The Summer of 1948

The Summer of 1948

Photo Credit: Floyd Bariscale/Google Images

I perch in my pepper tree.
Pungent scents, fingered
leaves embrace me.
A lady bug, dressed in red
with black polka dots
climbs my arm, tickles.

Ocean sand, white as the rind
of a watermelon, clings to my
bare toes.
Only hours ago I ran through it,
reaching out, stretching to catch

The smell of hot concrete
dampened by rain showers
lingers along with DDT
sprayed from a can with a
plunger like a bicycle pump.

I slip down the gnarly trunk,
enter the house by the
screen door near the
Bendix with the ringer where
Mama found a black widow

She’s melting a blue cube
of laundry starch
in hot water.

“Did you know I’m four
and a half today?”
I ask. She nods, smiles.
The black fan whirrs
in the background.

“Go on over to Stewie’s,” she says.
“It’s almost time for
Kukla, Fran and Ollie.”

Cross-legged on the floor
I watch the 12” screen,

Understand I am.

Fun his-tory/her-story prompt today at dVerse,  offered by Brian Miller. This is a really old one about a time way back when.  Hope you are able to read…Google Chrome users (only) are getting weird messages. I have no idea how to correct.

28 thoughts on “The Summer of 1948

  1. Wonderful piece such a lovely visual, brought back wonderful memories of my own children.


  2. Lindy Lee says:

    I was there in my mind & in that time…


  3. tigerbrite says:

    I remember this one Victoria. Takes me back again this time too. My mother had one of those DDT machines and a Bendix wringer, I once got my arm stuck between the rollers ….:(


  4. becca givens says:

    How fun!! Thank you for the memories ~~


  5. souldipper says:

    Such a treat to read, Victoria. Weren’t we blessed to have grown with that brand of freedom? Mothers must have had so much more head space for themselves. We didn’t use the term “extended families” because we didn’t have a name a natural state of being.

    My first TV show was The Lone Ranger at 5:00 on Fridays – 8 years of age. (We were rural!) We watched it right after Junior Auxiliary. The minister’s housekeeper served us hot chocolate and cookies. Oh, yes, I think we learned how to crochet! 😀


  6. I’ve read a few posts today about childhood memories. They all bring me back, just like yours did. I remember the pesticides that were our “friends” back then–it’s amazing we lived through it, isn’t it? Great poem, Victoria!


  7. Poet Laundry says:

    Lovely! A really great capture here!


  8. yoga-adan says:

    i just get a sly satisfied smile reading this 😉

    ““Did you know I’m four
    and a half today?”
    I ask. She nods, smiles.”

    and the 12 inch screen nailed it 😉


  9. ds says:

    Funny. My first “true” memory is of my mom doing laundry. And I remember the smell of the starch (though it might have been Borax). Very evocative write, alive in its details. Thank you, ma’am.


  10. zongrik says:

    i like the third stanza because using scent gives your poem a whole different textural feel

    events cocatenated


  11. What a great closing line: “Understand I am” … At 4 1/2, she might finally feel the reality of her own identity and separateness. In a different light, taken with the previous line, she might feel 12 inches small, like a ruler. We are all screens, are we not? People watching, making us feel big or little, important or not. I notice at the end that she is shooed out of the kitchen and sent to the neighbor’s—innocent enough, but she defies directions, perhaps feels unwanted. (I’m sure you’re just describing fond childhood memories, but I can turn anything dark and gloomy. LOL.)

    These are my favorite lines:
    “I perch in my pepper tree.”
    “stretching to catch sapphires”
    “She’s melting a blue cube”


  12. beckykilsby says:

    Wonderful selection of artifacts to conjure time, equally good concrete details to suggest place, but best of all, Victoria, I love how you re-inhabit the mind of a four and a half year old – this is so real! Everyday pleasures and life-threatening dangers, together in a heartbeat.


  13. Grace says:

    You took me with you in your childhood memory…thanks for sharing this ~


  14. Claudia says:

    ugh on the black widow…we don’t have dangerous animals over here but still enough things that can make a childhood dangerous, still back in my days we were not over-protected which i think is good for kids and helps them find their borders and also gives them courage cause they mastered things without help… well told victoria..much enjoyed


  15. dfb says:

    Yes, this is very evocative, you can almost step into it. Well done.


  16. vivinfrance says:

    I tell Google Chrome that I’m coming here anyway and yah boo, sucks to you!

    I love your poem – on lots of levels, the beauty of the words, the mood it creates and the insight it brings of your young world.


  17. hobgoblin2011 says:

    really nice write. The nostalgia and images from the time are built so nicely here, really a great job. Thanks


  18. Susan says:

    Wow! You take me there! And that makes me happy–the pepper tree, and ddt and sand as white as . . . .a poem cannot get more perfect than to have these details and a conversation too. Thank you, thank you. (I don’t twitter, which is maybe why I can visit unimpeded?)


  19. Amy Blecha says:

    love the imagery here.


  20. Victoria, this was a slice of life, so vivid. Many of us chose an historical event, but yours is simply a little girl, and I love that. I remember Kukla and co., and DDT trucks spraying the streets – even if you outran it, the taste was in your mouth, yuck. Glad you added that detail, because not everything was idyllic in our quite recent history! Love, Amy


  21. Rallentanda says:

    You have created a wonderful mood of that period. It would be a great introduction to a novel…really Victoria you should write it.


  22. brian miller says:

    it is funny between your poem and hedge…i just had a conversation the other day with someone about going on vacation as a child and playing in the floorboard of the van…no seat belts….it was a dangerous world back then by our standards today and yet we survived….there were a lot of dangerous little elements in yours too but we made it…smiles.


  23. marousia says:

    This is so vivid – all the perfect little details just bring the whole scene to life


  24. hedgewitch says:

    You brought back some long-forgotten memories, Victoria. I would have had to add, laying on the back window ledge of my grandfather’s DeSoto–no child seats then, but then he never drove over twenty miles an hour, probably. 😉 This has a lovely lilt to the language that just sings childhood.


  25. Serena says:

    Oooohhh… such a sweet memory of a life .. the distinct images and details really drew me in. It was like being there. Great job.


  26. This is the message I get when I try to come to your blog: contains content from, a site known to distribute malware. Your computer might catch a virus if you visit this site.
    Google has found malicious software may be installed onto your computer if you proceed. If you’ve visited this site in the past or you trust this site, it’s possible that it has just recently been compromised by a hacker. You should not proceed, and perhaps try again tomorrow or go somewhere else.
    We have already notified that we found malware on the site. For more about the problems found on,


  27. Yuck on the black widow…. Yikes. Happy memories Victoria 🙂
    I’m getting the message too, Has a malware warning that your website has a ‘follow me; button or some such. Maybe it’s your twitter ‘follow me’ link? Maybe try removing it and see if the chrome users tell you the warning has gone?


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