Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A hair compliment

The lady in the camper next door stopped me when I was going to get in the truck and said my hair was beautiful and she really liked it. I said thanks. And then she said she was really a "long hair person." I thought that was cute, and what's strange is, I knew exactly what she meant! Her hair was very short. She motioned me about how long it used to be, looked like a little past shoulder length, and said she had recently cut it and she missed it. While I was out making pictures tonight she and my husband talked for awhile. She and her husband, they look my age, are from New York. She, born and raised there, and they both wanted to get out and live in Las Cruces (New Mexico). My husband commiserated with her because we are native Californians and wanted to get out and we like New Mexico too!

Well, today I was thinking about my summers. I love summer. It's my favorite season of the year even when it's hot, hot, hot. The first summer I recall, I was eight.

I lived the summer in Nebraska with Aunt Gail and it was the busiest, best summer of my life. My cousin Myrna let me wear her long brown haired wig once in awhile. She gave it to a friend and I whined, "Why didn't you give it to me. I wanted it." She handled it so well. She said, "Oh my gosh! I should have given it to Liliana. I'm sorry. I just didn't think of it." I went for it hook, line, and sinker, and I felt very grown-up that at least she considered giving it to me. I admired all my cousins and they were 18, 19, 20, and the other one was 20 too. Now I realize she wasn't about to give it to an eight year old kid. Ha! I believed her though and so I didn't have a complete breakdown in front of everyone. She was probably afraid of that. I could be a real stinker when I was eight.

Age 9: No recollection. Lived in Pacific Beach but don't remember a thing.

Age 10: Lived in El Centro. El Centro is a dive. Large migrant farm worker population. Mainly I remember a Mexican girl across the street named Gloria. We were both ten and made friends. The males in their family spit on the floor in the house. She used to ride me on the back of her bike. I never rode her because I wasn't that strong. She was strong and she didn't mind sweating. I can see her face now, her long black hair and brown eyes, she was a little overweight, sweat running down the sides of her face, and she'd be pumping that bike the whole way around the block. Then we'd sit in front of the air conditioner at her house. I wonder what ever became of her. Her mom thought the YMCA was a devil organization. Remember when some people used to think that? Funny to think back on now.

Age 11: This summer rates pretty high. We returned to San Diego and lived on a street with a row of about a half dozen apartment buildings. The management called our building "The Zoo." In the summer it was fun! We swam every day in the pool. I was like a fish! Woke up, got in the pool. Swam a lot. But then school started and things changed. A man who had dated my mom committed suicide in September. I remember the mood of the building when I came home from school. No one would tell me what was wrong, but I could tell something bad had happened. He let his son come home from high school and find him in the apartment. Why didn't he do it somewhere else? Why did he allow his own child to find him? He shot himself. His wife of 20 years died the previous year. She passed away softly in a chair at home after they had come home from a party. They'd had a good time. She had a heart attack though. I don't think she could have been but 45 years old or so. He never got over it. But worse, after we moved we'd heard that one of the sons, the eldest, 16, had been busted for molesting a four year old girl. It was Jenny. We used to wonder why Jenny didn't talk and always walked around with her thumb in her mouth. Her mother had many, many boyfriends and didn't pay any attention to her.

Age 12: My first summer in 29. Our first house was out on the perimeter of the town. Desert. It's probably the reason why I love the desert now. My sister and I used to go on journeys. We'd walk around in the desert on a pretend adventure. We'd find lizards and the red ants were huge! Once my sister (she was 8) got her feet full of a cactus and I had to carry her all the way back home. We went to the library a lot. I like the library. I think I read every fairy tale available that summer. My sister got a certificate.

Age 13: I babysat a lot. One morning my friend, Deb, and I stayed up together all night on a babysitting job. At dawn we were eating cereal outside on the front porch and moths were flying around the porch light. I think one may have gone into one of our cereal bowls and we were grossed out.

Age 14: Got a babysitting job and lived with the family about 150 miles from home. Was real happy with making the money but their home life wasn't the best. Met a girl up the street nicknamed Peanut. I went to a square dancing event with her and she gave me speed and angel dust. Too bad for me. It was a wrong turn.

Age 15: Don't remember exactly.

Age 16: I live at my dad's now. My Aunt Delores gave me my first perfume on my 16th birthday. It was Charlie perfume. I still remember the blue box and the perfume applicator. I really liked it. Went to the beach many days with my favorite, best cousin, Laurie. It was a good summer. I used to rush and do the dusting and vacuuming and dishes (my dad insisted) early in the morning so we could leave at about 9:00am and get to the beach by 10:00am. Always went to Black's Beach. That's a nude beach. My dad didn't know! It used to be nice but I stopped going only three years later because it changed from regular nudist types to deviants. Seemed dangerous to me. A guy said something to me and I never went back, that's the reason. The long walk down the super steep hill was fantastic and made my legs strong.

After I turned 17 summers weren't very good until I was 24. Wait, now that I think of it, maybe summer when I was 21 was pretty good. I met a nice group of people and had a nice boyfriend and his parents really took me in. They were very good to me. It was one of those fleeting times though. There is something about summertime that is not like the rest of the year. It's special. Summer has a certain feel to it. Even the memory of it stirs up its own emotions. Kind of like music. Music can do that too.

Well, that's all the remembering for tonight. It was all so long ago. I should write it all down so I won't forget my memories. I used to run through my mind the names of all of my elementary school teachers. I better do that next so I don't forget them. Summertime, summertime, sum, sum, summertime!