Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Benton Harbor
 “Can you cook”, can you make cornbread, I mean from scratch, not Jiffy Mix.”
They laughed at Jiffy Mix; Jiffy Mix was not cornbread it came in a box.
“From scratch, can you make it from scratch?”
“Can you make a cake”?
“Not boxed, from scratch, can you make a cake from scratch?”
Benton Harbor
What is the history of this place? My grand mother lived in a house on a street called Wauconda, sounds Indian to me. Someone told me once that that was the name of a snake.

I played with a girl that lived across the side road the family was white; the little girl’s name was Amy. I wonder whatever happened to that family, they moved away.
 There was a company that had sand. There were sand dunes next door to Amy’s house and we would go over and play in those on hot summer days. We climbed the hot sand dunes and fell to our knees, the bottom of our feet got hot climbing and running up and down the dunes, we dug deep holes and climbed into them up to our knees and cooled our hot feet, the sand was cool and damp the deeper we dug.

 I was not allowed to go to Amy’s door I could only play with her if she was outside already.  And across the street from my grand mother  directly in front of her house was a brown apartment building I remember one apartment in the front downstairs and one on the side upstairs and one on the back upstairs  and there was another company that was trucking. You heard trucks all-day on weekdays pulling in and out loading and unloading and there was a cement company down the road next to the sand company.  I know that sand in used to mix cement.   There was usually a mixer truck, a cement mixer truck around the area in that neighborhood, I can see it plainly in my head like a cartoon rendition of a neighborhood you find in children’s books with a sign for each location around the block, The grocery store, the usual things you find in a neighborhood, a hardware store, the pet shop only our little neighborhood had three big companies that used big trucks to carry something back and forth.  I always heard truck sounds and loud they were, but this is where she lived.

My grand mother, the domestic, lived in a big gray house that seemed big to me then. It had an upstairs living quarter with it’s own bath at the bottom of the stairs, and kitchen and two bedrooms up stairs, very small, and a door right next to the farmhouse kitchen sink that opened wide and had no balcony if you walked off you would fall at least one story below,  I remember  we would jump out of that door onto the ground below, and I could feel the impact of the fall around my ankles, it would sting for a moment when we hit the ground but we would pause and then stand up and run up the stairs to do it again.  I think once was enough for me, maybe twice, maybe three times.  The property was situated on a corner and the grass was beautiful, in spite of the industrial surroundings. 

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