December 15, 2011

ChildHood - Installment I.

Victor was bugging me this morning, so in typical fashion I hollered out "MOOOOOMM" (just to scare him..) it worked and he left me alone. He passed by her room and she asked "What does your sister want?" "Oh nothing, she just wanted to say she loves you."
And that was how my day started.
And now I sit here with a package of cookies, and a cup of hot tea in my hands to write. Just kidding I got busted while trying to get the cookies and my tea is cold so I'm not touching' it.
On a better note:
[I've finally decided to quit procrastinating and actually write a post. Tiffanie asked if I had yet posted about how moving around has affected me. If it was positive/negative, etc. Tania said she'd love to hear about our travels as well. So I've decided to make a series of posts telling you accounts of my childhood and our moving around. When I finish, I'll have a post with the pros and cons, for now, here I go: ]

When I was younger, let's say as a toddler, I honestly didn't give it [it being moving around so much] a second's thought. As long as my parents were with me, that was fine. But then again, I was only five or younger, and most kids think that way anyways. We moved around from city to city, and that was all right. I didn't go to school yet, and the friends I had were from church, and those were everywhere I went.

Then I turned five and we moved away from our family and to far away Dallas, Texas. I didn't speak English, neither did my parents. I felt my parent's sadness and how much they missed their families. They had a drive however, they had a reason to be in Texas (they were missionaries), and that helped them get through the lonely days. As children often do, I picked up on that motivation as well. Everything was just fine.

Our small church family was open enough, my parents and I were together, and again to me that was all that mattered. Soon, I began attending school, I learnt the language, I made friends.
Then we moved to a small town about an hour away from Dallas, a town called Terrell, and I began homeschooling.

Terrell is a somewhat of a country town, well at least it was. I had always been a city girl. Always. Tomboy? Yes. Country Girl? NOT! We moved onto ten acres of land on the suburbs. That means country. Which means the neighbors in front of us had a ranch and every morning you could smell cow manure, stare at cows, and gaze back into the eyes of the gorgeous horses who stretched their necks to chew the grass on the other side of the fence. I named them, naturally. Especially the Palomino. I probably named him Spirit (who knows why?)

Anyways, my dad had bought the land and payed a brother from our church to build our house. As soon as our house was finished, we moved in.

The dry prairie grass out there in the "yard" came up to my shoulders, and grasshoppers were abundant. Oh pooh, that doesn't do it justice. They were everywhere! In swarms! If you were to walk outside (which I had no intention of doing), as you'd part the grass the hoppers would leap out from in front of you in hundreds, (Ok, in fifties, but I was seven, to me they seemed like trillions, give me the the chance to hyperbolize a little!)

But, without exaggeration, I came to the point that I wouldn't step outside. I was afraid. Afraid of the grasshoppers and their spiky disgusting legs. I remember once being asked to take the compost out. I looked up at my mother in utter horror and disbelief! She would actually do that?! She would actually send me out there to be devoured by those horrendous beasts?!

Daddy borrowed the neighbor's tractor to "mow the lawn" (cut the huge prairie grass on ten acres of land), and sometimes mother would ask me to take him a glass of water. My heart would beat fifty times faster, and I'd put on my courage. I felt like a hero sacrificing herself for a noble cause. (Taking my father a glass of water that is.)

Poor little me. I really knew nothing of Texas. If I had known anything at all, I'd know grasshoppers were the least of my worries.  Soon dad had mowed everything down decently, and the grasshoppers moved to the two lots beside us that were abandoned, unused, and the grass was thriving and tall. We bought chickens, and the grasshoppers that were left, well, they weren't left after the chickens were through with them.

The brother who built us the house, lived in the same neighborhood. In fact, his property connected with ours. He had two daughters living with them at the time, one of which was only nine months older than I. Her name is Crystal, and in no time at all, there was a beaten little path from my house, to her house. (It was on that trail, that at the age of ten, I learnt to drive our green Honda Civic. Yes, I felt quite proud. No I never hit anything, thank God!) Anyways, Crystal was/is a country girl. She was born and raised down South, and looked at me with sincere pity at my weird city ways. But to me, she was the weird one. She wasn't afraid of grasshoppers, no sir. She. caught. them. With her BARE HANDS! The strangeness lasted only for a while however, because soon I was galloping across the prairies snatching up grasshopper babies. With my BARE HANDS! On occasion I'd pick up the old ones, (the ones with the disgusting spiky legs that looked like an Aunt Sherry with unshaven legs), to stick in spider webs. Yes. I did. I was cruel, I fully repent.

