An Idyllic Childhood

Sepia-toned photo of young Susan with long curly hair.
Susan in 4th grade.

I had an idyllic childhood, but as a kid, I didn’t know it. As the matter of fact I was convinced that the spaceship had left me in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong family.

Only now, years later, do I realize how fortunate I was to be born into a family who loved and nurtured me to the best of their ability during my formative years. My father was a preacher and passed on his strict religious beliefs in sermons and around the kitchen table. So there were many things we weren’t allowed to do. No television. No cussing, no dancing (unless it was in the spirit), to name a few.

But we were encouraged to read, to write, to sing, to play a musical instrument (my mother played piano), and to spend play time in the big outdoors. Cowboys and Indians with my brothers and sisters, along the slopes of a wash located near our house was a favorite pastime. Our elaborate forts were built to last forever, or until the next flash flood suddenly washed them away.

My dog, Brownie, a brown-and-white-spotted dalmatian with bad breath, was my constant companion. He’d follow me deep into the desert, exploring nooks and crannies, as we made our way to the top of a large, flat, always hot rock—our secret spot. We would sit for hours watching magic happen. From our high perch, we surveyed the groves of barrel cacti and watched cars wind their way up the road past Sabina Canyon, to Mount Lemon. We watched rocks grow and cactus flowers bloom and die. Communicating with nature, I felt at one with everything around me. I watched, listened, and dreamed, as I patiently waited on the spaceship to return. My imagination went wild and a voice within encouraged me to dream on.

That was my childhood. Idyllic for a creative soul. My first short story, about my dog Brownie and his bad liver breath was imagined and developed on that hot rock. It won first place in a school competition when I was in the fourth grade. And a voice within encouraged me to write on. So I do.

Looking back, was your childhood idyllic to get you where you are today? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave your thoughts right here in my comment section.