A Wider Sense of Prayer


Sub I suppose Idlewood is a good name for a street in a 1950s era suburb.  When my Dad came home from WWII, like many vets he married and set about having a family.  New houses were in demand, and developers began cranking out small three-bedroom bungalows along cookie-cutter grids with names meant to conjure up the leisure life of the suburbs, with trees, green grass, and good clean living, names like Gracewood, Fernwood, Friendly, Evergreen, and Idlewood.  I never thought much about those street names until now, though I walked those streets many, many times.

As far as I can remember, our Idlewood house was a small, white frame, single story structure, with three small bedrooms.  When you entered the front door there was a small living room, and you could see through to a small dining room as well with a window air conditioning unit.  Or perhaps a fan.  In fact, definitely a fan.  A very scary fan too, because I remember being frightened of it, convinced that a monster was in it or outside beyond it.

If I walk down the hall from the living room, that's where it all becomes quite dreamlike.  There's my room on the right, my sister's room on the left (with bunks), and my parents room at the end, but I can add little in detail about these rooms.  A three-year old's memory is episodic, focusing around things like monsters in the fan, the night the rat got in the house and my mother took me and hopped up on the kitchen counter, the rock I threw (accidentally, I hope) through our Greek neighbors front window, and the boys across the street who locked my sisters and I in the playhouse at the back of their house (they let me out through the window).

In back of my house was my favorite place.  We had some kind of a playhouse there, a homemade one, and perhaps a swing.  I remember standing at the back of that playhouse, on a hill, looking at an empty swimming pool behind us (I'm told it was a company that sold pools).  I was wistful, though I couldn't have told you that at the time.  I wanted to go find out what it was.  But at three, the yard is about as big as the world gets.  It gets bigger as you go.

I don't know the value of such random memories as these.  To anyone reading this, they likely mean little.  I'm not being sentimental nor nostalgic.  I'm just writing it down.  But I have to believe that what I am allowed to recall means something and has some purpose, at least for me.  God knows what.