands got finished, scratched out. Today is a stay at home day. Right now Boris Karloff as The Mummy is on TV. I have seen this movie several times, but that doesn’t ever matter. A propeller plane circles the world, the eerie music starts, and we see Egypt and the desert. We’re at a dig: it’s 1931, and the mummified remains of Imhotep, who had been buried alive, have just been found. A warning on the top of the chest buried with the mummy warns that whoever opens the chest will die. Despite the warning the chest is opened, the sacred words are said and the mummy comes back to life. There’s more but not here.

In winter, cloudy days sometimes make me feel subdued, and, after several in a row, even melancholic while other cloudy days, like today, make me feel cozy in my warm house. Life doesn’t get much better than being in my comfy clothes and watching one of my favorites, a black and white science fiction movie from the 30’s. I’m even having Chinese for lunch. It’s one of those perfect days.

When I was in Ghana, I lived alone for the first time. My house, one side of a duplex, was brand new and on school grounds right by the back gate, which I had to climb a few times as the watchman chose not to hear me yelling for the gate to be opened. (Sorry for the digression. Back to the story.) I was really lonely the first few months. I hated the quiet of my house. I played music especially at night to ward off the silence, but, by Christmas, I relished the night-time quiet because every day was busy and filled with sounds. In the morning it was the swishing of the hand- held brooms as the students cleaned the compound. After that, I could hear buckets being filled with water for bathing and the conversations of my students in a variety of languages. From that morning time on, the day was only quiet after the students had lights out.

It is always a marvel to me that life in Ghana took on a routine, became every day. Here I was living on a school compound in Bolgatanga. It was eggs and toast and coffee, horrible coffee, for breakfast, fruit for lunch and chicken or beef with a sauce and yams on the side, sometimes fried but mostly mashed, for dinner. I went to the market every third day and filled my basket with vegetables and fruit. The amazement of living in Africa was replaced by familiarity. It was home.

I think the memory of living in Ghana surfaces on days like today. I recognize the comfort in the quiet I felt then and I’m feeling now. It is contentment!

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the mind.”

February 28, 2017

I feel much better, but I’m tired. I so envy Gracie and Maddie and their morning naps. They must be exhausted after having breakfast. Added to that, Gracie had a trip to the backyard. How tiring that must have been. Later, they’ll wake up and have their dinners then both of them will need another nap. Standing and eating can be so strenuous.

When I was a kid, the last thing I’d ever do would be to waste any part of my day by taking a nap. In college I took some afternoon naps mostly to recharge after a party or a night on the town. In Ghana, everything closed down for naps. Because it was the hottest time of the day, a nap, to get out of the sun, was inviting. My students had to be in their dorms resting on their beds. In town the post office closed as did a few stores and kiosks. I got to like that time of the day. It was quiet on the school compound. Nothing much moved. I started taking naps. I haven’t ever stopped.

My outside Christmas lights are gone. My factotum, Skip, came yesterday to do some odds jobs, and the lights were first. Last night was really dark. There are no streetlights so the only lights were shining from the windows of a few houses but not in the houses nearest mine as people don’t live in them full time. If you walked around at night, you’d need a flashlight to navigate the neighborhood.

It was in the 40’s yesterday, not warm, just seasonable. Today will hit 50˚ but it is raining on and off. Tomorrow may set a new record in Boston. It won’t be warm enough for that here.

My front garden has flowers. Snowdrops and yellow crocus are blooming. They look beautiful, especially the yellow crocus. My eyes crave color during the drab winter. That yellow just pops and screams spring is coming.

I love that the day is getting longer and longer.


%d bloggers like this: