Thumbing Through My Past

Thumbing Through My PastbyOscar ElizondoParent’s always tell the most interesting and most embarrassing stories about a child’s life. As I was growing up I remember how my mom would talk about our family and of the modest means of wealth that we either lacked, or had. I wasn’t born in a hospital, but rather in a small wooden home in a wild forest area. There wasn’t any electricity yet, but oil lamps did just as good. When I was born and the doctor showed up to deliver my life into this world, you guessed it, there were no modern gadgets. To keep me quiet and occupied while my mother was cleaned up he encouraged my parent’s to let me suck my thumb.It was amazing how that red thumb came to be like a security blanket as I grew up. As a baby the suckling kept me fooled as to being the nipple of her breast. How was I to know it was only my thumb, I was just an infant. When I was old enough to figure it out for myself, I used it when I felt nervous. Yes, those glorious days of suckling my thumb to keep me from crying or going bananas with the fear of the events that were unfolding before my very own eyes.The years passed me by and it had to stop in order to avoid the embarrassing voices over my shoulder of being a cry baby of a sort. Instead of being occupied with the suckling of my thumb, I was put to work around the house. I tried cutting wood for the stove with and ax and I split my toe. I left the pen opened and the pigs got loose. My puppy got attacked by some coyotes and almost died. One time I left the seeds that were going to be planted for the summer crop outside and the birds got to them. As my parents put it, I was all thumbs.Soon I was old enough to go to school and the school bus hadn’t been invented yet, as I recall. We had to walk many miles from where we lived just to make it to a road that led to the school. There were many big tough boys that bullied the small piglets like myself. Sometimes they took our lunch and made us keep our mouths closed. That one time that I did refuse, one of those bullies started to rough me up, but in those times it was embedded in your brain to stand up and fight for what was rightfully yours. I couldn’t beat the big guy, but I used my thumb to stab him around the soft part of the throat. He let me go with a warning that next time he would beat the hell out me. Well, that well placed thumb on the throat carried more impact than I thought because he never bothered me again.I grew a little older and soon enough I was in jr. high. It was a time when my hormones told me why girls were so pretty and interesting to be around. It wasn’t easy trying to complete against the more mature boys in order to get a girls attention. I remember trying to write a few lines on a piece of paper and leaving it on a desk where this wonderful girl would sit. I didn’t know much about romantic words or such and I wrote it between classes and didn’t have much time to proof read it. As I recall it went something like this, “Hey babe, would like to go out with you, I will touch you later!” It was supposed to end with, would like to go out with you and I’ll keep in touch, later! She gave that note to her friends and they put it up in the girls bathroom door from the inside. All those leaving the restroom read it and the news was all over the school. One of the girls boyfriend told me later that I put my thumb in my mouth that time.When I was in high school I had a job delivering adds for a furniture store on the week-ends for a quarter an hour. One time while I was in the front cab I opened the door and took my stack of papers that I was going to place in the mail boxes of each house on a street. However, as I reached in the truck it took off and with the door opened it swung close and my thumb got caught. I screamed for him to stop, but my thumb had already been broken.After coming home from the army I went to college and earned a teaching degree. I remember my divorced parents seating on opposite sides of the stadium but when my name came up they stood proudly and applauded for the only family member on either side of our relatives to have ever gone and graduated from a higher learning institution. I stared in their direction and I distinctly recall the Thumbs Up they gave me for my accomplishments.

Copyright © Oscarelizondo Monday January 20, 2009 1:13 PM

Thumbing Through My Past


Harlingen, United States

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Artist's Description

Going a little back into the past history about thumbs up.

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