Friday, April 01, 2011

A is for Alden

I've joined the A to Z Challenge. Basically, the challenge is to write 26 posts in April (every day except Sundays), and each post is prompted by a letter of the alphabet.

(Someone told me the link takes you to this A post; I have continued to post past A, so please check the blog for more if you want.)

I'm writing about memories recalled by the letter of the day.

So, A is for Alden, the small central-Kansas town where I lived in this house ('the parsonage' because my dad was the Methodist preacher there). It was only for only two years, but I consider it my childhood home. Crazy, huh? I lived there with my parents and two sisters during my third- and fourth-grade years. In that two-year time capsule of sorts, I amassed special memories, most of which are nearly fairytale-like in my mind, but some of which is too wild to be called fiction!

(I'm the girl in the middle of the page next to the boy who looks like a 9-year-old Fonzie.)

  • The chicken coop and carport off to the left side was where we played "house" and I was always the bossy mother. My tomboy sister didn't mind being the dad, and she rarely "wore the pants" like I did as the mom, so it worked for me.

  • (We didn't have chickens, but at one time, someone had, and that's what we always called the annex.)

  • I neither remember the day we moved to that house, nor the day we day we moved out. It was our eighth home in nine years. I had loved our home in Kansas City and was traumatized by moving away.
  • We bought a Sheltie and named her Lassie. She cost $75 which I understand was cheap for a purebred back then, but she had broken her leg jumping out of the bathtub. She had a cast on when we brought her home.

  • The following spring, Lassie birthed three puppies, right behind the toilet. I remember asking where Mama was. My dad calmly said, "Your mother's in the hospital." I knew it was too soon for the baby to be born, but I was happy as a lark the puppies were here. They were so cute and fluffy and squirmy . Their presence totally kept my mind off Mama. There was a puppy for each of us girls. Wasn't that kind of God? My older sister, Rachel, named hers DeeDee. I named mine Tot. Andrea named hers Tim (creatively borrowed from our favorite TV show, Tim and Lassie). One day, when I was over at off at my friend Barbie's house, my mom heard Tot yelping a horrible, high pitched yelp from her outside playpen. It lasted for about ten seconds, and then Tot was dead. My loving mom performed mouth-t0-mouth through Tot's little snout, bless her heart, but it was too late.
  • My mom's hospitalization was because she had a miscarriage at Alden. It nearly cost her her life. The doctor accidentally severed a vein during the D&C and she died on the table. Miraculously she was resuscitated, and she recalls a vision while in the OR. She remembers seeing a glimpse of the brightness of heaven. She did not want to return to earth, but the Lord told her that her family needed her. Her work was not finished. How thankful I've been for that! I had no idea how serious it all was. My poor dad protected us from all that anxiety while we played with new puppies.
  • A few weeks later, DeeDee-- the other female puppy--was chasing a squirrel across the street when she was accidentally hit by a car. She died instantly. Again, my mom was there when it happened. The worst part was that the driver of the car was my good friend Brenda's mom. It happened so fast; she couldn't have stopped. I remember that my mom protected me from seeing the crushed side of little DeeDee's head as she lay in a shoebox. We had a funeral and invited neighbors. My daddy buried her beside Tot behind the chicken coop. Andrea's puppy Tim tried desperately to dig DeeDee up out of the grave. I can still hear him cry for his little playmate. Tim lived until I was away at college; he crawled behind the old yew bush in front of the house and my parents found him three days later after a scary search through fields and woods.

  • A boy named Charlie chased me on the school playground with every intent to kiss me. More like attack me! I thought it would be fun (the kiss), but when he pinned me down in the big tractor tire/sandbox, coming at me with lips, I yelled my lungs out and was saved by my angel teacher! On another occasion, he chased me through the school on family gym night when no one was paying attention. I had to hide in the girls' bathroom up on a toilet seat because he even ran into there to hunt me down. Talk about a stalker!

  • An act of God--a major flood-- came through and filled the three-foot ditches. Always the adventurous types, we decided to explore Alden in a rowboat. The passengers were to be Rachel, me, Brenda, Brenda's older sister Cherie, and I think Barb. Everyone piled in--except for me--because Rachel said we needed someone agile to do the push-off for the boat. She told me to stand on the bank of the ditch with one foot and put the other foot in the boat. Then "push off" and hop in. She kept a straight face the whole time. But before I could get my balance, they grabbed oars and pushed off. They pushed off before I even had my balance. Cured me of gullibility. And I haven't been agile since.

  • I'm all done about Alden for now.

  • The two awesome ladies in the picture above are those good friends, Barb and Brenda, all grown up. We had a mini-reunion last summer and had a might fine time reminiscin'. Remembering the Alden of our childhood.


Rhonda@laugh-quotes said...

Wow Alden sure as a busy place for you, not what I expected from a small Kansas town. Good luck on the challenge. I like the idea of memories.

Joyce said...

I'm doing the challenge too so it will be fun to read your posts. I enjoy reading childhood spite of all the trauma and upset it still sounds like a more innocent time.

Have a nice weekend!

Bish Denham said...

Very cool story!

Joe Richardson said...

Thanks so much for sharing your memories! I'm small-town as well, and it always makes me smile to see how each community in rural USA can be unique, yet share so much with its kin.

Finally, I love the house you grew up in. You could scratch a hundred tales from the stones in those walls.

Dead Reckoning

Laurie said...

Great memories from a "wild child-hood" in Alden! One of these days Mike and I will take a drive there, Lord willing! Blessings!

Deirdra Eden-Coppel said...

I love your site and as I browsed your blog I decided to award you the Powerful Woman Writer Award.
Go to and pick up your award.

Zoanna said...

Well, thanks, friends. And Deirdra, I feel pretty honored. I've never received a blog award before. Thanks!