Saturday, June 6, 2009
When We Were Very Short
I remember those shorts. And the shirt. I can't find clothes like that anymore, with pictures of animals and firemen...
And yes, those are real cowboy boots.
I had the best sisters any kid could have had. We lived in the Mojave desert which was hotter than hell most of the time. We used to fry eggs on the hoods of cars. My best friends were horny toads and tortoises.
Being in the field of children's literature, I often return to the fields of my childhood. Not just to access memories and images, but to breathe that air. To see things for the first time again. The whole world was new. New shoes were a revolution. Gravel was to be thrown into the air with glee. And dirt clods, oh joy, they explode on impact. Bugs were emissaries from the New World. A water hose was a direct link to the fountain of youth. Booosh! Rainbows were not trite, they were miraculous. It was shocking and horrid when you skinned your knee. But was it not also fascinating? Scabs, hmmm? Pick away. I cherish the honesty of children. They tell it like it is. Chesterton is right on:
Children demand justice because they know they are innocent.
Adults hope for mercy, because they know they are guilty.