My first effort when I started playing under the house was to finds ways to add things to the miniature ranch, I had build with popsicle sticks woven into tiny walls and connected by strings and fine wires.
Then I wove another one for the roof. I also used them as little "rafts' during heavy rainstorms created almost instantly a varying number of 'raging' creeks. I had built a fence around the ranch house also with popsicle sticks tied together by string. Leveling out the ground and making paths was also pleasurable.
Built a pig pen or a barn, with no idea of how I could get little pigs, nor straw for the barn, and no chickens either. Worse of all, no horses. Therefore, I had to invent a new games. One that always intrigued me was removing the fine dirt shaped like an inverted little cone created by doodle bugs as a home to hide in.
They were tiny little creatures, shaped like a miniature light tan colored boxing gloves. From my vantage point, I was able to watch Olivia Lopez and my sister Carmen - who were 9, a year and a half older than me. They were engaged in a duel for the rope jumping championship de la Calle Siete y Chicon. Olivia was ahead with jumps without a miss, and Carmen was dead set on surpassing her; though the strained look on her face and apparent shortness of breath revealed she was not going to do so.
Just then I saw a l GMC truck pulling huge trailer-bed, with a tarp covering large sections of metal and machinery, throwing up clouds of dust. And I immediately realized the carnival was arriving, and shouted: And it made Carmen skip a jump, giving her a good excuse to start again after a short rest. However she and Olivia forget about jumping rope and their emerging egos, since they were caught up with the intrigue and excitement of the arriving major event of our long summers. Carmen, Olivia and I took long looks in both directions of 7th St.
Olivia who was taller and slim darted ahead, as if she was flaunting her zebra like speed. While Carmen and I had the good fortune of actually being fat and resigned over being slow pokes. Before we knew it Olivia had almost reached the spot where the truck had stopped.
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The man driving it honked his horn and signaled Olivia to go no further. We don't want you to get hurt! Olivia dashed off to announce to her mom that the carnivals' el Pulpo had arrived. Carmen and I stood far away enough to remain staring at the trailer, and saw a girl about Carmen's age, a slim, thin, frail looking white girl with long honey blonde hair come out carrying a pan of dirty water to throw out. When she saw us she decided to come close to us before dumping the water.
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Therese Patricia Marie Jordan. What's you all's name? We lived in that house across the street". Iona looked at it with a longing and said: Then we heard the voice of a woman inside the trailer shout:. Git your little tail over here right now!
You know you won't have time to play until we get settled in. Carmen and I had only one choice: It was a Sunday and mama had a day off from her job as a maid for the Stephen F. Austin Hotel, the day Carmen could enjoy the entire day without even having to pick up a broom as soon a mother got home early afternoon on Saturdays. We both stood in silence looking at the direction where mama was toiling away ironing our clothes.
Carmen was more emboldened that I was, so she went up to mama and just looked at her closely. And she swept faster and more efficiently than she normally did. For she was not going to take any chances, if in fact Mama had coins to spare for us to enjoy the thrills available in an entire block and a half filled by rides and booths and the house of mirrors, etc. Mama looked at my direction and knew she was going to have me approach her next.
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Carmen continued sweeping the entire house as well as any full grown woman. And then passed by mama rather closely and said: This time we went to the left corner where an old black gentleman had established a Black Smith Shop in a building that had been a Round House for servicing the trains nearby.
We headed straight to the China Berry Tree to enjoy the shade. But we stood on the side where an old horse was tide up awaiting to be shoed. It was a kind of pathetic gentle old creature. And we both decided to get close enough to touch it on it's left side. The old gentleman who always smiles at us and waved said, "Hi you'sall. Bernard ," we responded, isn't great the carnival is here?.
And then he broke the spell and smiled at us again and said, "When you get tired of the carnival, you're always welcome to come a hear a story or two. Bernard we said as we left to get closer to the action. We saw how fast Iona's dad and his assistants had connected the parts to make the Octopus ride ready for the thrills ahead. Iona had seen us and came up to us again. Carmen and I were so fascinated by El Pulpo that we scarcely paid attention to her. Nothing better than a real house she told us as she looked at our house with longing. Just another couple of minutes," and then he turn on the juice and started the the eight tentacles with its large metal whirling chairs swirling in the air.
Carmen and I stared at it and saw it was ready for us. We need to test this thing a little more anyway, " Iona's dad said.
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He put us on board but not together. Each of us was going to ride alone in a separate tentacle. And off we went raising up high and having the seat whirl around. However there was one problem, the speed was faster than any other previous ride on the Octopus, So fast that both Carmen and I were starting to feel panic. The fact that we were the only ones on it, unnerved us, as we held on for dear life.
Apparently Iona's dad was intent on giving us the longest Octopus ride of our lives. And it appeared that he had just walked away to let us keep enjoying the ride as long as we wanted. But before long Carmen started yelling "Stop this stupid thing! Finally she started screaming hysterically "Help, help.. And also was at the point of crying and then screaming too. Carmen kept yelling until finally they heard her.
Carmen and I got off quickly and started leaving area. The ride had been normal however. It was just that we were each alone in our seat and since the other 12 tentacles' seats were empty, and the effect was the opposite of enjoyment not having others smiles and laughing. Iona, went over to speak with her father, wanting to know why Carmen was upset; and all he could do was shrug his shoulders. Besides we forgot about it not too long after. It turned out our sister Juanita who was 7 had gotten back from he stay with Mamagrande Lupe; and she had gone across the Street with Emilia and Tina Sanchez and together they struck up a conversation with Iona.
And when they got back Juanita said she had invited Iona to come a play with her.
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And sure enough the following mid-morn Iona came over. Carmen had not gotten upset with her or nothing; so soon all three of them were playing with dolls my sisters had gotten the past couple of Christmases. Then they started playing Jacks in which they bounced a tiny red ball while picking up a jack until all of them had been gathered. And I decided to join in to show I had a talent for the game.
Each turn we took we had to increased the number of Jacks to pick up until we ended the game and declared ourselves the winner, after we scooped up all 12 of the jacks up at the same time. Iona made herself at home and walked all around it, and even jump on the beds to try them out. As the director in charge Carmen decided we should formally start playing house in the back yard where we had an old mattress we enjoyed jumping up and down on. And Carmen started giving us instructions handing a broom to Iona and telling her to sweep an area to rid it of rocks.
And then she went into the house to get materials.
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Then she found some old curtains and hung them on the back side of the house. And sent me to bring out some chairs and a small table. We used an old crate as a piece of furnisher.