Locked Doors
October 18, 2006

After waking up at 3:30 a.m. this morning for no apparent reason other than I seem incapable of getting a full night's sleep right now, I went surfing blogs and found a wonderful, thought-provoking post over at: Looking Beyond the Cracked Window.

I've quoted a bit of it below ... and well, this is probably going to be another one of my novel-length posts. So if you're idly perusing and not wanting to think or get involved, you probably ought to scroll down to the post below this one.

I have been for years baffled by other people's ability to remember with such vivid detail, their youth. I have moments. Clearly defined moments. Yet I can not remember lengthy details of say a vacation to Hampton Beach or a trip North to Maine. Like so many appear to be able to do.
Early years? Pffft.
I see pics [of her childhood], I know I was there(the pic is evidence of that...duh), yet there is no emotional attachment to it.
It bothers me at times. Sometimes it feels as if there was no childhood. Then at the same exact time, I know I had a great childhood. Weird. (With the exception of my brothers torturing me)....
Having been very solitary(which is ironic I had lots of friends), I would pull into myself. In a room full of people, yet not really there. Self isolation. One would think, with all the thinking and questioning I did as child and throughout my life, I'd have recollection of it.
And with all the muddling around I do up there, rearranging those boxes, digging through them....I wouldve found the key to unlock some of them.
In my quest over the years to keep me secure, that included locking myself out at times. Pinkerton Security. Secure. Unbreakable. Impenetrable.
What is it I fear?
I havent a clue.
And to really put this entry in a twist? I kinda like it that way.
Why open a locked door, for no reason. I dont need to go there. Dont have a desire to do so. In not doing so, in no way effects my life.
Shhhh.....Don't say it.

Jod{i} got me to thinking about how I handle memory and childhood and locked doors. I love her post, what she's written, how it flows together. And part of what got me to thinking is that she and I are pretty much total opposites about this except for the fact that we reflect on it and think and question.

I remember huge chunks of my childhood ... back to when I was two or three. Of course, one of the reasons that I remember so much is becaues we moved a great deal when I was very young. Amarillo, Texas; Houston, Texas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Carmel, Indiana; Austin, Texas ... then I started kindergarten.

So when I described the floorplan to the apartment where I have my first memory, Mom was able to state that was one of the apartments in Houston. So, I was between 2 and 3 when I rolled out of my big kid's bed and slowly rolled down to the floor. I couldn't have had that bed for very long, because Mom had dragged some of our ugly vinyl dining room chairs to my room and faced the backs of the chairs against my bed in a vain attempt to keep me from hitting the floor. It didn't work, but it did slow me down.

I can remember being sleepy-tired, content, happy, and crawling off down the hallway to where Mom was sitting at her desk, presumably working on bills. The hallway was all dark, but Mom's room was bright and sunny and she had such a look of joy on her face when I crawled in to see her.

I can remember what was to be my first halloween of trick or treating "for really" at the age of four. My dad brought home one of those cheesy little mask and smock costumes that were so common in the 70s, in every drugstore, dimestore and TG&Y's. It was a little red riding hood mask and Mom had been working on a better cape for me. But when Dad put the mask in front of his face, I burst into tears and froze, rooted to the ground, terrified to move.

There are many, many other events that I remember in amazing technicolour detail.

I barely remember just two months after that halloween costume ... when as I went to put an ornament on the Christmas tree, I used all the dexterity of a four year old and managed to pull the tree on top of me. This is when we discovered just how allergic to pine/cedar I actually am. Apparently I broke out in hives EVERYWHERE the tree had touched me ... almost immediately. While I don't remember this very clearly, I do remember a few stop action scenes. Stretching to put the ornament on the tree ... admonishments to not let the ornament drop ... attempting to firmly place the ornament ... and then ... then I was swimming in pine needles, confused, scared and feeling more than a little bit lost.

I remember our trip to Disney World, to the Alamo, Sea World ... train rides to Grandma's house, long drives in Dad's mustard-yellow Pinto.

But ... where Jod{i} says she sometimes feels like she had no childhood and yet knows she had a great childhood ... I knew that as idyllic as most of my childhood seemed, I did not have a great childhood. By the time I was about seven, I knew my father had a problem with drinking. And I knew that caused him to behave badly and erratically at times. In fact, I can remember thinking that Dad was going to be in a LOT of trouble once the open container law passed ... and I was quite concerned about how we would transport our Dr. Peppers back home on those rare occasions we stopped at a fast food joint.

And then ... then, there's the locked boxes.

Pinkerton Security. Secure. Unbreakable. Impenetrable.

For all of the things I remembered then and remember now, there have always been parts of my childhood that I locked away in a strongbox and tried to throw the key as far into Balcones Woods as I possibly could.

And here, for me, is the really intriguing part. I both know and refuse to know what is in those boxes. While some people prefer to throw away the keys to those locked boxes and never open them ... my curse is that I cannot quit tampering with the boxes. I can't find the bloody keys to them anymore ... and I strongly suspect I know what is in each one.

And I should leave them alone.

But, you know, I was that little kid who couldn't leave the mostly healed scab alone, either. I have to pick it off, pick off the edge of the sticker and minutely examine what lies beneath.

I know that the box under the basement stairs holds some things that I was not old enough to understand at 6, at 7, at 8, at 9. By 10, I'd started a new box and tried shoving that one up in the attic. And I was so focused on forgetting what was in that box, that I only had a ghost of a memory of what was in the first one.

And to really put this entry in a twist? I kinda like it that way.
Why open a locked door, for no reason. I dont need to go there. Dont have a desire to do so. In not doing so, in no way effects my life.
Shhhh.....Don't say it.

Honestly, I wish I could say that, too. I wish those dusty old boxes would stay stuck in their corners and rot and moulder away until they were destroyed by time.

Instead, there's always some reason or another for me to go to the cellar or the attic and poke around ... and invariably, I stub my toe on those boxes. Those damn boxes that no matter how I pick at them, they won't quite open.

I managed to decipher some of the coded writing on the outside of the one in the attic ... and I think I've got a chunk of the combination figured out to the cellar strongbox.

I want to open them.

I dread opening them.

The locked doors of those boxes contain my missing pieces to explain the differences between the extreme disconnects from memory to memory and event to event.

They are locked for a reason. And, probably like in most horror movies, they should stay locked. Somewhere, someone in a theatre watching the movie of our lives is screaming at me that it's a trap ... just as I used to scream at Joe Hardy during the Hardy Boy Mysteries.

But like the intrepid detectives, I want the secrets out in the light, no matter how dangerous they may seem in the moment of uncovering them.

Locked doors.

Maybe this dia de los muertos I'll uncover my skeleton key.

Posted by Red Monkey at October 18, 2006 9:15 PM | Struggles | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


Red said:

Great post ender! Between you and Jodi, I've got a lot of thinking to do.

October 19, 2006 7:52 AM


Jodi said:

As I told you, this is wonderfully written..I am amazed you were able to weave through my crud!
Yes those boxes like to pop out and nag nag nag...And yet there are the days I want to sift through them, and I just stare at them, waiting.
For what? It hasnt come yet. :)

We are different and yet the same. Some day, we will find what it is...It will come. Yes?

Peace mY friend!

October 19, 2006 2:46 PM
Free Pixel Advertisement for your blog