My childhood

I’m the girl who collected music boxes.  Each one was delicately carved and crafted as if they were made just for me.  I remember losing myself in each heart soaring note while the fragile little figures twisted and twirled, delicately dancing to the sighs of my youth.  Watching those tiny dancers was one of the only ways I could pass the time while locked away inside my dingy little room.  I remember the thin, mustard-yellow bedspread and the thread-bare golden colored carpet.  The uninspiring small room couldn’t have been more unappealing, and my imagination was my only saving grace.  There was always a book resting on my knee and a flashlight hidden beneath my pillow.  Those two items were critical to my overall health and well-being.  Although to be found reading at bedtime often meant facing a fate worse than death, but I still took my chances because reading was my only escape.  

The window above my bed was out of reach, too high to see anything except the smog-filled sky, and that dreary view seemed to envelop everything, even me. There were many occasions when I was ordered to stay confined to my bed, so I would perch on the edge of my pillow, setting the gauge on the quarter-sized timer that I’d bought for ten cents at the swap meet.  The dial was hard to turn and always hurt my hand whenever I tried.  But somehow, the ticking noise that abruptly followed after spinning the dial made it all worth it.  My spirit was somehow calmed and comforted by the tic, tic, tic.  The tiny treasure gave me hope that one day I wouldn’t be forgotten, and I thought perhaps someone would come and rescue me before the buzzer sounded.  Sadly, most days, I was just shushed back into silence once the dial made its final round.  I always wished the familiar chime would mean certain freedom, but that was just another lie I kept choosing to believe.

© 2020 Michelle Cook


Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/rain-water-window-dark-night-room-2589417/

30 thoughts on “My childhood

  1. Michelle, this would be a charming, poignant short story, even though it has a melancholy feel. The best stories usually are. How we entertained ourselves is relevant. Yours reveals a creative mind. As Einstein once said, imagination is more important than intellect. So, we should applaud our dreamers.

    To me, people that can entertain themselves show a comfort in being alone, which is more than fine. The fact you are well read to me means you would be interesting to chat with. My kids, my wife and I are all readers and imaginative. So, let’s raise a New Year’s toast. Best wishes, Keith

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    1. Thank you Keith, and that has always been one of my favorite quotes.
      Reading has always been one of the best ways I know to pass the time. Do you have a certain genre that you enjoy more than others?
      Cheers to the new year! 🥂May it bring wonderful blessings to you and your whole family. 🥳

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      1. Thanks Michelle. I like various genres. I read both fiction and non-fiction. I also like historical fiction. Right now, I am reading “The Soul of America” by Jon Meecham. But, the past several months, I have read lots of fiction from “Where the crawdads sing” to “Small great things” to “Caleb’s crossing” to “Big Stone Gap.” With the pandemic keeping us home more, I will pick up one of my wife’s books and ask would I like this? All good reads, but “Small great things’ is a tough read, as it is told first person varying the first person among three characters, one of which is a white supremacist. How about you? Any recommendations? Keith

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        1. I like all kinds of books, but because I don’t have time to read for long lengths of time anymore, I’ve been reading more articles these days, mostly on the app “Medium.” I love to find interesting historical events and read about those and I have always loved biographies. I’m still reading Corrie Ten Boom with my daughter Autumn, but it’s slow going as we only read four pages a day. I also read a lot of poetry books and got one for Christmas that Emily Dickenson wrote. I read half the book the first day I got it, but then haven’t picked it up since. My goal for the new year is to finish at least one book every month. With the new school semester starting I’m guessing I will probably be reading a lot more than that because I’ll be taking a lot of art history classes.

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          1. Michelle, I understand the strain of time. Now that we are retired and COVID keeps us in more, the gift of time has allowed me to explore more books. I may not have read a few of those I mentioned had I not been so doing. Reading to your children or with your children is a precious gift. It is also a way to be close to them, without them knowing how much you are enjoying their time with you. Best wishes in the art history classes. Keith

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            1. Thank you Keith… I keep downloading free books on kindle whenever I can find them. That way once I do have more time to read, I’ll have plenty of books available. 😉

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    1. Thanks CQ, I know it’s a bit of a dreary memory, but I thought why not end the year on a low note so that I can leave all the muck behind and start anew. I’m hoping to have a much more positive perspective in the new year. Many blessings to you and yours. 🙂🎉🎶🕯🥳

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