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22 December 2006 @ 06:24 am
Actual Nostalgia  
So, seem to be developing another cold, on the heels of barely recovering from the last one. It's possible it's just the dry air, but I doubt it. I'm pretty sure I know where I caught it -- hopefully it will be a quick one. But, it woke me up early today, so I was sitting in bed reminiscing about things I haven't thought about in years. Like those noises that cast-iron steam radiators make, and the virtues of same with regard to dry air versus central heating. Does anybody have radiators anymore?

So, I was thinking about the old house I grew up in (in Kansas City, of course, the one near the Liberty Memorial, prominently featured in The Day After). It burned down (the conventional way, not in thermonuclear fire) -- after we'd moved out, of course. It tried to burn itself down when I was a wee lad, which resulted in an adventure involving my mother (then pregnant with my brother) and myself being rescued off of the roof, but I just remember all the woodwork that was done on the house to repair the damage (it was nice woodwork).

I remember that house pretty well. I remember my room, on the second floor (I remember the summer it got into the 110's and I didn't sleep for a week -- the house was old and had no AC, of course). I remember all the rooms on the second floor, including the somewhat scary closet with the skeleton key. The cats, Thai and Mouser (I don't remember the older cats, which included Smokey, and maybe that was just Mouser then too, but I don't remember). Mouser (our dark grey cat) disappeared when we still lived in that house -- he was quite old, he probably went off to die somewhere -- but I also remember the last year or two of his life, when he went from obviously declining to reasonably spry -- probably because of all the attention I lavished on him then. I remember the bony crook near the end of his tail from some previous injury.

Thai (short for Mr. Thailand, half tabby, half siamese, with the attendant odd meow, and the friendlies cat ever -- the instant a stranger entered the house, he'd be rubbing up against their leg) lasted until after I went to college, when he went to another good home. I'm sure he's gone by now, but I don't know what happened to him after that. He was definitely my cat -- I've never seen a cat as happy to see someone as he was the first year I came home from college to visit. He's the cat I missed when I got my current cat.

I remember the upstairs that sometimes we rented out, and sometimes was where I did all of my programming on my Commodore 64, and sometimes my grandparents and other visiting family used to stay in (Tom used to live up there, and sometimes we used to go whitewater canoeing in the Ozarks with his fiberglass canoe and our Avocado-colored one -- I don't remember the color of his. It was perfect, because there was me, my brother, my dad and him, just the right number for two canoes. Of course, I remember how much I hated camping in the Ozarks, where it was just so humid and nasty that when you woke up, everything was soaked through and through, down to your shoes. Camping in the dry air of Colorado was a revelation when I moved here -- I never though I liked camping until I got here. There's also the story of the sleeping in the car and the dome tent we eventually got because I refused to sleep in the two-man tent with my dad. Which really was a ridiculous idea, if you've ever seen the size of a two-man tent, and the size of me and my dad. Plus his snoring like a chainsaw. All of this was mostly after that house, though).

I remember the big old furnace, where we kept the washer and dryer and where we used to try to ignite our farts (silly kids), and the scary, nasty basement, especially in later years. There was a bathroom down there, but it was far too scary to use -- you'd have been risking your life to use it, I think. The front room where I spent more time playing with the Legos and my battalion-sized cohort of green plastic army men (and equipment -- I think I had twenty or thirty armored vehicles, including a pair of really nice desert-painted ones we got at Fort Knox) than anywhere else in the house, and where dad used to read Michener novels to me on the couch (funny that that's where I "read" Centennial and all I really remember about it was the dinosaurs. Well, and the heifers. I remember something about heifers). The kitchen (where we had the old black and white TV for a while), the dining room table where I worked on puzzles and stuff (and played the baseball and election games my dad wrote, back when the standard color for Republican was blue and Democrat was red), the back yard, where everything from rhubarb to green onions to blackberries to raspberries to mint grew, my dad's room where I watched the same TV when dad was gone, probably doing his orchestra thing (he was always gone on Tuesdays when I watched Nova, and Fridays when I watched Hitchhiker's Guide and Doctor Who -- I watched a lot of PBS (Channel 19 KCPT) -- I remember watching Mark Russell, too (of course, that was mostly later, in the "new" house, where I watched the first episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Channel 41 (KMBZ?) -- I think -- before it was Fox, and long before that weird network switch with Channel 4 (KCTV?) where it became NBC. I wasn't all that impressed with the Star Trek, though. Huh, Mark Russell's still around, I'm actually a little surprised by that. I had odd TV watching-habits as a child). I also remember Godzilla or Planet of the Apes marathons on Channel 5 (CBS) after school, one movie a weekday ("Mecha Godzilla Week!" -- I'm pretty sure that's how I first heard the Blue Oyster Cult song Godzilla). They had some catchy name for the afternoon movie thing, I think, but I forgot what it was (five on five, maybe?) I think Channel 5 also did the Saturday morning Science Fiction Theater thing. I think all those movies were far better when I was a child.

Channel 9 (ABC) had the best news back when, though.

I remember Mr. Shipman next door, with his persimmon tree and permanently destroyed stone porch (cars were constantly having accidents on our corner, since our street switched from two-way to one-way, and there wasn't a stop sign on the other side of the busy cross street. One time a car took out the roses growing in our front yard, coming to a stop pretty much right at our front porch). I remember the big house across the street, with the huge yard (huge by childhood and neighborhood standards, anyway). Our other neighbors, but not as well. The half-way house down the street (it wasn't exactly the best neighboorhood, although it definitely got worse if you went in the "right" direction. HBO once did a series on drugs in America, naming the three episodes after places in different cities. One of the places was maybe ten blocks from where I grew up). Re-enacting Hoth in the piles of snow left by the plows. Stepping on a bee barefoot in the front yard (ow). Dandelions, then the puffs of dandelion seeds everywhere.

I remember going to the original Lamar's donuts after church, just a few blocks from our house. Man, I still love Lamar's donuts, and now the place has turned into this chain you can even find in Denver (that still amazes me). The donuts were better when I was a kid, though. And some of that is probably nostalgia talking. Texas Tom's (man, what a dive), and all the video games they had there. I liked the food, but even as a kid I was under no illusion that it was good food. For special occasions, we went to Pizza Hut.

I remember a lot of things, but I don't think about them much anymore.
 
 
In the mood: nostalgicnostalgic
 
 
 
Firsaroofshadow on December 23rd, 2006 03:27 am (UTC)
I have radiators. I do like their antique flavor and the idea of steam heat but they aren't very reliable... or perhaps my apartment's management cuts costs by turning them off at night, during the working day, and sometimes just for the heck of it. You think they would have realized some of us were home during the day thanks to the snow and turned them on this week at least...
asakiyume: the sourceasakiyume on December 23rd, 2006 02:30 pm (UTC)
I remember Mark Russell--yeah! Dandelions, then the puffs of dandelion seeds everywhere--yes, that too!

And what a great garden with rhubarb and raspberries. My ideal :-)

The last line of your post reminds me of the last line of Leonard Cohen's song "Chelsea Hotel"

"I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel, that's all; I don't even think of you that often."

**hugs** I'm glad you remembered; thanks for sharing.