Childhood ideal: two memoir poems

yellow house

Our street, 1981

The sun is bright today.

Mommy says, “Let’s go for a walk.”

We hold hands and step outside.

My pigtails are so long now

I can see the curls at my shoulders.

The warm breeze blows through my sundress.

We say hi to our neighbors Reverend and Mrs. K.

They are very old and their grandchildren live far away

so they pretend Sister and I belong to them.

Mrs. K always has something for us.

She gives us sugar cookies

light as snowflakes

or warm peach kuchen with coconut

so sweet and good.

They tell Mommy what good girls we are.

We say goodbye and keep walking.

Mommy gives me a quarter

shiny in my hand

and I feel the bumpy edge.

I can buy whatever I want at Mr. P’s Grocery

a little white store at the end of our street.

When we step inside

it looks dark for a minute

and then I can see rows and rows of candy.

I look it all over for fun

and then pick my favorite Sixlets, same as always.

I love the crunchy shells with the soft chocolate inside.

Mommy lets us choose a soda.

I put my quarter in the slot

and push the button for Milde’s cream.

Soda tastes so good from a cold glass bottle.

I like to squeeze the bottle cap in my hand

until it leaves little curved marks.

Mr. P tells us goodbye

but I get bashful and just wave.

We eat our candy on our way back

to our yellow house.

palm sunday 1981

Palm Sunday, 1981

Mommy took our picture

outside our yellow house by the yellow daffodils

before we went to church.

I have a pretty peach dress and my sister has a dark blue one.

I wore a special bracelet with little charms

each one a commandment from the Bible

the ones I’ve been learning in Sunday school.

I like God’s rules

so neat and shiny

on my little silver charms.

Today we all went together

and I like to hear Daddy sing

so deep and rich

when he’s at church with us.

My sister and I held palm branches

but we couldn’t wave them when we sat down.

We were quiet and good

just like Mommy tells us.

My sister sat in Daddy’s lap and I sat by Mommy.

I watched her cross her leg and swing it back and forth.

When I’m big I want to wear high heels like hers.

She let me look in the hymnal to keep me busy.

I pretend the music is birds on telephone lines

like the ones Daddy works on.

In church

I like the organ sounds

the colored window pictures

and the smell of smoke at the end.

You might also like

Orchid girl: Peering into high sensitivity

May 12, 2016

A Prayer for Peaceful Beginnings

December 7, 2016

Drops of Jupiter Part 4, Fall 2001

August 26, 2016