Poetry Prompt: Go back to when you were eight years old.
Write down all of the dreams and aspirations of that little girl
or little boy.
Now pick one and write what it would feel like to be living
that dream authentically.
Really use as many sensory words as you can.
I remember me …
at 8 years old.
I feel puzzled.
It was not a time I can
remember having any
aspirations except to
be friends with Debbie.
It was expected that in 1952
a young girl would grow up
and marry and have a family.
I was an obedient child
and just accepted that
was my fate in life.
It’s hard to remember…
it was sort of a vanilla
swirl sort of time.
I’d been an only child
til I was six and then
my brother came along.
After two years,
I resented his presence
and all the attention he got.
The vanilla was my friend Debbie,
who lived across the street.
Her dad had a grocery store,
they were Catholic
(Oh, NO !) and
we did not go to church
but considered the family
to be Lutheran.
In that day and age,
where I lived in Wisconsin,
the two were not supposed
to be friends, date or
Debbie’s family was liberal
and allowed us to play
together and my parents
just monitored to be sure
I wasn’t “indoctrinated” … Sigh.
The only thing I remember about
was on Saturday afternoon,
she had to go to “confession”
and I would sit on the steps
of the church and wait for her.
I couldn’t figure what one would
confess, that was a wonder to me,
but if she had to do it,
I accepted it.
Debbie and I had run of the town
checked out abandoned houses,
rode our bikes,
had matching dolls
… with real rooted hair.
My guess is that
I didn’t like that we
had the same doll, …
I cut the hair off the doll at the roots !
All these memories have me feeling
My most clear moments are of
not liking my brother,
and wondering why everyone else
wasn’t up and out at 7 am !
I already knew the drill of being a housewife:
wash clothes on Monday, mini-clean the house*
iron on Tuesday. mini-clean the house
wash sheets on Wednesday mini-clean the house
iron on Thursday mini-clean the house
Friday shop for groceries mini-clean the house
Saturday clean the house, including floors and windows,
(living room windows were washed inside,
and outside weather permitting). Baked.
Sunday we didn’t go to church so it was a Sunday Dinner,
women did the dishes, men listened on the radio to ball games…
my dad went to work often since being a manager of Woolworth’s
the work was never done, always something to do.
The “swirl” was my brother…
He caused me a lot of distress…
My plans to be married,
of course included children…
I do have two children ,
four grand daughters.
I thought they’d be compliant
and obedient like me…
accepting what ever I was told,
followed the rules within reason,
didn’t question out loud…
It wasn’t encouraged,
and if I did, I was told,
all families were like ours.
So, I would guess, by 8 years old,
I started to wonder about why other
children didn’t get in trouble if they
asked questions, argued, or why their
parents still loved them if they rebelled.
I don’t remember being unhappy,
but I do remember being puzzled
about why my family rules were
different than other families…
Sigh. Big Sigh.
* “mini-clean” the house. My mother kept
an immaculate house…each day she made the
beds, straightened the bed rooms, even those
of me and my brother. On Saturday and Sunday,
when there was no school, I made my bed,
(the correct way…there was only only way for a
bed to be made according to my mother,… I still
know the “rules”) and my mother would check to
be sure the bed was correct.
The room was neatened to my mother’s satisfaction.
Each day there was no clutter…toys picked up at
meal time. Hobbies were clutter, but we learned to
play card games at an early age. Dishes were always
done, and no dishes in the sink, counter cleaned off.
Kitchen floor swept after meals. Newspaper in the
magazine rack til the next day or after my father
had read it. Magazines were considered clutter so
the occasional magazine would be in the rack for
a short time.
There’s more…but it is too weird for y’all to believe!
Martha Stewart would have been able to pass inspection
on each room every day.