Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sounds from the Past.

-The sound of the apple tree spraying truck. My mother would tell us all to shut the windows, and the truck would pull close in. The engine would go "HmmmmmMMMMMM" and a spraying noise would ensue and clouds of chemicals would envelop the three apple trees in our backyard. At age four, it terrified me, and I thought of it as a dragon, and the noise featured heavily in my nightmares. It wanted to kill me with its poisonous breath.

- Back then, my hearing was quite good, and I could hear the jingling bells of the Good Humor man's truck from a mile away. I would beg my mother for a dime and buy something with fudge on the inside.

-In the heat of summer, in a small house with no air conditioning, we were put to bed before the sun was fully down. This always felt like a gyp. Watching the fading light in the stillness of the evening, I would hear the sounds of whippoorwills in the distance. I imagined them sitting in the branches of the woods, looking like singing, glowing fairies. I don't think I've ever seen a whippoorwill.

-Again, in the heat of summer, the rackety clackety noise of the old blue metal fan that sat on the dresser. It was loud, its noise invaded my dreams, and terrified me. I was always afraid that the noise would cover up the sound of an approaching monster, or thunderstorm. Sometimes it did cover up the noise of an approaching storm, and then suddenly the storm would be upon us, frightening me out of my wits with a sudden loud thunderclap. I hated thunderstorms because I was sure I would be killed by a tornado.

-The sound (never mind the aromas) of the rotisserie roasting Sunday dinner. Rrrrrrmmmm...mmm...mmm...rrrrrrmmmmm...mmm...mmm..

-The sound of my fathers steps resolutely coming upstairs to tell my brother and I to settle down each night. We both knew that one well, and our ears were tuned to detect it above all other sounds.

-The self-concious noises of the church before services on Sunday mornings. Footsteps, cloth sliding on the pews, hushed voices in whispered tones-- perhaps a stifled chuckle, all magnified by the echoes of the stone, plaster and wooden walls. The organ is playing softly, and when it stops I can hear Mr. Swinden's feet shuffling on the pedals, and the sound of him shifting his music, and pushing in knobs. Someone always dropped a hymnal or prayer book; it echoes between the pews. The door in the rear thumps closed with a latecomer. And the smells.... but that is another entry.

-The fire alarm bell, happily announcing an interesting break in the routine of a humdrum day at school; with just a touch of a delicious danger which never materialised. A red-brown rubber ball with its strangely musical slap aginst the pavement: punk..punk..punk. The rhythmic squeal of the swings, never synchronised, and the clinking of the chains as someone jumps carelessly off it in mid-swing. The sound echoes a little through the structure of the swingset. Heels incessantly banging on the shiny surface of the slides, and the clatter of pea-gravel being thrown upon it, and sneakered feet grinding it cruelly across the benevolent face of the slide's incline..

-The apocryphal sound of the ice on the lake in winter cracking while we skated on it. We imagined cracks shooting through the ice like lightning, and would watch for slabs to loosen under us, marooning us and maybe dumping us into the freezing water. They never did. Lying on my back in my snowsuit, staring up through the bare limbs of the trees to the sky so unbelievably blue, listening to the silence of the winter air sifting through them, and the tiny noises of the twigs peacably clicking together, then ceasing.

-The skid of a car and the panicked yelp and squeals from my dog, Heidi, when she was clipped by a car. It was her fault, but who cared about that? Her toenail was destroyed and we fawned over her while she limped around in a bandage for a week. We made the lost toenail worth her while many times over. It was the '60s, and the family dog was King.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Andy said...

Even more corrections to the record and admissions of guilt:
1) and to think, we ate of said apples without washing them... or waiting till they turned red. Also, remember the boat spraying lily pads on the lake? That was DDT...

2) Re: Family dog- she was not King, she was Queen, and the cat was Empress Mother. We barely outranked the dog and the cat was much more useful around the house... but Heidi certainly was an accomplished actress. She never did learn to leave cars or horses alone, either.

Speaking of which, remember your close encounter with an automobile on Flag Marsh Road? You walked the bike home a good quarter mile as I recall... and were not the vision of loveliness you are today. But back then you were a booger kid sister!

5:15 PM  
Blogger craigellachie said...

Pffft, booger kid sister! yeah, I remember that car thing. It just shows God had a Purpose for ME.

I'm not sure thatwas DDT. I remember that smell vividly (in fact, I may do a blog on smells) but I have smelled it recently, and Rich said, Oh, that's copper sulfate. Of course copper sulfate probably isn't too good a salad dressing either.

5:38 PM  

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