I painted the childhood home of my grandparents. I shared my childhood with 2 sisters and a brother. I made this painting for my older sister Melba for her Birthday. She said she cried when she received it. Happy Tears! I wrote this piece to go with it: No one knows our childhood memories better than the one who shared them with you. My sweet sister, Our childhood memories are full of: Fertile Black soil that grew roses, plants and bulbs by a caring gardener, our Grandmother, Bigmama. Hot summers made bearable with fudge cycles, drumsticks and being sprayed with the water hose. Cold winters with Snow Ice Cream, a rock salted porch and moving fast into the freezing North room to retrieve our clothes. Tornado warnings that took us to the Cellar endless times. The smell of wet raincoats, melting wax candles and the dampness of the place itself still linger. Sunday dinners of Fried Chicken, Tomatoes and cucumbers, all grown in our backyard. Our Grandparents, who never drove a car, gave us things that took us far in life, their values and good character. Things we did for play, watching butterflies break their cocoon, climbing trees, sweeping dirt with an old broom, making mud pies and riding our pedal car to the big tree near Grady’s truck. Our childhood memories are full of: Our front porch with a swing, abundance of chairs and 4 columns to hold onto as we twirled around and around listening to the hum of the gathered neighbors talking. And the one place where Brother always sat. Brother, our Great Uncle who ate dessert first, and drank a R.C. cola under 30 seconds. He was without eyes to see, or ears to hear, yet his heart was big and open for us to sit in his lap, taking out the comb in his shirt pocket for us to comb his hair. A Barber coming to the house to cut his hair was quite exciting. Nights filled with catching Fire Flies in Mason jars then coming inside to watch Gun Smoke with Grandaddy or wrestling with Bigmama. Bigmama and her cures for all our childhood illnesses, Mumps, Measles, Sore Throats and Chicken Pox, all nursed and cured without a professional Doctor. Bigmama knew her medicine. A room we slept in standing by a warm stove fire, wearing flannel pajamas and having a slathering of Vicks rubbed on our chest, whether we needed it or not. Our childhood memories are full of: Trips, rarely made, going to Sabine Valley for Ice Cream was special. Our Mother drove 7 or 8 of us in her car comfortably, we didn’t mind if our substantial neighbor, Mrs. Brock wanted to come along too. A trip we took that never really happened. On our way to spend the week with our Great Aunt Mae and Uncle Arthur, we were in a car accident. We were picked up that very night by our Mother, and Bigmama who sat in the backset so we could burry our heads in her lap and cover our eyes, as they could drive by to see where the accident happened. The only scar it left is above Kay’s left eyebrow. The house on Murray Street and the wonderment that such a small cozy place could feed and sleep 9 to10 people comfortably. Many windows. Three were facing South. A front South window that had a four poster bed for naps. The bed sat close to the open window, a breeze moved the veiled curtains. A rotating fan gave us white noise, and the Chenille spread gave us pink marks on our cheeks.There was a picture of an Angel helping two children across a bridge that comforted us and has always stayed with us. Our childhood memories are full of: Another South window, in the bathroom. It remained partly open year round. In summers you could hear Festive music filter in on Saturday nights. Another South Window, in the middle room, held a never used leather strap on top of it’s trim. We only went through there to pass into the kitchen. A Kitchen with a North window. While doing dishes you could look out to see cats, flowers, Grady’s pigeons and a big kettle pot filled with Mother-In-Laws tongue. A West window in the back that held a view of our play yard, filled with Chickens, Bearded Irises, a Smoke House and an outhouse we were grateful we didn’t have to use. The East Window, where you’d see a front yard facing Murray Street full of beautiful flowers. There was a Ruby- Red-Velvet Murphy sofa Bed. When opened,Two or Three children could sleep there. One Christmas morning they woke to discover snow falling on Murray Street. Christmases with red stockings filled with oranges, nuts and the glorious smell of cinnamon and sugar from the beautiful bright colored Ribbon Candy. Our childhood memories are full of: Easters with hard boiled eggs dyed pale colors by small tablets dropped in water, bright colored marshmallow candy eggs hidden on the faded red picket fence, nestled in tree crevices and the big iron copper plant ladened pot. Birthdays. Gifts of coloring books, cap pistols and Bigmama’s cake. She made a variety of flavors. The Texas chocolate fudge was our favorite. Melba took a piece from the very center, we all agreed it was better on the second day. Valentines was celebrated at school where innocent red cards were secretly stuffed into hand made red boxes we decorated with paste, crayons and scissors. Many school mornings when Bigmama would cut bouquets from her antique roses for us to give to our teacher. Once the ends were wrapped in foil we were carefully sent off to our elementary school walking cautiously down Murray street, turning right on Greenville to finally reach J. W. Webb. Elementary school never quite got Kay to grasp her left from right or how to tell time. But Melba! A tough act to follow, she was so bright and studious. We were taught songs about our country, sang them loudly, then placed our hands over our hearts to say the Pledge Of Allegiance. Our childhood memories are full of: Getting bit by Chiggers that lived in the black earth on Murray Street. They attacked our warm skin all over our legs, arms and waist in summer. Bigmama doused each bite with pink lotion that gave us polka dot bodies. Walking to church with Grandaddy, chewing Juicy Fruit gum, our pennies tied up in flowered hankies, and struggling to open them to give in the offering. We usually had Red Kool aide and vanilla wafers,they still, to this day, bring back those precious Sunday School mornings at the Full Gospel Church on Church street. And of Brother Rogers with his thick glasses and Sister Rodgers with her flowered dresses and flowers in her hat, shaking all our hands as we left through the same door we entered. Everyone but Debbie had two names in our house on Murray Street. Melba Ruth, Kay-Roe, and Butchie Boy. I guess if Debbie would have had a second name it would have been cry-baby. She was a child of endless tears. Most Texas Cousins and friends also had two names, Ruth Ann, Janice Bea, Judy Kay, Glenda Neil, Edna Ruth, Paul David. Colorado cousins just used one. Our childhood memories are full of: All such things! Such a wonderful heritage! These memories shared by us, though varied yet common. Our childhood recollections growing up on Murray Street are best said by the words of Wordsworth in his “Imitation of Immortality”. Though nothing can bring back the hour/ of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower/ We will grieve not; rather find/ strength in what remains behind.