Welcome to my world and beyond...

A collection of snippets of the books I write and, occasionally, my life and the things that inspire my writing...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A to Z "R"

R is for rock.

It could have been for so many things, like rabbits--the eastern cottontail variety, or roosters--crazy flogging roosters, or rhubarb--the pucker power of which is likely unequaled. Oh, can't leave out the home made root-beer--yeast, water, sugar and extract. Let the bottles lay in the sun to ferment and voila--fizzy homemade root-beer. And the Raleigh man comes to mind. He came back old farm lanes, selling his Raleigh brand extracts, seasonings and mixes to housewives, out of a big old station wagon.

But rock won.

The reason I say this is that people who live in a place where they regularly traverse a large area, often comes up with names for places. Sort of landmarks on a mental map.  And we had THE big rock. It was on top of the hillside. Hillside was specific, too. There were several sides of hills on the farm, but only was called THE hillside. From THE big rock, we could see THE little hill and THE big hill on the lane. There was another hill, but it never earned a title. :-)

When I was a child, there were no less than 5 gates on the farm, but the one on the lane was THE gate. If you said "back at the gate", you meant the gate at the backside of the property where it connected to the neighbor's coal mine property.

There was THE pine tree. We had at least a hundred pines on the property, but if you said THE pine tree, we all knew you meant the white pine right beside the house. And while we're talking about THE pine tree--that was over four stories tall, there were two sections of climbing challenge that earned their titles of the THE ladder, and THE little ladder. Each so named because they had at least four branches in a row on the same side of the trunk--sort of forming, you know... ladders. ;-) The pine tree is in the background next to the house--left of the foreground garden shed.

And THE bee tree--so named for the nest of honeybees in it, year after year. And that tree was on THE flats--one of a very few sort of level pieces of property on the farm.

There were three orchards, but if you were up at THE orchard, you were at the one beside the 3 acre field. And that was a couple fields below the four-corner woods.
Picking berries in THE orchard.

And we had THE woods. There were lots of little patches of trees but only one was THE woods.

It's funny, how some of those places evoke feelings, just for having typed them on this page.

THE big rock probably still has a pair of initials chipped into it. We watched across the valley when my cousin and her boyfriend walked up to the top of THE hillside. And when we later walked over there, their initials with a plus sign between were freshly chipped into it.  That was nearly 45 years ago. They're still married. It really was carved in stone ;-)  And we watched a pair of foxes with their young frolic in front of it one day--their burrow was beneath it.

Using car hoods for toboggans on THE hillside.

THE big hill--oh, the winter memories, getting stuck on that hill and not making it out the lane. And riding sleds down both hills on the lane.

Climbing THE pine tree. When my head emerged from the top pine branches to the open air, there was always a breeze up there--even on hot summer days when the air was still next to the earth. And you could see almost forever.

And in THE woods, there was a hollow oak tree where mom used to tell us the elf that made shoes lived. He obviously took a vacation ever summer. We ran barefoot from June till September.

How about you--do you have landmark names for places in your world--names that someone outside out of your family might not understand?

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  1. My sister found a group of pine trees on our property. She named it Mr. Tree, and we used it for a clubhouse.

    Thanks for bringing back some fun memories. Have a great weekend!

    1. And all these years later, if she mentioned Mr Pine Tree, you'd know exactly where she meant. :-) I like it! :-)

      Thanks for visiting, Dana!

  2. I don't remember having childhood landmark reference nicknames. But I did enjoy reading about the ones you remembered.

    Regionally, if you are from NJ, we "go down the shore". That means we are heading to the beach.
    There are two major highways in NJ. The New Jersey turnpike (NJTP) which is just known as "the turnpike." The other is the Garden State Parkway, which is just known as "the parkway."
    When you ask someone from NJ where they live, they most likely will refer to an exit number.
    For example, to get to my house, you would take "the parkway" and get off at exit 67.
    So if you ask where I live, I will say, "exit 67."

    1. Lynda--that is soooo interesting--your Jersey lingo. I've never before heard of an exit as the answer for where are you from. Very neat!

      Go down the shore--another neat one :-) !

      Thanks!! :-)

  3. what a lovely way and place to grow up.

    1. Thanks, Sandra. I was doubly blessed to get to bring my children up on that farm. :-)

      Thanks for visiting. :-)

  4. Ok now i know this is going to sound completely ridiculous and a bit weird. There were no rocks in my childhood or lovely trees my dad was a retired cop who went into the bar business in his defense it was a the beach so there were perks.

    If I need to get somewhere in my old neighborhood, I would say, make a left at Jacks Lounge then go past such and such a street over the bridge until you see Rita's Tavern..and so on! I know it sounds horrible but when that's the life of the family those are the landmarks you know lol!

    1. lol! I love it, Jen! Around here, the pubs/taverns/bars are all rural too. And they have a high likelihood of being perched at an intersection of two or more roads. So we do a lot of that, especially when we're younger. I call it "navigating by bars." lol. No, I don't think it's terrible. Whatever it takes to get the job done! :-)

      And, isn't it amazing how people frm the next county over will know where a bar is at--especially if it serves great wings ;-)

  5. At my Grandma's house, out in the country, we always had THE creek where we played...and always got into trouble for doing so.

    Ahhh...those were the days!

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog :)

  6. Haha! Yes they were the days, indeed! :-) Thanks for visiting. :-)

  7. I never realized how many places we give special names that only a select few would understand, but you are correct. Your post rekindled many memories for me remembering the drive in, the tree, and the big slide. Great post!


  8. It's fascinating, isn't it, how families manage to code everything from landmarks to specific events to shared memories. It's like we were all raised in in spycraft. My family moved around a lot when I was a child, and yet we still remember THE particular landmarks of the different countries we lived in. I remember THE church, across the street from my grandmother's house where we all decided we'd get married one day (we didn't). THE club is still the same pool and bar where we used to hang out when we were teenagers, drinking coke and annoying the bartender (can't remember why they let kids into the bar…).

    Loved the post--brings back all kinds of lovely memories.