Joined: 15 Mar 2010
|Posted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 11:19 pm Post subject: The Day the Magic Died
|I remember the day the magic died. But I'd rather remember when it was there.
Schellon was my best friend. I mean, she still IS, but we're both grown now. We used to play together, those timeless summer days back in the early 50's. There will never be summers like that again, those breathing spaces between grades in school. We were taken care of by people who knew everything, our parents. There were no Unanswerable Questions, and we say everything with a clarity that eludes me now. Yet with our child minds we dreamed and projected images of the kind that poets still try to reconstruct.
Two small girls, we played in that brief space in time when the days are long, not much is required, and everything is possible. It was a realm which allowed only dogs and a few other select animals that knew how to enjoy a summer day. (I can't talk to a dog the way I did then, I've tried.)
Our toys were few. Our eyes translated things so easily. Today dolls talk; their tiny recorded messages buried in their hearts. It strikes me as sad and a little frightening. Perhaps the doll isn't programmed to say just what the child has in mind? When I played, I dubbed my own voice for the doll, And the script was different from day to day. After all, My doll friend accompanied me deep into the heart of Indian country on my horse and we would have been lost for sure if in a crucial moment she blurted out, "Hi! My name is Kathy!"
When Schellon and I cooked dinner by my playhouse, leaves became green beans and small smooth stones were potatoes. We'd cook in jar lids and gourds over a flat rock which served as a stove. Only a little girl knows when rocks and leaves are done to perfection.
The coffee was dirt and water; probably as good as I make now. Pies and cakes were made from that old standby, mud. But we decorated them with icing, (alias toothpaste) at least once.
We had an old doll with a cloth body, (made by my grandma) that enabled us to perform a heart transplant long before Dr. Barnard even thought of it. The blood was red food coloring, but the stitches were real. The patient healed nicely. I don't know where that doll is now, but it is minus a bit of cotton and has gained a red paper valentine for a heart.
We built miniature cities in the sand under the cherry tree. We paved roads and highways and even supplied stop signs - cardboard hexagons on ice-cream sticks. Empty cartons were gas stations and houses; old pill bottles filled with water were the gas pumps. What little fuel it took to kindle our imaginations. We'd play for hours. Until dark or Lynn caught us with his car set.
Sometimes, just before evening came on, we'd give each other that special spooky look. Then we would sneak out of the house through the window and up into the tree house. We'd tell each other scary stories. Sometimes Lynn and Billy Hern would scare us enough to send us running back to the house too terrified to look behind us.
Barefoot, we kicked down the road in dust as soft as brown talcum powder. Our feet kept time with the pulse of the earth. We schemed and dreamed and played the game of "I'm gonna be." This is the one it hurts most to remember, Because we had such glamorous places for ourselves in life.
I remember the day the magic died. Somehow, during the winter, My mind had shifted into a higher gear. I walked into the playhouse on the first day of summer. I sat down and picked up a doll and a teacup and waited for the old spells to begin. I waited---------The wind whispered outside -------- I waited---------- a screen door slammed somewhere, a dog barked in the distance. I tried again but my doll was silent and I noticed that my teacup was dirty. I sat there for a long time thinking of nothing. Then I left, closing the playhouse door tightly.
My friend moved to another small town, I to another. We say each other less frequently. The wild free laugh was replaced with the awkward giggle. There was less play and more conversation, Mostly about boys, new clothes and new friends. Gradually we drifted into a new world, exciting, demanding and very, very real.
I never asked Schellon how the magic died for her. I didn't want to know....
By my mother, Linda Gutierrez.
If you wish to keep your head... Stay out of my face...