December 14, 2005

kid stuff

most of the leisure time in my childhood involved hanging out at the library, drawing, and illicitly reading past my bedtime by nightlight. occasionally, i would wrap plastic grocery bags around my feet and do some extravagant avant-garde ballet across the carpeted basement to my dad's stravinsky tapes. i also liked a good game of hide-and-seek; i always used a goldmine hiding spot behind shower curtains -- why no one ever looked there is anyone's guess.

sometimes i'd go over to my friend rachel's house (her dad was an arcade machine repairman), and without paying a quarter, we'd play hours of pinball or early streetfighter. other times i'd go over to jessica's house and listen to oldies while playing strange games of dollhouse involving plastic tigers and fuzzy pink pipe cleaners that looked like leaches. lots of nintendo. in the summer, we'd pick juicy cucumbers off the vine, and sneak around the subdivision's large selection of honeysuckle bushes drinking nectar. there were no fences. we also walked the dogs, through forest trails, kudzu, mud and sinkholes; we were always scared of quicksand, because it existed.

my family took so many hikes through kennesaw mountain. i'd always want to buy a copy of confederation-era reprint newspapers they sold at the gift shop. i love the smell of wet pine needles and ferns. many nights i played isometric bombing games on the computer, and when web browsers happened, my friend abbey and i would spend hours waiting for prodigy to load on-line "babysitter's club." i thought it was boring, and decided i'd rather play my 3.5" floppy games or write short stories. i also dug making mix tapes of classical music, but i hated hearing recordings of my voice. my dad would hold family slide show nights to "simon and garfunkel's greatest hits."

one time my class went fossil hunting, and i dug up fossilized trylobites and ferns. my friend tanya had a synthesizer on which we'd do some speed renditions of musical numbers, but then we'd go play some RPG but she'd always hog the game. i ate a lot of grapefruit and bbq steaks. i also surreptitiously stole and ate packs of fruit snacks my mom hid around the house. some autumns i'd have to rake the lawn and sweep leaves off the deck. some winters we'd get snow, and in 1993 there was a blizzard that knocked down a 50' pine tree on our yard. my dad took a chainsaw and spent a month chopping it into firewood.

i enjoyed reading wilderness survival books and pretty much all novels involving animals. i also liked reading the worldbook encyclopedia, especially the entries with a lot of images ("bird," "sculpture"). i would copy images in pencil on the back of paper my dad brought home from work. i made comic strips of imaginary girlfriends and boyfriends. i wanted to be beatrice potter or john muir or john audubon: an illustrator and/or a naturalist. or a pioneer -- something about vast expanses of unexplored land was intriguing at that time.

lots of this kid stuff happened in marietta, georgia, about 40 minutes outside atlanta. i moved to california just after i turned eleven; some of it still held true, and other things i never did again.


Anonymous said...

That was pretty

bruce said...

i feel like i've read this before, is it a repost? or maybe you just told me in person and i'm remembering it as a blog.


andrea said...

1. marietta, georgia! i have a georgia fetish! my summer spanish teacher is a georgian, from cartersville!

2. "i also surreptitiously stole and ate packs of fruit snacks my mom hid around the house."

yes! my mom also hid fruit snacks (among other things) around the house! and i would also surreptitiously steal them, sometimes shifting blame to my brother!

3. simi valley is, after all, a desert. after being here for a week, i still marvel at how much i crave water and skin lotion. it's awfully chilly and windy in the autumn-winter. i'm afraid that tumbleweed (prickly, thorny) might be a "thing of the past"... i haven't seen any around lately, perhaps because of all the "development".

and the sight of tumbleweed blustering down a suburban street was altogether commonplace. it sounds hilarious to whomever is unfamiliar with the town, though.

siqi said...

all the tumbleweeds moved to Barstow....

jean said...

do you remember 2003?

simulacra: word of the decade.

no repost -- i think our minds are playing tricks on us.

the most startling difference moving from georgia to california was the sparseness of everything here. i was shocked to be in a place with so little foliage -- even the bay area is drier and more desert-like than the east. empty expanses, fences everywhere, dust, houses smooshed side by side cookie cutter. (who could imagine owning a single family house on less than one acre? and there is so much of this in california. it was disporportionate and very ugly, in my small opinion.)

tumbleweeds are pretty cool, though. has the weed invaded the burbs or the burbs invaded the land of the weed? living on a movie set?

jean said...

oops. zizek!

Lillian said...

i remember the plastic wrapped feet, dancing around, wanting to do exactly what my sister did.

weren't you one of my earliest influences in wanting to start ballet?

i always remembered how dad always had to rake the yard, and then afterwards, i would run and jump into them. and i remember how vast the house was, i could always amuse myself by going into other rooms and playing "pretend".

and how at the end of the day, under orange lights, we would all gather together in the downstairs "family room" where i would watch tv, you would often snarl when i tried to watch you draw horses. and when jon was born, he would sometimes crawl around naked. and mom and dad, were just mom and dad.

those were the days. it's sad that most of my memories in georgia are very fuzzy.

roger said...

case of the nostalgic? endearing post jean.

quicksand is such a funny thing... it seemed to be the ubiquitous tv obstacle, but almost anachronistic these days. maybe the internet killed quicksand?

andrea said...

roger- i think that the internet IS quicksand!

jean- forgot to add: have you read "the martian chronicles" by ray bradbury? it feels like the right book to read or re-read right now... again.

jean said...

no i never read it; i'll try to pick it up. books books books.

sigh. doing christmas shopping these past days/nights has made me find a lot of stuff that i want to buy for MYSELF! (but i'm saving money for a new bike).

how is buying presents such a chore? my numbers: 4 down, 12 to go.

my biggest problem is i have this mental vice (as in clamp) to give the BEST gift. i always want to give the BEST, but i can't spend too much either because it'd break some rule of reciprocity! i much prefer spotaneous acts at random times of the year, because you can never find the best thing within a 4 week time period -- and there's no way if i stumble upon the perfect gift in july that i could horde it until xmas.

andrea said...

well, paint me ugly and call me nixon. tumbleweed would never die. the japanese ought to create tumbleweed animé. thanks, california.

i think sparse is nice. and nice is bland. but one can't expect too-too much space for oneself in california. it just can't be.

speaking of sparseness (but not naked bare-bones-ness) there are plenty of orthodox churches around the bay area to explore!

woot for the bay! the orthodox churches in los angeles (as yet) don't compare! but they certainly are more generous with shared-space- one assyrian church is a french lycée by day!