I’ve been pretty busy with Listen to Your Mother for the past couple of weeks, but I’ve been meaning to post another installment of that personal history I’m writing for our family “ancestor book.” If you’re interested, you can find the ealier posts under “About Me.” Since this would be “Part Three” and I’m barely four years old…I think we’ll skip the numbers – “Part 48” will sound ridiculous. Here’s were we last left off…
In anticipation of my brother’s birth, my parents moved our little family from a tiny Tudor house in Scarsdale to a larger one in Pelham, NY.
I loved that house with its wisteria covered, wrap-around patio. Set on an incline, the basement was full of light from large arched windows overlooking the backyard. And our hill was excellent for sledding.
We had a swing set, but the main attraction for the kids who visited was rope swing so long and so high, it’s miraculous that no one was ever brained on the tree trunk. You couldn’t pay me enough money to get on that thing now, but at the time it felt like flying.
On the other side of our yard was a house where one of my then four-year-old brother’s first friends lived. He was also named Matthew and had an older teenage brother who taught them to light firecrackers and took them for rides on his motorcycle. I’m not sure how my mother found out about that, but I do remember the waves of frantic anxiety I could feel in her presence whenever the other Matthew and his family were involved.
My best friend was my cousin, Amy. Dad’s older brother, Uncle Dick moved his family to Pelham first. And he and my Aunt Linda had three girls. Kelly was three years older than me, which at that stage of childhood, may as well have been decades. But Kristin and Amy were respectively one year older and younger.
Kristin was a tomboy, often spotted standing on the banana seat of her bike as she raced down the hill. I could never keep up with that. Amy, on the other hand was a more exuberant version of me. We were both giggly and full of imagination, but where I was reserved Amy was a love. Such an affectionate little girl – no one could resist her charms.
She was also a character. Much to my cousin’s dismay, my Aunt Linda insisted on keeping Amy’s wispy blond hair short (something I completely understand now that I have my own daughter with wispy blond hair…) But Amy desperately wanted long hair. So she would pretend to have waist-long tresses by wearing tights on her head. She’d swing the limp, two-legged pony tail from side to side, asking me what I thought of her beautiful new hairstyle. And as clearly as I can remember that part of the story, I have no recollection of what I said in response.
I loved Amy.
To be continued…