Friday, August 17, 2007

Vague Recollections

There was a time when my brother and I were close friends. We would go down to a field near our house in Arizona and chase the jackrabbits around the brush. He was a cactus magnet. There is one species – Choia- the jumping cactus that would always attack his little legs as he ran by. The only time I got a cactus prickles in me is when I pet a Prickly Pear because the needles looked so fine. I remember school teaching us that even though Teddy Bear cacti have such an inviting name, we aren’t to touch them.

My father told us tales of the jackelope, a jack rabbit with antlers. We wanted to meet him and go to his home and talk to him. I think we believed him able to grant our wishes or something. I don’t know what we would wish for – I think to have some money, to have food. My brother loved bacon; he dreamed of bacon and begged for bacon. He knew many folk tales involving bacon. One of them involved the reason why the sea is salty, although I forget the rest.

There was a Mexican place that my mother loved to take us to when she had the money. I only remember getting the American platter or cheese crisp (cheese melted on top of a crispy tortilla). On your birthday they gave the kids a free piƱata. For some reason, I enjoyed tearing off all the brightly colored paper to make it bare. My brother said I was the fastest at taking off the crepe paper. I have such a vague recollection of me choosing an elephant one. They would put a sombrero on you and take a picture to hang on the wall of the happy children. I have this image of a young me smiling with my elephant (to be de-frocked later) surrounded by that thick white border of Polaroid film embedded in some recess of my memory.

I remember my mother saying I always had the cleanest bedroom. It was yellow, I liked yellow. She said it was bright and a nice retreat for her, to come and sit on my bed while I was at school and enjoy the only clean spot in the house, the one that was so bright and cheery.

I also remember her commenting on it being so messy, years later, and lamenting what happened. She wondered where things changed that I went from the neat freak to total slob. I think she was trying to put two and two together, but by leaving herself out of the equation there was never an answer.

There was Owen who threw peaches at the chickens in his backyard.

There was me walking to the backyard of family friends where they were draining a chicken. The bucket held so much blood. I learned it’s easier to defeather a chicken when it’s still warm.

Juanita sometimes ate play dough, she said it was salty. It was; it was the homemade play dough of flour and salt and coloring.

My mother made a rule, “if you accuse your brother of stealing something, then find it later in your room, he gets to keep it.”

My mother said I was a brat a lot. Later, she said I was a bitch a lot. I remember my father calling me a dirty little ragamuffin. I’ve forgotten the context for most of this. The words do remain.

Of the few letters my father sent after the divorce, I just remember one where he wrote that it was so hot he bought a kiddie pool to sit in. He was wearing his shorts and the zipper rusted. I remember this because my mother said the letter was inappropriate. I don’t know if there is more to the letter that I don’t remember or not.

When old enough (and in a safe enough neighborhood) to trick or treat I had to hide my candy inside stuffed animals in my room if I didn’t want my brother to steal it. My mother usually got a good portion of our chocolate. One year, back in Arizona, she said she would make me my costume for school. I think I was in second grade. I wanted to go as a quarter. The coin, not a quarter-horse, but an actual quarter. She made me one out of cardboard, duct tape, and a lot of the silver crayon.

One year my brother was a chicken in the school play, or a turkey, something that had to hatch out of an egg. He couldn’t get out of the egg, it got stuck together.

I don’t know why all this just flitted through my head. I wonder if it means something? Does it have to or can it just be what it is, vague recollections of a life once lived, one so far removed now?

Note: I did bring these up in therapy and my doctor was happy to note that it is a picture of happy, sad, and just kind of there memories. There is no need to analyze them – they are what they are. But she did laugh, a lot, about me wanting to be a quarter. I think it served as a warning to her to not promise her kids she will get them whatever costumes they want because, who knows what a kid will say?


Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

These are a mixed bunch of memories, aren't they? It is from your life, but it is also from another life too. That's good, but sad also. Like your memories, it's mixed feelings, isn't it? ((I love you, girl.))

Victorya said...

yeah, it's a little weird, mixed. Sometimes it feels foreign, sometimes like a fable and I'm trying to dig out the moral of the story.

Amel's Realm said...

Hmmm...I think those memories don't have to have any meanings. I know you're trying to move forward by recollecting your past, but I don't think every little detail should have any "other" meaning...but it's just my opinion he he he...

Moral of the story? Maybe just to cherish all the good memories?

dawn said...

Hey girl not sure why you would want to be a quarter but god bless you I have made some wild costumes for my kids over the years. I miss doing it now that they are kindof grown but my yougest Double A always has some idea for me to do every Halloween. Have a great weekend V!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Victorya said...

Amel - yeah, I'm just letting them be what they are. Some made me smile :)

Dawn- I have an idea why. When my mother found a special quarter she'd give it to me to keep, no matter how poor, it was our little thing. I might still have the all silver quarter. If it was the birth year, etc. Plus, it was second grade, kids are crazy then :)

You have a great weekend too!!!

Anonymous said...

Play-doh, the real stuff, did taste salty! I tasted a bit and loved the smell.

I enjoy costumes and Halloween because I get to be someone else. The quarter is interesting... that you wanted to be an everyday object and not a person, animal or typical Halloween character. - That's my imagination on finding a lost coin in the street. Oops, am I analyzing?