That Shoebox GuitarMonday, October 19, 2009
At 12 Rebecca has reached that threshold of adolescence which is marked by some confusion. I think it has come much earlier that it ever did for me.
In the 9th grade I was at St Edward’s High School, a Catholic boarding institution in Austin, Texas. I was barely 15. I remember making a scrap wood and tree branch shelter out in the bush with my friend John Straney. We would sit down and play the game of memorizing the correct names for all the WWII German fighter planes, bombers, tanks and battles. It was our secret hiding place. By the second semester John was no longer interested. I could not play the game alone.
Before I had moved from Buenos Aires to Mexico City in 1952 (I was 10) I had been playing toy soldiers with my Filipino cousin Robby. We had American GIs. My favourite had a bazooka on his shoulder. The nasty German and Japanese soldiers we blew up with our imagination. We dug little foxholes in my mother’s garden for our own version of the Battle of the Bulge. We flooded my mother's flower beds with a hose for the Battle of Leyte Gulf and fought each other as to which of us would say, "I shall return." In 1953 Robby and his family moved to Mexico. We followed a year later. When we arrived at the Mexico City airport I was shocked to see that Robby was taller and he had something on his face that I had never seen before. They were pimples. He did not want to play toy soldiers with me.
I would think that Rebecca will soon abandon the on-line computer game of dressing up celebrities. One day soon she will tire of Nancy Drew. I should not speed this up as soon she will not want to spend Saturdays with her boring grandparents. After all there will be all those boys to conquer.
That is why it is a pleasure to watch Lauren (7) play mostly by herself when she is not being read by Rebecca or Rosemary. I love to watch her slide in her socks on our wooden living room floor. At home she plays for hours with her large dollhouse. This past Saturday I delighted in watching her play her shoebox and rubber band guitar. The power of the imagination of a child must be kept for as long as possible. I will be most careful not to tell either Rebecca or Lauren to grow up.
Oskar (The Tin Drum) would approve.