The summer of 1932

By
The summer of 1932, the utmost bittersweet summer of my whole life. I called it my home, that little house on a hill with the tire-swing in the front; in the little town of Buckley, Montana. It was only me, Martha, (who in time became mama) and Rich. And Lila, oh dearest, sweet, graceful Lila; she only lived a short way down the road and she was my soul mate. I was only with her for a short time, but those three years were the most incredible times of my life. And I knew that in the short time we were with each other, we were meant to be in those places at those times, together. But this joy, hope, liveliness, this all ended; crash.


I was born in a little town in Elmhurst, New York. I was an only child living in apartment 655, Park side Avenue with pop. Mom died when I was only three. I don’t exactly remember mom’s death but I do know how it happened; I suppose I asked pa a few loads of times. It was just around Christmas, she had just picked up bread and a few other things for us to eat; we didn’t have a good deal of money but we managed. Betty’s corner store was just two blocks away, so she walked. It was snowing but lightly I believe, because pop always said mom hated the cold. She got hit.


I remember pa taking me to the park on weekends; I would find some kids and play on that green and white playground with graffiti covering it like __. But pa sat on the bench kind of staring up at the sky. After mom’s death pa wasn’t as cheerful as he had been, he worked all through the week for 15 hours a day. He would drop me off at five in the morning to the apartment below mine; Mrs. Gonzales. Mrs. Gonzales was a lady who had to have been 800 pounds, and she was a giant. She had 5 kids the four-room apartment, and she was always yelling about something. Her voice was like a cricket, noisy and never ending. The apartment was over-crowded, not only with people but with piles of toys and furniture that didn’t match. I would count the minutes until pa would come and get me out of that jungle. He wouldn’t come until eight, sometimes even later. I would wait at the door anticipating his arrival and once I heard the footsteps coming up the stairs, I would open the door. Once I reached age five I started school, oh bless that day. Pa didn’t make me go to Mrs. Gonzales’s in the morning, only after school.


Pa had his first heart attack at the age of 34, the year after mom died. Second, age 37. The doctors told him that surgery was necessary, but we couldn’t afford it unless pa wanted to work another job on the weekends. He took the risk to spend his time with me instead of working. He appeared to be doing well; he didn’t have any heart problems for about 3 years. Then came that dreadful day. I was at Mrs. Gonzales’s apartment, everything feeling exactly the same. There was still the same mismatched furnishing, and the mess of toys scattered in the little space that was open. It was around 7:15 and there was a knock at the door, I got excited thinking that it was pa at the door, then realizing it was too early, I started wondering who it could be. Mrs. Gonzales opened the door and there was a policeman in the doorway. Thoughts started racing through my mind; was he coming to arrest Mrs. Gonzales? Was he coming to get me? I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong, but there were chances that I could have committed a crime at school that I didn’t know of. He took Mrs. Gonzales outside, she’s being arrested! It’s not me! I thought, but I was wrong; very, very wrong. Mrs. Gonzales returned back into the room, she took me by the hand we stepped outside. Her hands were big and sweaty and she had tears rolling down her face like __.
She took a deep breath and said, “ you father,” she took about five seconds to get this second part out. She closed her eyes and said with more tears gushing out of her eyes, “has died.”
No! No! No! I started screaming, getting louder and louder each time. Mrs. Gonzales pulled me into her and compressed me against her body. I couldn’t handle it; I kicked, punched and tried to push her away, screaming like ___.


I went to pa’s funeral and lived with Mrs. Gonzales for about 3 weeks. It was horrible; I had to sleep on the couch. I went into an orphanage, and I only stayed there for about 2 weeks. One day, women walked in, she was tall and had brown hair. Ms. Johnson walked up to me with her; the anonymous lady bent down next to me a said in a friendly voice “hello.” And just from that one word I could tell she was kind and welcoming.


I was adopted. Martha was her name, that tall lady with brown hair. She was the most loving lady I had ever met; I called her mama. And Rich, he wasn’t as caring as Martha. When I met him, he introduced himself and said, “I’m Rich, not your father, so this is what you will call me.” Very strict man I would say. They couldn’t have any children, which is why they adopted me; I was an only child. We moved to Montana shortly after I moved in with them. A little town called Buckley. It was a beautiful place; there were mountains and great fields of flowers. It felt wild and free. The house we moved into was just as beautiful and open as all of Buckley. It was large, white and had a large porch in the front. It was up on a hill, and there was a tire swing; the people who used to live there must have had kids. The grass was the greenest that I had ever seen, and there were trees all over. There were houses on either side of mine, and a pond across the way.


I was sitting on the porch, looking out at the pond, and that’s when I saw her. She was walking down the road; she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I gazed at her while she walked just hoping she would take a glance at me. Then she turned up the hill towards my house! I walked off the porch to greet her. She stuck a hand out and with a great smile said,
“ Hi! I’m Lila. I see you just moved here…where ya from?”
“New York.” I said nervously.
“And your name?” She spoke in a calm voice.
“Paul.”


We bonded right away. We spent every day together and I enjoyed every minute of it. She would come over in the morning. We would swim in the pond and run around and push each other to the ground until we were exhausted. When we were tired, we would lay beside the pond just staring up at the sky. I was only twelve, but I was in love.





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