Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. All images are ©Katherine Dunn.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Do you remember a place up high in the sky?

I've noticed since the head injury I've had wandering thoughts of youth, and places I've lived. Perhaps my brain is putting things back into proper order, kind of like sweeping up after a light wind storm {I'm doing just fine, by the way}. A couple weeks after the accident, when I was okay to drive again, I had this intense hankering for salami sandwiches with toasted bread and Durkee sauce-this was a family favorite as I grew up. I also had a craving for liverwurst. So I bought both and relished it.

We rarely if ever buy any processed meats, but I enjoyed each sandwich. I decided, besides my body asking for it, it was also my mom stopping in after my accident-lending a comforting nod my way-

"Make yourself a sandwich, with Durkees," she'd say.

I found this photo stuck in some papers yesterday. It was taken in 1963 on Goodrich Avenue in St. Paul in the Crocus Hill area. I loved that house, and neighborhood. It was my second all time favorite place that we lived. It was a big old house, in a diverse neighborhood made up of middle class working people-professors, families, doctors and others. Today we could never afford that neighborhood but I'm so glad we got to live there. I could roam the sidewalks and although I wasn't supposed to, I often ended up at the bakery or hardware store on Grand Avenue. Back when everyone knew everyone-my father would take me to the bakery each Sunday and I'd always get extras since I was so stinking cute with my curly, fire red hair. There were lots of Catholic schools around and nuns were always walking on the streets. I was fascinated with nuns, and i clearly remember meeting one on the street, with my mom. My mom was horrified because I asked the nun if she was a dinosaur [I was four or five]. For years I tried to explain to my mother that when I first got my Madeline books, Miss Clavel the nun reminded me of a dinosaur, but in a good way-I also had a dinosaur doll and thought it looked like a nun in a habit.

We had this simple treehouse in the backyard, an old door with steps up the tree trunk made of simple boards. There was a rope too to climb down. We spent lots of time there. I remember it being way high up in the tree and am glad I can't see it today, I prefer to remember it as the palatial palace I thought it was.

I wanted to bring my little poodle up in it. So I tried all these ways to get her up there–carrying her up, nope, that didn't work; putting her in a basket and trying to hoist it up with a rope-nope, that didn't work; and finally, I tied a rope around her collar and started pulling. My brother knew this was wrong [I was only five] and he got my mom who put an end to that. That poor little dog, she followed me everywhere and was so forgiving. My motives were pure.

Those seemed like simpler times. But in reality, my little heart was often scared or broken back then-like watching my mother sob in front of the black and white television screen when JFK died. I didn't understand the event, but I understood my mother was sad.

The glory days are wonderful to think of, but if you transplanted yourself to such a place, you would still be a human-a flawed, sometimes terrified human in a big world of chaos as well as beauty. I was lucky to have a loving home and family, an education and parents that sacrificed so I could go to good schools.

But often, it's the simplest things that make us put something in our past on a pedestal. I guess that treehouse is like that-it was a place we could be free, be kids, and we were't afraid of falling, and we didn't need cushions or tv's, or helmets. We had no idea what is store as the years went on, and it didn't matter. We pretty much lived for the day for a short period of time.

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~