When I was a child I used to lay out under our beautiful Hackberry tree in the side yard and watch the fluffy white clouds drift by. I saw such marvelous things. Ships, elephants, air planes, dogs and even people. I’d watch them change forms from one to another.
It was my favorite place to be when I had no one to play with. I loved that tree; loved to feel the rough bark on my face and smell the wood.
But when I was naughty and got a scolding or when I grew tired of my brothers teasing, I had a secret hiding place.
Looking back, I think I was basically a good child. I never needed a spanking. All my grandmother had to do was say, " Shame on you." and my heart would be hurting enough without my bottom hurting too.
My secret hiding place was in my bedroom, inside my chiffonier.
For those of you who are not as old as I am, you may never have seen a chiffonier. It was a high, wide and fairly deep chest with drawers on one side and a closet on the other. The door of the closet usually had a long mirror. Mine did.
I would get into the closet and sit on the floor behind my clothes, leaving the door slightly ajar.
It was very, very dark inside the closet. I’d sit there for what seemed like hours, pondering what I had done to get a scolding and vowing never to do it again. Or I’d plot some revenge on my brother.
On one such day, my grandmothers oldest daughter , my Aunt Lennie, came to visit. She was a widow and had a daughter my brothers age. They lived in Oklahoma about fifty miles away and when they came they usually stayed about a week. So I was in no hurry to leave my hiding place.
I could hear them talking in the dining room.
"Where’s that baby girl?", my aunt asked.
" She got a good scolding and I think she is hiding somewhere." grandmother replied.
" Well, I bet I can find her." said my aunt.
There was a built in closet in my room but grandmother used it to store quilts and feather beds. I heard my aunt come into my bedroom and open the closet door.
" No, she’s not in here, she said, I bet she’s under the bed. No, not there. Well where do you suppose she could be? I bet she’s in one of these drawers."
She opened each drawer on the chiffonier.
" No, not in there either, there’s only one place left."
Then she opened the door of the chiffonier and parted my clothes.
" There you are, you silly goose. What are you doing in here hiding from me? Come here and give me a big hug."
Hug? I wanted to kill her! But I loved her and was a dutiful child so I came out and gave her a hug but with a long face and a pout.
I was really getting too big to hide in there much longer. The space was becoming smaller and smaller and I would have eventually had to give it up anyway. But I wasn’t quite ready.
I think my grandmother knew all along where I was hiding but in her good judgement left me alone to ponder the error of my ways until I was ready to come out on my own.
A golden memory from childhood.
By Lora Cox © 2001
I still have a secret hiding place.
" For in time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me;" Psalms 27:5