Across the Room and Into the Fire, Pt. 1

 

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This is a love story that has no end.

 

When I was very young, my family didn’t have much in the way of money. By way  of illustration, here is an early memory—

I was crossing the street with my mother and younger brother. My mother was holding both of us by the hand. In my free hand, I held my “toys”. These were cut-outs from a newspaper ad, pictures of dolls of Frankenstein, Dracula, the Werewolf, and the Mummy. We had almost made it across when I dropped my toys, broke free of my mother, and dashed out into traffic. The paper cut-outs were stuck to the wet road and I was trying desperately to free them, my mother was screaming bloody murder, and my little brother was laughing. Luckily, a meter maid was there to grab me by the ear and haul me off to the curb, using a strange sort of language I’d never heard before, but which my mother apparently spoke as well, as she continued to use it all the way home.

So. No money, no toys. We had to use out imaginations. It’s good for you, but life can still become a bit dull at times with just two sticks and a stone to play with.

Then there was the broader family situation. My father had to travel a great deal. He would be gone for days, weeks, sometimes even months. Because he had to travel, that meant that we had to travel as well, but not with him. We would move from place to place, staying with my maternal grandparents for a week or two here, paternal grandparents a week or two there, with cousins, aunts, uncles and friends of the family. My brother and I found this to be a great adventure, but it was not conducive to making long-lasting friendships with other children.

So. No money, no toys, not many friends.

Wherever it was we woke up to find ourselves, we could usually count on one thing. One day a week, while our mother did her errands, she would take us to the local library, if there was one, and leave us for an hour or so. This might seem shocking to some people today, but it was normal then. A friendly librarian would read stories to my brother and I, and a few other kids. The stories were usually as boring as a pack of hounds’ arses, but it was something to pass the time.

When we grew just a little older—maybe five and three, or six and four years of age—we were allowed to explore these libraries on our own, although the librarians would usually keep a watchful eye to ensure that we didn’t read anything inappropriate, i.e., interesting.

For the most part, they needn’t have worried. All of the libraries we visited were poorly stocked, or heavily censored, I’m not sure which.

My brother and I were not to be deterred. We already had a thirst for learning that was encouraged by both of our parents. My father was a great storyteller, but the sort of stories he told us were not to be found in the few books we had at home, and he was not around all that much in those early years of our lives. We subsisted on children’s stories and comic books.

Then, one summer, were were sent to live with our paternal grandparents.

Alone.

It was only to be for a month or two. My brother wasn’t all that concerned about it, but I was; I loved my grandad, but he was distant, and like my father, not around often.

My granny was a little different.

She was a good woman in her way, but I was afraid of her, and did not want to spend that long of a stretch in her company without my parents present, but I had no choice in the matter.

The night that we were left with her, she showed us to our room and the single bed that we were to share. After saying goodnight, and before going downstairs, she turned in our doorway and said,

“Don’t go up in the attic.”

So we did.

And discovered something wonderful.

(End Pt. 1)

 

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47 Responses to Across the Room and Into the Fire, Pt. 1

  1. Brilliant! Can’t wait to find out what was in the attic!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Monochrome nightmares says:

    A grand story.
    I’m looking forward to part two.
    God only knows what’s in the attic.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. When I first read your stories, you used to write about your childhood and your dad. I missed those glimpses into you, so you can imagine my thrill when I started reading this lovely memory of yours. I can’t wait to take that trip to the attic! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautifully done. Resonates so well with my memories of making our own toys, frequenting the public library, and even staying with grandparents similar to yours. The attic will be a revelation, though….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Suspenseful. I’ve always lived going to the library. Unless I am travelling, I go to the library every week. One of my few routines. I think it is one routine that keeps me feel optimistic. Strange, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lived = loved. I hate the auto correct feature sometimes

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A love story plus something in the attic. I can’t wait to see what the two will equal. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Cannot help wondering if Granny’s “Don’t go up in the attic.” was actually encouragement with deniability. Eagerly awaiting Part 2.

    Your autobiographical pieces are fascinating.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. emmylgant says:

    I am hooked.
    I am looking forward to the next installment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • oglach says:

      Long time, no see! I tried to find your blog a few times, but kept hitting a dead end–thought maybe you’d moved on. Then you showed up in my reader today. Was happy to read your work, and glad you liked mine. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This is such an honest, straight-forward way of looking back to those days of your childhood. I liked how you have narrated it from a neutral point of view and you perfectly know the trick of leaving your readers at a cliffhanger.

    Going to read what’s there in the attic…maybe some books which were officially not allowed to children, hence, interesting… 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great cliffhanger! Looking so much forward to read the next parts! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. oglach says:

    Reblogged this on Na trioblóidí and commented:

    In case anyone missed parts 1 through 5 of this story, I’m re-posting them, to be followed by the parts 6 and 7 in a few weeks. Hope you enjoy.

    Like

  13. skat says:

    I’m getting even more out of this the second time around (as you do) and it’s even better than I remember.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. inesephoto says:

    Making my own toys helped me a lot in my life. I am never bored, and every little thing is wonderful and amusing to me 🙂 Blessed childhood! Thank you for your stories.

    Liked by 2 people

    • oglach says:

      My brother and I were speaking the other day about how children nowadays have so much in the way of technology, but seem to be less healthy and happy than we were as kids. Even though it was only the late 70s and 80s, it may as well have been the 1800s in some ways. 🙂
      Thank you for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. pictures of dracula are still my toys.
    i’ll be waiting to see what’s in the attic as you repost, and promise myself i won’t cheat and unearth them before you repost.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I love this story! I can identify with growing up alone and not having much to play with. I also spent a lot of time in libraries. ..even in middle school when it wasn’t “cool.” I do think al of this does build imagination in children, it seems so difficult for kids to accomplish imaginative tasks these days. Can’t wait to see what’s in the attic 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  17. M. Miles says:

    I like the image of the little girl trying to peel her paper toys off the street. Nice touch!

    Liked by 1 person

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