I opened a new pack of Clorox wipes to clean up the load of groceries I’d just brought in the house. Ah, life during corona virus.
After, the smell on my hands took me back years. Back to an elementary school where I used to teach. Back to a school where the janitor polished and waxed the floors so regularly they gleamed. The wax, or the cleaning fluid, that he put in the machine he pushed up and down the halls, smelled like my hands.
I was back in the hallways of that building, thinking about all the kids who passed through them – probably still will when this pandemic is over. Back in a part of my life that was as natural as breathing.
Now, each time I use those wipes, I’ll go far away. Funny how a smell can do that to you.
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Think about all the alert sounds you know now that didn’t exist a few years ago. Alerts for games, for Facebook Messenger, for emails and voice mails and Marco Polo talks. Then there’s the horrible one for civil defense alerts or tornado warnings. What we don’t hear is the old timey ‘ring ring’ of a landline. Now phones ring with songs or chimes or clown horns. Modern day smart phone create a lot of interruptions. Don’t pay any attention. Keep writing.
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Air so thick, it’s like inhaling clouds. Sky a dirty grey, tree leaves dark matte. Bird song hovers near the ground, Unable to rise. Airplanes make an unseen roar above us. I feel soaked through, as if I could sweat Cool water.
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Remember back in the 60s when everyone was building bomb shelters? They planned to move the family into them and live there for months until it was time to come out safely.
We didn’t have the nuclear war everyone was expecting back then, so we didn’t try all living in one small space for weeks at a time. We’re trying it now however. Getting a taste of what it’s like when the world outside the door is scary.
Lucky for us, the grocery stores are still open, the pizza joint still delivers, Netflix is streaming, and your FaceTime conversations with your best friend are still a go.
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The old fashioned board games, the kind where you have to do the adding and subtracting yourself, were the best. I loved counting up my Monopoly money or figuring out my Life points. Now the board games have electronic ways to keep track of the numbers. It goes faster, but it isn’t as much fun. Let’s dig that old Monopoly board out of the closet, shall we? Oh, wait, what about Scrabble, too?
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The little shed in the yard was our secret hideout. The best thing was when mom gave us big slices of homemade bread with butter and cinnamon sugar on top. We took it to the secret hideout where we could plot adventures and share secrets.
The hideout was full of shovels and hoes and things. I thought it would be fun to use them to plant peas. (Mom said it was time to plant the peas.) Nathan wanted to play with the water guns. We decided to do both, but peas first!
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Growing up an only child, turning into a introvert as an adult, being home alone for extended periods of time is no big deal for me. But in this time of a national health scare, many people are trying it out for the first time. Or maybe they are home with family and it’s not as much fun as they’d hope.
I go for walks, play Words with Friends, listen to audio books, watch TV. Sometimes I even clean the house. The days are full, not empty. I hope you feel the same way.
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My town’s little library had a children’s section where I devoured books like The Bobbsey Twins and biographies of famous people like Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley. Somehow I moved from there to the adult section where I started reading completely inappropriate books I seldom understood. I skipped all the great children’s stories like “The Secret Garden” and “Little Women” until I was an adult reading to children.
A self-made education is a spotty thing.
Please leave a comment with your first 50 words on the topic “childhood reading.”