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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Memory (07/10/08)

By Sylvia Hensel


I came from a different era where childhood was a time of simple pleasures that actually satisfied, and the seasons were anticipated with excitement for what they represented. Change! Change brought the transferring of joys from the departing season to the evolving one. There was the change in the games we played; throwing snowballs and ice skating in winter to a wide variety of other games played in the warmer weather. Then there was the change in the environment due to summers spent at Grandma’s or with cousins, but most of all, the sounds and scents that became etched in my mind which trigger so many of my childhood memories.

Spring came with its promise of new life, ushered in on March winds so anticipated by young kite fliers. The pungent scent of April showers and the chill of winter gave way to warmer days with the realization that school would soon be out, causing young minds to dream of the joys of summer. The scent of fresh turned soil as gardens were prepared for planting caused mouth-watering memories of eating warm tomatoes straight from the garden on hot summer days, the taste of a variety of fruit plucked right from the trees and corn picked fresh and boiled for that evening’s supper.

Then spring ushered in the hot days of summer that stretched out welcoming arms to children at play with the sound of little girl giggles as they raced around each other in games of tag and hide-and-go-seek. We actually took time to smell the flowers, hear the drone of bees, and watch spiders weave their webs, all with fear and delight. Bike riding with a playing card attached to the spokes by a clothes pin, caused young minds to feel the thrill of racing motorcycles. Dinner and dishes done was the time for neighborhood children to gather in the street to play kick-the-can, red-rover, and hopscotch. No need to worry about traffic since so few people owned “machines”. The dreaded street lights heralded the end of another day of play. Relief from the heat on muggy summer nights came by sleeping in front of the open living room door. And I must not forget to mention that church in the summer would have been unbearable if it were not for the cardboard fans with the wooden handles that were furnished by the local funeral parlor for the comfort of the congregation.

Once again, summer gave way to the pageant of fall, when Our Creator extends forth His hands, and with a flit of His fingers, rains down an array of color that caused awe-inspired wonder from all. The scent of fall apples and burning leaves are all an integral part of the season. Hauling mounds of coal from curbs or driveways to coal bins was a necessary chore done with something less than enthusiasm. Raking leaves into piles, then bounding across the lawn to leap directly into the center, scattering hours of work back across the yard, was more fun than the need to rake it all again.

All too soon fall faded into the frosty days of winter. Fresh fallen snow covered with a fine dusting of coal was perfect for making snow angels. Siblings racing in from hours of play created the daily fight for the few hot registers that brought toasty warmth to our nearly frozen bodies. Twilight brought skies painted with hues of pink, purple and orange on a canvas of pending darkness. The earth is asleep in frozen stillness with quietness closing in upon itself. Drawing the last breath of daylight as night descends like a curtain on the last act of a play, causes the stars and moon to shine so brightly upon the fresh fallen snow, one revels in the light of night, its beauty to behold, even for a child.

Then, once again, the howling winter winds give way to gentle spring breezes, and the cycle of life begins again as God had promised.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/17/08
You have a gift for writing beautifully poetic prose. Through your memories presented in such wonderful imagery, I relived many of my own.