I’ve been MIA for a bit while the major driveway/patio overhaul has begun. Update on that soon.

Today’s memory challenge is inspired by the work being done outside our house. Setting is important to our stories and often we can take pieces of our past to help us ground the settings in our book. Think about just one yard from your childhood.  What stands out most in your mind?

For the first few years of my life my mother and I lived with my grandparents in the house my mother had grown up in.  Back then it seemed huge but when I go to Google Maps now and look at the picture of it now, it looks so small. The two big trees in the front yard are gone. (I remember standing against one of them when I got hit in the eye with a softball.) It’s still painted yellow and the big front porch is still red. We used to have lots of grass up close to the house, perfect for doing somersaults and cartwheels and standing on my head It was an oversized lot so the backyard had plenty of room for adventures. Closer to the street there was a long patch of lippia that made a flat mat of green with little blue flowers that were always covered in bees.

It was the backyard though that I loved best of all. Going out from the washer/dryer porch there was a long porch attached to the house. From there you could go down to the scary basement. There was a door from my grandparents bedroom to go outside and there was even an outdoor bathroom. Not an outhouse but an actual flush toilet in a tiny closet on the porch. It was great when you were out playing and didn’t want to run in the house.

Tight off the porch there was a huge in the ground clothesline, stationary, not one that spun. The metal bars holding it were fatter than the bars on the playground I still used to try and spin myself around on them.

There was a huge two car detached garage, one half had my grandfather’s boat and the other my grandmother’s seldom driven car. Some car repair tools and I don’t know what else was in there. The big place for tools was the huge shed (the size of a garage) behind the closeline. It had an old roll-top desk that was filled my grandfather’s woodworking tools and various nuts and bolts. It was always dusty and filled with cobwebs but I didn’t mind. There was a small hole in one side, a couple of feet square, so Gippy, my grandfather’s hunting dog, could get in out of the rain.

Next to the shed there was a fenced off section that I wasn’t supposed to go in but of course I did. There was a giant pile of bricks left from whenever they took out the fireplace (before I was born.) I used to try and stack them up to make a fort. The weeds always grew tall in here. I don’t know what kind of weed it was but it was the one that had 5 or 6 long needle – shaped things that we could use to spear flowers for making flower necklaces.

Beside that section was the back back yard. Or the way back yard. The incinerator was back here and the fence dividing our property from the neighbors was just a wire fence with a grid of about 4″, big enough for me to get my hands through to pet the dog on the other side.
An apricot tree was back here too and I would forever get in trouble for hammering nails into the tree so the sap could run and I could watch it dry to shimmering golden teardrop on the trunk.

We had giant almond and walnut trees (taking care of them was always a chore) and one of walnut tree had a rope swing. I could climb on the fence and jump off with the swing and feel just like tarzan! I had a basketball hoop (no net) on the side of the garage with a dirt court. I couldn’t wait for my grandfather to get home from work and play HORSE with me.

There weren’t many plants growing other than the fruit and nut trees (oranges, apricots, lots of walnuts and almonds) so I don’t know where I got my love of gardening.

The yard, like the house, was old and run-down and more than we could take care but my happiest childhood memories are playing in the backyard.

Your turn, tell me about one of your favorite backyards.