Out of my bedroom window into the snow, I stared, brooding over my near departure from my home of 7 years. Tears trickling from my eyes, I blew one last time upon the frozen glass to create a frosty haze upon the window. "Bye", I scribbled with my eleven year old finger, then turned and walked away.
The winter of 1968 proved to be my last spent in Dayton, Ohio. In a place where I had suffered the pains of an unseasonable maturity, I also left behind an undeveloped childhood. Cared for and groomed by elderly guardians, I was brought up in a strict and old fashioned household built on family principles and practices of the 1920's. Correct behavior and attitude was expected at all times and reverence was given to all elders. "Children should be seen and not heard", and "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise", were the motivations hurled towards me during the age of 'good home training'. With an 8 p.m. bedtime and a 6 a.m. morning rise, work and responsibility formed the bulk of my experience during my years there, so, little time was afforded for play and games. Every day, from age six, I had to set the table for every meal and wash, rinse, dry, and store the dinner dishes. Saturdays were special. After breakfast, I usually cleaned house until 12 noon, just in time to watch American Bandstand with Dick Clark. Then afterwards, if there were no more assignments, I was allowed to play outside for a couple of hours, weather permitting. Otherwise, I was engaged in some 'worthwhile' activity, like reading, sewing, or knitting. Many days, I retired to my room early, so that I could sit by my window and sing my made up songs. The window became my secret place for great imaginings out of which came adventure stories, drawings and poetry. I would stay there for hours at a time, daydreaming, creating, and singing about being free! The window was my best friend, allowing me clear sight of a big open sky where anything was possible, and at the same time,reflecting a transparent image of myself superimposed upon the world outside. This was the magic space where I could shed the expectations and responsibilities placed upon me by the 'grown ups' and be, unconditionally, me. My window, upon which I had marked my name, dreams, drawings, and songs, which had shown me my true self and opened me to the world of possibilities, was destined to be left behind. So when the day came for me to say farewell, I felt like I was leaving an unfinished part of myself there.
Looking back on myself, I can see that much of who I am now is who I always was. I'm still dreaming, writing poetry and stories, drawing and painting pictures, singing songs of love and freedom, and creating magic space wherever I go. When I grow up I want to be me.