Monday, April 23, 2012


The first ten years of my life was idyllic.  I lived in a small town with wide streets, some paved and some not. There was lots of space between houses. There were large lawns with pine trees and garden space that covered half a block. We raised our own chickens which provided us with eggs and lots of fried chicken. There was a detached garage perfect for playing Annie-Annie Over.

I had two sisters then. One was older and one was younger. I was the middle one. We used to go all over town, anywhere play took us. There were few locked doors and we were never fearful. There was a group of about ten kids that lived in our area.  These were the days before television and computers and video games, so every daylight moment was spent outside. There was a world to explore, after all. In addition to Annie-Annie over, we played Hide and Seek and Mother-May-I and Red-Rover. We roller-skated and rode bikes and played Hopscotch.

We would gather at each other's houses and play and play until dark.  In the cold winter months our Dad would contact the fire department and they would bring their trucks and big hoses and flood our large garden space with water. It would freeze and we had a wonderful ice skating pond. We were very popular in those winter months!

And a most interesting thing about the entire experience was that we shared a language all our own. We called it double-talk.  I don't know how we learned it, but we all knew how to speak it, and we all understood each other.  It was not pig latin.  It was a combination of consonants added to words. Parents couldn't understand it. When we played together we communicated using this language. It could very well be that this is where my sense of community was born.

When I was ten we moved away from that comfortable safe life and moved to a much larger town. We couldn't run free anymore. We had to ride a school bus and played mainly in our house or our own yard. There were three more girls born to our family. They never learned double-talk and could not understand what we were saying.

To this day, in our 6th and 7th decades the three of us can still speak to each other in double-talk. It always brings back memories of a very special time, an epiphany of the beginning experience of community, which to this day is an important part of my life.

Pax Tecum