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The wonderful Indigo Spider has given of herself to offer us, her online friends, the incentives and encouragement to write stories, poems, songs, drabbles, and God knows what else.  Without her self-less initiative to drive us to great or greater heights of artistic empowerment, many of us (me included) would find ourselves sinking into the pit of obscurity.  Thank you MS. SPIDER http://indigospider.wordpress.com/2011/08/14/sunday-picture-press-twistless/

 

Jason sat quietly under the young Ash tree.  The hour was quite late and the sodium vapor light glowed a fiery echo of God’s radiance on the day.  Thinking back on the last few hours, Jason felt small.  Jason’s world had crashed.  What happened?

Half a world away Jennifer sat in the shade of M1 Abrams tank.  Shrouded in sand, the orange smoldering orb of the sun burned though the khamseen, an Arabic term meaning “fifties” and refers to a dry, dust-filled windstorm that often blows sporadically over fifty days.

Jenny had given up.  Their lives were separate.  Fifty days of wind-blown sand had shriveled Jenny’s outlook.  Jason was too far removed from her desires, from her experiences, from her days here in Afghanistan.

At the last military compound, Jenny composed an E-mail, a “DEAR JOHN” letter.  The circumstances were certainly reversed, but the outcome is the same.  She wanted out. She couldn’t breathe anymore.  The sand clogged her eyes, blocked her ears, eroded her memories, and depleted her reserves.

Fifty days and the world has changed.

I’ve been a while getting back into writing. Mom is doing much better now after having a pacemaker installed. Life is returning to “normal” and I’m feeling better about writing. So here goes. This is in response to Indigo Spider’s SUNDAY PHOTO PROMPT

You Can Never Go Home Again

I guess you can.  You know, go home. But don’t expect things to remain the same as when you left.  Never again will the old haunts of your childhood look as crisp and sparkling in life as they do with-in the halls of your memories.

It’s a hard lesson to learn.  I’m sure every human being has to learn this inflexible lesson about time and memories.  What a shocker!  I returned to a childhood memory yesterday.  A place I spent many lonely hours: a place where four-square, hop-scotch, and tag were part of the daily activities.  My grade school.  I learned to spell, to read, and to write here.  My teachers tried to instill a love of mathematics in me here, (a lesson of futility, poor Mr. Kerr!)

I only spent a few years here before my father moved us once again.  I grew up a military brat.  My family followed Dad from state to state, duty station to duty station, country to country.  This particular duty station and memory was in England.  I was six years old, finishing my kindergarten years at a school on an air base.  My foremost memory of this school was misery: I was such a shy girl, a new kid in a school full of new kids.  I should have known better, but my last experience at a new school wasn’t a Department of Defense school, it was a civilian school:  A place where the resident children all knew each other.  They understood the community and the rules of the neighborhood.  I didn’t.  I knew the rules of a military community   which is something much different from civilian life.  I was cootie-ized and excluded from the groups. I was never chosen first for the teams in dodge ball.  I was always chosen first as the target in dodge-ball.  I always sat on the sidelines, but I don’t think I made myself very easy for people to like either.  I was a strange and aloof child.  I remember leaving the house to catch the school bus when Mom called me back  to change my socks. I was wearing 2 different types and colors of socks.  One sock reached for the knee and was argyle in nature, while the other was a white, frilly ankle sock.  I refused to change those socially offensive articles of clothing and continued my way to school.  This action only heaped upon me ridicule from the other kids and verified (in my mind) my unworthiness and how lonely my life was.  I was a child who felt the need to suffer.

Now I stand here, looking at the school and the yard that held so much torment for me.  Gone and boarded are the gaping windows that allowed me to daydream and leave the classrooms as the teachers droned on:  me, on my beautiful white stead racing down the valley past all the stinking, smelling decay of evil children and unfair teachers.  The yard is choked with weeds; the pavement is a broken mass of up heaved concrete, stones and shards of metal.  It reminds me of my life as a student here.  It’s sad, almost forgotten except for the stray cats who’ve made the place their sanctuary.  It’s a memory of time and anguish.  I think I’m glad this building is crumbling and disrespected.   I feel a mixture of joy and sadness as I stare at the decrepit building.  I’ve survived this place.  I have survived time and the ravages of childhood nemeses.  I’m a survivor and I’m happy to have outlived this place of tears.  I’m satisfied.  Yes, I came home and found some things are better.  Sometimes you CAN come home.

 

My friends, I’ve discovered another wonderful opportunity to write.  This is given to the fans of Indigo Spider whose link is posted below.  Indigo Spider provides her readers with a choice of photos to use as muse for the next story.  I’ve chosen the 2nd prompted visual.  Oh, very important rule. 500 word limit.

http://indigospider.wordpress.com/2011/05/29/sunday-picture-press-iv/

 

There she is.  Aunt Loretta. The one woman in the Greene family who is able to cause any kid she looks down at to pee his pants.  I experienced this same withering gaze from her in the summer of ’60.  I was 5 years old.

Aunt Loretta’s thumb was universally acknowledged as the greenest in town.  Her flower garden bloomed at the edge of her seemingly palatial lawn alongside the crumbling and frost heaved public sidewalk of Aztec Street in Hometown, Iowa USA. The immaculate white picket fencing discreetly kept the admirers from her garden.  It also lent to the beholding eye the air of hominess and oven baked bread.  That’s just how I heard a neighbor’s mom describe the property.  I knew what she was talking about because my Grandma could bake the best potato bread.  Now, 45 years later I have sensory flashbacks to Grandma’s kitchen with the fresh baked aromas of yeast wafting into the crooks and crannies of my brain: flowing around the crevices of gray matter like butter did as it melted into the warm yeasty body of the Hot Cross Buns and fluffy breads  from Grandma’s kitchen.

One Saturday afternoon, after the girls I was playing with in the neighborhood had drifted away, I wandered into the garden of my Aunt Loretta. I was allowed there. She never tried to keep me from admiring her Peonies, Chrysanthemum, Asters, Echinacea, Primrose, Verbena and Black Eyed Susan.  Yes, the proper English Garden is what my Aunt Loretta had striven for. I was strolling through the small avenues of Auntie’s garden and I can remember looking UP to see many of the flower heads!  Today, I know I felt like “ALICE”. The garden was bright with colors, alive with honey bees and buzzing insects that came to nibble or pollinate the greens of the garden.  The feelings I experienced were extraordinary.   I felt I were a princess who idled among her gardens.  I imagined myself in stiff crinolines and hooped skirts strolling along the garden paths with a woven basket to capture the clipped flowers I’d chosen to fill the vase in the entryway of our home.

A large veined hand roughly grabbed my right shoulder. “Oh lord, Aunt Loretta.”  I was spun neatly (if not smartly) around to face the woman.  She sputtered and flurried, I was so scared I couldn’t hear what she was carrying on about. The only noise I could make out was the sound of an ocean crashing in my ears. We lived in Iowa. There was no ocean, but I sure could hear it.  I could see her face redden in her vehemence.  I was dragged to the veranda of the little cottage she shared with Uncle Harry. They stared down at me and I felt the warm wetness dribble down my legs into my shoes.  I looked down to see the forgotten flowers I had plucked. My wool socks itched.  I had just endured “THE LOOK” and lost.