To save water, I was required to bath with one of my sisters.
At the age of four I learnt with a girl friend how we may (separately) make use of the bushes in the garden. I had to say countless times, to those who chid me on the matter, that she was not my girlfriend.
Another girl friend somehow evaded my sexism; but I was pretty cross when I found out that I had been thinking that she was a he, and I don't think we played together any more.
This little town stuck in my memory as to suggest all was not well with the predominant culture of it and the towns with which it was connected even when I was a little infant who could only watch other people swimming, from the side of the public pool. I'm sure it is quite funny when the face of such an infant lights up at the sight of any woman's nipple. It's a mystery even to me where my food goes; at least my relatives were honest with me about the fact that I did reach for a zip whenever I opened my eyes.
The effect of the sight of things which have no direct use to me belonging to someone who is my intellectual equal, though it can also lead me to think I need something in my stomach, such hunger is for what we must call medicine.
And thus we discover the importance of the discovery of beer (but I can't keep up with a serving wench who likes to keep me drunk).
As I understand it, if I was taken to the public pool with one of my relatives, for instance, Mom had made it clear that she did not want me to be taught to swim by making use of swimming wings. To the best of my knowledge, this rule was adhered to. I mention the vague memory of sitting next to a public pool in corroboration.
But we know that all is not well with the culture referred to, for we yet hear from them about the behaviour of peasants; which word only seems to have been retained to refer to behaviour that necessity brings those with straitened means to, such as the sharing of the bathwater.
I can thus now simply say that I was raised as a Christian peasant.
If I recall correctly, eight-years-old was the cut-off for having to share a bath.
We were hopelessly experimental, some friends and me, when we reached adulthood (which we called why-bother-growing-up), and used the word subconscious to refer to that side of ourselves that our parents had taught us to restrain. Finding proof of this does leave us nowhere to go, in terms of natural self improvement.
Trying to prove my ability to forget things, such as this detail, I walked round and round old haunts of my childhood trying to remember how things were before everything changed.
But all I could recall was that things were changing faster than I was growing up; everything except Mom's principles.
Letting someone in to your childhood memories is something that needs more caution than I had even when I reached the age of forty.
But as they say, if life hands you grist, put it in your mill.
I wonder if any young women remember bowing down to the pizza man (whose Christian father was quite horrified). I did a stint in delivering pizza for exactly one night. The problem was that I adhered to the speed limit (mostly). The restaurant was sending pizzas to neighbouring towns, and everyone expected them to be piping hot.
That restaurant had been very convenient to me in my attempt at being vegetarian: there were very few days I didn't have a pizza there, and of course the restaurant manager seldom failed to tell me to have a bit of salami or ham on it.
I discovered, around the time of my delivery stint, that some dudes don't need to learn to meditate, as they were born in a meditative trance; and I assume their wife one day opened a door and they walked in and that was that. I also discovered that it was a vain attempt to think of enjoying a girl's company when another had shown you a stage and asked you whether you were going to act like a man and put up a pretence, or tell everyone about how you're feeling and get to hear what they think about her who cued this act of your life. I don't know that the restaurant manager could know what to think about my case; I may have accidentally broached the topic of virginity.
When I return back to my childhood, now in a townhouse complex quite a distance from the first-mentioned town, my first recollection is that of walking under the road along a river with the neighbour's son. We took all due care: we both wore gumboots. I also recall some dreams vividly; and also whether another neighbour's daughter knew I was trying to figure out how to get around the rule about always wearing clothes (in those days it was not much more important for a girl than a boy to wear a shirt, for children our age, but some girls and women might've tried to tell us that girls' tits were different).
And then the usual stuff which we recalled and retold so many times we got bored of it: my eldest sister teaching me to ride a bicycle (I didn't start on training wheels), which she did with a patented trick of hers; and learning to rollerskate, and playing dominoes with the adults, and getting put into a dress belonging to the other sister. And losing my favourite (John Deere) toy tractor.
This was a quality toy.
But talking about quality toys I would be at the risk of comparing the quality of yo-yos, for example, from one year to the next, and would then come dangerously close to referring to toys which are no longer considered safe, which demonstrated what happens when two bodies come dangerously close to each other, try what you will, and then I would be sure to mention radio controlled cars that were realistic looking, and upgradeable because not prebuilt, which is likely to give me a glimpse of home-made boats and yachts, and make me wish I had never seen a photo in my life, because it confuses the memory.
And then I'd find myself looking at a thirteen or fourteen-year-old boy with a camera, who was decidedly happy. And scratching my head because while I do appreciate quality, and I'm still not at peace about the changes that happened around us, ownership of things is a burden.
Which fact was driven home to me some time after I got my camera.
And then I find I need to repeat myself for just in case: if I must own things, why would I purchase something that is not top quality?