Posted tagged ‘walk to school’

“Sometimes you have to grow up before you appreciate how you grew up.”

January 19, 2017

Today is a beautiful winter’s day. It is sunny and warm. Given how much it rained yesterday, I’m thinking today is a bit of a reward. Gracie and I are going out later. Today is not a day to waste.

Yesterday I actually vacuumed and then washed the kitchen floor. I can only think an alien had taken over my body.

I remember so much from when I was growing up. Without realizing it, I had filed away small things into my memory drawers. On the way to school, we crossed the railroad tracks. Sometimes we were even lucky enough to see a train. The bathroom at school always had a cleaning smell. The stalls and the overhead pipes were painted white. I remember the pipes sometimes had peeling paint.

The bowling alley was never quiet. The air was filled with the sounds of pins hitting the wooden floors. I remember the size of the shoes was on the backs of each rented pair. I never gave a thought about wearing shoes lots of people had worn.

Santoro’s Sub Shop was a block away from school. It was a small shop with a few stools at a counter attached to the wall. Mr. Santoro worked there with two of his sons. I remember Mr. Santoro was short. The bread, two different sizes, was in baskets and the toppings were in a case. The hot stuff like meatballs and sausages were on a stove top in big silver pots. I never got a hot sub. Mostly I got chicken salad or an Italian. I always added pickles and hot peppers.

There were four drug stores. I never thought that was strange. Now I wonder how a small town could support so many.

When it was hot, the firemen sat on big wooden chairs in front of the bays at the fire station. I always stopped to say hello.

The post office felt cool even on hot days, but the church sweltered in the summer.

I have the best memories, mostly simple memories etched forever in my memory drawers

“The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.”

May 20, 2016

Today is a perfect spring day on Cape Cod. It is a bit chilly but a long-sleeve shirt should do, the sun is sharing the sky with a few clouds and there is a slight breeze rippling the young leaves of the oak tree outside my window. It is a good day for a walk.

Monday is plant day, one of my favorite of all days. I bring my list and wander the aisles pushing my cart. I buy herbs for the small garden close to the house especially lots of basil for pesto. I buy perennials for the front gardens. This year my list includes native flowers like the butterfly milkweed, the common boneset and the spotted geranium. When I get into the garden shop, I have trouble controlling myself. I so love to shop for plants.

When I was a kid, it never occurred to me that every day was the same. I’d have cocoa and toast, sometimes an egg, for breakfast and then leave for school. The walk wasn’t long. We crossed railroad tracks, went by the junior high school, an old brick building which used to be the high school, crossed a sometimes busy road and walked just a bit more to the school. The convent was across the street, the rectory was beside the old school and the church was beside the rectory. We’d head for the school yard and talk or play until the bell rang. It was a hand bell which the nun would ring three or four times. I liked the sound of a hand bell, and sometimes I’d watch the nun stand by the door to ring the bell. She’d raise the bell high above her head and swing it down as far as her arm could reach. We all knew it was time to get into our lines. I remember watching Little House on the Prairie. The teacher pulled the rope connected to the hand bell. It was the same sound.

“Nothing burns like the cold.”

January 7, 2014

Last night the wind and the heat blasting competed for noise. I woke up around 3, read until 5 then slept in late. My friend who has been hobbling for days with a bad knee called and asked if I wouldn’t mind doing an errand. Her husband, her go-to-it guy, has the flu. I’m thinking the house needs a quarantined sign, but I was more than happy to do a mission of mercy. I put Gracie’s coat on her and we went outside then ran to the car. The cold was pervasive. My car temperature gauge said 17˚ but that didn’t take into account the wind chill. I can’t remember when last it was so cold. My house is nice and warm because the heat seems to be blowing constantly. The back door is closed so Gracie has to ring her doggie bells to go outside. She’s not out for long. Gracie is no dumb animal.

I used to walk to school all the time. It didn’t matter how wet or cold the day was. The walk wasn’t all that long, maybe 15 or 20 minutes, but we had to pass by a field where the wind swept across in the same way I figure it blows on the Russian steppes. Our clothes billowed in the wind and our faces felt as if they were frost-bitten. I remember trying to fight that wind by walking backwards. I was bundled. We all were, but sometimes it just didn’t seem enough. I can’t imagine walking to school on a day as cold as this one.

Most of the snow is gone, melted by yesterday’s warmth. Piles left by the plow sit by the sides of the road and snow lies on lawns sheltered from the sun. The snow is crusty, and I crunched my way to the driveway to get the papers. It is one of my favorite sounds.

The birds must be sheltered somewhere as there are none at the feeders. Usually all four feeders are filled with birds, some holding on to their spots, like the gold finches at the thistle, and others flying in and out. Yesterday there were many.

I am going out this evening to have dinner with friends. The paper says it should be around 10˚ once the sun goes down. I’m going to bundle even though it’s house to car and vice versa. My phone is charged just in case. Knowing my luck sometimes, I like to prepare for any contingency.

“There ought to be gardens for all months in the year, in which, severally, things of beauty may be then in season.”

September 26, 2013

My official acknowledgement of autumn was yesterday. The back screen door is now in the cellar and the storm door is in its place. The nights had been too cold to leave the backdoor open so Gracie didn’t have access to her dog door. She would ring the bells to go out, and I’d have to go running to open the door then wait for her. Now Gracie can come and go as she pleases.

The days seem darker to me, the sun less bright. I figure it’s mostly my imaginings at the transition in seasons. The cat still sleeps in the morning sun streaming through the front door so she is content. I am not. Every day seems to bring a change as we rush toward winter. The fall flowers are at their peak. The mums in my garden have all bloomed. The new flowers are planted in the front garden. The deck looks desolate and has pine needles, small twigs and branches and the hulls of sunflower seeds strewn about. Some days I sit in the sun in the afternoon, but I wear a sweatshirt against the chill. The days of short-sleeves have ended. We do have plenty of autumn left so my lament may be early, but the nights are cold. They feel like the first touch of winter.

I’m wearing my slippers and a sweatshirt. The house was cold this morning, colder than when I have the heat going, but I can’t bring myself to start the furnace: it’s the final surrender.

When I go to my old town, I always follow the route I used to walk to school. I notice the changes and remember what used to be there. The house where my friends grew up is gone. It was a pretty white house with red shutters and a trellis by the back door. A house near it was always a favorite of mine. It was an old house, one of the first on the street. It too is gone. In their place is a small brick apartment building, an ugly building with no character, with no homeyness. I am glad I don’t walk that route any more.