At 2801 S. Taylor Street in Little Rock I had a world of wonder at my doorstep, and I don’t remember ever telling my mother that I was bored. A huge white boulder in our back yard was a horse or a jeep. A short flight of stairs led up to the attic of our small house where my dad kept his WWII souvenirs: a Springfield military rifle, a pineapple hand grenade emptied of its powder, an opium pipe, my dad’s dog tags, and a kimono, among other things.
The attic was one of my favorite places. At one end there was a window that looked out over the carport. The room of the carport was a great place to hang out for a 7-year-old boy.
City development stopped at the edge of our neighborhood. Our house was on a corner lot, and the streets in front and on the side were both dirt. This wasn’t a problem for a kid looking for adventure. If you turned right at our corner you would be on pavement and among fancier houses. Again, not a problem for a kid.
All around our neighborhood were woods. On hot summer nights the fire flies came out in force – and so did the kids with mason jars. I can still remember the musty smell given off by the luminescent wonders.
And of course, there was my grandparents’ cabin at Lake Hamilton. What a wonderland of water and trees. We swam to our heart’s delight. We fished in isolated corners of the lake: bass, crappie, and catfish. We had to go into town to get water because my grandparents’ water tasted like rotten eggs. Bleech.
For a kid during that age, the world was my oyster. I had freedom to roam and explore. Mom and Dad did not have to worry about predators and social dangers. They knew that they could find me outside digging, climbing, collecting, and playing.
One of the things I can’t remember is whether I ever told my mom or dad that I was bored. The world was too rich in stimuli. Too interesting. Too full of imagination. It was so easy to find something that excited the mind
That was until…..