ON TO OREGON

by Derek Twain


Today's a fast paced world, full of things to clutter your mind, and in general just keeps you busy in thought and action. Now and again I find myself having to stop and just, let it all go. I have to, to keep sane. Every now and then, when I reach this zenith, I find myself reflecting back to days gone by. Back to my childhood days and of course wondering, "Where has it all gone to?" I can look back, thinking, have I learned anything of consequence from all this? I feel compelled to expound upon all this, for you to discern. After all, we're just kids at heart, and feel the need to know.

I can remember back into my childhood as far as say, when I was two or three probably, but with not much lucid thought. Frankly, I cannot remember things that far back with any clarity until say kindergarten, or first grade. Now, second grade is when it all begins to somewhat: "come into perspective". I will start there, as I can remember a certain time period in my life when I had my first recollections of any substance to them. Things of which I could in fact, relate to. I can remember a Mrs. Morgan, a teacher of mine of the second grade. Having grown up in a small eastern Washington town which needs not mentioning. I cannot remember her at all, but remember the one happenstance that took place at this time, which involved her class. I think.., and so shall you, see how.

As well expected, getting this started is cloudy at best, but if you'll bear with me, I will explain. So without further adieu I will continue on my quest to unveil my early learning experiences, and how my thoughts have progressed because of all this: "my early childhood".

 

I can remember playing Tetherball with Stella Mason. Wow, was she good. I don't think anyone in third grade could beat her. I know, she had left me standing there looking stupid on several occasions. I don't know why I ever attempted to play this game with her, I know I wanted to play it bad though, and be good at it. I liked the game. I guess I needed to have beaten her at her own game, or to try to at least. In order to play it though you had to be good enough to challenge the next in line, wanting to "Dethrone" you from your position, as the unbeatable champion at Tetherball. I can remember hating this, as I was never good at it, but wanted to learn. When I found someone shorter, or less able to win at this than me, I loved batting the ball over and over again, over their heads so as to make the other person feel as silly as I had. It also made me feel like a champion, and likey, better about myself in general. I guess for the most part though, the Tetherball pole was only to be held in higher regard with me as well as my fellow classmates, as a thing to be shinnied up upon in fact, to extract that: "winning feeling from". Now, this in itself was a daily treat, for the male population of the school. To win at the Tetherball pole, took on an ambiguous meaning! At some things we were very knowledgeable, and quite skilled at. I guess you'd have to be a guy to understand this though; but then again, maybe not. Just never heard any girl mention anything about it. Of course I never saw any girls shinning up too many poles out on the playground, ever. Excepting maybe, Stella Mason. Wow, just never thought about it that much until just now, huh!? All this time, I thought she was just climbing up to loosen the tether rope, hmm? Anyway...

 

Now, on this particular day, after having played on the playground we were called in by the ringing of the bell, the end of a recess. So, we all ran for the door to the classroom. This time though, I think-I was pushed and knocked unconscious. After years of reflection, this is the only thing I could imagine, that could have happened to me. When I awoke, I had managed to get inside the classroom, the door opened to the rear of the room. I remembered seeing things with a double-vision, and this made me nauseous. As a result, all the children insid were whirling about the room. After only moments there in that spot, I had lost my breakfast there in the classroom, and was sent home for-lunch, with a note Well, when I had gotten home, I could remember also feeling relieved as there was no one there laughing at me. This of course made me feel quite, "at home". I asked my mother, if I was allowed to stay there the rest of the day. She had answered a definite "Yes" to my question, and I went to my bedroom, my mind at ease. That night, I was remembering the embarrassment of having vomited in front of my classmates, and how the teacher and everyone else, had let me lay outside. I was perplexed to say the least. How could this have happened? I asked myself. How could so many of my classmates have run past me, and left me lying there? Also, to not have told the teacher either! To this day, it's still a mystery to me. The only thing I could surmise, is that my classmates had seen me fall, and assumed I would be getting up shortly. I must have been towards the rear of the group of kids coming in, and that no one had seen me hitting my head. I remember distinctly, that this took place, as I was kidded sometime afterward for losing it all over the classroom. Of the various patterns, and contents of the vomit on the classroom floor. I had told several of my classmates about this in the next few days and they had laughed it off, things were real hazy, and there were a lot of unanswered questions. I just never had the time to ask about it very much. As there were new plans on the horizon for me, and I knew nothing of them at that point. I felt as though I'd been through the twilight zone. Had I? Truth, I swear!... Go figure?

