In Looking For Alaska, John Green writes:And I can hear whatever bird that is that says, "who. whooooooo who. who." I don't hear that bird very often but it always reminds me of younger days when I lived in less populated areas. It reminds me of when we lived in Zenith and could run around all day long in nothing but our underwear. It was the life. I think my whole life I'll be trying to get back to that sort of place. Back to a place that you have to drive a ways to get to. Back to the place where you can leave your curtains open in the night time because there's no one to see into your home. Not for miles. Back to the place where you don't realize that there are things to complain about. We'd go out into the yard and dig holes and fill them with water and make little lego boats to try to float. But the holes always drained. Looking back, I love that this confused us. I never considered that the earth was as thirsty as we were in the summertime and kept drinking our entertainment. I remember that mom would let us stay outside until the sun began to set and we'd come into the house with dirt in so many surprising places. We'd eat dinner and watch the Cosby show. I remember crying and crying and crying the day that The Cosby show ended. I was going to miss The Huxtables. I thought they were my friends and I'd never see them again. I didn't know about reruns. I didn't know that the very next week they would play an old episode and that I would feel emotionally jipped (but also relieved).
Like the way the sun is right now, with the long shadows and that kind of bright, soft light you get when the sun isn't quite setting? That's the light that makes everything better, everything prettier, and today, everything just seemed to be in that light.
Our dad worked at the local Co-op. There was a big tank-thing that was intended to be home to, probably, billions of gallons (keep in mind the disconnect between childhood perspective of size and realistic perspective) of chemicals or pesticides or something else that children should never be near. Before it could be filled, though, the tank (which was made of terribly thick plastic) fell off of the truck and cracked. Rendering it useless to its intended purpose. My dad brought it home, measured about 5 feet from the bottom and cut the top off. And that's how we got a swimming pool for free. Mom split a garden hose down the middle and ran it around the top so that we wouldn't cut our little arms and legs when we got in. We positioned it beneath our tree house so that we could, at times, jump from a dangerous height into not enough water. That shit would not pass inspection in any town where there were neighbors. But it was incredible.
But it wasn't a real pool and it didn't have an ordinary filtration system or, you know, chlorine or anything. It was really just a gigantic tub of water in the back yard with a spout at the bottom that we used to drain it. And unlike a real pool the fight against algae was a physical one that we loved to fight. Mom would strip us down and make us wear socks in the pool. And it was our job to scrub all of the slime off of the bottom using only our feet. She said it was part of owning your own pool. She said all the kids with pools in their back yard had to do this. We'd scrub and then drain all of the water out and then my mom would do her best to get in there and clean the mildew. From my adult perspective--that's truly disgusting and probably fifteen kinds of dangerous. As a little kid, it was a dream come true. We had dreams of keeping the water filled throughout the winter time, letting it freeze solid and then turning it into our own, personal ice rink. Oddly, that swimming pool only lasted for one summer. We thought mom was so mean for not letting us keep it for another year. From my grown up place, though, at an age that is not that far off from where my mother was when she was sending her kids out into a vat of green goo (which she probably hated to do--but are there other options that will preserve the single greatest aspect of their childhoods?)--I don't blame her one bit. She was a saint to put up with it for so many months.
Happy Sunday Morning.
I wish I had a picture of us when we were little to put here at the end of this post.