I also played Cowboys and Indians, and my Barbies had picnics to the background music of rattlesnake rattles. As I mentioned 'afore, grasshoppers should have been the least of my worries.
Little did we know, that in Texas, when you mess with the rock bed layer (as you do when you build a foundation for a house), you disturb some other residents as well. Residents that were there first. They are called, scorpions. As you can imagine, they do not take kindly to strangers messing up their homes, taking over and building a home where theirs used to be. Not at all. So quite often, we'd have an unexpected guest come in. Through everywhere. Doors, windows, from underneath the fridge/oven/cupboards. They'd sneak in through who knows where. So, "Oh be careful little toes where you step," had its meaning. Victor was a toddler at the time, just learning to walk, and my parents to this day have no idea what they were thinking living in a house that could have scorpions in it at any moment. Every time one would find its way inside our house, my dad was immediately hollered for, and he'd attempt squashing its shell. Which isn't always an easy task, after all, its shell was meant to protect, and it's one hard casing! As a result of these experiences, however, I now know very well what a scorpion looks like, and how to kill one too. I also know it's a reality, not just something in a textbook.

On the two neighboring lots on each side of our house, we could often hear rattles. I never saw a rattlesnake in all my days of walking to and fro from my house to Crystal's but I could hear them. We knew they were there, but none of them bothered us, and we sure as anything didn't bother them. Other snakes often made an appearance, and when father wasn't home, mother valiantly beat up any snake that came near our porch. When dad got home, she'd show him the snake. He'd tell her it wasn't dangerous or poisonous, and the chickens would've probably eaten it anyways, and really it could have caused no harm. She glared making sure it was clear she didn't care whether they were poisonous or not, she wanted them dead. I shrugged, they were part of life for me now.

Coyotes were frequent visitors to our chicken coop, as were the skunks. Huge hawks didn't keep their presence from us either! My poor poor chickens. I named them. My favorite one was Rebecca. She was mine, and she was special. Rebecca was my favorite name at the time, (this was way before the whole Rebecca Black thing.) so she also had that special honor upon her. One winter however, an animal took desperate measures, got into the coop, and did away with all my babies. Daddy rose up early, and cleaned up the mess before I woke up. I haven't had chickens since. It hurt. (And I still harbor dark feelings towards coyotes!)

June beetles would flock in hundreds to our porch lights. It was disgusting. During the summer nights, we had to use only the back or side doors, because the front door was absolutely taken over by ugly black beetles. The porch would become black with upside down bugs, and the next morning it had to be swept clean. Ready for the next night's event of what appears to me to be, beetle suicide.
I hate to leave Texas with such a bad impression, but please, read again tomorrow, because as I continue to write about Terrell, I'll tell you why I loved it so very very much.


But for today I log off because ...
"I really can't stay .. I've gotta go away ... you've really been grand .. "

 

5 Wonderful people made my day!:

  1. My father was in the military and we moved around a lot when I was growing up. We lived briefly (VERY) in Texas--at Ft. Bliss which is in El Paso--when I was five. One of the main things I remember from there are the fire ants because the first day of our time there, I stepped on one and it bit my big toe.

    Looking forward to more of your Texas tales and beyond.

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  2. I had totally forgotten about the fire ants!! They had mounds every ten feet out there too. Father soon extinguished them..I think they put gasoline down the mounds or something like that. I was too afraid to go outside so i didn't think had too many encounters with them.

    Thank you, there's a second installment coming on Sunday to continue Texas. ..

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  3. I love this picture, so beautiful. Your prose too...you can write.

    I was born in Texas, in San Angelo, we lived there for 7 days and then my mother and I went to Ohio. We eventually joined my father on an army base in Germany. My mother has told me a story about stumbling onto a nest of rattlesnakes in Texas, she ran as fast as an Olympian up a hill, 8 months pregnant with me.

    Thank you for sharing your stories with us.

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  4. Hi, Larissa -

    I enjoyed reading about your childhood memories re: your home in Texas. We're from Oklahoma, so many of our relatives are in and around the Dallas area.

    Unfortunately, we also have lots of snakes, scorpions, grasshoppers and coyotes in OK. I'll read your other installments as I have time.

    take care, Red Dirt Kelly

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  5. Oh we used to always travel to Arkansas, there was a church there my father attended as well. So we always passed through OK. I loved the rest stations! The Native American objects always fascinated me! I also remember counting car license plates on our way from Arkansas to Dallas or vice versa ... OK ones were always abundant! :D

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