Swing the right leg up and over the thick branch protruding from the trunk while grabbing the upper part of the branch with both hands firmly in place. Stand up and begin to climb, putting my feet just so on each branch of the apple tree in the side yard. My hands grabbing the branches above in just the right places, I climbed up and onto the board my brothers had nailed to a perfect spot as a seat.
I would carry a book up with me and sit and read, or I would take my diary and a pen and write my frustrations out. Growing up with three brothers could be quite tiresome at times.
From my lofty perch in the apple tree I was able to get away for a little while and be ‘queen’ of my world.
My feminine side yearned for a voice… even as a child I was reflective, always longing for more – more of what I didn’t really know, but I know that my heart was always searching.
The memories of my childhood are sketchy… some standing out more than others do. I know that I loved being a girl, even though I did take on some tomboyish ways.
Clothes were important to me. I remember with perfect clarity some of the dresses I had and how I felt when I wore them.
The white carpet is rolled out for me as I step from my carriage, drawn by six strong, yet beautiful draft horses. The footman reaches for my hand, and I place my small hand in his, stepping down from the carriage to greet my adoring subjects.
Funny, these ‘subjects’ look just like my brothers! I give them a penetrating look that demands respect. Startled, they bow before me, pledging their devotion and promising to meet my every demand.
Hmmm, I should have played this act long ago; I might have gotten much farther. No matter, now that I have them at my beck and call…
Oh wouldn’t a tea party be delightful? I laugh gleefully and see a look of panic cross their faces. This is going to be fun.
“Jeff, gather the tea things, please, and set them up on the veranda.”
He looks at me, uncomprehending my request, obviously.
I repeat myself, speaking slowly.
“Gather. the. tea. things”.
“I heard what you said, but what veranda? We don’t have a veranda.” He sneers.
“You would dare mock me?”
I fly into a rage, screaming at him to do as I’ve said, or else. He takes off running and suddenly I’m no longer queen, and he my subject, but we’re just sister and brother again. Anger wells up within me and I continue screaming.
“You better be nice to me or I’ll tell mom and dad on you when they get home! I’m older than you are so I can make you do whatever I want. Get back here!”
By this time, Jeff has sequestered himself in the room he shares with my other brothers and I am successfully yelling at a closed door. I try to push my way in, yelling the whole time, but he holds it fast. I have reached an impenetrable wall.
“You can’t make me do anything! You’re not the boss of me.” He shouts in typical ten-year-old fashion.
“I can too! Mom and Dad left ME in charge!” I say with all the muster of a fourteen-year-old.
We continue on this way for awhile – yelling over each other and me being unsuccessful in getting the door to budge. When did he get to be stronger than me?
I finally give up, storming off to my room and slamming the door. I flop down on my bed, bury my face in my pillow and cry.
Tap tap tap.
“Pammy, come ‘ere.” A sweet, penitent voice calls out. I don’t really trust him, but his voice is so beckoning… I go see what he wants.
“Gimme your hand.”
I do so… he leads me outside under the apple tree and there spread on my favorite blanket is my blue and white childhood tea set and all the things needed for a tea party…
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