Turpentine

I remember the time when I was four years old and Mr. Stafford had just painted our shutters propped on sawhorses in the yard.

I remember my mother saying, “Elizabeth, don’t go near those!”

I remember wondering what would happen if I did. I needed to find out. I needed to go outside on that sunny day and inspect the newly primed grey shutters while Mr. Stafford sat in his car eating lunch.

I remember my long blonde hair clinging to the shutters and the sticky feeling on my hands when I touched my hair.

I remember the look of distress and confusion on my mother’s face and the flurry of activity around something I didn’t really understand.

I remember the smell of turpentine.

And, I remember defying authority.

by Elizabeth, 66. Perth, WA

2 Comments

  1. Hello Elizabeth, I really liked your short but very expressive story of this memory. Smells like the turpentine are strong evokers of memory I find. I especially liked your last line about defying authority…did you continue to be a rebel? :))

    1. Hi Lesley-Anne, thank you for your comment on my story! Oh yes, those strong smells certainly do evoke big moments in life. Your question about me continuing to be a rebel… I’ve not been an activist in a traditional sense but I am unabashedly inquisitive and have always questioned rules and regulations and bent them to serve my interests and others too. So I haven’t changed the world exactly but have adjusted my position in it from time to time. Thanks for your note! 😁

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