Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A small memory out of my memory bank


Back in the early days, I lived with my family in a farmhouse in the land of Oklahoma. We lived in a two-story house with a view of blackjack trees, red dirt roads, and a few bedraggled sunflowers. This was in 1932 and I was four years old. The upstairs had never been finished and was just two huge rooms. Everybody slept the upstairs bedroom, and it was so hot you could light a firecracker without a match. We couldn’t tolerate it so we took our quilts outside and slept on the lawn. In the winter it was a little more tolerable. There was never enough money to finish the walls so newspaper was pasted up on the walls for additional insulation. I could lie in bed and read all about the anniversary sale at Sears and Roebuck, and taught myself how to read some of the words. I was very proud of myself when I memorized the word ‘anniversary’. I spelled it constantly until everybody was on the threshold of going nuts. One day my older brothers let me go visit their school with them. This was a big event for me and the teacher was very nice and talked to me so I told her that I knew how to spell ‘anniversary’. Then I proceeded to prove it by spelling it for her. She said, "My goodness, where did you learn to spell such a big word?" I answered, "Upstairs". I have never lived it down. I embarrassed my oldest brother so much that he didn’t want to go back to school ever again. My mother nearly died from laughter when she heard what I had said. It didn’t embarrass her at all. I was confused, was it a bad thing or a good thing? I just didn’t know. I have forgotten how to spell anniversary, but have picked up a little more useful knowledge over the years.