(SORRY…that April and May essays just got posted...a computer glitch as they were written in those months)
One of my earliest memories is of the neighbor’s house burning down as I lay in my bed at age 5. My parents trying to calm down the teenage son, and maybe the mother too. The father died in the fire looking for his daughter who was safe. The flames still flash across my mind when I wonder if I left my stove burner on.
Around this same age I am at my dad’s work-place picnic, when a four-legged stove buckled one leg, spilling boiling coffee down my butt and leg. When the wind blew through the car window while dad drove us to the Emergency Room, all I can remember saying is, “Shut the window, my bottom feels on fire.”
Growing up in a strict born again religious family, I attended church services weekly, hearing of the fire and brimstone I would endure in hell if I didn’t accept Jesus as my savior. My heart smothered its child like loving embers due to the fear that sadly, my second daughter, Megan, also endured at a christian camp; her outstanding memory being of the terror she felt seeing a movie where the flames of hell burnt into her memory. Like a painful tattoo. Luckily, me and my daughters have left this dogma and our fire of love is burning more brightly.
Being a brownie (yum) and girl scout, I was privileged to attend camp for a week during the summer where we learned to build a fire with pine needles and dry twigs gathered near the shore of Cayuga Lake. At night, a big campfire warmed us while singing songs like Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree, and roasting marshmallows squeezed between graham crackers and Hershey’s chocolate bars.
What a contrast to the FIREBALLS, so hard and hot I felt I had to spit them out, their red outsides painting my fingers until placed back in my mouth, waiting for the sweet insides to soothe my tongue…what a metaphor for life! as are the fireflies I chased so that I could place them on my ring finger, hoping someday it’d be a diamond from prince charming. Each summer I still ask fireflies to land on me, while aware of feeling the warmth of my spontaneous smile.
As a freshman in high school I auditioned for the concert choir and was inducted earlier than most. A year later, I was ‘fired’, the conductor saying my voice was too immature, nor strong enough. As a junior I was welcomed back as a gratified alto.
All these memories fade into the background when I feel the fire of self-loving orgasms in my sixties, reminding me of two microscopic cells uniting – a match – creating my two beautiful daughters – a love brighter than any bomb fires.