Wheels go ’round

Have you ever had so many thoughts go through your head at one time you question your own sanity? Yeah, that’s where I am right now. Actually, that’s where my head is at the moment. My body on the other hand is hanging outside with a gentle warm breeze touching my face and arms. Listening to the birds sing and glancing to watch them zooming and darting from one feeder to another. This makes me happy and peaceful. I have put out a couple of suet baskets and there are frequent guests including a Woodpecker pair, chickadee’s, a pair of Cardinals, lots of Goldfinches and a few House Finches. I have strategically placed three Hummingbird feeders about the area and those darling little gems visit often and always make me smile when I see them drinking the nectar I have made just for them. Next to me there is the pond stocked with so many little goldfish and the gentle sound of the waterfall rolling and bubbling. This is my joy this is what I will think about during those long, dreary winter days when my hands and feet are cold. The days when the sky is always grey and the days are dreadfully short and snow is plentiful. I will take in these days of warmth and sunshine as long as I can.
I find it so strangely ironic that this happy little spot where I sit now is just seconds away of my childhood. The house my parents had when I was born is right up the street and directly across from that house sits the old farmhouse that my father loved so dearly and purchased when I was a toddler and just up the street from that old place is the last home we lived in as a family. The ugly 1950’s rectangular box newly built and purchased for us because my mother hated the farmhouse so much. Granted there were rats that occasionally made their way into the house and the old well out front had long been abandoned when modern plumbing came to the suburbs. Its new residents were snakes. I remember my father trying relentlessly to rid the well of the snakes to no avail. My mother won and we moved into the “box”. I had always missed the farmhouse with its old barns and out buildings we kids had so much fun playing in. To this day I still love the smell of old barns. I can remember sitting in the stairway of that old house during my first encounter of “The Wizard of Oz” scared to death. Dad kept peeking in to check on me and refill the little bowl of popcorn that I clutched for dear life all alone in the dark, still hearing the movie but not watching it. “I’ll get you my pretty”…….
At the new “box” house dad built a swing set from wood by hand. We had a pool back there too. In the garage he had sets of hooks on the walls; 5 bicycles, 5 skateboards and an assortment of snow sleds all hung neatly. My dad was in the Liquor business and for a short time he was in charge of bringing an Altar Wine made by catholic monks to the public. He often would have us putting labels on wine bottles and sorting various paper promotions into piles. I liked doing those things because he always had Cheese crackers that he’d take to the wine tasting events he’d put on and of course snacking on those made the tasks even more fun. The Cheese crackers were “special” and we did not have them in the kitchen. Our snacks were more like apples, bananas, celery and maybe some potato chips here and there.
There were ALWAYS large amounts of kids around. My mother did a lot of babysitting for others and at any given time would have 10 kids, us 5 girls and 5 or more that belonged to other parents. Sometimes I wonder if that was the reason she turned to drinking. I guess the more you have the easier it could be. We were one big band of little people ranging in ages from teens to diapers. Each sort of chummed up with another and my bestie was Debbie. Closest to my age by a few months but those months put her one year ahead of me in school. We remained friends for many years after growing up and parents severing friendships.
The house Debbie grew up in is one street away from where I am now. It freaks me out a lot. It breaks my heart because she has been gone over 30 years now and I miss her, oh God how I miss her. She took her own life at the young age of 27 and never said goodbye to me. We were in diapers together, shared Barbie’s and hot summer days, winter school vacations and at 19 we even shared an apt briefly. We worked together at a Record warehouse where we’d pull the old vinyl records with amazing art covers and put orders in boxes for deliveries the record stores. It was a really cool job and we shared it like two broke girls hoping for the big break in life. Her childhood is one street away…..
My head spins, my heart aches and all the while I make adjustments to both. Wanting desperately to go back to the past and wanting somehow to find my future. I want to find my place in the world where I belong. As a little girl and teen into my twenty something years, I only wanted to find my true love, get married and have babies. During my late 20’s and into my 30’s I came to accept that those dreams were not to be for me. I’m totally fine with that now but I sure do wonder sometimes when my trade off will come. When those moments come I hit myself up with “you’ve lived more than most people”. I just remind myself of the years lived; the hurts, the happiness, the times I felt beaten and the times I got up. My faith hasn’t always been my compass but I have leaned on it often. I can say with complete honesty that I have offered up just as many “thank you’s” as I have fears and heartbreaks. There has always been a feeling within me that I am being guided through this maze called life by someone other than my earthly self.
I go through my days focusing on work because it’s all that has ever saved me. I hope and pray for a better life and God knows I sure do work hard for it. I still consider the possibility of moving to Italy. I still think I can pull a rabbit out of my hat and have a home of my own again. Whether in the US or Italy, I would love to have a home of my own again.
It’s so strange being here in this area again. Remembering what the landscape was like so many years ago and how much it has changed to fit growth and population. The big horse farms are gone and the dairy farms are all gone as well, replaced with housing tracks, medical buildings and commercial businesses. Once 4 way stops are now 3 to 6 lane intersections. It makes my head spin, the stark contrast of what life was like as a little girl and what it is now.
Moving forward and working towards my goal of a better life has always been the common thread in my life but now it seems much more difficult to focus on. It’s hard to keep perspective when all you see are memories of your past. A past filled with happiness and innocence, sisters and besties, snow suits and bathing suits and all of the things that came along with my childhood.
Though the memories of childhood linger and I fight to stay on track with my goals for my future, my head just spins with thoughts of both. The nagging questions are; what can I learn from this, how can I use this mental place to understand and make sense of it all?

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