fading

fading

I bought applesauce the other day, which must have prompted my subconscious to dream about the apple trees in the backyard of the house I grew up in. to which I woke up and thought, oh my, we DID have apple trees. A lot of them. We had two baking apple trees, maybe five soft, eating apple trees, and a huuuuge crabapple tree right outside the kitchen window that was good for climbing and from which my sibs and I cut slips of apple blossoms to take to school with a wet Kleenex and baggie wrapped around the cut ends. I baked my first apple pie with apples from those trees, and ate the tiny crabapples that were sour and quick eating.
Which made me think, what else has slipped from my memory of the Austin red house? I don’t want to lose the first 14 years of my life, but suddenly I will remember something, after it has been dislodged from my “forgotten” files by a similar experience in the now. Mostly little things, like the apple trees.
There was also the layout of the house, and for some reason I had forgotten the shoe closet and foyer, how you walked in the front door with its windowed top half and sculpted frame and bottom, and flung your shoes directly into the shoe closet straight ahead of you. There were actually two closets on top of it as well, filled with my mom’s stuff.
The bar over the kitchen entrance where my mom hung clothes on hangers while she folded clothes, and where all my siblings and I hung from and swung.
The bathroom light bulb, bare in the small room with the string to pull. No switches. There was also no shower, just a bath, and an odd (well, odd to me now) vanity/linen closet thing in the small room. And the yellow and black tiles around the bathtub.
The kitchen floor, which was beat up, worn out, and tearing up from years and years of use. I think half the tile on the floor needed replacing; you could see the floorboards.
The back room and back back room. The back room housed the washer/dryer, winter coats, and a very large poster of Bogie and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca with the policeman on the airstrip. The back back room was nothing but junk; a place where things went to die. When we moved, I think a lot of the stuff in this room went into the trash. The back back room also was where the entrance to the cellar was. It was a large door you hauled up and you walked down a flight of cement stairs into a dank, dark, lightless room of stone. We went there only during tornadoes. But, there was a door to the outside in the back back room, which proved useful more than once during hide and seek or tag.
The corkboard in the living room; now why would anyone put a piece of corkboard above their couch in the living room? We never pinned things on it. It was just there, a piece of cork living in the living room. The built-in entertainment center (or so it seemed) was opposite the cork, and it had a place for the TV, VCR, turntable, movies and books, as well a sliding door that was a gateway to my father’s many LPs. the encyclopedias also lived on the bookshelf that lined about a 2-foot wide space up to the ceiling to the left of the “entertainment” center. And the carpet was atrocious, a hideous, flat, poop-colored brown that was never really professionally installed and so had ragged edges.
The closet upstairs that was deep and held many treasures, as well as clothes. The stairway banister at the top of the stairs with its up-down ladder-like bars – and those stairs – the metal edged stairs that everyone fell down at one point and still remain alive and well today.
The pump house, a small white outlying building that was built over the well and contained the pump, and behind which we took our wet garbage to compost and our dry garbage to burn.
The raspberry patch amidst the small trees to the north of the house. A few years there were strawberries there as well. Sometimes next to the white garage, wild blackberries or blueberries grew, and when they did we would pick them.
On the backside of the garage was the firepit and the small fortress of bricks that my dad had attained somewhere. Whenever we had a bonfire, out came the old seats from a van my dad used to own, and we would sit in the seats and watch the fire burn to embers.
It’s striking, really, remembering something you had forgotten long ago, put in the “unimportant” part of your brain. But really, how unimportant is it? My past isn’t unimportant, and as each year creeps by, I slowly forget more and more about the first years of my life that were mainstays at the time. Sure, vivid memories remain of big events from my youth: vacations, birthdays, almost catching Santa Claus. But what is slowly fading are the everyday events that should stay with me. Like the apple trees. When I woke up from that dream, I couldn’t believe that they had been filed in my brain as unimportant. How unimportant is having your own apple orchard (basically) growing up? That’s a big deal, and something that I would kill for when looking to buy a house now. I just hope that as I get older, triggers can jolt something in my brain that will have me remember something trivial in the past but huge now. Now I understand the importance of writing down or dictating what you remember of your youth – bringing importance to the unimportant.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.