*Age 6 – THE MARBLES

My father had left Los Angeles to start his job in Anchorage a month before the rest of the family.  During that time he found a house to rent so we would have a place to live in once we arrived.  He found us the Log House, a very nice rambler complete with all the efficiencies located on a piece of land covered with birch and spruce trees and ferns in the little out berg of Anchorage called Eagle River.

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Here is my mother’s description of my 6th birthday ‘party’ from My mother’s 1957 diary:

Saturday, August 31, 1957

Linda’s 6th Birthday

I invited 3 children from the neighboring farm over to help celebrate her Happy Day as Sharon calls it but were unable to come.  So we had a nice party ourselves.

I made a large golden cake with fluffy white frosting – so pretty with 6 candles – how fast the years are passing.

+++  There’s a piece of paper here with this all crossed out:

Hi Kids,

We were wondering if you could come over to our house Saturday, Aug. 31st around 3:30 P.M. to share some of Linda’s 6th Birthday cake and ice cream and have some fun!  Please no present it’s just for fun!

It’s not a real birthday party as

We have our things now and the children are anxious to share their toys.

We haven’t a phone so please answer by note.

Hope to see you Sat. –  Mrs. Lloyd

+++also written on the blank parts of this paper

Here it’s the last of Aug. and we find ourselves celebrating our oldest daughter’s birthday again – she’s 6 yrs old now.  It was our 1st celebration in Alaska and a special one because of it.

[Linda note:  Not special because of ME, I see!  I can sense the existence of a strange distancing here regarding me in all reference to my birthday.  It’s as if she would have preferred to celebrate her oldest daughter’s 6th birthday WITHOUT ME BEING IN IT, as if my being present ruined her being able to recognize this event.  I know this even though it does not specifically appear in her words because I WAS there in my childhood.  This event ties directly to the abuse incident I remember right after my 6th birthday with The Marbles.]

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

During the times my mother let me out of the house I wandered the woods and marveled at the smell of the damp earth covered with layers of slowly decaying leaves.  The ferns were taller than I was, and one day as I wandered through them I discovered an old stump with roots that twisted in and out of the rich dirt.  There was a little hole under the stump, and one day I took the new leather bag with colored marbles in it I had been given for my 6th birthday outside and buried them under the stump.

I can remember the black dirt I had underneath my fingernails from digging that hole out large enough for the marbles.  I found little sticks to make a covering for the hole, and when I went outside to play I would return to that spot, unearth my marbles, and play with them.  They were my beautiful treasure until the day mother opened the front door and yelled for me.  She saw me sitting there on the ground, and stormed over to see what I was doing.

“You horrible child!  You have buried your marbles to keep them away from your sisters and brothers so they can’t play with them. Give them to me!  Give them all to me!”  This was a despicable act to my mother, and was one added to her abuse litany as proof of how selfish a child I was.  She hit me and dragged me into the house by my hair as I stumbled after her.  I never got the marbles back, and because of this incident my mother even further controlled when I could go outside to play — or to get away from her.

++

As an adult it has always added an extra thrill each time I have picked a lone marble out of the soil where they can often be found in random places.  I am thrilled even to find them when I go to our old local dump to find pieces of old dishes to use in my mosaics.  In some way I’ve always felt that those marbles are being returned to me, those marbles taken from me in such unreasoning violence so many years ago.

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