Sunday, May 25, 2014


My first grade class photo

Every so often a series of events triggers some old memories ... actually, everything seems to trigger memories.  Occasionally the memories triggered are pleasant without the pervasive breakdown or crash at the end.

We were sorting through old yard tool and other miscellaneous junk which has been stored in our garage and two storage sheds.  Much of this stuff is older than me ... and possibly a bit more decrepit than me as well.

This job is long overdue ... not simply because much of this could have been and likely should have been thrown away years ago, but also for the fact that we removed the two old metal sheds to make room for a slightly larger and more durable shed.  All this work has been delayed by schedule issues and unbearable heat over the past few weeks.

We have an arrangement with our neighbor to share a huge dumpster for the job.  This is the construction site sized cargo container dumpster, and it is 3/4 full by now.

Pam, my mom and I have had little trouble with the smaller and lighter items, but there were many large and heavy that we could not handle alone.  Two years ago we would have needed help with these items.  Now, with my mom still recovering from back surgery, Pam's right arm in pretty much constant pain and likely 1/3 of my strength gone from the estrogen this help wasn't simply wanted to make the job move faster, it was a necessity to even attempt it.

Thank God Timmy and his friend Kyle were able to pitch in a couple hours of work.  Without them most of the junk would still be sitting in our yard.  They even helped remove the tiny nectarine stump because it was at the edge of where the new shed will sit ... well, to be truthful they dug and hacked the roots for several minutes, breaking an axe handle in the process, but they made progress that we ladies couldn't make..

After the helpers left we started leveling the area where the shed will sit.  Not a difficult task ... I've used my favorite flat bladed shovel to level out many areas before.  The soil was damp and would easily scrape the mud and get the job done.

I remember this mud ... sticky and thick ... like the clay I used to try and work on the potter's wheel in the Discovery Room back in elementary school.  I was not patient nor talented enough to work with clay ... likely I'm still not.

As I scraped Pam raked the excess dirt off the area.  She was using my mom's favorite, light weight rake ... she broke it ... oops.  That, of course is when my mom came out to help ... double oops.

As we worked on the area where the back shed sat the job became a little more difficult ... I'm guessing my diminishing strength played a role in this, but we needed to get that patch of ground down to the level of the pavers in front.

I scraped down to a layer of decaying plastic.  This was the plastic my dad laid down when he assembled the first shed back in the 70s.

The roots, possibly from the nectarine tree, were making the job more tedious.  I cut several of them with the shovel.

As my mom raked over a recently scraped area she saw something sticking out of the ground.

A spoon ...

An old teaspoon buried for likely 40 years.

Most likely it was dropped there when my brother, my sister and I were eating something under the grape arbor.

I remember the grape arbor.  My brother and I would play a multitude of games in the mud beneath those winding vines.

He is four years older than me and likely did not want to play some of the games, but between us we managed to find ways to get the mud caked on ourselves and have fun doing it.  Many a plastic army man were killed in the mini mud forts we made.

Maybe the spoon was one of the tools we used to help us dig.

Anyway ...

The remains of the battle

Once the area was pretty level we decided to finish off the stump.  Most of the work was done, so all we had to do was loosen it a bit more and pry it out.

I hacked through what seemed like the one remaining root and began to pry ... it moved.

I asked Pam to pry with the pickaxe while I wedged my shovel under the edge and tried to remove the uncooperative lump of wood.

It moved more.  I could feel it giving, and giving and ... snap!!

I felt something hit my shoulder as I tried to maintain my balance.  I was holding the broken handle of my favorite shovel.


This was now a battle of attrition and I had no intentions on giving up.

It took pretty much everything I had, but eventually, between Pam, my mom and I, we dislodged the stump ... and I had the satisfaction of holding my defeated foe in my muddy, sore hands.

By now you have either forgotten the title of this post or you are scratching your head wondering if I have lost my mind.

While we were clearing some boxes from the garage we stumbled upon a box of stuff from our apartment when we first moved out here.

There are far too many items we found to talk about them all, but one truly revved up the memory machine.

Pam found a belt in Timmy's stuff.  It was so small, it was obviously made for a young child.

Timmy didn't remember it.

Pam said, "It must be yours.  Your name is on it and there's a dog ..."

"That's not just a dog," I interrupted.  "That's Scamp."

"You mean Tramp ... as in Lady and the Tramp?"  Pam inspected the images on the leather.

"No ... Scamp.  It was a comic strip in the 70s."  My mouth kept going, but my mind was worlds away.

My sister was making many leather items.  I believe it was a class in high school, but I am not positive.  I began reliving the moment as she measured my waist, asked how I wanted the belt to look and even game me a choice of buckles to use.

I was not used to having choices like this ... I was excited.

Days later she brings the belt home.  It was very stiff and difficult to thread through the belt loops on my pants.  I am now having vague memories of being so frustrated that I could not get the belt on that I was nearly in tears ... but my sister helped me.

I wore that belt whenever I could ... then I outgrew it.

I have no clue how it survived all these years, let alone how it came to be in Timmy's belongings from our old residence.  So many of my childhood favorites wound up disappearing, being ruined or simply thrown away because I no longer wanted or needed them.

Smack - my favorite teddy bear.  He had a music box inside, but I played it so often it eventually broke.

My fuzzy blanket - I would likely still have this security blanket if it weren't for the fact that it was literally unraveling in my hands.

Ween - a stuffed wiener dog I bought at a rummage sale.  He was made of a corduroy material ... except his ears and tail. 

Far too many things to mention ... far too many memories to cover in a dozen blog posts.

To find my old Scamp belt after all this time ... one of my childhood favorites ... something made specifically for me ... this is beyond words.