Painting the old House

Carolyn’s Rant, Summer 2016

Today I painted the front wall of the old house where I was born, and where my brothers and I grew up. The house has been vacant now some 30 years or more and my son thinks it should be torn down and dozed over. He doesn’t know or understand what memories that house held for me.

I touched the odd line that angled across the low shed add-on. That space held the arbor that attached to the wall and left a place for the grapevines that twined overhead and shaded the space where I especially loved to play dolls in the summer. That shady arbor was my secret garden.

I worked over the smoothed square of stucco that had once been the window into my tiny bedroom. the walls were probably not more than eight-foot square but it held everything that was special to me and provided a safe place to go when the world became just too scary.

I remembered the summer day I cajoled my brother, Curt, to play dolls with me. It was not long after our uncles had returned from World War II. They had brought me a special doll named “Baby Jane.” Previously all the dolls had hard plastic heads and bodies. Baby Jane had bendable arms and legs and even rubber ears. I loved her so much and proudly carried her everywhere with me. We lived on a farm with no close neighbors. I was lonely sometimes so Curt agreed to play for an hour. He was pretending to be a storekeeper and family doctor and thought Baby Jane was in need of his services. His diagnosis was ear infection and treatment required a short stay in the “hospital.” I reluctantly left Jane in his care and when I returned a few minutes later, he had bad news. The infection was so severe he had to perform surgery and cut off her ears.

I never asked him to play dolls again.

Rant over.