Monday, March 12, 2012

Long Summers Past

Sorry. Been so busy that I even forgot to post.  Yesterday, I celebrated with my dad his 81st birthday. It's hard to believe he's that old as I'm sure he thinks the same thing. Don't we all?

Being with a parent and siblings, you find yourself talking about things from when you were a kid. I was fortunate as I had a great childhood, and yesterday reminded me of a post I did four years ago on my own blog.  So I thought I would share.

I bet all of us at one time or another stared at billowy piles of clouds drifting on a sunny day and fabricated in our mind’s eye snowmen, elephants, dogs, and magnificent castles. As a child, heck, even as an adult, it is one of my favorite pastimes.

My childhood was one long summer. It’s funny but I don’t remember a lot about school but the summers I remember in clear detail. Playing in the woods, building tree-limb forts, catching lightin’ bugs, minnows and tadpoles, climbing trees, and floating in Smith Lake on a Beany and Cecil float. Cecil was my favorite sea-sick sea serpent.

We spent our summers and a lot of fall and spring weekends at that lake. I would gaze at the dark green water, imagining large man-eating catfish and waterlogged coffins--all depending on what tales old Mr. Hightower would entertain me with that day. My sister and I found Indian arrowheads by the red wagon loads. I always wondered why watermelons didn’t pop up in the yard like dandelions after we had one of our seed spitting fights.

At night, bonfires next to the lapping water were for ghost stories, singing and burning marshmallows. Lights from other homes would shoot across the moving water, giving my imagination more fuel as I speculated about the lives of the people on the other shore. Laughter was magnified by the vast openness of the water and the cicadas’ song filled the air, lulling me to sleep each night as I curled up in the top bunk with my little roll-out window open.

Ahh, with a childhood like that, how could I not be a writer?  I'm really surprised that I grew up at all. Then again some people may argue the fact.  LOL!

What wonderful memory from your past possibly helps your imagination today to write your romantic stories?  Memories of hide and seek (mystery), Red Rover, Red Rover (action/adventure), etc.


Lexi said...

Playing in the woods, climbing trees, exploring gullies and ditches . . . My childhood was much like yours, Carla, rich with memories of lazy summer days and romping with my cousins. The sights, sounds, and smells of the country are with me still!

Carla Swafford said...

Our imaginations were exercised daily. That's why they work overtime now and help us write. :-) Thanks, Lexi.

Maria from 'gaelikaa's diary' said...

I was a voracious reader. I was a city kid and there was a lot of tension in my life as my dad suffered from termimal cancer, dying when I was just 13. Books, reading and writing gave me an outlet and opened up new worlds. So my memorier aren't as sad as they might have been.

Carla Swafford said...

That's a rough to go through at any age, but as a preteen it's really bad, Maria. Thank goodness you had books as an outlet. I know when I'm depress, that's the best way I can handle it.

Chris Bailey said...

Oh, Carla, what wonderful memories! I remember learning to read at my mother's feet while she sewed. "What's this word, Mama?"
She never looked up. "Sound it out."
I'd work on the sounds, and if I didn't get it in a few tries, she'd give me a clue.
"What makes sense there?"
Word by word, I got through Go, Dog, Go from the Dr. Seuss series. Though I think it was a P.D. Eastman title. And then finally on to weightier stories. Like The Cat in the Hat and Disney's Bambi.

Louisa Cornell said...

The thing I remember most is the tremendous amount of imagination involved in our play. There were no video games, our television time was limited, and we didn't have expensive toys. So much of what we did was "pretend" and my brothers and friends always asked me to tell them what happened next or what we could play next. Even when we lived in England we spent the vast majority of our time outdoors and the world was whatever time and place we made it.

Cari Hislop said...

What a lovely childhood! It sounds like a great book waiting to be written. Growing up on the Oregon coast it was sometimes hard to tell if it was summer or winter, but I loved my three summer months off school. When I got old enough I wore out the sidewalk from our house to the library. When I was a kid I always dreamt of going far away. Now I'm far away I can see that overall I had a magical childhood. Thanks for reminding me!

Carla Swafford said...

Chris, one of the first books I remember reading besides DICK AND JANE, is the first one I remember my mom buying me (and I still have). It's titled SCAT, CAT, SCAT. I remember being so excited that I could read it without help.

Readers do start young.

Carla Swafford said...

Louisa, I agree that our imagination is what helped entertain us. Some people say kids don't do that anymore with the help of video games and such, but then I watch my grandson play with his expensive toys and I know that there's hope. The kid comes up with the best stories to go along with the games. Of course, he tells his mom he wants to be a writer like Nana. Well, that will probably be westerns or military thrillers instead of romance and that's okay. LOL!

Carla Swafford said...

Ah, Cari, I love Oregon and the Northwest area. Beautiful place. I can imagine there is a lot of inspiration in that area too. Thanks.