Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Backyard That Raised Me--Part 4

What better way to recollect my childhood backyard behind the apartment building that raised me than to sit on my own porch today with my laptop, looking out into the full backyard that I "play" in today.

In my life after college, I've never missed a beat living with a full backyard. I am blessed and grateful for this. I watched my one set of grandchildren, Noah and James, play two days ago on the ground, tumbling, running, jumping, and laughing in the soft, green, sweet-smelling odor of dirt and grass!! Also, nothing can beat lying on your back and looking up into the big, blue sky, feeling and being a real part of the green earth. Lawns can never be underrated!

In May of 1965, the year I graduated from high school, I wrote an essay about My Backyard for English class. I had forgotten about some of these backyard memories I wrote about, and the essay helped me remember. I guess my backyard left an impression on me even into my high school days when the yard was vacated as a playground and traded for teenage tanning and Kodak photos.

I have alluded to my backyard in my post about The Clothes Line. The lines became the basis for huge tents out of blankets and clothespins besides being where the weekly wash hung. My yard also became a sandy beach when I wanted it to become one. The tide that came in was the slow descent of the sun behind a large tree that cast a shadow. The yard also became a ballroom where my partner, the hoola hoop, and I danced and twirled under the bright sun and breezy evenings. Countless tag games took place with neighborhood kids. I remember playing here and around the neighborhood in the summer evening, becoming sweaty and thirsty for water that tasted "Oh, so good!"

There was also a low point in the middle of the yard that became my caldron filled with a mixture of sour lettuce, mud, and green onion tops from the garden behind the white cement bricks that kept the raised garden from the grass. It was sometimes my job to plant the umpteen onion bulbs every year. There were also rose bushes, tulips, daffodils, and many other plants. Next to our yard was the property where Mrs. White lived with her sister. She had sweet smelling lily-of-the-valley plants galore. Bright, fragrant, fuscia four o'clocks grew by the back concrete steps which was a good place to sit and think or cry and wish.

Winter days were filled with heavy snows that led to snowball fights with my brother Richard and his friends. The snow was so high, we could build tunnels, caves, and forts.

As I write about my apartment home so far, I am realizing that I had praiseworthy, outdoor memories of the building on 6th Avenue. This leads me to my next and final part of my childhood home--the ten family apartments and the basement.


  1. I lived in quite an opposite environment, but had so many of the same experiences in our country backyard. Do you supposed kids today will have those memories? My first graders seem to always be plugged in, and you scarcely see anyone playing in vacant lots or parks. I'm not sure they could imagine the tide coming in, or notice the flowers.
    You've written these memories beautifully. Thanks for sharing!

  2. You write such wonderful pieces about your childhood home. I love reading them--they always remind me of idyllic days...

  3. Place is so inspirational, isn't it? I've enjoyed getting to know you more as you've taken me back to your past. So many stories are lurking. Can't wait to see which ones take hold.

  4. All your details bring back so many of my memories, like others are saying, too. Those clotheslines were a treasure of imagination, weren't they? Your details show us that wonderful backyard very well indeed.

  5. The imagery that comes from your posts is so vivid. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I agree with the others--the bits and pieces from your childhood home are fascinating. Reading about your yard brought back a lot of memories for me too. You continually amaze me with the detail and depth of what you remember, and how you are able to capture it for us.
    More please!

  7. I'm there....these are golden posts-the grandkids have to get a copy of these...you have your old papers? We have to hear more from this time capsule treasure chest!