By Randy N. Simmons
Growing up during the 1950's
The world was different than it had ever been before.
I thought it was the way it had always been
because it was the world I knew.
I grew up on Birch Street
But I don't know if it even had a name then.
Probably it did.
The high brick house stood on the corner
Tall, dark and surrounded by massive trees
That dropped there shade like a funeral pall
Encompassing the house and yard
Bounded by a double row of thick green lilacs
growing taller than five of me.
A giant snowball bush thrust up
in the middle of the green grass
Where my brother and sisters and I pretended it was Winter in late Spring.
Staging snowball fights with round white blooms.
Spring flowers lightened the gloom
With myriad blossoming colors under the shady blankets.
My world existed in a few square blocks
of rural mountain town where the school building stood
Brick solid two blocks north
where I learned to read
Opening world of unsuspected wonders.
The white church we attended almost ever Sunday
sat quietly half a block away
Where HELL was scared into me
and Heaven was driven out
Near the empty lot full of foxtails
Spearing through saggy socks
Stabbing ankles above worn sneakers
Whose gaping holed toes let dirt, rocks and weeds
To turn our bath water into roiling brown floods
Filled with the broken debris from frenzied baseball games
Played with discarded sticks that filled our hands with slivers
And white paint peeled and flaked from the foam ball
With missing chunks a neighborhood dog tore out
Before we found it.
That was my world
Except when a mother took us downtown
To stores filled with toys, cloths, candy
Tools and magnificent, unimaginable things.
My dad was gone from home allot
Creating house, barns, shops with his mind and hands.
Building homes for other families that we couldn't afford
While my knees stared out of ragged pant legs.
Growing up in the 1950's