Mrs. Linklater's Memoir keeps on rolling. . .
I remember a lot of things from when I was two. In short colorful
segments. There was a bottle filled with blue liquid sitting on the
radiator one day. At least in my memory. I was in a crib and utterly
fascinated by the blue color. I have a distinct memory of wanting to
get to that bottle at all costs, so I could drink the liquid in the
bottle. I assume I did not succeed, since I have no recollection of a
trip to the emergency room in a red truck.
I also remember spending time at my aunt's Wisconsin vacation house in the winter, because my brother had just been born.
The popping noise of the crackling fire, roaring in the fireplace,
upset me when I was in the high chair being fed. I remember a plastic
bib with red things on it around my neck. Dots? Strawberries? The bib
made a funny sound when I turned my head. Even though I remember
turning and looking at the logs every time I heard the explosions that
frightened me, I couldn't express myself, so my aunt assumed I was
tired and cranky, not hungry. Each time I got upset, she put me back in
the crib, not once but several times.
I remember the dark wood paneling in the room where they kept my crib.
The door would close, they would leave, but I wasn't tired. So it was
back up, then back down. I think if my aunt was a little more
perceptive she might have picked up on my distress over the fire
noises. I have the distinct memory of turning around to look at where
the noise was coming from whenever I heard that gunfire sound. I think
they thought if I weren't facing it, it wouldn't bother me. Stupid
When my sister was born I was sent for another visit to the vacation
house. That time it was summer. I remember sitting in the back seat of
a big black car on the way up there. There was a huge gray area between
the back and the front -- large enough for me to stand and move around
but I wasn't allowed to get up. All I wanted to do was play and I had
to sit on the seat and not move.
When my little sister was born, I was almost four. My dad's mother was
at the vacation house this time. She had a bunch of rules for children.
She made me go outside after breakfast and play there all day long. I
couldn't come back in until dinner time. The problem was there were no
other kids and no toys to play with, except some trucks that belonged
to my cousin who wasn't there. So I was very bored. Iwas only allowed
inside to go to the bathroom, so I spent a lot of time on the toilet as
I recall. Not surprisingly I spend as little time as possible there now.
On reflection I think Grandma and her boyfriend, a very nice man I
called Uncle Joe, were having some playtime of their own and didn't
want me around. I have no memory of my father ever lying on the floor
playing toys with me, but Uncle Joe would play Lincoln Logs with me,
helping me put together little cabins and topping them off with that
green chimney. Or was it a chimney?
My grandfather had died of a heart attack at fifty, partially as a
result of losing all his money in the Crash of '29. That combined with
losing his oldest son in a flight training accident not long after that
had to have a cummulative effect. Plus he smoked cigars.
So my grandma was a widow pretty young and obviously had an agenda that
didn't include babysitting grandbabies unless she had to.
My most burning memory of that grandmother was the time she walked me
into the bathroom to show me the tomatoes in the toilet. Tomatoes made
her sick to her stomach, and for some reason she wanted me to see what
they looked like after she had vomited. I remember standing there
looking at the pink floating pieces, holding her hand. To this day tiny
pieces of sliced tomato can bring back that cherished childhood memory.
Thanks for sharing, Grandma.
Another ding of the microwave. Time for lunch.
END OF CHAPTER TWO