Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wandering mind

Something strange happens when I am teaching English classes. I've pretty much got the 

act down my rote now. Introduce the words,  have the kids scream them, have the Chinese teacher 

translate the word, repeat six more times for forty-five minutes five days per week.

As I'm doing my dancing bear routine, my eyes fuzz out and my brains seems to wonder back to my 

earliest memories. Today, teaching the word Spaghetti, I found myself remembering the first time 

I saw the side of my grandmothers house where grass didn't grow.

My grandparents ran a successful business, saved some money, designed a house and had it built. I 

remember the lush green grass stretching from side to side across the house as long as the 

child's soccer pitch. 

One side--just one side--didn't have grass. It was in constant shade between the house, a fence 

and and beneath trees that showered it endlessly with pine needles. I remember the teal plastic 

siding of my grandmothers house above the brown dirt--where there should have been green lush grass--I remember having a hard time wrapping my mind around the dycotomy. My grandmother with the vaccumed floors, 

Christmas tree with evenly spaced white lights, large front door, and on the side, just outside 

the reach of the lush green grass the brown dirt.

I remember before I could write, my friend and I decided the woodshed would be our club. I 

dictated to him "No parents and no big animals. We mean BIG animals." No big animals were allowed 

because the roof of the cramped woodshed was pierced through with the nails that had the shingles 

on. The simpler time of sweat pants and wind breakers. Asking my parents to read things for me, 

because I couldn't. When the outlines and limits of my world hadn't been defined yet and 

anything--anything--seemed possible.

But that neglected dirt side of my grandmother's house, where even she didn't care whether or not 

 the grass grew. Like a different place, a different time, floating up and acorss my fuzzed out 

eyes as Chinese children yell "Spaghetti".

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