By Lynn Pacifico
Until the birth of my sister when I was four, my family lived in a little two-bedroom house that was owned by a great aunt. My brother, a year younger than I, shared a bedroom with me, his crib across the room from mine. A special relationship formed between us there, a security in each other’s presence. In the early morning before my parents woke and the family day began, we entertained each other. I remember using my crib bar to do ballet and watching my toddler brother, in his crib, attempting to imitate me.
There was a window near my crib that overlooked the back yard and an apple tree that hung branches over the roof below. The tree tantalized my senses in the spring with beautiful pale pink blossoms that attracted birds and bees. Later in the summer, the tree magically grew delicious bright red apples. During the summer heat the window was left open providing a meditation on nature, and a sweet fragrant breeze.
Windows can signify many things such as a portal, (to another place), a differential (inside/outside), a view (picture windows), an understanding (a window to the world), an opportunity (a window of time). Windows have had a special meaning to me ever since, as a child I watched Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Wendy and the boys fly out of the bedroom window to freedom and the fantastic.
As an adult, when taking my five year old on the Disney Peter Pan ride, I lost my breath as the ride began with us “flying” out of the bedroom window. I was surprised at how much this affected me. I don’t remember anything else about the ride, only that my eyes and my mouth were wide open, and my hand held my heart at the thrill of flying out that window.
I believe that the window incident was the first time my parents spanked me—not hard, but they began paddling me as I was pulled inside through the window. Can you imagine their horror to walk into an empty bedroom and find the two of us outside the window on the roof? I also believe that that was when I began to understand that I was responsible for taking care of my brother and the concept of doing something wrong, even if I wasn’t trying to be bad by climbing out the window, my brother following me.
A few years ago, my mother and brother long gone, my father, sister and I drove by the little house. Sitting outside in the car, the three of us silently looked at our old home, each lost in our own thoughts. Mine was of my brother and me, outside the window, sitting on the roof, happy in the beauty and wonder of nature.