Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What We Believe When We Are Six

When I was six, I believed that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy most certainly did exist, because my own parents would never lie to me.

I knew that the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys were images on my television screen, but this didn't mean they couldn't reach out and grab me.

Somehow, I was sure that Toledo and Detroit were just different names for the same city where I lived, much like my sister Denise also went by the nickname of DC.

When I was six and a first-grader in my Catholic school, I thought that being forced to wear a paper towel or a boy's baseball cap on my head--when I forgot my chapel veil for a school Mass--seemed, well, wrong. (I was right. I just didn't know the word "sacrilegious" yet.)

I was absolutely confident I could train a cat.

At the age of six, I believed the public library to be the most wonderful, magical place in the world. (I haven't changed my mind.)

I thought the words to The Lord's Prayer were as follows, "Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hell be thy name."

If I was in big trouble, and I hid between the two mattresses of my twin bed and lay there VERY STILL AND VERY QUIET FOR HOURS, I believed my parents would never find me.

I was certain that I really would have run away from home and never returned, as I stood with my pink plastic suitcase at the front door and announced this, if my mother hadn't reminded me that "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" was starting in just five minutes.

I believed that no one should ever be served liver and onions, with a side of lima beans, and not be expected to discretely spit each unchewed bite into a wadded napkin.


What truths or untruths did you know when you were six? When did you stop believing? Brussel sprouts or lima beans?


41 comments:

  1. Everyone knows that in order to hide from your parents, you have to wedge yourself down between your bed and the wall. Or if your bed isn't by a wall, you go underneath.

    When I was very little, I thought that other cars on the road were just mechanized crates on wheels; only my family actually got inside them.

    I can't believe my parents didn't hold me back a year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought the same thing about cars. I remember the first time I put the two puzzle pieces together and thought, Oh! Cars are for getting places!

      I also remember a balloon flying off into the sky, and thinking that if my daddy could get a ladder quickly enough, he might be able to retrieve it. (Please god, tell me I was younger than six when the balloon floated away.)

      Delete
    2. Bluz: UNDERNEATH the bed? But isn't that where the monsters are?

      Delete
  2. I still like the liver and onions, but only twice a year and no limas. As far as you "kids" I opened up the world of liver and limas for you and wanted you to try it. It wasn't one of our successes!

    As far as you leaving home at six, I'm glad I asked you to come back and watch Charlie Brown 'cause I can't picture life without our growing up together! Mom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mom: Thank God you usually imposed the "You have to try just one bite" rule. Otherwise, we'd have gone broke supporting my paper napkin habit. And, we grew up together? Who raised who?

      Delete
  3. At six, I knew that my quilt and my "Now I lay Me Down to Sleep" prayer would protect me from monsters, that I wanted to live in the library (wish granted), and that the Easter Bunny was real,because I saw him walking through our yard. But Santa wasn't, because my best friend at school said so (I still haven't quite forgiven her).

    I like brussels sprouts, even if they smell like dead feet when they cook, and I love lima beans. Is that . . .wrong?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah: Lucky librarian... Actually, I love brussel sprouts too, but lima beans? That is SO wrong. Good thing people come to you for advice about books and not about dinner choices.

      Delete
  4. I believed Pippi and I were long lost sisters and that whatever my mom told me was true.

    At nine I realized none of it was true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MSB: Pippi Longstocking? Really? Was it her amazing strength, her red pigtails, or her sassiness? Either way, you have me curious to read the books all over again.

      Delete
  5. You had better not be suggesting Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy are not real. ;)

    ~Ashlee
    http://ashleesch.com
    http://theDragonsHoard.bigcartel.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ashlee: I might have believed in the Easter Bunny forever if I hadn't been offered a job in high school to play him at our local mall. Oddly, they never asked me to be an elf, so the jury's still out on the Santa thing.

      Delete
  6. I haven't changed my mind about the library being a magical place either :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa: The only thing that would make my local library more magical now is if it could regain some of its public funding and resume its evening and weekend hours. *sigh*

      Delete
  7. The library still casts a spell on me. I like to write there -- it feels safe when I'm writing about things not-so-safe.

    I believed the towns in Grandma's soap operas were real, that rich people dressed up when they got out of bed in the morning, and that Nikki was a stripper in Genoa City saved from obscurity by a rich married man named Phillip Chancellor.

    And I believed all animals, especially pets, lived forever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Teri: Oh, The Young and the Restless!! The one thing soap operas taught me was that everyone else's life was far more exciting than mine. And yes, I believed pets lived forever. Especially since the kitten we got when I was four survived until I was twenty-four...

      Delete
  8. I believed that throwing black jelly beans at my cat, Kippy, was funny and not cruel. I still believe that.
    I believed that nuns were bald beneath their habits. I was surprised when those changed and they had hair, some even flowing like Sr. Carol, the singing nun.
    I hate lima beans and was horrified the first time I ate at my husband's house and his mom brought out a whole bowl of JUST lima beans. I was used to them being in mixed vegetables where they're easily picked out. I couldn't imagine anyone being so blatant about them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Julie: How funny--I was just thinking about Kippy and Nickey last week, noting the irony that your married name was now Kipp. As for the bald nuns, did I ever tell you how my sister DC ran into Sister Ann some fifteen years after grade school and flicked those red tufts of hers, saying, "Oh, so you really DO have hair?" (They're both going to hell.)

