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Here's Da Way It Is Marguerite Rivas sipoet Hey RS,
Ditto on the thanks for starting this string. I think we should try to keep it going for as long as we can, even if we just post a fragment of a memory. I had a strange dream last night and it brought me back to my Huguenot childhood.
When I was young, the great wave of development(after you-know-what was built) hadn't hit yet. I was really young, though. I do have such vivid memories nevertheless.
There were acres of woods (it seemed to me then) behind my house on Darlington Avenue. I lived in the area bordered by Marcy Avenue and Foster Road. I remember there being claypits somewhere off of Marcy near Woodrow. Does anyone know anything about them? The only thing I remember about them is being told not to go up that far. I sort of remember playing in a claypit kind of valley. I remember my sneakers being red-hued by the time I returned home from those trips. My best friend, Pat Neumann and I used to wander around quite a bit. I remember when the building started. There were always earthmovers and cranes in the neighborhood. We used to collect the soda bottles from the construction sites after the workers left for the day to get the deposit money to buy penny candy at Hasselbach's in town. We were pretty young then, but I clearly remember starting to hate it all so passionately. I knew the woods were going. I remember the smell of the earth as the trees were uprooted. We'd wander through the woods; most of the time I tagged along with my older brother and his friends. In those days, there weren't a lot of kids around yet, so I had to hang around with boys mostly. There was only one other girl in my immediate neighborhood. I remember wandering through some of our favorite wooded haunts until my brother's friend would shout, "Turn't dirt," and there we'd come upon the next construction site. Sometimes, (and I can scarcely believe this) I would wander through the woods in my backyard alone. In reality, I guess I didn't go that far -- it probably just seemed it to me. I remember loving the solitude of the woods. I was one of six kids and you could never quite hear yourself think above the din. I remember once coming upon a little spot, nestled in between the trees that was covered in moss. It was that soft cushiony dark green velvet kind of moss. The area was encrusted with quartz -- the kind of stones that looked like those gross, not quite jelly bean Easter eggs.I remember stopping there to lie down upon the ground. I couldn't have been more than eight years old. I can still see myself doing that today; actually I still do that kind of stuff today. I think I learned about the sensual experience of embracing nature there. Years and years later, when I was pregnant with my first child, I longed to share such an experience with her. In my seventh, almost eighth month of pregnancy, I found out that she had a fatal birth defect and would most likely die shortly after she was born. I thought of that place in the woods. I longed to return to that womb in the woods -- except it was obliterated. My parents, however had bought a double lot when they purchased their house in the late 40's, early 50's, so there were still old trees and plenty of fallen leaves on the ground. I remember going back there on one of those sunny,Indian summer, glorious Staten Island days and lying on the ground under the tall beech and sweetgum trees. The leaves were in the process of falling, and there was a bed for me there. I bared my pregnant belly to the sun and reveled in this time that my baby and I had together. It was the only respite from grief that I had, or would have, for at least the next year or two. My StatNisland earth gave me such comfort. This is why I love my island home so much.

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