Friday, July 24, 2009

WiP: Build a Girl

Well, chute.

That's what that is in the photo -- a chute. They're used to round up cattle and load them into a truck. (Just in case you didn't know.)

Obviously, this one is no longer in service. (Note the tree growing through the middle of it.)

My grandparents used to have one on their farm. It was a fascinating thing. In the summertime -- since there was never any livestock nearby -- my cousins and I would spend hours upon hours scaling the wooden fences, running up and down the corridor leading to the end of the chute. We'd then jump off into the loose soft sand of the lane.

I don't ever remember complaining about the gawd-awful heat. Although, I do remember assisting in the depletion of grandma's seemingly endless supply of Strawberry Shasta Cola.

In the wintertime, we'd bundle up and trek out to the western woods (okay, okay, it was thick grove of trees on the west side of my grandma's house) where we had converted a pile of rusting clunkers into thieves' paradise. I tricked out my clunker -- the shell of an old Chevy -- with some carpet remnants I'd found in my grandma's garage and dubbed it "The Bratmobile."

(I think I even have pictures somewhere.)

I don't remember complaining about the bitter cold. Although, I do remember being quarantined to the bedroom with my cousin, Lisa, while our pants and socks dried in the dryer. I also remember that there were many, many doors in her house, and we oftentimes sneaked upstairs to try on old clothes and hats that had to have been left from another era.

So, you ask, why is any of this important? Well, besides being the mortar in the foundation of my life, these memories -- and others like them -- started flooding back as I began working on my new WiP Whisper.

I'm kind of stuck, and I was hoping I could get some help firing up the old brain storm.

The story is told from the perspective of a young girl in the early 1970s, and much of it is set in rural Nebraska. (Hey, I'm just writing what I know.) As a girl who was born and raised in small-town Nebraska, I know what kinds of things she will do to keep her "off the streets of Hadar" (as one of my co-workers would say).

The problem is she has been plucked from her home in the big city and placed in this rural setting. I need to give this girl some mortar.

So, I need to know about the "mortar ingredients" for city-kid foundations. I'm hoping to get some of you to share some of your favorite childhood moments, so I can get the ball of creativity rolling inside my head.


Eva Gallant said...

I'm afraid I can't help you with city-kid foundations. I grew up in central Maine on a farm, playing in the woods.. my parents owned 79 acres, most of which was populated with pines, poplars, and maples. But even though I think I'm quite a bit older than you, I sure remember strawberry soda, but the brand I remember was Nehi. My mouth waters thinking about it!
Good luck with your WIP. I have one I'm working on, too, but I'm just beginning to write.

Cole Gibsen said...

Growing up in St. Louis one of my favorite things to do as a kid was go to the zoo. I have some of my best memories there :)

KM Wilsher said...

I was not a city-kid, am now, not back in the day.

I have good 70s memories of the NYSP, National Youth Sports Program. During summer, at Fort Lewis College, in the smaller Rocky Mountain town of Durango, we'd go to 6 different hours of different sports. I liked Frisbee golf, swimming, and especially Disco Dance! Fun times.

Oh, and Bally's Arcade. We'd skip school after lunch and go and play Centipede, pack man, and that star one -- what was it called? I can't think.

I loved my Calvin Kleins and Gloria Vanderbilts. Izod sweaters and OP T-shirts.

We shopped at Yellow Front for "thongs" (meant something totally different back then)

And the T-shirt shop. We finally got a "mall" downtown and they had lots of stores, but we frequented the Tshirt shop. It was something to be able to go in and pick out your decal for them to press on.

Saw Star Wars 9 times the first two weeks it came out - The Wall - Jaws - and Airplane :)

Whew - sorry I feel like I just vomited all those memories up! Probably way too much.

I was young in the 70s, but I loved them. Always thought I'd grow up and hang with guys with long hippy hair and blue jean shirts. Wear Ditto cords and flowers in my hair. And, of course, never work for the man.

The 70's era was a great bridge from the 60's Vietnam Hippies into the Punk pop rock '80s

I'll stop. . .

Anonymous said...

Ohhh, city kid stuff? Oh yeah, I grew up in Minneapolis, MN.

As a kid, hmmm, we always rode our banana seat bikes to the community center for swimming and hanging out at the pool. Went to the park nearby. Hung out at the mall and movie theaters until I'm sure we were about to annoy the workers there into insanity.

I was put in community sports things...mostly tennis cuz that's what I liked. Oh and we'd play ding-dong-ditch all the time. So many places to hide with all the houses so close together. LOL.

Like KM, we'd watch movies over and over again. Every summer we went to Valley Fair (comparable to six flags). Oh, and the drive in movie theaters. That was awesome.

Great post. This was fun

Kat Harris said...

Eva -- I'd love to go to Maine sometime. I once interviewed a couple who rode their Harleys from little ol' Norfolk, Nebraska, to Nova Scotia, and I remember thinking about how cool it would be to check out the coasts like that. Someday. . .maybe. :-) Good luck on your WiP too.

Cole -- One of my favorite memories of being a kid was when we visited my aunt and uncle in Belleville. They took us to a Cardinals game, and I just sat at the stadium in awe of the different colors of people around me. I was only in kindergarten, and well, a little sheltered. OK, a lot sheltered.

KM -- Arcades! How could I forget about arcades? You've just sparked a scene. You know what's funny? I did grow up to hang out with guys with long hippie hair and denim shirts. In fact, I married one. And he cut his hair! :-S That's okay. He's pretty cute with a short do, too.

Lynn -- It is so easy to see that you and I alike. Ding dong ditch? Naughty, but hilarious. And the very first rollercoaster I ever rode was the Corkscrew at Valley Fair. My sister grabbed my hand and said, "We're going on that!" As we're leaving the chute (hey? it all comes back to that, doesn't it) I can remember thinking, "Please, Lord, don't let me die like this."
Afterward, I wanted to go again.


Anonymous said...

OH yeah. I remember when the corkscrew came out. OMG, it was AWESOME! Big blue thing. It freaked me out, but was amazing. LOL. --ahh the memories.

Annie Louden said...

Sorry I can't help! I grew up in rural Indiana, and I have fond memories of playing on the pig chutes with my brothers!