Monday, February 12, 2007

Waiting for the Break of Day

Hey, I think it's time for a nostalgia post. Feel free to make the Wayne's World dream sequence noise and hand motions if it helps.

It is weird here during the day because it's not our home, but we live here now. It's my grandma's house that she owns with my Aunt Lee and Lee's kids. They are my cousins, but besides Paula, they are much older than me. While we stay here, we have to be extra good. We should try not to be messy or fight or yell or ask for too much. We are guests and good guests behave.

What if my dad comes home and we're not there any more? Will he know where to find us?

My mom says, he will come to his mother's house and we'll be here waiting... If he comes back, but we shouldn't get our hopes up.

What if we move away from grandma's? How will he find us then?

He will still go to his mom's house, and she will tell him where to find us. But remember, it might be easier to think that he won't come back. You don't want to get your hopes up.

My grandma is different than my mom. My older sister calls her stern, but my mom says she is regal. She thinks it sounds more respectful. My mother is not stern or regal. My mother is funny and messy and she can mimic any voice she hears. She talks back to the TV if she thinks it's being stereotypical, or just wrong. I don't know what a stereotype is, but I laugh when she does it, because I think it's funny to talk to the TV. My mom doesn't do these things at my grandma's that much. She also doesn't cry here like she did at our house, when our dad stopped coming home. Here, she is respectful and helpful. She is a good guest.

At night it is scary instead of weird. Me and Moira sleep in Paula's room and my brother sleeps in the top bunk of my cousin Jeff's bunkbed. At our old house, we only had one palm tree and it was was close to the street, where it couldn't leave scary shadows that looked like bad people racing across the wall to get me. Here there are several regular trees, and they sway and moan like ghosts. When I wake-up late at night, I remember I'm not at home. I want to run and find my mom, so I can sleep with her, but I know her pull-out sofa bed is full with her and my oldest sister, so I close my eyes and try not to see the shadows.

One night, I am already awake when I hear the thud in the next room. My brother has fallen off the top bunk and onto the floor. He's okay, but my mom tries even harder to find us our own place after that. She's done expecting my dad to come back. She's finally laid her hopes back down.

These photos are of my cousin, Paula and my sister, Moira at the Phoenix Zoo in the late sixties.


Lynnster said...

Oh... this made me cry.

I haven't read enough back archives yet to know what happened later but it wouldn't have mattered, I would have cried anyway. :: hug ::

Margaret said...

we'll skip the wayne's world hands, you write your nostalgia beautifully

Churlita said...


Sorry, I didn't mean to make you sad. The thing about these nostalgia posts for me is that they happened so long ago, that it's almost like it happened to someone else.


Thanks so much. I probably do it too much, but it works well in the winter when I don't have much to write about in the present.

fringes said...

Loved this post. I heard the thud when your brother fell out of bed. Thanks for writing!

booda baby said...

It's a very good thing that everything passes into potential nostalgia just so you can tease a good tale out of it. Maybe you're so good because you learned so early to be a good guest in the world and pay close attention.

Or maybe not. Maybe you're just good.

Remiman said...

It's good (it seems to me) to revisit old memories often just to keep them fresh. In your case, you've written them down, which I think is doubly good.
You weave your tales very well...a pleasure to read you....yes always!

Matt said...

Ditto everything everyone else said. Your writing is very powerful. Bless you.

Churlita said...

Fringes, Booda Baby, Rel, and Matt,

Thanks so much for the positive feedback. I usually write these posts quickly, at night, when I'm very tired, so it helps to know if any of them are worth working on in anymore depth - you know, and actually proofreading and editing them.

michelle said...

You are just too cute!I know the story should be a sad one but to me it sounded simply like a memory you had like any other child. Our childhoods are usually something beyond our own control but when we become adults we look back on them whether they were good or bad and with a bit of luck they will be simply memories of things that made us the person we are today.

Of course I realise that, sadly, some people had really shitty childhoods that they can never recover from.

Churlita said...


That's one good thing having a difficult childhood has done for me - it's made me aware that now I have choices and if I don't like where I am, I can choose something different. it took a long time to stop thinking like a victim. And now, the Oprah section of the comments is over.