“My mother always knew where I was, playing
in the ravine between our house and Grandma’s
house, or else rebuilding one of my little
stick-and-cardboard play-houses in the old,
overgrown orchard beyond the ravine, where
there was always the wonderful, bitter smell
of black walnuts and plenty of green apple
ammunition to use against the two brothers
- I forget their names now – who always
tore down my play-houses overnight.
So then I would be very busy early the next morning
moving all my stuff to a new location, and then
I would go down into the ravine again, where the
narrow blue water slid easily between the red clay
banks of the stream, and the sounds it made among
the reeds there seemed to contain all the voices
in the world, and I had lots of fun making little
red clay heads and setting them out on the rocks
to dry in the high noon sunshine, inevitably to be
smashed by those same two brothers again.
And I also remember that every Wednesday evening
after supper I would hold on very tight to my
little sister’s hand while we walked past the ravine,
being careful to stay in the middle of the road
so that the terrible, raving, red-eyed boogeyman
- who lived in the deepest shadows of the ravine
at night – couldn’t reach our ankles.
We were on our way to watch Superman on
Grandma’s brand-new T.V. set."
This is about the historical turning-point when childhood was, in a sense, tamed, being moved from the wilderness to the media-dominated arena.