For me , Larchwood will never be forgotten . It was at the old section house , in the front yard to be specific , that as a six-month-old I first became conscious that I was a participant . I went beyond that part of my brain which cared mostly about sleep and food ,to a part which registered events and observations of the world . Of course they weren't complete , but the memories were there in storage .
The memory of green and wind and motion that I wrote about in my last post (Apr 17) remained active for a long time...even to the point of dreaming it on occasion...reliving a moment that had a profound affect on me . Now , I think of it as the moment I went from 'id' to 'ego' .
In my preteens , I asked my Mother what I was remembering . She thought for a while , sifting though time to find to what I had become so attached . When she located the incident in her mind , she began to laugh " You remember that ! You were just a baby ! "
During the first weeks in the section house at Larchwood , in May , Mum had put me outside in the buggy for fresh air and sunshine . My older sister , aged three , was busy enjoying the experience of being in an open space with plenty of room (a much better location than McKerrow). Mum was hanging laundry on the line to catch the steady wind of a sunny May day.
My sister was allowed to push the baby carriage around on the flats near the clothesline on occasion . When I began fussing that day , she automatically went to the buggy and started bouncing it to occupy my senses and distract me from whatever irritated me , while Mum hung diapers and sheets in the wind .
Since I would not settle down , my little older sister pushed the carriage a short distance and discovered that I seemed content and quieted down . However , when she stopped , I soon began to squawk and shake the buggy to make it move . Obligingly , my sister pushed longer and further-a-field in order to help Mum by keeping me occupied . Soon , she found herself , carriage in hand , on the slope that led down to the tracks and the station .
When Mum glanced up , the carriage was rolling down the slope 'at a good clip' with my sister clinging steadfastly to the uprights on the handle , her fat little legs keeping up with the speed ...no longer pushing ,but being pulled along . She wasn't screaming in panic , but rather mewling in fear and concern . Never relinquishing her grasp and leaving me to the fate of runaway carriages.
By this time , Mum was running full tilt to intervene in a potential catastrophe . " The wind was in my legs and my feet didn't touch the ground " she told me . However , in the few seconds it took her to cover the distance , the weight of my sister on a declining section of the slope slowed the carriage to a gentle stop . Sister stood there quietly crying holding the handle until Mum arrived on the fly .
Knowing that neither of her children were hurt physically , Mum hugged my sister and quietly explained that she must stay close to the house with the carriage . She then thanked her for trying to help out and for stopping the buggy and wiped her tears with her apron . From that time on , my sister stayed in the safe zone with the carriage , verbally recounting the incident and what she had learned for several weeks after .
Of course , I had been completely oblivious to the danger at the time . When the carriage had rolled to the stop , " You were laughing so hard ! You had your hands on the side of the carriage and began rocking it forcefully... trying to get it moving . You were never satisifed sitting in the carriage ever again."
On several occasions the following weeks , Mum would find me sitting on the ground and the carriage upsidedown on the grass . Frustrated , she scolded my sister for tipping the buggy assuming that she had been wildly cavorting around the yard with the carriage .
One morning , she had placed me outside for sun and air as usual , while she took a minute to go back in to get the laundry basket . When Mum came out the back door , she saw the carriage rocking wildly forward and backward on its springs . Once the momentum was sufficient , the buggy flipped onto its side and I rolled out...I was a good shape for rolling...onto the ground unharmed . Then I got myself onto my backside and contentedly pulled and ate grass . My sister was nowhere near the site . From that day forward , Mum set me in the grass to graze while she hung the laundry and my sister drew pictures on wooden boards that leaned against the back wall .
FYI- Sis had started drawing on the wood pallets that always seemed to be around. Mum would give her a pencil and let her be while laundry was hung to dry . Mum always regretted never keeping a drawing that Sis did in McKerrow as a 2 yr old . It was of a cathedral style church which I believe was her first conscious memory from earlier days in Mattawa .I would love to have that old board now. It would have a place of prominence in my home for sure as she does in my heart. -TPM