Sunday, March 13, 2016

Your Childhood Fear

Sometimes I need a nudge to write as not every day is blog worthy.  I ran across a site -- The Daily Post (dailypost.wordpress.com) -- which gives some suggestions for blog posts.  All of the suggestions are nostalgia based.  I think I will give it a go.

The topic I chose out of the five suggested is "Your Childhood Fear". 


I had a good childhood.  I was born in that time right after World War II when American was coming back from those dark days.  I grew up in post war tract housing just like almost everybody from my generation.  My house was a small (tiny by today's standards) white, asbestos shingle house with a blue roof and blue window shutters.  It was a plain little house but it was my little house. 

I remember that house so well and our lives that transpired within.  One of our rituals was bath time.  Our bathroom was typical of the time.  The walls were tiled with four by four inch ceramic tile -- ours was light blue with dark blue trim and the floors were light blue hexagon tile.  There was a tub, a sink, a potty, a medicine cabinet, a linen closet, dirty clothes hamper and a gas wall heater.  Those bathrooms were fairly large and very utilitarian.  I was glad mine matched the outside of the house -- I liked the blue theme going on.

My mother saw to my bath and in the winter she would light the heater to get the room toasty warm -- all that tile could be chilly -- and before I emerged from the tub she would hold my pajamas up in front of the heater to warm them.  I just loved the feel of those warm pajamas.

I must have been very small because I was still in diapers and plastic pants when the great fear began.  I brought it on myself trying to emulate my mother's routine.  One day, in the winter, the heater was on and I decided the thing to do was to "warm" my plastic diaper cover in front of the heater.  The cover had snaps down both sides so it opened up flat and I very deftly placed the cover on the heater draped from top to bottom and went about my business.

My mother smelled something burning.  Could it have been melting plastic?  Why, yes it could.  She rushed into the bathroom and pulled the diaper cover from the heat and yelled at me (and rightfully so) that I could have burned the house down! She was frightened and I guess I was too except I don't really remember the incident, I just remember being told about it. 

What I do remember, however, is having a recurring nightmare for years about my house burning down.  In the dream my mom, dad and I -- and the cat -- would be standing at the curb looking back at the house which was going up in flames.  I was terrified.  One day in school we had to draw a family picture and this is the scene I drew.

The dream finally stopped when I was 19.  Why, you ask?  Because our house caught fire one January night.  We aren't sure why -- my father suspected foul play but the fire department stated the cause was a gas leak at the hot water heater.  The next day I found myself standing at the curb looking back at the house that had burned down.  And I was no longer afraid.