red rover red rover

by Amy Turn Sharp


The memories of my childhood are tinted like a fancy photo effect- all vintage and crossed processed. I am going to drive the kids down to my childhood home this week and I always take my camera with me. I like to stand under the giant oak tree in my front yard and shoot photographs. I like to feel that strange feeling that slaps me silly. The one that feels like I am a giant person and the world is small and tiny. Like that damn tree keeps shrinking. Like when I once went back to my elementary school during college and I had to look at all the toilets and sit down on them to believe I was once a child.

And I take pictures of the children jumping all animated and gorgeous right there under the tree. And then they start carving out a landscape too. They start gauging themselves against a massive idea. Against the tree. Because I am fairly certain that my parents will just always live there. They won't go. And unless a giant bolt of lightening takes out the tree or it falls ill or something similar then it will be there forever. Shrinking for me and looming for the boys. For a long time still.

 

I wish that my childhood could be alive for one day for the boys. I would very much like them to know me as a little girl. We talk about this sometimes. It comes from the mind of my 4 year old. He wonders loudly if we can be children again. Later. I tell him no and it hurts me for a split second because it would be so ace to be able to tell him YES! To whisper "Of course darling and all the world will be right in just a few days- but
that is not true.

If they could meet me back in Southeastern Ohio in the late 70's or early 80's it would be such a cool day. I would instantly take them to meet Dallas, my neighbor, because he was bad ass. He was so old and lovely that I could not help but touch his skin and look through his translucent eye lids. I loved the way he smelled and his laugh that stopped at the corner of his mouth. And his wife Edith would feed us so many no no bake cookies and we would pump leg on his porch swing and never get yelled at that we swung so high even when the chain popped and made an eerie noise.  And then my neighborhood kids would come round and all of us would go down into the creek bed by my house and try and use every goddamn morsel of our imagination because TV was not an option out there and WE WANTED TO Believe in everything.

And I would hold Finn's hand as we walked through the massive fields of green high grass (because I am bossy even in a make believe world) and Blaise would be running up ahead all blond like the sun was pouring all her love on only one child and we would laugh and laugh and not one person would hurt us because scare mongering after school specials and pervy Lifetime television were not invented just yet. And we would all go to the big tree and climb it without fear because as scared as my parents were that I might smoke dope later or ruin my life with dangerous older boys- they were never afraid of me being a wild outdoor child. We would climb the tree higher than squirrels and sit with our backs against thick old bark that left impressions in our soft skin. We would talk about things that must have important then-all of the secrets of childhood that are probably the answers to everything but we just can't remember them. We would sit there until they yelled for us to come and eat dinner.  And when we walked away from each other and into linoleum floored kitchens we would have no idea that we were just catapulted into the future.