Childhood: Sweet and Secret



I used to have a bicycle. It had a pink and white basket and a banana shaped seat. I used to ride up and down the street that my backyard looked onto. I love baskets for bikes, cigar boxes, and anything that would allow me to stow my stuff . Things that were important to me at that age would find its way into these secret places. I know if I were reminded of what I put in, I would probably cringe at the contents and shake my head, silly girl!

We had neighbours on Gordon Street, the street I lived on, and Ella Street, my backyard street. I suspect the reason we knew so many people was of my Mom’s doing. My Bubi once remarked to her, “Is there anyone you don’t know?” All you had to do was sit with her on the front porch, almost everyone who passed by would get some kind of acknowledgement from her.

I love this picture as the sun is setting especially with the square basket positioned at the back. My mom had a similar bike but her wicker carrier was round and in the front. She would use her bicycle all the time to drive to the ‘corner store,’ which was actually a 5-10 minute ride. We had an actual store on the corner, but she didn’t think they were friendly, and oh, the bread wasn’t to her liking either. She like fresh bread, the kind you can squeeze.

Still in elementary school, my sister and I would pool our money together and go to the ‘corner store’ that didn’t sell fresh bread. There we would buy (somewhat stale) candies. We would hungrily eat the sugar goodness before we reached home. The house rule was we could only have sweets on Friday and Saturday.

The bicycle in the picture gives off a decidedly bohemian appearance that make me think it was probably taken somewhere in Europe. That’s my guess. I would love to know what’s inside of the carrier. Maybe a puppy? For some reason, I am not a  bike riding person, but if I was, I would ride this kind of style with a wicker basket positioned behind me.

As a girl, I pretended that an invisible camera followed me wherever I went. My own personal documentary being filmed everyday of my life. In my head, I kept up a conversation with the invisible filmmaker. As an adult, I would tell people this is what I did and believed, and I was simply given weird looks. God was following me around and would listen to me repeatedly tell the same story in my mind.

As I think back on when I was a little girl, I can see how the Holy Spirit permeated into my knowing. I didn’t know His name(s) but I was aware of His presence. In many ways, that is where my ability to pray came into being. My desire to be alone, and wait for him to make Himself known in my heart. He always came with hope; an emotion I had no experience with, and was too much for me at the time. He was the flame in my heart. Unfortunately, I was already too harsh with myself. His love was always full of strength. I didn’t know that the hope he offered to me was mine for the taking. It was a gift.

Even with all the pain, I can still remember the innocence and freedom of living in a place that physically didn’t exist. Living in a world that is purely the work of your imagination and construct. No mistakes are made because this world is yours.  Then one day, or one moment at a time, you start to leave this safe realm. Pieces of you slip away because an imagination is considered silly. Mostly, I just wanted to grow up and become an adult, whatever that meant to the little girl I was. I was given ideals, but when ‘it’ became real, it was nothing like I thought.





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