Saturday, January 5, 2013

Recollections of a barefoot girl (Storytelling Sunday)

The first Sunday of every month, Sian, of From High in the Sky, hosts a gathering of storytellers called "Storytelling Sunday." For 2013, she has suggested that we pick something precious to us and share its story. So, on this wintry Sunday, I am sharing a story of summertime . . . a story of cake walks and goldfish and one very special rooster.  To read other stories, click on this link.
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Barefoot and carefree.
That's how I remember the summers of my youth. Tan legs, cut off jeans, and calloused feet so black by the end of the day that no amount of scrubbing could get them clean. 
I traveled everywhere on those feet . . . to the park at the end of my street, to the 7-11 to buy candy, to a hiding place during our endless games of hide-and-seek, and to the cool shade of a friend's garage to play ping-pong.
And, once a summer, I walked up to my elementary school for the summer carnival. It wasn't the biggest fair of the summer. That honor belonged to the "Corn Festival," which ran for three full days and had actual, honest-to-God carnival rides like a Ferris Wheel and spider buckets.  No, the school carnival was a much smaller affair - with booths made by parents and prizes that tended to the small and plastic.  
No matter, I enjoyed filling a brown paper bag full with pink monkeys and yellow giraffes, along with the occasional super ball and paper straw full of colored sugar.  If I were lucky (and I usually was), I would also carry home at least one plastic bag filled with water and a gold fish. A reward for my skill at throwing a ping pong ball into a glass bowl.  
Every year, my hands were also filled with a home made cake, won at my favorite booth - the cake walk. The cake walk was always located at the far end of the school, in front of the first grade class rooms because that was the only place on campus with a piece of cement large enough for the organizers to draw a circular path with 24-36 numbered squares.  Every year I would trek over to the cake walk area, give the parent in charge my ticket, and walk around the circle until the parent's helper lifted the needle from the record and stopped the music.  The parent in charge would then pull a number from a bowl and read it out loud.  Inevitably, inexplicably, I would look down at my dirty, bare feet and there, carefully written  in chalk was the number which had just been called.  I would smile, choose a cake from those displayed on a table in the shade, and pad on home.
One year, when I opened my brown paper bag, I found a ceramic rooster. I have no recollection of winning it, but am certain I won it at a school carnival. I have kept it with me for almost fifty years. It sat on the trophy shelf in my room during high school and traveled with me to college and grad school. I moved it from apartment to condo and finally to our house. Now, it sits on the window ledge in my kitchen. A reminder of happy, carefree, summertime days.

29 comments:

debs14 said...

Brilliant story Rinda, so well told. I almost felt like I was there at the fair with you. You have a great style of writing.

Jo said...

That is a fantastic story. I also felt that I was right there with you and it reminded me of the fun I had and the prizes I won at my own school fair. I love that rooster!

Sian said...

Oh, yes! That's a "precious" alright! Such a perfectly conjured up story I feel like I could have been there with you. Though we have about two days a year when anyone would even think about going barefoot haha. Seriously, though, it's a gorgeously evocative story and I love it.

Thanks Rinda. A perfect start to 2013

Ladkyis said...

Oh I could smell the sunshine and the funny chalky smell that only comes with concrete and chalk and lots of people. Wonderful

Jennie said...

Oh - happy days of school "Fayres" - sounds as if they might be the same kind all over the world. A lovely story to start 2013 - thanks for sharing and bringing back some happy memories for me. J x

Chipper said...

Your summer carnival sounded so much fun. I really miss barefoot summer days :-)

Mary B said...

Such a great story well told, makes your summers sound idyllic too.

Cheri said...

I remember those school carnivals so well... especially choosing a plastic duck floating among dozens in a child's wading pool. The number on the bottom dictated your prize.

Sabrina S. said...

Thanks for sharing your story… Old summer days… Happy 2013!
Cheers from Bordeaux, France

scrappyjacky said...

I remember school fairs as well....and winning goldfish....though I don't remember what happened to them!!

Irene said...

So well written. Reminded me of my school carnival days. Funny how something so small like a rooster can bring back childhood memories.

Louise said...

i wondered how the rooster fitted into your story when i first started to read your story. Great memories.

Miriam said...

Oh the perfect precious story Rinda. I love that when you look at the rooster you can go right back there and your writing took me with you. x

Abi said...

Such a great story Rinda. Those childhood memories sound idyllic. I have never heard of the cake walk before but it sounds like an excellent idea!

Alison said...

I too have never heard of a cake walk....but it appeals to me! Beautifully told story Rinda
Alison xx

Mel said...

You tell the story really well!

Sheena said...

What a wonderful story. It totally reminded of the school fayres I went to as a child. Thanks for sharing.

Missus Wookie said...

Oh Rinda - this is lovely. Those first three sentences remind me of MY childhood too - tried to explain to some US friends that UK summers just don't allow the same barefoot for weeks experience. Glad you still have the rooster and thank you for sharing it with us.

Elizabeth said...

Your recollection of carefree summer days is just wonderful. It's nice that we all have certain memories that always bring a smile to our face.

Melissa said...

What lovely memories this rooster evokes. I enjoyed imagining you during those carefree days.

alexa said...

So wonderfully atmospheric and beautifully told, Rinda. He's a rooster with real staying power. I like the way he takes you right back to then ...

S said...

That's a lovely reminiscence! How sweet that the rooster has survived all these years. I remember the school carnivals too - and picking up plastic ducks from a running trough of water to win prizes based on their numbered undersides. Thanks for sharing.

smcl said...

I remember those summer days...lovely writing!

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

Rinda ~ Your story is so beautifully told. I loved reading this. And how fitting that you would have a cute little rooster to treasure all these years.

I was also a barefoot summer girl! It's amazing how tough my feet were back then - I would walk up and down our country road that was paved with rough blacktop and pebbles and never even wince.

Irene said...

This is a very precious story indeed, Rinda and I love your Rooster. According to the Chinese calendar, I am a Rooster so have collected them over the years.

Fiona@staring at the sea said...

Another bare foot girl here! Even into my twenties when I lived in a seaside town. I was how the rooster would fit into your wonderfully told story. I love the idea of the cake walk. What a great game.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

What a great story! Moms in our neighborhood used to freak if we didn't have shoes of some sort on & would call one another to say "Did you know your child left the house with no shoes??" Not sure if it was peer pressure or culture but they were all in on it.

Karen said...

What wonderful memories are conjured up by that rooster. Even more amazing is that he has survived so many moves. Your story reminded me of the county fairs where I grew up in Ohio, but I have no mementos from it.

Gail said...

Your story was wonderful Rinda. How great that the little rooster brings back such great memories of barefoot days.