My parents were not very demonstrative people.  They had not been brought up to be so.  I don't remember ever being hugged or kissed by them or my brothers and sisters when I was a child.  But I knew they loved me because they protected and took care of me and treated me with dignity, while allowing me to grow and become myself.

I had a happy carefree childhood and there were times I felt as though I was in love with the whole world.  So many things brought joy to my heart.  Lying on my back in soft green grass, looking at the blue sky and finding pictures in the clouds was one of my favorite pastimes.  Watching my little brother sit backwards in the old blue rocking chair that he called his horse, and rocking himself to sleep, made me smile.  Helping Grandpa in his garden made me feel important, as did picking figs and muscadines and berries in the summer, and pecans and hickory nuts in the Fall.  I felt I was contributing to the welfare of the family.  And books!  I have had a lifelong love affair with books. 

Because I was blind in one eye, my mother tried to discourage me from reading too much, saying she didn't want me to strain my eye, so I used to hide under her bed where it was cool, and read by the light coming in the window, or sometimes I climbed the hickory tree and hid there to read my brother's Wild West magazines.  No one ever knew that I once found a copy of a WhizBang.  I started to read it, but what little I understood was so disgusting that I threw it in the bayou and watched it float away.

Mom often remarked that I had a mind like a sponge, because I absorbed and remembered everything I read and learned in school.  Today, I remember only the things that were important to me, and are important to me now.  Why crowd my brain with stuff I don't intend to use? 

I knew many people, and considered most of them friends, although I cannot honestly say I had a "best friend" until I grew up and married Joseph.  He was brought up in the same way I was.   Besides being shy and reserved he was not very talkative.  He used to say that I talked enough for both of us.  I guess it is natural that we raised our children the way we were raised, although I played more with my children.  I liked going with them to look for fossils when the Parish truck dumped a fresh load of gravel on our road.  I enjoyed taking them to the library.  I loved sewing clothes for them.  I still remember the pinafore I made for Cissi one Easter.  It was dark green with tiny white polka dots, and I crocheted a white lace edging onto the ruffles over the shoulder.  I designed the "bubble" playsuit and my girls and some of their cousins were wearing them two years before that little garment hit the market.

I will always remember the time our children and I were sitting in the waiting room in the hospital while Joseph was undergoing angioplasty.  The nurse came out several times to give us a progress report.  The last time she came out, as she was leaving, she turned back and said, "And, Mrs. Meaux, your husband asked me to tell you that he loves you."  I turned to the children and said, "Oh, I know he is scared!"

My childhood, the Springtime of my life was a happy time for me, and my Summertime has been happy, too.  As I face my Autumn, I have finally come to understand how important it is to tell people you love them, and I never miss a chance to do so.  I love the way my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren greet me with hugs and kisses when they come to see me.  I am a very rich and happy woman, still in love with the whole world. I don't worry about the Winter that is approaching.  I know we need this season to sleep and rest and prepare for our next Spring.


Copyright © 2001 Aline T. Meaux, Abbeville, LA

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