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Full Nest Syndrome: A Wealth Of Remembrance

This article first appeared in issue 39, and was written by Marilyn Loy Turner.

Growing up, I did not realize I was rich.

I thought everyone lived in a cozy four-room house in the country. I didn't know some people paid a landlord every month for permission to stay in upstairs apartments with fire-escapes but no pets. I thought every kid rode a school bus one and one-half to and from school. I didn't know some children were driven by the parents everyday or lived close enough to walk.

No one ever told me that some kids didn't know what it was like to carry freshly cut fire wood in a wagon and then into the wood box by a dusty wood stove. That some heat could be summoned by just the flip of a wrist or the twist of a knob.

I never tired of the pinto bean smell of the tiny kitchen where I would always find my mother when I came rushing in from school. Didn't everyone start their morning with hot biscuits and oatmeal and end their evening with cornbread and buttermilk?

We were so close to a country store that we never ran out of anything for very long. Daddy didn't explain that our sulphur water drawn from a well in the back yard was different from the neighbors who had sinks with faucets where water poured freely. But on commercials I learned that such items could stop up and require a product called Draino.

An outhouse for me was no problem. We sure didn't fight over it or spend much time there. I had an antique dresser and mirror in the bedroom I shared with my big sister and baby brother. Not to mention the free clothes my sister passed down to me and the party dresses my granny made especially for me.

I never dreamed some folks had big noisy washers and dryers in their homes. Why, I thought it was great fun playing in the carts at the laundry mat and if I was good daddy would give me a quarter for the snack machine.

Did people really eat hamburgers and fries in their cars? I preferred homemade snow cream. Did some girls have dolls made of glass that were too fancy to play with?

What was it like to stay at a baby-sitter's? To attend a drive-in movie?

I didn't care. I was too rich to miss such things. I had it all. A good family, good books, a four-room house in the country full of love, dogs, cats, and smiles. How rich I was then!

It grieves me to say that the little house in the country is gone. A bulldozer took it all away. One clean sweep took the oak tree, the sugar maple and the beautiful dogwood. The tire swing no longer hangs beckoning child play. The picnic table daddy made of wood has long since been laid to rest. But I can still see the sun going down behind the hen house, I can feel the gentle breeze, smell the ripe strawberries in daddy's huge patch.

Because you see, that is what other people would carry home to their apartments, their houses near the school, their restaurants, their drive ins, their baby-sitters. And in so doing, they too could enjoy the richness of my childhood wealth.



This story was posted on 2002-02-15 12:01:01
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