Mrs. DaSilva, Where Are You From?
I’m from barefoot summers playing dodgeball in the street till dark, the sweet smell of Juicy Fruit gum (mom’s purse heavy with it), making chains with the yellow wrappers, riding my blue Schwinn bicycle on cracked sidewalks, “step on a crack and break your mother’s back”, and bees buzzing happily around honeysuckle bushes in the backyard.
I’m from fishing for eels with my brother at Shakespeare pond, sneaking into the theater to watch rehearsals of Hamlet and Cleopatra, “to be or not to be, that is the question”, swimming at Bond’s dock and watching in awe as my brother and his friends flew their bikes off the dock at full speed into the swirling, black water.
I’m from blue cat eye glasses, 1957 Mercurys, black and white television, Bugs Bunny and the Mickey mouse club.” M I C,see you real soon, K E Y why?,because we like you! M O U S E”.
I am from the smell of dad’s marathon pastry bake every spring, dozens and dozens of gooey eclairs and cheese danish, homemade donuts and my mom’s bread baked every Saturday, warm and dipped into a puddle of sweet ,dark molasses.
I’m from 6 foot snow drifts, a new red winter coat, Sunday dinner, Easter bonnets, and summer birthday parties in the backyard. My dad smoking a big cigar and cutting watermelon, enough for every kid in the neighborhood. Five gallon drums of ice cream, the chocolate stickiness running to my elbows.
I’m from plaid school uniforms and starched white shirts. A second grade escape from school, hiding in a tree to eat my lunch while watching them search for me. My mom crying when they found me and knowing I was in trouble ’cause my dad came home early from work. Sad now to think that I was convinced no one would miss me.
I’m from the smell of tuna fish and Oreos as lunch boxes opened up at our desks.Nuns with stern faces in black habits and huge crucifixes hanging off their waists. The newly waxed floors gave off a first day of school odor that still makes my stomach flip.
I’m from haunted houses and double dog dares, Halloween apples, the terrifying Kellogg sisters greeting us with howls at the door in witches costumes. Seeing actors like Bette Davis, and Dick Cavett with his cat Charles, as everyday guests in the Shakespeare rooming house across the street. Throwing seaweed at Katherin Hepburn..she was not as nice as everyone thought.
I am from pet turtles in a dish on the piano, rollerskating over the checkerboard tiled hallway,aqua blue walls, Tarzan yelling and sliding down the banister, the Nutcracker Suite and Montovani records (33 rpm).
I’m from summer drives to Bangor Maine, Aunt Josephine and Uncle Alfonse, their old white farmhouse, huge, white draft horses, and the “pot to pee” under the bed. Uncle Alfonse rocking in his chair at dusk to the rhythm of the Everly Brothers “Devoted to You”.
I am that crack stepping, barefoot, eel fishing, Shakespeare stalking, Mickey Mouse Club singing,Tarzan yelling, ice cream dripping,second grade escaping, nun fearing, seaweed hurling, blue cat eye glasses and plaid uniform wearing girl who is still loving horses, The Everly Brothers, the smell of warm bread, and Juicy Fruit gum.
That’s where I’m from.