 

Here now, was yet another good example, growing up in this town, by now though we were at the end of the second grade. A date in time when my parents decided it was more advantageous for us "finacially", to move from one state to the other. The "other" being, "Oregon"! This sounded terrible to us of course. I didn't want to leave my friends. I'm sure it was the same for my brother and sister. I had originally been born in central Washington, and had moved when I was very small, to eastern Washington, from my birthplace. Our first move, to my quote, unquote: "Home town". Or so I thought at the time. I'm sure I just wanted some permanence in one place. It seemed hard for me to believe now, that I would even think of this but, maybe that's the difference between say, me and my brother. He always took things with much greater ease. He being the first born an all, the more outgoing of the two of us. Nothing seemed to ever bother him; except of him being part of the family. Or so it seemed. He always wanted to leave somewhere. Looking back on this, I maybe was more sensitive to things like this. Or just plain "More Sensitive" period. My sister, well she was just too young to know any different I'm guessing. My oldest sister was several years younger than I, and my youngest sister, wasn't born yet. Anyway, we had come home from school that day my sister, brother and I, to find out we were going to move to Oregon. This was so upsetting, we had just lived there long enough to make real friendships, both at school and in the neighborhood. Now we must move! We were devastated. So, off to Oregon it was, ...I was lost. Everything was turned upside down in my world. It meant early exposure to "Asserting myself", and yet another unexpected bearing of souls. We had to start out all over again.

 

Soon, we found ourselves established in a new neighborhood, new school, new friends, etc. Everything was so new again. Making new friends was perhaps the hardest thing, I could think of at the time; but there again, younger kids in general get aquainted more easily than say, older kids perhaps. Or even adults; of which you might think otherwise! Maybe it's because young children count on actions more, as well as speech to help them "break the ice", so to speak. Not so much the clothing they wear, r their mannerisms. For instance, it's easy to picture in your mind how we swam at the local municipal pool, we used actions as well as speech, to make friends. Showing our newly aquired skills at swimming. I did just that-the first weekend I was there, as I recall. It made things so much easier, to have something in common with the next person, to find out you're both cold from the water, or how we discussed how to kick our feet to stay afloat or how to dive shallow. I can remember after being there for sometime, and after having made some friends this seemed like a logical assumption. As to how I managed to get by so readily or of any of my peers as well, for that matter. At any rate, my parents had committed us to the move. So consequently, I inherited the second grade all over again, when we moved down, on account of a late birthday. I forget how that took place exactly but, was I sad. I only learned of it, when we had enrolled at our new school. Although this also, might of helped me achieve making friends easier, my being somewhat older and all.

Who know's?

 

School, it was another story altogether, but to make a long story short, I made friends fast because of my innate talents as an artist. Like swimming, art was my other pet peeve, and I learned how to draw dinosaurs, in the third grade. I had progressed on to the third grade there eventually, after having been there for my second year in Oregon. There was this guy named Mick, he and I drew dinosaurs till the end of third grade, this is how I learned to make friends in school.

I can remember thinking that, in every new circumstance, breaking the ice with my peers, involved the implementation of a mundane, aid of sorts. An underlying talent that had come to my aid. Being the something in common, factor. A factor with which in future relations, I used. Also implemented I'm sure, by any new people that entered into my enviornment as well, people that maybe, had the uncertain capability of becoming my newfound friends. I was learning, that I was learning and that all learning wasn't necessarily learned in books. That moving from one place to another was more than it appeared to be, at the outset.

 

Well, now a couple of years went by very quickly, and I was so used to doing the usual things, here in Oregon now. I was settled in and feeling confident. An once again, so accustomed to my new friends-now old friends. To make mention, I was older too. I'd get out of school come home the long way with my friends. Come home to enjoy a good dinner, watch tv, study maybe and go to bed. The next morning I'd get up and do it all over again. It was becoming so routine now, I was slowly learning to assert myself more and being more used to change; or so I may have thought. Now, on this particular day though, we were waking up to yet still, more change. Only this change was of such a surprise, and such a "change" of changes. My parents announced to us kids, that we were in fact, going back home to my "hometown" in eastern Washington. Returning to what we had once known quite well.

 

Apparently, it was more advantageous finacially for us, and we must go where the money is. Now where had I heard this before? Will I hear it again? How many more changes were in store for me? Only this time, it wasn't that bad because we were returning to what we had once knew. Still we were leaving our friends there, and the life we'd come to know once again. History repeats itself. In the time I'd been away to Oregon, I'd come to know myself and my world, just that much better; now though we must change yet once more.

 

More than anything, it's the lessons learned from these stories of mine, that amaze me most. The teaching's we as human's go through on our pathway through life. At the time, they might just seem like the everyday happening's; them being the seemingly inconsequential times of interaction with people and places, within our immediate surroundings. It's not the chang s my parents put me through, it seems as though the small interplay between myself and people that come and go in my life, and times that I went through as of a consequence, that taught me so much about: "Change". They've taught me quite a lot, looking back sometime after-in the future, after they've transpired. Well, this really didn't seem so bad, moving and starting over and over again, I found I could survive after all! All these changes are just learning experiences, and must evolve to make life happen, to learn from life. Though, too much of this repetition, might be harmful; the little I was trully exposed to, was minimal and somewhat useful in the end, in retrospect. Which might make someone wonder if, it's not just the grand scheme of things that surround us, when being on the move and walking our way home.


Author "Derek Twain" is a self-supporting wood carver and freelance writer. He lives in Alaska.


Story Page back to the Short Story Page.

On to Oregon, 4 August 2005