Saturday, January 23, 2010

THE SUMMER before I went into the first grade was when I first heard music on the radio or records that I can still recall. Before that, it's a blank though I remember a great deal of my life otherwise, right back to when I was two years old. No recorded music.

However, I do remember my sisters singing earlier than that. Grandfather's Clock. Rock a Bye Baby. When exactly those memories start, I'm not sure; only that they are part of the house where I lived from ages two to six.

We moved from that home in the summer of my sixth year. In the new house, where we remained less than a year, I can remember hearing Burl Ives. Indeed, I learned to crank up the record player and play the 45 of 'Little White Duck' over and over. From there on, lots of music is in my head. I learned to sing along with Art Carney on 'The Song of the Sewer.' Now there's an early influence for you.

And Kirk Douglas singing (sort of) 'Whale of a Tale' from Disney's '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.' Everly Brothers and Patsy Cline discs that belonged to my older siblings. More Burl Ives, such as 'Goober Peas.' Phil Harris!

So I certainly wasn't an early bloomer, music-wise, no toddler-with-an-instrument or anything like that. But then, there were no players in the family. Oh, Mom is a pretty decent pianist but went without one from her teens until her forties.

That was an important year for me, there on Diana Avenue. Yes, I started school, which I hated immediately and never changed my mind. I do not do well under other people's regimentation. Perhaps because I'm so thoroughly regimented on my own. I do like to do things my own way.

The year also held the earliest migraine I can recall. I've no doubt there were earlier ones, I just wasn't self-aware enough to understand and remember them. The same with my life-long insomnia. Life-long till I found an effective antidepressant. Effective against migraines, anyway.

I also recall, that summer, really getting into playing with my toy soldiers in the long sandy swale out front. Caves and ditches and walls and little men strung out over yards of terrain. I guess I was more interested in setting up the scenarios than actually putting my guys into action. Apparently, I spent hours out there talking to myself. Oh, I still do that, don't I?

What, I wonder, would I hear if I could eavesdrop on my six-year-old self? Would it be interesting or just nonsense? Knowing me, possibly both.

* * *

a short and somewhat silly poem:


Each of us is
a minority
of one.

Where is that
affirmative action
when we need it?

Stephen Brooke ©2010

* * *

It's the time of year to be looking at seed and nursery stock catalogs, making lists and getting ready to send orders! I should have my first in the mail in a week or two, probably to Vernon Barnes up in McMinnville TN. I've been ordering from them for years, as did my father before me. One of the few companies out there that still does business purely through a print catalog.

I'm thinking I'll go heavy on the hedges and ground cover this spring. Honeysuckles, more PG hydrangeas. Definitely some more blueberries -- I've four now and another four should give me just about the right size patch here. Well, I'd like more but there's only so much room. I may attempt some more mulberries too, continuing the row I set out last spring. Though I have figured out that it works better to get the trees in early fall and give them a couple months of slightly cooler and wetter weather rather than trying to start them in the (usually) dry spring here. Maybe I should just keep them in pots through the summer.

I dug up all the bulbs just before the cold spell and will replant them in a sunnier spot soon. They had been, mostly, in the somewhat shady bed in front of the porch. They'll go under my mom's window now. Lilies and Asian lilies and amaryllis. There are already cannas and day lilies there. I also used the cool weather (cool, ha, it was downright frigid) to transplant my roses, some still in pots since they came from Steinhatchee. More roses are something else I'm going to get but perhaps not till fall. That would be Robin Hoods or something similar for hedging.

1 comment:

L. 'Ailina Laranang said...

I envy you your green thumb. My great grandmother and mother were/are skilled gardeners, but for some reason, it was never passed down to me. I wish I could write about plants and the business of plants without having to fake it.