      Delete
  9. At five, my best friend explained the birds and the bees to me (her mom was a single mom and a nurse versus my parents who still haven't explained it to me...) and by six we were still trying to match the pictures in the books to our bodies.
    I for one was convinced I was missing an opening and although frightened by that, I was rather relieved as the whole escapade seemed like a horrific stabbing.
    I never mentioned what my best friend and I spent hours discussing at six. Now that I have kids I see that we may have been ahead of the curve as my six year old has no clue and is a much worse liar than I was at his age.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lyra: Girls are more precocious. Boys just don't think about that stuff until a few years later, and then there's no stopping them.

      Delete
  10. I believed adults never ran or cried. And I also had a pink plastic suitcase; I planned to live in the oleander bushes at the end of the block.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Averil: Never seeing an adult cry? Damn. I can see both positives and negatives in that. My own kids definitely saw me cry. They saw me run, too, but that generally caused them to laugh their little butts off.

      Delete
  11. perfectly said.

    i grew up in southern indiana just across the river from louisville where my grandmother lived and where i stayed every weekend. i believed all states were divided by a river and was way too old to still believe this untruth when i realized on our way to florida that some states had no definitive boundary.

    i remember how it boggled my mind, "how do they know where one stops and one starts...how can they be for sure???"

    i had a friend from montgomery, alabama whose last name happened to be montgomery and she said that until she started school, she thought all people's last names were the city where they lived.

    my daughter, who is 8, currently believes that either she will go to college somewhere where she can still live at home or that we will simply move to wherever she wants to go. "trust me," i told her, "you're going to want to get as far away from me and your dad as you can at 18." her response: "that doesn't make any sense, why would i want to be away from the people that help the most with my homework when i'm going to go to college. isn't there a lot of homework there?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amy: The river border belief is such a great example of the small parochial lives we live as children! As for your daughter, I'm still laughing. Yes, please report back in ten years.

      Delete
  12. I love lima beans! Seriously.

    And I still believe that the public library is the best place on earth as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amanda: If you ever serve lima beans at an Alumni Association function, I will gladly trade mine for a couple beers.

      Delete
    2. If you can wrangle those beers away from me then It'll be a trade. On another note...I have a wine tasting in schmakel tonight...wine for all!!

      Delete
  13. I believed that the Friendly Giant (Canadian show for children) was a real giant.

    I believed and still believe in the magic of libraries.

    We had liver and onions with bacon. There was never quite enough bacon to wrap round the liver...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Downith: We get a Canadian station here in Toledo, and I watched the Friendly Giant all the time! I would never have visited his miniature castle if he served liver and onions, even with bacon, though.

      Delete
  14. I absolutely believed in fairies and in witches (meaning, Elizabeth Montgomery in Bewitched)

    I believed finding the love of your life was no harder than finding a piece of sea glass at the beach (turns out, both are quite hard nowadays)

    I believed Sean Cassidy would wait for me to grow up and not get serious about anyone else.

    And like Teri, I believed pets lived forever. And now I've come to see they do. In our hearts, there they are absolutely, positively immortal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Erika: I tried for years and years, but could never get that nose-twitch magic to work for me... And yes, our pets do live forever in our hearts. I'm so sorry that Olive isn't there still by your side, but we both know she's with you always.

      Delete
  15. Lima beans and brussel sprouts? Why yes, with a side of napkin. When I spent time at my cousin's house, she always made me eat what was on the plate. And she thought I didn't know those little chopped black things in the casserole were mushrooms. She did find out that no matter how sweet and acquiescing I was, I drew the limit at mushrooms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deb: Oh, but I LOVE mushrooms. I'd have had your back on that one, letting you slip me every bite of those on the sly. What's up with these people who make you eat everything on your plate? We had a neighbor when I was growing up who made her kids eat for breakfast anything they hadn't finished on their dinner plate the night before. Child abuse, I'd say.

      Delete
  16. I knew there was nothing shameful about pretending to be a horse in full view of the neighbors. I knew reading was the best thing in the world. I believed I'd never stop loving horses as much as I did. I believed everything in my life would always be the same. I knew it was natural and the easiest thing in the world to be best friends with the kids who lived next door, if only because they were kids and they lived next door. And I already knew that being alone out in the woods was pretty fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laura: Pretending to be someone else--or something else--was half the magic of being a child. And yes, I thought nothing in my life would ever, ever change. Thankfully, dreams remain forever.

      Delete
  17. I believed I was of normal size and I stopped believing on the first day of grade one when I towered above kids a year older than me. Not much has changed.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Bobbi: Well, here's some irony for you: I was always the shortest. (Not much has changed there, either.) In my Catholic elementary school, they always arranged us in any procession by height, which meant I always had to lead the line. Part of me hated that, and part of me enjoyed the hell out of it... I wouldn't mind being just a few inches taller now though. Might make these extra pounds not quite so obvious.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I was so sure the UPS truck delivered graham crackers. I thought there were little people sitting inside the TV and radio waiting for their turn to perform. I thought that if I didn't fall asleep listing to the theme from Love Story as it played on my music box and the ballerina spun around that the world would explode like it did in Planet of the Apes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa: HA! I think you win out, on the six-year-old's imagination... And now, I'm going to go contemplate all the things I wish the UPS truck did indeed deliver.

      Delete
    2. Our new UPS guy delivers smiles.

      Delete