When I was a kid, my sister and I played outside long after the street lights came on. We careened down the hill in the back yard on our bicycles – without helmets!! - just to slam on the brakes and see how far we could skid. Skinned knees and elbows were rinsed off with the water hose or dunked into the swimming pool. Chlorine and Neosporin healed everything and we wore our scabs like the war wounds of veteran heroes. Band-aids were meant to be seen and the more you brandished, the better.
I grew up in a Georgia suburb, thirty miles southeast of Atlanta. Our backyard was a haven and a stage which played host to all our imaginings. Supper was around 6pm and Braves baseball was on TV all summer long. I didn't know how lucky I was. I just assumed everyone had a swimming pool, an herb garden, and a pomegranate tree in their backyard.
Now I realize my childhood was magic. Not perfect. Magic. I stayed a kid much longer than most of my friends. Honestly, I may have never grown up. Memories of growing up Southern colors every season, every holiday, every meal. We still swim as often as we can and baseball is still the sport of summer. Even now I get excited when the first marshmallow chicks appear at Easter and I keep the candy jar filled with an ever changing gallery of colored confections, just because my mother does and grandmother did the same. And my husband, bless him, makes sure that every Christmas our tree has a strong colony of candy canes settled in its branches.
I needed a place not just for these memories but for the stories I gather now. Summer is a wonderful time to re-evaluate where you're headed in life. Even with work, I was able to take a good, long look at my writing and figure out what I wanted out of it. Fiction is my first love. I haven't given that up. But as I went through my old files, I rediscovered a lot of half told stories and half expressed memories. There were desires that cropped up and I knew I couldn't just file them away again for another 10 years without dusting them off and giving them a go.
Past merging with Present mingling into the Future. Yeah. That sounds just perfect to me. I needed an excuse to DO something with these ideas, not just peek at them every so often when I organize and say, “Oh yeah! That's where that went,” just to file it away for another indeterminate amount of time. I won't apologize for the nostalgia. I won't apologize for the frustrations. I definitely won't apologize for the content. Or the calories. This is who I am. A bit scary to put yourself out there. Scary to hang out your laundry, all wrinkles and stains and all. Oh, well. As they say: that's life. And this, well, this is mine.