Tuesday, July 26, 2011

School Bus Poetry, Flop Houses, and Huffing - Ah my childhood

When you're poor folk, and you live on a family farm, and your landlord's are your parents... you live in the little house. Have you ever seen a house that was shingled instead of sided? No, not shake shingles... TAR shingles. I believe the goal was to use a pattern that looked like brick. What it actually looked like was tar shingles that someone thought looked a little like brick. When I was little I remember thinking we had a pretty nice house. Know why? Because I didn't go to a lot of other people's houses, that's why. My mother had grown up in the little house for a good portion of her childhood as well, and when my great grandparents moved to town, my grandparents moved up. When my parents got married, we moved in.

It's the circle of life, Simba. It's the circle of life. 

Unlike the generations before mine... I never did get to move to the main house. My mother remarried and we moved to a new area community. With no one else willing to move into it, the little house was relegated to farm storage. It became the farm catchall for seed corn, soybeans, chemicals, a pot bellied pig for a time, spray paint, small yard implements, etc. It also became... our Holiday Flop House.

The upper rooms still had random bits of my life in them. Parts of toys, old dressers, crayons, and odd memorabilia from my bio-dad's war days. Regardless of the intended new purpose... it officially became a club house for my cousins, my siblings, and I. During the holiday gatherings, we would sneak off to the little house and gather in the upstairs bedrooms. We would sometimes smoke cigarettes, usually gossip, and always graffiti the hell out of the walls.

There were times when we were more artistic. We embraced our inner poets and shared prose with each other. My favorite goes something like this... <clears throat>

Scag scag you bloody rag
You filthy, slimy, slut
Between your thighs
Green fungus lies
And maggots crawl
Out of your butt

I am not sure how the next bit goes, but I do recall it ended with "die of the drizzling shits". I learned this poem on the school bus from an older kid named Mike Blum. He was always in the front of the bus where he could be monitored by the bus driver... probably for this very reason.

Our little flop house was also the place where we first learned the dangers of "huffing". It's not that we were trying to get high, we weren't. We were trying to express ourselves! You see, farm tractors occasionally need to be repainted. Maybe there is a scratch somewhere. If you don't clean it and repaint quickly you will get rust. It was for that reason that my grandpa and uncle kept cans of John Deere green spray paint in our little home away from home. When we discovered the joy of graffiti with paint as opposed to crayons we were hooked.

We painted joyously for over an hour. At least 4 of us in a 12x12 room, "emoting" to our hearts content. When we decided to rejoin the family, our grandfather met us at the door. "Have you been in the spray paint?" he asked. Obviously we lied. That's what you do. He wasn't wearing a look that said, "FANTASTIC~ YOU FOUND THE SPRAY PAINT! LET'S CELEBRATE THIS MOMENT MY LITTLE MICHAEL ANGELOS! ".

Immediately we knew someone had seen us, narced on us, probably my little sister. STOOL PIGEON! RAT FINK! IT HAD TO BE HER!!! Orrrrrr maybe it was the rings of John Deere green inhaled paint surrounding our noses. You would have thought we looked at each other at least once on the walk home... but we were probably too high to notice.

13 comments:

wagthedad said...

I know the house with tar shingles instead of siding. I had a friend who lived in one of those. We had a house with wooden siding that leaked in the winter because of the termite holes. Poor folk. Salt of the earth. Yeah. I know all about that, being country folk myself.

Never got into huffing. I did help my dad do a lot of painting growing up, though, and got high that way several times. My dad was more into staying warm or cool than ventilation.

Huffing. Ha. I'd forgotten about that.

Angie said...

Wag,
I have a feeling our families shared the same colorful language, euphemisms, etc. For the record... I wasn't actually into huffing! It's just hard not to huff when you're all painting in a small space!

Anonymous said...

before I touch your scaley body or touch your festering tits... I will drink a bottle of buzzlng barf and die of the drizzlng SHITS...

okay that is how I remember it.... lol

Fred Miller said...

The "other house" was part of our culture, too. Not on our farm. But plenty of farms around us. You could go in there and have snort of whiskey while you mixed milk replacer to give the orphan calf. That kind of thing. I knew one old man who would go and sleep in the "other house" when he was mad at his wife. Probably saved their marriage.

Fred Miller said...

Oh, and may I offer our version of the second verse? It's very similar to that offered by Anonymous.

"Before I climb those scaley legs
and suck those festering tits,
I'd drink a gallon of buzzard puke
and die of the drizzling shits."

Crissy said...

Ah! I had somehow forgotten that bit of poetry, but never the "little house." We had some bit of real freedom over in that house, Ang! I was so crushed when the little house was bulldozed for that ugly Morton building...we had great times there. But I wonder now how you felt when it was demolished? Maybe a little ok with it going away? And what the hell ever happened to that pig? Otis, right?

Angie said...

Anon- Linette is that you? That's sort of how I remember it.

Fred- OMG I think you nailed the last verse! I have visited a farm like that before. I won't go into detail.. but are you from Iowa? LOL

Crissy- I think I've only been there twice since it was demolished. I was more sad than anything. Aside from the reel-to-reel and some parent fights, I don't remember anything except fun with you guys when I lived there. Next time we're both home let's go for a walk! I am leaving next year and will be futher from home than ever! Yes! Otis was the pig! haha

Azra said...

Sounds like fun! My cousins and I would walk down the road to the airport and have a picnic in the middle of the runway at sunrise. On particularly hot days, we'd scour the neighbourhood - all the houses with pools - to see who wasn't home, then scale the fence or wall and swim to our hearts content... (jumping out and hiding everytime we heard a car drive past of course ;D).

Angie said...

Cousins are like siblings who don't take your toys or clothes. We had a river close to the house when we were little. I recall spending time playing there and if it weren't for all the chemicals washing into the water these days I still might! It sounds like you and your cousins had as much fun as we did!!!

If I Were God... said...

I knew I was missing out on something as a city kid. Of course, I've also riden the cyclone at nearby Coney Island, threw candy off the Empire State Building, been in the crown of the Statue of Liberty... fair trade off I guess.

Angie said...

IIWG,
You make it sound like farm kids never leave the farm. :p
I've left the farm and even had the sweet experience of riding the Ferry Cross the Mersey!

Linda Medrano said...

Angie, I have never been to a farm. Farms scare me. Cats in the barns scare me. Hell, barns scare me. I have never used spray paint or huffed it, but now I want to try it. I'm not sure what huffing it is, but I'll do it. That poetry is amazing. We had our own in the city of course, something about "Bang Bang Lulu". One verse was "Lulu had a boyfriend. His name was Diamond Dick. She never saw his diamond. She only saw his "Bang Bang Lulu".

Angie said...

Linda, I am adding cans of spray paint to our list. So far I've got:
diet pills
wine
cigarettes
spray paint
:)

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