...give or take a year, or two, or three...that was ancient times, and my brain has reached an impasse, as I seek to refresh my memory on the multi-details of that time. A younger sister, by ten years, seems to remember every freakin little incident of my life trudging through adolescence. She reminisces fondly (at least to me) of my puppet shows, fortune telling, family plays, and so on, that I am now totally clueless to on our 4 to 5 hour marathon phone calls (don't ask). I do vaguely remember coercing (I don't think they would have done it willingly) my two younger sisters and a younger brother to play school, with me as their teacher - ha ha ha. Of course, sister could be a total fruit cake memory-wise and I wouldn't be any wiser, since I haven't yet been able to agree or refute her tales of my childhood that she seems to remember not too far out of the cradle. I need to find a Dr. Frankenstein to hook me up to her and transfer my life back into my own head.
I was in a small town of a little more than 2000 bodies, in the middle of a dry, dry, dry desert, next to a naval base that was next to a lake...not an ocean...just a lake that wasn't all that big. Just after finishing sixth grade, I'm pretty sure it was sixth grade, I already knew my teacher from that year as my summer started; some organization, we'll call it BH (Bah Humbug), thought it a wonderful inspiration to put into place a summer work helper program for kids who hated the idea of a summer of leisure. BH published an article in the Mineral County Gazette announcing this wonderful summer program for the youth to earn spending money and the adults to get out of doing spring housecleaning. Considering myself poor ($1.00 a week allowance that I had to work to earn), I jumped at the opportunity to flush my leisure life down the toilet that summer. I telephoned BH, and had myself put on call on their summer schedule of odd jobs program. BH had me running here and there all summer working my little butt off. I only remember two of the big bucks jobs...one because of fond memories attached, and the other because of nightmare that ensued.
Sent on a cleaning job to an address I didn't know, I was surprised to be greeted at the front door by my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Booth. He was small, thin, dark complexioned, bushy eyebrows, quiet, somewhat mysterious man, with a slight crookedness to his neck and shoulders. Introduced to his wife who was kind of like a carbon copy of him, they had me help them clean and straighten the house up for the next several days. I was in another world I never knew existed. A lovely small house surrounded with trees and gardens...but it was the furniture that was magical to me. A fact has to be introduced here to explain the gravity of all I beheld in this wondrous home. My own home was linoleum floors, vinyl fiftyish type furniture, and not all the walls and floors were ever completely finished with paint and coverings while I grew up. It was always a work in progress, being fixed but never finished. We didn't have "nice" things, and nothing matched except mom and dad's modest art deco bedroom set. I still remember the Booth's bedroom vividly...the massive carved wood 4-poster bed with the pineapples carved at the top of the posts. I remember thinking it looked Hawaiian, and all that carved bedroom furniture matched. That was my first taste of the finer things in life. They sat me down to lunch at a beautiful table, and I was introduced to a bowl of fresh raspberries just picked out of their garden with cream poured over the top. Mom and dad's raspberries just came as raspberries. This was luxury to me. I fantasized they had an adventurous life before settling down in my little town, but sadly I would never know what it was.
My last job of the summer was a hellish one day affair that would of had an arachnophobic committing suicide. The towns sheriff's wife hired me to vacuum their entire house from floor to ceiling, removing dirt and dust from everything. I slaved away most of the day, but I'm pretty sure I took the short walk home for lunch, as being a very small town, I lived only a block away. The last room of the day was a rather large bedroom. Starting at the opened door, I proceeded to vacuum across that floor with determination, my eyes glued to the floor, as it was getting late in the day, I was dying to get home, and I didn't want to have to redo the job. As I approached the far end of room, I caught sight of some things clinging the corner. OH-my-god! Tons of them...those things mom and dad call daddy long legs...piled on top of each other...going up that corner crease from floor to ceiling...did I say TONS OF THEM? I panicked...rethought my options...want to get paid for a complete job...think, girl, think...removed floor brush...sucked those little monsters into that bag of death with lightning speed...I could feel them crawling all over me...deed done...leave that machine running...they might try to crawl back out. Smart enough to know those thousands of legs
wouldn't be just in that one corner, I quickly assessed my situation. OH-MY-GOD!!! They're everywhere! The other three corners, ceiling, in things, on things, under things, behind things. I must have caused a zillion deaths that day, and I know I had another zillion crawling all over me. Sleeping with a herd of daddy long legs...how could anyone do that...I mean like were they special pets or something...were these people nature freaks...did they all need glasses? Afraid to remove the bag of death to garbage can, they might start crawling back out of it, I left it for the sheriff's wife, kept mum about the whole affair, got my money, and made my escape. I had thousands and thousands of those legs crawling all over me for days to come, and it was years...many years...before the thought ever entered my head again that cleaning another person's home was a good source of spending money.