In an earlier post, I quoted another blogger who said: “You should have been understood and loved for who you were, not who they wanted you to be.” It resonated so deeply, having been one of “those” children. (See original post here.)
Got me to thinking about the times I got in trouble as a child for being my inquisitive, curious self. I loved to explore other people’s homes–I just HAD to see what was behind that closed door, down those steps. My mother sold Fuller Brush (remember the Fuller Brush man? If you’re over a certain age, you’re probably nodding right now.) After a while, my mom made me stay in the car while she dropped off her customers’ products. Because she knew I’d embarrass her by “exploring” her friends’ homes.
If I saw a path, I tugged on my parent’s hand and begged them to take me down it. And to this day, I can’t resist a new, unexplored trail. Speaking of paths and trails…when it came time to choose a career, I took two or three paths, turned around when they dead-ended, and finally found a permanent one. What a great feeling, to find a path that goes on and on! What’s around that next corner, anyway?
But I’m getting sidetracked (not much has changed in four decades.) When I was eight or so, it all culminated here:
My family joined several other families at this “castle” in Northern California for a retreat. While my parents were otherwise occupied, I occupied myself by trying to find a way to get to the very top of this place. At the back of the big room where they all gathered, I found an opening, leading to a big empty area, at the back of which were…stairs! Narrow, winding stairs! Leading all the way to the top, and ending in a little round turret room with an amazing view!! I ran downstairs and pulled my friend out of her room and showed her my discovery. Well, word got around, and I got scolded. But not too harshly. I suspect my parents were secretly impressed, and by this time knew it didn’t do any good to expect conformity from me.
It remains one of my favorite childhood memories. I’m convinced that urge to explore, to wander, has served me well in my writing career. But this time it’s imaginary worlds that I’m exploring.