Friday, April 27, 2007

I'm flying Jack, er, Chuckie

photo by The Mister

Today i am using Mona's word for the day from Irrelephant. That word is cloud.

As a child in California, we lived on the base in San Diego where the many kids spent all summer running wild and unsupervised all over the hills and ravines. Whenever a large delivery was made to any house, we kids commandeered the box. We didn't give a damn what was in the box, the box itself was the real prize. We would play with the box for weeks, a fort, a puppet stage, a zoo, an ice cream stand.....

Someone or other got a mattress the summer i was 7. That's back when mattresses came in boxes (you hear that you young pups?) This boy, who's name i think i remember as Chuckie (poor kid) and i dragged this box up to the top of a hill and lay in the box staring up at the sky.

We started out naming shapes we saw in the clouds. I noticed that if i held my head so that i could only see the sky, then the clouds that were whipping by in the breeze made me feel like i was flying in that box.

You know that disoriented, but fun, feeling that you get on a roller-coaster? That's what it felt like.

"Ooooooh, Chuckie," i squealed.


thailandchani said...

"Ooooh, Chuckie!"

ROTFL!!! :)



Bob said...

was Chuckie in love?

ellie bee said...

we dragged boxes home from an alley behind a store. Refrigerator boxes were the best--you could make a mansion out of one of them. Stove boxes were great too. When you got tired of them you taped each other in and rolled them down the hill.
Growing up in Alabama...

Lynn said...

What kind of cloud is that, that the Mister took a picture of? It looks like a serving plate with a lid on it, or we are being invaded by alien space ships? When I was young (a long, long time ago...cause I do remember mattresses being delivered in boxes) I used to love lying on the ground and looking at the clouds. Now, I just look up and get dizzy.

meno said...

chani, :)

bob, with me. I saw her in concert once. I think she was drunk.

ellie bee, weren't those boxes the BEST fun? We used to sled down the iceplant on them as a last resort.

lynn, i don't know too much about clouds. It just appeared one sunset in front of our house. It does look like a spaceship.

jaded said...

The Mister's photo reminds me of a jellyfish. I would have killed for a mattress box. When the Missus was five, the neighbors gave her a "duplex" made out of refrigerator boxes. It had a peaked roof, windows and a door. It was a permanent part of the family decor until the cat gave birth in it.

I know that disoriented feeling you speak of, only I refer to it as breathlessness. It's euphoric. I wish I could remember the last time I felt it.

Special K ~Toni said...

I still love looking at clouds- but I don't think I have ever squeal,
"ooooooh, Chuckie" don't think I ever will.

QT said...

Great pic by the Mister. I am a cloud watcher too, but most of my squealing happens when I am watching stars.

Marshamlow said...

ooooooooh, Chuckie -so funny.

Mattresses don't come in boxes anymore? Where have I been?

peevish said...

Wow. That story just triggered my vertigo.

You are a good storyteller.

meno said...

patches, you had some cool neighbors. You didn't just evict that hussy cat and her brood?

toni, hey i was seven, hence the sqealing. Although i do still squeal at my cats.

qt, i do squeal when the stars fall.

marsha, the last few mattresses i have seen purchased came in plastic. Too bad for kids.

lisa, oh sorry about that. Vertigo is much more fun if you can decide when to have it.

Lynnea said...

I still love cloud watching. Something so damn peaceful about it.

As for boxes. Kids still love them. But I wonder sometimes at the loss of imagination with all the new toys with sounds and lights. Sometimes it's a pain of a chore finding a toy that doesn't come with batteries. We need to encourage more box play. :-)

Mother of Invention said...

Universal childhoods of the same vintage! We did the same! We even slept out overnight in a box fort connected to an oveturned picnic table...kinda like a basic duplex...way ahead of our time! We hung blankets over and had sleeping bags.

Remember the rush you got making yourself dizzy log-rolling or sommersaulting down a hill!

Fabulous shot by the Mister!

TTQ said...

I thought for sure that you were going to push the box down the hill with Chuckie in it. Great story when it doesn't end like you think it does..

I watched "The Forgotten" last night and they had a cloud sequence that looked alot like the Mister's photo. I won't ruin the movie for you and tell you whatthe context was.

