Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Life In The Woods


 I don't remember the actual unpacking and all the normal stuff that goes on when one moves. I have chunks of memories from that house on S. 200th.
I missed my grandma something fierce. I spent nearly all my time with her and now I was with "these people" that I hadn't really hung out with all that much. It was quite an adjustment for me. And now that I am older, I realize that it was quite an adjustment for EVERYONE. I didn't realize until much later that it was the first time that Mom had lived away from her hometown and her parents, that had to have been quite an adjustment. I remember money was tight, so it wasn't as if she could just pick up the phone whenever she wanted to call her Mom.
I spent a lot of time exploring the woods around the house. There really wasn't much of a front yard, or a backyard with actual grass, so my playground became the woods. If you went right out the back door, you went up a little incline and to the left was the "burning barrel".
Nearly everyone had one of these things. It was a big old metal barrel, often times rusted and nasty looking. It was how many households took care of their trash back then.... you stuck it in the barrel, lit it on fire and burned it down to ashes. Mom spent a lot of time at the burn barrel... not because we had a lot of trash, but rather, she is mesmerized by fire, just as some people are mesmerized by water. You build a fire in the fireplace and she is right there, poker in hand, stabbing at the logs, eyes glazed over. I don't remember this actually happening, I may have been in school at the time, but I remember seeing the "results". Apparently one of the visits to the burn barrel got a little out of hand for Mom. God knows what she was doing. (Coordination isn't one of Mom's strong traits.) The fire apparently flared up and Mom was left with severely singed hair, no eyebrows and no eyelashes. She looked REALLY strange! But thank God that was all that happened. She was really lucky. Looked goofier than hell, but lucky.
There was this little trail that went past Mom's barrel and into the woods. It beckoned me, and finally one day I got adventurous and headed down that trail. The woods were thick and lush. I loved the smell. The freshness, the earthiness. I wandered through all the greenery, eyes wide open taking in everything. Suddenly there was half assed fence and a huge pasture beyond. I wondered what it was all about. I didn't see any sign of man or beast.
Standing in front of the house, to your right was more woods, these not as dense, but in one section it was filled with wild strawberries. Sometimes people would stop and pick them. They weren't visible from the road, so I am not sure how they knew they were there. Familiar with the area I suppose. Beyond the trees on that side was just a field and a few trees.... but above it... in the sky.... the flight pattern for Sea-Tac airport. The plane traffic back then wasn't all that heavy and the planes weren't all that big either, but occasionally it would get pretty loud. Grandma thought it was bad for me to be living there because apparently when a plane would go by and I was asleep, I would toss and turn violently.
On the other side of the house, more woods. These thick just as the woods out back. And somewhere beyond that was a house, though you couldn't see it from our place. I discovered that we had neighbors one day when I decided to explore that part of the woods. I was lolly-gagging along and suddenly I see this huge house through the trees. Scared the crap out of me. I wasn't expecting it.
Across the street was another house that sat quite a bit back from the street. S. 200th was a two lane road that was somewhat busy. What made it scary to cross was the cars that would haul ass down the road. Standing, facing the street, to your left, up the road was Pac Highway, to your right down the road a bit was Des Moines, and the marina.



Behind the house across the street and down a hill was another house and next to it were these huge rocks. The little shit kids that lived in that house used to tell me that they were dinosaur eggs and that they could hear the babies in there scratching to get out. Little ass kids. It freaked me out. If I was ever over there, I would always keep my eye on those rocks and if I ever saw them starting to crack, I was prepared to run like a bat out of hell!

Come to think of it, I had that feeling a lot when living there.

Further down the road was the elementary school that I would eventually go to. It was called Maywood. It had a huge grassy area in back where we would have our recesses. Beyond that grassy area was a chain-link fence and beyond that, another wooded area. Some bratty kids used to tell me that trolls lived back there and I shouldn't go near the fence or else they would grab ya. After that, I hated recess. They were probably the same bratty kids that told me about the dinosaur eggs. I wasn't used to playing with kids my own age. I usually played with kids that were a bit older. I decided that kids my own age were asses.