Ruts And Gullies

We played outside. We climbed in trees. We dug holes in the ground and covered them with boards and the dug out dirt to make forts we could crawl into and hide. We roller-skated at the school – which was open 24/7 and only a block or so away. Sometimes we climbed on the roof. We got there on our bikes or by bare feet over dirt roads with ruts and gullies in them. We swung on the swings and marked out hopscotch with chalk and used broken chains as markers since they landed so well. We played four square – or two square if there was only two of us. The big boys played football on the long strip of grass that lined a string of classrooms – the wing for the first and second graders because it was the flattest. The girls hung on the sidelines dreaming of one of the big boys becoming their boyfriend.

I wasn’t much of a fan of football in those days any more than now and I had no illusions that one of those boys would like me – my sister was so much cuter than I and all they could see was her. Shallow boys.

The house we lived in was too small to stay inside much. On rainy days we had to. Our mother had drawn roses on pieces of white cloth for us to embroider – or we played dolls or board games or watched a cartoon or two – or spun in the chair that was a swivel until Mom yelled out to us to stop. Some rainy days she would drive us up to the laundromat just to dry a load or two – normally, she hung them on the line outside – the same frame my sister and I used as a monkey bar. She would leave us there and come back later. We loved that chore because the U-totem was hooked to the laundromat and we each had a nickel for a candy bar. Oh joy!

I’m so glad that I was born in the 50s. What a wonderful era it was. So fresh and clean. So trivial.

We seldom had nothing to do.

It’s possible there were greedy, controlling monsters behind it all – but they were hidden behind the veil that still existed.

Evenings the adults would gather on someone’s porch and the kids could hang out among them if they wanted to. I loved to. I loved to hear the adults talk – they seemed to have all the answers and all the best of the gossip.

Line-dried clothes.

Ruts and gullies.

Roller skates, dolls and Cooties.

I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Now the beast is clear.


About Ms. Jackie

Baby Ms. Jackie SpoolTeacher with Handsome Daddy.

Ms. Jackie of all Trades hung out with the adults when she was young. She thought they had all the answers. They were always making or building something, and that just simply fascinated her.

It didn’t make her very popular with her peer group though. She was considered a “Narc.” and was suspect of telling the adults all of their secrets. (Which she kinda did. She was also considered a “goody-two-shoes”, which she promptly got over upon leaving home at age 19.)

That was just fine with Ms. JoaT. She was kind of a loner and enjoyed her own company anyway.

The only thing she didn’t get very excited about was cooking. (she now supposes that is one of the reasons Mr. Right didn’t show up) (yet!) She is a good cook, however, whenever she decides to create in that arena; but she just didn’t get excited about making that a mission to prove her prowess as a contender in life. Drilling, sawing, working with machines…that was something to master. Drafting, planning…cool! Cooking, not so much. Too many dirty dishes.

She has been somewhat of a skippy doodlier. As soon as she can see the big picture, she tends to get bored and wants a new challenge. She has finally seen the light and values completing the task; but she can’t tell you how many projects sat in near completion until the day she finally un-pack-ratted them.

Ms. Jackie of all Trades is the alter ego of Ms. SpoolTeacher. Since spooling around is just one of the many trades she knows, she thought she better open more space for dialog in other of her specialties. We’ll have to keep an eye on her and see if it isn’t just a case of the boredoms. Let’s see what she comes up with here and if she neglects anything on the way.

Summer Art Scholarship Academy of Art, San Francisco.

That was the year of True Freedom.