Terrapins and Sweet Corn

I met Caroline in our first year at an all-girls grammar school, and we spent as much time as we could together. She lived a bus ride away in a bungalow, the first one I’d ever come across, which her parents had expanded upwards into the roof, where Caroline had her bedroom.

It was a busy house; Caroline was the oldest and the only girl of four children, with the twins being the youngest. They had a chihuahua called Dandy, lots of other pets like cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, a chipmunk, and terrapins, which I had never seen before.

I spent as much time as I could at their house, had sleepovers there, taught the twins to sing ‘The Baby Tree’ by Jefferson Starship, and ate corn on the cob with melted butter, salt and pepper for the first time. We are still friends all these years later.

long, hot, dusty days
watching terrapins’ ripples
corn between my teeth

Kim M. Russell, 1st March 2021

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Haibun Monday: Walk with me down memory lane

Lill is our host for this Monday’s Haibun, with a memory prompt. She tells us about a day-long silent retreat she attended at a monastery, during which time she went back to her earliest memories – not triggered by photographs or family lore. She wanted to see what she could remember that did not appear in a photo, in the pages of her baby book or in tales she had heard. She started by sketching the layout of the house she remembered living in. One thing led to another and she started to remember all sorts of things that happened in that house in a notebook she still has.

For this prompt, Lill asks us, before we write our haibun, to get a few pieces of blank paper, have pen in hand, close our eyes for a minute and go back as far as we can in time to our first memories not triggered by a photograph or by family lore. She wants us to really do the exercise, remembering and jotting down, and then pick one memory and write about it in a haibun.

47 thoughts on “Terrapins and Sweet Corn

    1. It was a second home for me back then. They moved from the bungalow many years ago, but Caroline went back to have a look and she told me that it has been pulled down and a grand house has been built in it place.

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  1. LOVE the fun song. Glad you posted it! Isn’t it interesting that we both wrote about the home of our friend? And seemingly, their houses were quite different from ours? So glad you still stay in touch with this friend. Love the haiku….quite in the spirit of the song.

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  2. Awww, this is beautiful Kim! Some memories stick with us, especially the ones with experiences we’d never thought to, well, experience! That is awesome that you keep in touch with your friend to this day. An amazingly written haibun; I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and the memories entwined throughout.

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  3. How lovely that this friendship has endured! It’s funny the things that impact us isn’t it? I used to love corn on the cob, and I’m sure I too would have been enchanted by all those animals…

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    1. Life at their house was the opposite of life at home; they were relaxed, ate interesting food, had pets and loads of fun. Her mum was like a second mum to me. They thought nothing of taking me with them on visits to their grandmother, included me in birthdays and Christmas. Caroline and I got weekend jobs at the ice rink and her dad used to collect us in his car.

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  4. I was under the impression terrapin was an old-fashioned name for a turtle, but I see it’s a different breed of turtle! How lucky to have a good friend with all those pets. You got to have the fun with none of the responsibility. Lucky you!

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    1. Thanks Bev. I was astonished by all the pets, as we had none, except for the school hamster I was allowed to brig home in the holidays. After I left home and my parents moved to a house, they got a dog!

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  5. Loved the micro-recollection, KR, especially the details. You’re lucky she’s still in your life. I’ve only got one of those left now, and we’re not the greatest at staying in touch (beyond Facebook, anyway).
    Write on, Sister.

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    1. Thank you, Ron. I am indeed very lucky to have Caroline. We have another friend I’m still in touch with, but not so often, and my husband and I were at infant and junior school together.

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  6. Great haibun. “Second” homes make for great memories. I thought I was familiar with the full Jefferson Airplane/Starship/HotTuna catalogue, but I do not recall ever hearing “The Baby Tree” before.

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    1. Thank you, Rob. ‘The Baby Tree’ really tickled the twins when they were little. I wonder if they remember it now they are in their late fifties.

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