Where the Bromegrass Lies Flat

13 May

This is it.

That article I wrote in High School about bromegrass.  Remember, I said I would post it if I my mom found it, and she did.

By the age of ten I had already raised my orphaned brothers and sisters, been married to a much younger man, defended my children against the “Banana Boat Men,” survived numerous tornadoes, fires, floods, and blizzards, and still managed to keep my home neat as a pin. There is nothing like a good game of “house” to build childhood memories. But what is “house” if you don’t have the home? Home is said to be where the heart is, but I don’t know, I happen to think it is where the bromegrass lies the flattest.

To the silage trucks that roared by in their own cloud of dust, it looked like just an irrigation ditch. To the teachers at Prairie Belle school, it was “the boundary”. To the students, it was a home. The irrigation ditch, the outside boundary of our school yard, was covered in bromegrass, bromegrass that formed the house we played in every day.

The rooms were formed where the bromegrass lay flat on the ground and around them the bromegrass stood tall to give us privacy. We had hallways to follow and paths that led us to the places we had designed. Each of us had created his own room, where he was assured privacy and could go to be left alone. Each chose the place that he wanted to be his. When we made our rooms, we chose areas where the grass naturally was low. We wondered many times if others had built homes there before us.

All the bedrooms were off of the main gathering room. Our living room was an area where a hole had been dug long before our time.  The low spot still existed. More importantly, the living room was where we all gathered to talk and share, and where the most memories were made. The living room was the place where we all hid in each others arms during our pretend tornadoes, where we had family meetings if one of the children had been bad, where we went when we were cold and had to escape the chilling wind of the blizzard. It was also the place where we hid to discuss how cranky our teacher was. Our house was in the inside corner of the L-shaped turn in the ditch. There we were protected by the height of ditch walls. Sometimes we went past the protective walls, past the boundary, into the ditch. In the winter we skated across the remaining water. In the fall the ditch held the ocean, and in the spring, the Grand Canyon.

The games we played, the feelings we shared, and the things we did together in that house will be with us forever. We all felt safety there, surrounded by the bromegrass. It kept us warm and out of the wind and allowed us to feel the security we all needed in everyday life. We were reassured by the sound of the brome grass moving in the wind. Somehow it told us the wind and cold were out there but where we were was safe, protected and warm. The sound of the school bell was the cue to return to school life. Some days the bell’s sound was so faint we wondered if it really existed. Other days the bell was an invitation that we looked forward to receiving. We did not hate school or life. We just loved our recess home.

No one goes to school there anymore, the district is disolved. I went back the day before the auction. I still knew where each “room” had been located. I could still hear the wind in the grass and smell the sweet odor of the brome. And through all this time, the bromegrass still lies flat.

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One Response to “Where the Bromegrass Lies Flat”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Prairie Bells are Ringing « …and we laughed and laughed. - August 29, 2011

    […] trepidatiously enter that stucco learning fortress. Our school had a wonderful smell. The scents of bromegrass, cornfield, chalk, powdered tempura paint, construction paper, and mouse droppings combined to form […]

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