Sunday, October 4, 2009


Hi David,

What a wonderful picture...I don't think I have any of these era. It would be great fun some day for you to look at my albums and me yours. Also the albums retrieved (or not) from the barn. I never went so far afield in my adventures as you (being a girl). I'll never forget, though, the tarring of Riverside Blvd. ... that unique smell and the wonder of my Schwinn bicycle soaring along without the usual intense vibrations and jarring pot holes; this memory may never be matched in my column of euphoric experiences. Certainly I played in the woods on either side of the driveway - always impressed by the forts you produced out of birch and various twigs. You were quite the innovative boy scout. I do recall searching for Indian arrowheads along the banks of the cemetary. Later..Peter and his sophisticated bunch would take slides down the dam ... but that seemed very scary to me. Do you remember the arbutus across the road? I was always required to bring a bouquet to the Principal at Menominee High (probably as a 7th and 8th grader) - it felt very embarrassing. Peter and I once went out after dark, crawled through the tall grass toward the Orth's house (this felt a lot like Mission Impossible) and stole carrots from the Orth's vegetable garden. To me it was like being a Russian spy and I was certain we would be caught and put in jail.

I was always the young, shy little girl ... if my big brothers were water skiing, for instance, I might get a turn if I hurried and pushed in line, but of course, no one taught me the mechanics of water skiing. I remember spending hours digging for clay next to the banks of the river .... and eventually figuring out that I could make a form of pottery from it. This fit in nicely with my fantasy of being an Indian, one of Kiera and my favorite woods games.  Snowball fights, acorn fights, marbles, (boys playing basketball), football games in the yard and very exciting excursions to Mason Park where we swung off a rope tied to a tree and plummeted into

the water, were seasonal and happy if daunting, death-defying events. (By the way, I'd love to hear the story of how Steven fell out of the Oak tree and broke his arm.) . In later years, Mason park was a spot to go and make out - inviting different sorts of hazards and thrills. The Popkey boys were major figures....Ross was your peer (why was he crippled? polio?), Dolly was Steven's but the older Billy and younger Johnny were mine. Peter and I were somewhat dominated by them (without supervision of course) ... we played strip poker up in their barn and once Billy and his friends forced Peter and I to pretend to have sex at Brewery Park. These were 'country kid' experiences which I still don't know how to regard except that I notice that I continue to be both hyper-vigilant, naive and somewhat reckless. I spoke to my therapist not long ago about a memory involving standing in the midst of gravestones at Riverside Cemetary at dusk, facing a soldier in full dress uniform who was intent on (at least) kissing me. This was a friend of Steven's who was visiting on leave from the army (I must've been around 12 or 13). No comment.


                              Vicki, Kiera, Peter

My true playground was the river and the bay. Kiera and I were equally committed to our favorite waters. But the river held mysteries and challenges far beyond those of the Bay. Green Bay was in most ways benign except for its incredibly cold water. The River, on the other hand,  had a lagoon down a ways which not only harbored snapping turtles, algae and weeds but god knows what other kinds of monsters. I dreamt about the lagoon for years. The waters of the Menominee were deeply comforting to me .... the water felt soft, was amber and rich with minerals, the small waves lapped gently against the bank, and suffused our property with a warm and delicious smell. Bloodsuckers and weeds were a fright - an obstacle to be faced and overcome in order to reach the safety of the raft. Of course, we played King of the Raft - my training ground for learning to push others around. Swimming across the river represented many nature experiences I lived out in Menominee: at once, the thrill of being immersed in the splendour of it all and the ever present fear of losing my life. It was sort of like the raft: on the one hand, it had a ladder and solid platform and provided a serene resting place; on the other, we 'had' to play the game of who could swim under water around the most number of barrels before needing air. Eros/Thanatos. The pride in making the swim across the river was for me like getting a PhD from Berkeley. And then to clamber onto the shore of the 'island' and hunt for wild blueberries or wintergreen berries was nothing short of ecstasy. (Except for Lemon Flake, of course). I remember the celebration when you swam all the way to the little island that lay off the far end of Pig Island. To me, that seemed an impossible task....a faraway land. I remember one day walking up the road in the direction of Mason Park. Perhaps half way there, on the right, was an apple orchard belonging to some unknown neighbor. I climbed the fence to fetch some apples and perhaps make friends with the little horse for whom that orchard was home. Much to my surprise, the horse charged me and bit me on the shoulder leaving clear and horrifying imprints of its large, strong teeth. I quickly climebed a tree where I spent several hours hoping for an opening to escape before the horse noticed and took me down forever.  As a child, I would often put myself to sleep dreaming of living in an underground house which I'd carved out of clay soil. This was always a comforting image to me. Do you think we might have some native american blood? I figure we had some pretty rigorous training for the realities of life. Love, Vicki

1 comment:

  1. Hello David, Katya, Vicki--
    What a a beautiful picture of Vicki opens her contribution to David's blog! (Terry sent me the link.)
    I must first point out that I was an equal party to the raid on Orth's garden. Not only that, but with the carrots (and some other vegetable--or maybe it wasn't a real vegetable but something that Vicki and I with our extravagant imaginations found in the woods and decided would be a good, if non-traditional, ingredient), we made a stew at David's Camp. We used an empty tin can and cooked it on the open fire. I cannot honestly report that it was delicious--though the experience defintitely was.
    I share Vicki's memory of swimming underwater, under the barrels of the raft, the river's amber light surrounding me. I remember the first time I went all the way around the barrels, surfacing at the barrel where I had begun, happily gulping for air.
    I have knowledge of Ross Popkey because, for a time, he was my sister Terry's boyfriend. He was injured in an auto accident.
    Vicki is SO right about the River--The bay was beautiful and I loved it as my home body of water, but for adventure it didn't COMPARE with the river. Another game Vicki and played by the river was Army (at Burry Park, which I thought was named for the burrs that stuck to our pants.) We would sing songs from a movie we had seen (I think it was the song from "Bride on the River Kwai," and then, suddenly, "hit the dirt!"
    I remember hitting the dirt and smelling wintergreen berries nest to my face as I hid from the enemy.