*I wrote this while in college. I’ve edited it some and added a few elements.
Childhood is now a silhouette, masked by adulthood. It comes back, my childhood, that is, quite often. It sometimes feels as if I’m living in a world of un-lockable memories. Well, they aren’t really un-lockable. I’ll be driving down Chiang Mai’s “super highway” and a memory will play before my eyes, like it was in real time. Just as quickly as the memory came, it leaves.
Allow me to relive a memory of my first home in Thailand.
It was a beautiful, Thai teak house.
Our first house is now a distant memory even though I now pass by the road leading to the green gate that encloses our former sanctuary.
Thai houses are covered in windows to combat the tropical weather. Central air and heat do not exist in Thailand. Heat is never artificially needed because heat composes every season. Window-covered houses are wonderful because of the amount of light they allow. I will never get used to the lack of windows in American houses.
Wood is an essential part of houses in Thailand. Wood floors, furniture and beds are staples.
Our kitchen in that house remains one of the largest I have ever seen.
There are no such things as garages in Thailand. Each home had a “carport.” Come to think of it, that sounds awfully like a Star Trek invention. Carport? Taking off somewhere? Not quite sure…
Our yard seemed as if it came from a child’s dream. Taylor and I romped daily in the vast green expanse bordered by mango and jackfruit. The yard truly was mini-botanical garden — complete with tropical flowers. I wore frangipanis in my hair as my accessory of choice.
We held Christmas pageant in that yard. Mary was pregnant with a basketball. And the crew, a motley one at that, are now all adults.
I can’t tell you how many different worlds I traveled to in that yard. Imagination limitless, I sometimes lived in an alternate reality. Having just seen the movie, Inception, I would have imagined myself superior to the architect, Ariadne, in my ability to sculpt alternate realities.
My imagination never failing, I would get “in character” and try to trick Taylor into thinking I was a villain, or Zorro. It didn’t really work, but it upset him to no end.
We shared the yard with our cats. It started out with four–then they had babies. I believe we had 12 at one time.
One time, several of the kittens decided to climb in the gas canister. Someone turned on the gas stove and we found then blackened and with whiskers singed. These same kittens I dressed in doll clothes and kept my closet as a ward for. This closet cause the death of one of the kittens.
My room was huge. I had two double beds and a chest with a mirror that I would sing Testify to Love and Backstreet Boys’ songs in front of.
I played with my American Girl dolls, paper dolls, Polly Pockets, Pound Purries and Petshop animals on these wood floors.
On the wood floors in the den I watched Cartoon Nework. On those floors I received my first CDs.
My parents gave me a classical CD one Christmas and an extended family member gave me a WOW CD. That was the beginning of the WOW obsession and my love of music. I didn’t appreciate the classical CD then, but now I wish I had it.
There is something about listening to classical music that aids you in writing. I don’t know what, because I am just discovering this.
Does music make memories surface? Is it music that enlivens the writer?Do we have a way with words, or do words have a way with us?
We lived in four houses in Chiang Mai and I still think of that house with a sense of nostalgia.
This memory surfaced as I sat in my apartment in Waco, Texas, and listened to Beethoven, Chopin and Rachmaninoff.
I’m now sitting in my own apartment in Chiang Mai. It’s concrete, not teak, and I’m an adult now. Before, I’d banish the thought of ever becoming or calling myself an adult. But it has come. It’s the weekend before my 23rd birthday. I’m not sure how I got this old.
I do know that memories are funny things — they surface without a whole lot of notice. Memories surface for a reason and a season.
I also now know what treasures teak houses hold.