Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Was An Evil Little Jealous Child

Sounds kind of like Steve Martin in The Jerk when he says "I was a poor little black child". Well if you were to compare me I was a poor little white child.


This is a childhood friends cinder block bath house which is no longer in use. My friend and her family lived in Washington state and would spend the entire summer on their property above my parents house in a tiny camper which you could hardly turn around in. Because there were no bathroom facilities in this tiny camper they built a very rustic cinder block building with a shower, toilet, utility sink and three long shelves for storage. There were also clothes line strung across the room for hanging wet clothing. What I remember about this is how in awe I was that they had such a large bathroom. I really was envious about this. It seemed so huge to me.

We did have indoor plumbing (we weren't quite that poor) but our tiny bathroom had to serve nine people, five of them girls. It was barely big enough to turn from the sink to the tub without tripping over the toilet. No loitering with reading material happened in this place. There was always a line of people waiting to get in there, sometimes two at once while getting ready for school. We learned to ignore sounds and smells if you get my drift (literal drift, ha ha).

I spent a week at my friends property recently and when I took a photo of this bath house I couldn't believe how small it was. In my child's mind it was so huge and the reality of it is that it is very small. As I peeked inside the memories of things came flooding back....the smell of the propane gas that heated the water, I could see the empty plastic ice cream buckets which were filled with toiletries for my friend and her sister. I was so jealous. They not only had a "big" bathroom just for the summers but they each had their own shampoo, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant and all of the essential things we take for granted. I came from a family where all of these things if we had what they had were a shared commodity. Well except my brothers didn't really want to share in perfume, Kotex or the like I guess. Lucky!!

Thankfully I have grown out of the jealousy phase of my childhood. Being a middle child I was always searching for what was "better" than the things I had. I do admit that sometimes it bubbles up a bit but usually I can squash it with the thoughts of all I have to be thankful for. I talked about this with my friend and we both laughed and then remembered how we used to chew on pitch pretending it was gum and our parents wondered why pine needles were stuck to our teeth and my braces.

Oh the memories!

13 comments:

ThankYou said...

Childhood memories are like that...things were so much bigger than life back then. That's probably got to do with how things were always so new. Now, we have to fight the feeling that nothing is new. We have to remember that every moment is new...that we don't have E.S.P. and we can't predict what our spouse will say next, even if we usually do...we have to let each moment be new...like when we were kids.
I remember being jealous of a neighbor girl. She had this neat bedroom between the other two bedrooms in the duplex. It was long and seemed really cool looking to me. But looking back it really wasn't that cool that she was living in the walk in closet...lol.
I just found your blog and am really enjoying it...thanks!

TSannie said...

It amazes me the things I thought were so ~big~ in my childhood, when revisited are really so very normal and sometimes even small in size.

Neat story!

Carolynn said...

It is interesting how we perceive things as children and how we carry those things through into adulthood.

Twisted Fencepost said...

I had a very small bathroom myself, growing up. Four people shared it. I can remember how we waited with crossed legs. I cannot imagine 5 more people.
But as you say, they are good memories.
I remember being jealous of people in big houses with more than one bath, too.

Melba said...

I loved this blog! It's so funny how children think.

Country Girl said...

Loved this post. Things seemed so much bigger when I was a small child.

Paula said...

So funny the things that made us jealous as kids, and yes, the perspective of "big" when we were small. I remember going back to my tiny little hometown after being away for several years. I had no idea, all those years growing up, that our grocery store was so small. Came as quite a shock!

Jill said...

I love all of your memories of childhood--this one I have never heard, and seeing it with the picture is even more fascinating! And I especially love the comments about the Kotex and the pine needles in your braces!!! ha ha ha! You always make me laugh!

rhymeswithplague said...

You have to remember that back then you were shorter than Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee, but now that you are an adult you are as tall as or maybe even taller than Gandalf.

Everything is relative.

And we did NOT have indoor plumbing, which may explain a lot.

noble pig said...

That's a great story Vonda and great memories!

Kelli said...

Those are some neat memories, and I love that you chewed on pitch and pretended it was gum haha!!

Mental P Mama said...

LOL I wanted braces so bad that I wore aluminum foil on my teeth. I get shivers even now remembering how they gritted....

Tipper said...

Loved this post. Funny how we realize things are different than what we percieved they were when we were children.