Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
My Louisiana Playhouse
by Robbie Guidry
Quiet and warm I sat, waiting. Soon the neighborhood crowd filed in. They had each taken precious time away from their mud pies and sparrow traps. One by one they found a place in the tiny, tumbled down garage.
When everyone had settled in, I made my grand entrance. Marilyn Goldberg followed with the Sears and Roebuck catalog. She had been well trained. Soberly she opened it to the tractor parts, placed it on the "altar," and sat off to the side.
My itchy black robes were Rit-dyed mechanics' kakis. My headpiece was white starched kitchen towels. The garble that I spoke was supposed to be Latin. But since I could not yet read anyway, it did not matter what whispers came out of my mouth, as I stared down upon my Sear's bible to say morning mass. The tin cup collection plate yielded only trinkets, so I soon gave up.
On other days, my cathedral could become a grand super market or a one room school. Often it was a full-blown nursery, complete with crying babies donated by my cronies. Sometimes it was a hospital ward, or an elegant, romantic cafe. Always, though, attention to detail was my forte. I was fueled by own imagination, and my voracious love of adventure.
The dusty old garage had two small rooms. Beside the cathedral cum Piggly Wiggly lay radio land! Old glass tubes and wires littered dirty, grease-encrusted countertops. Thick, yellowed manuals held reams of numbers and letters I could not decipher. Dirt dobber wasps claimed the inside corners of the silent, ancient radios. What a strange world this was: my Dad's playroom, just next door to my own.
He did not understand mine any better than I understood his. I never saw him play out there. My side was much busier. His side collected dust and mold. He had moved on to boats, leaving the neighborhood to me.
Then, my space was large and grand. It was my world. If I were to ever return, I am sure I would find it small and rather insignificant. At one time, though, that world had been my stage. There, I innocently practiced my future. I rehearsed endless hours; preparing mindlessly for scattered eventualities and opportunities.
All of my life purposes seemed so foreign. All of my fears were concrete and immediate. All of my hopes resided within the rickety walls of my garage. I never thought I would be anywhere else; nor would I be anyone else. It was all there, on that tiny stage. It is all with me now. I carry it as a locket, close to my heart.
Robbie Guidry lives and teaches special education for the school district in Fort Collins, Colorado. She grew up in south Louisiana during the 1940s and '50s. She writes poetry and memoirs. She also keeps a journal. She has two children and one grandchild living in Colorado.
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