Oh and it's fun being odd *wink*, you never know what's gonna happen, kinda like a good story.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the magic of an empty box. My mother always swore she didn't know why the hell they spent so much money on Christmas presents when we derived untold hours of playtime fun from A Big Old Empty Box That Cost Nothing!

luckyzmom said...

I lived in San Diego from 1968-1973. Isn't that about the same time you were there? Point Loma, Mira Mar?

Movers used to pack mattresses in cardboard boxes in the military.

meno said...

maggie, me too! I have a great picture of Em and a friend playing in a big appliance box. There is something timeless about the box fort.

moi, i loved rolling down a hillside. Wheeeeee.

ttq, i was only seven, or maybe i would have. I don't do scary movies. I am a chicken. cluck cluck!

ortizzle, exactly what my mom used to say. And it's true!

luckyzmom, i must have moved away from there in 1964. That must be where the box was from, the military movers.

jaded said...

The Missus's mom actually issued the eviction notice...After they reached a few months of age they were taken to the vets to be placed in other homes. The Missus was five, her vote didn't really count.

Ashley Lasbury said...

Empty Boxes rock. When we got the new oven, years and years ago, that box become the kids home. We cut a door and windows into the sides and they lived in it on rainy days and in the winter. Then they got big enough to climb on top of the box and it was all over.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I think kids still love boxes because they can be anything you want them to be.

That's an amazing photo, too.

lu said...

My Dad brought home huge round computer reel boxes. We rolled up inside of them and took turns pushing each other in them everywhere.

I think about my childhood and all the freedom we had and I'm sad that my kids haven’t experienced that kind of that freedom.

We spent hours laying in fields, watching the clouds, oblivious to the DDT we were rolling around in.

Meno, you are freakishly skilled at capturing the essence of an experience.
Brevity indeed; the soul of wit.

Girlplustwo said...

you squeal over clouds, i'd have squealed over chuckie.

meno said...

patches, :( meanie!

onetallmomma, the box usually comes out the worse for all the love in the end.

hearts, that's the best kind of toy.

lu, i don't think i've ever seen one of those boxes. Sounds perfect for fun. It is sad that we can't let our kids run free like that. But i can tell you from experience that it was not safe for us either.
And thank you. :)

jen, seven, i was seven! It took me over 10 more years to even think of boys as squeal material.

Joan said...

That's one of the coolest clouds I've ever seen. I have to run off now and ask Hubby what kind it is...he studied Meteorology among other things in his college days.

Lucia said...

If there's a blog comment button, I've been late on it lately. No time! No time! (Picture the rabbit, is it? In Alice in Wonderland.)

I started to see clouds, to really see them, when I took a painting class, and the instructor's paintings were amazing because he could paint clouds.

Anonymous said...

Oh, man, Box Forts! My grandpa made a two-room house out of washer and dryer boxes for my cousins and me. Coolest. Thing. Ever. Until he made the next thing. He was an amazing guy.

urban-urchin said...

I'm kinda sad to say I was never much of a cloud watcher, but boxes? I loved boxes. We would use them to slide down the stairs at my uncle's house.

meno said...

joan, and what did he say?????

lucia, clouds are not an easy thing to paint. I think that's one of the cool things about taking drawing/painting/art classes. You learn how to really look at things.

nancy, don't you wish you had a picture of that house? (Maybe you do.) Your grandpa was cool.

u-u, It's not too late to start looking at clouds! Stair sliding was lots of fun as a kid. We did it au naturale, much to the detriment of our skinny little butts.

amusing said...

oh -- the very, very best was when someone would come back from being stationed overseas and would have a WOODEN CRATE! We snagged one of those from the neighbors when we lived in Groton CT and had it for months! We named it "Villa Roma" because it was the most elegant name I could think of in third grade and this was the most elegant box house EVER.

Mona Buonanotte said...

Ooh, I did that 'flying' thing, too, when you tilt your head far back and only see blue sky and white clouds...maybe that's why I had so many flying dreams as a kid?

Anonymous said...

Meno, you perfectly captured that jewel-like moment of childhood for us all, you know that? You reached into the sewing box and pulled the one thread that ties us all together. Well done, plain and simple. *big smile*