I Went Home Today

Kingwell By Kingwell, 31st Mar 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

In Imagination I return to my youth - today I am ten years old again.

I'm Ten Years Old - Not a Kid Anymore.

It is November of 1949 and I’m a ten year old boy taking that long walk home after a day at school. I remember that mom has asked me to stop by the little Co-op store, and although I have no money, I know that the family’s credit is always good there. I watch Uncle Ol’ (not really my uncle, but everyone in Kingwell calls him that), as he wraps the few items in brown paper, from the giant roll inside of the counter, and ties it together with the white ‘parcel’ line from the spool overhead. I mutter my thanks and head out the door. Once again I start down the road that leads to the bar, the big hill, out past ‘where the water runs’ and on to ‘stumpy hill’. My friends are far ahead of me and probably nearing home by now. I don’t mind though, it’s still light and I know everyone who lives in all the houses that I pass. Of course, there will be no houses after I pass the big hill but it’s only about ten minutes from there and I’ll be almost home too – at least I’ll be able to see Uncle Ike’s house (my real uncle this time). Now I’m crossing the bar and the wind is ‘down’, a bit chilly too, glad I’m wearing a warm jacket – my brother wore it last year but it’s gotten too small for him. I think he’s getting one that a cousin has outgrown. I wonder what mom has for supper. I hope its salt beef with cabbage, carrot, turnip and potatoes – that’s what I like best. I’m half way up the big hill and I’m getting tired, that parcel is heavier that I’d expected and there’s my book bag too, that seems to weigh more now. I mustn’t complain though, I’m ten years old, not a little kid anymore.

Waiting for Mom to Get Supper

Our house is painted green now, dad did that last summer – it used to be painted with red ochre. We have a big house, two- story, and dad calls it a biscuit box house because it has a flat roof. He said that houses with a sloping roof are called salt boxes. Well, this is where the water runs, and it’s the best water anywhere, so I’ll just stop and get a drink. Man, that tastes good, but I’d better get going the sky is starting to cloud over and dad said it might snow tonight. There’s the big gate that means I’m almost home. It’s too dark to go the upper garden way, so I’ll take the path that leads past Uncle Charl’s house (another real uncle), and around the turn. I can see that mom got the lamp lit – and there she is looking through the window – looking to see if I’m coming no doubt. Mom smiles as I place the parcel on the table and hang my book bag on the back of a chair. Dad and my brothers are at home too – all waiting for mom to get supper. I sit on a stool in the corner and wait as well. Mom hurries about setting the table just as she has always done – it IS her job after all. It’s only after mom has 3 large bowls of stew on the table and has sliced a pan of homemade bread that she baked this morning that we men (ahem), take our places at the table. Mom now fills a smaller bowl for herself and sets waiting for dad to say grace. As she eats, mom watches, waiting to refill the first empty bowl. In the meantime, she checks to see if the tea has steeped and then pours four steaming cups.

By The Light Of The Kerosene Lamp

After supper, the men sit back again while mom washes the dishes and sweeps the floor. My oldest brother at 23, is eagerly awaiting the time for him and his buddies to go ‘in the harbour’, as those of us who live on the point call it. ‘In the harbour’ is where the majority of the population of Kingwell live, there being only six families on the point. It’s divided into ‘up the harbour’ and ‘down the harbour’ with the church and school being the dividing spot. Now that the dishes have been washed and put away, mom has gotten out her knitting. Dad, while still hale and hearty at 70, has developed cataracts on both eyes and is slowly going blind. My middle brother who is 15, and had no school today, has already gone outside with some of his friends. I get my book bag and sit at the table, all the while listening to mom and dad talk about things happening in the community or of my older sister and her family, now living in St. John’s. The kerosene lamp on the wall sends its glow around the rather large kitchen as I get out my schoolbooks. My homework consists of writing a paragraph about my pet and I immediately glance at Tom, my cat, who is sleeping comfortably on the couch. It isn’t that I don’t like Tom, but I’ve always wanted a dog too, and tonight I am going to write about my imaginary puppy – ‘sorry Tom’. Spelling is not my best subject and I’ve left my dictionary at school, but no matter because I have dad, who it seemed can spell any word with ease. That finished, I get out my spelling book and look at the words that I have to be able to spell tomorrow, unless I want to be made to stand in the corner, and learn it there.

There is Nothing New Under The Sun

My oldest brother who is married with a family lives next door, and as dad and I chat about my homework, mom decides to take her knitting and go out to Jane’s for an hour. I like the story that is part of my homework, in my copy of ‘The Treasury Reader’ and ask dad if I can read it for him. Always an avid reader himself, he is happy to oblige and soon I’m excitedly reading about the prince who wanted food that was as ‘hot as summer and as cold as winter’, and of the cooks who would lose their heads if they didn’t make it for him! Dad laughs, pleased that I like reading as he hopes that I will finish school and perhaps get away from the fishing boats. The door opens and my fifteen year old brother enters with a friend. Dad tells him he’d best stay at home now as he has school tomorrow. When his friend leaves, my brother, at dad’s insistence, checks the paragraph that I’ve written, and makes sure that I can spell the words I have to know for tomorrow. Mom comes home and I realize that it’s my bedtime. She pours me a cup of tea, then puts molasses on a slice of homemade bread, which I quickly eat and saying good night, head up the stairs to a room and bed that I share with my brother. He will be up soon but I’ll probably have fallen asleep by then. I kneel by the bed and say my prayers without giving it much thought; it’s what everyone does, isn’t it? Tom has come up and gotten into bed with me and is purring loudly, his head on the pillow and one paw around my neck. I know that mom will put him outside before going to bed but I just wish he could stay here just this once, it’s really cold outside tonight and I can hear the other cats fighting for the warmest spot up near the chimney under the house. (Yawn) – This is the way it is everywhere – and the way it will always be ———–

Tags

Brothers, Church, Co-Op, Dad, Family, Friends, Home, Homework, Kerosene Lamp, Kingwell, Reading, School

Meet the author

author avatar Kingwell
I am 75 years old and retired.I like writing short stories, poetry as well other articles of interest.

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Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
31st Mar 2014 (#)

But how things have changed, I wonder what a 10 year old boy from today will have to say years from now.

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author avatar Kingwell
1st Apr 2014 (#)

Thank you Mark and you are right. I'm sure that things will continue to change and who know what today's 10 year old will have experienced 64 years from today.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
1st Apr 2014 (#)

Interesting post!

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author avatar Kingwell
1st Apr 2014 (#)

Thank you for your comment Fern.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
1st Apr 2014 (#)

I can relate to this story very well, Kingwell. Now families are small with couple of kids at the most and everyone doing own thing, hardly conversing. Hopefully that is progress! I do not know whether such a lifestyle is worth recalling years later! siva

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author avatar Kingwell
1st Apr 2014 (#)

Hi Siva, Thank you for commenting. I guess we will have to let future generations decide as to whether today's lifestyle is worth recalling. I agree it certainly is different. Blessings friend.

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author avatar wonder
1st Apr 2014 (#)

A warm family picture so beautifully written, and we've seen all these too.Now all warmth felt on laptops.

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author avatar Kingwell
1st Apr 2014 (#)

Thank you wonder.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
2nd Apr 2014 (#)

I liked this stroll down your memory lane. The way you presented yourself at 10 is not much different from my 10 year old boy's wants, needs, joys, and concerns. You captured that essence well. Well Done!

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author avatar Kingwell
2nd Apr 2014 (#)

Thank you Phyl.

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