January 14, 2006

First Missouri Winter

Sandra and I lived in this house during long Missouri winters! The house wasn't this broken up back then, but as young teenagers, we were often very cold, hungry and lonely. We called this "David's House" because it was built by David Westbrook in the early 60's.

This is the first chapter of my second book, Attic Secrets. My sister Sandra, said she cried while reading this chapter because "every word is so true."

I knew my nose was icy cold before I even opened my eyes. My feet felt like frozen cubes of ice, and my hands were numb with cold. The house was silent with the absence of any modern electronics. I knew there was a reason why I didn’t want to open my eyes, but I couldn’t remember what it was. I strained my ears to determine the slightly muffled soft sounds that seemed to surround me.

After a few moments, I realized that I was hearing the faint splat of softly falling snow as it brushed against the dead leaves of the tree outside my window and landed on the tin roof above me.

With a sigh of relief, I became aware that the constant roar of a winter storm that had haunted my dreams all night, was gone. The small room was intensely silent and bitterly cold. The odor of cold mothballs, rotten Florida oranges and kitty poop permeated the icy air in the room. Slowly opening my eyes to stark white sheetrock walls, and gazing up at the heavy wooden rafters above me, it slowly filtered into my mind that I wasn’t waking up to a warm comfortable home anymore, and there would be no welcome toilet at the end of the hallway.

The small opened-ceiling room was cluttered with brown packing boxes of many shapes and sizes. Some of the boxes were torn open exposing a mix of contents thrown together in no particular order. The boxes were stacked almost to the rafters in places with a small path between the boxes leading out an open doorway to another room also filled with boxes.

Looking around me, I noticed the old Army blanket thrown across my bed had tiny ribbons of snow that had seeped in between the cracks of the shattered bedroom window during the night's winter storm.

Another bone-chilling day waited ahead. The Missouri winters wind would rip through my small coat that had no buttons as I would search under leaves and against large rocks for bits of firewood so%