First, I’d better explain that I’m from England, which is why some things I say (write) may sound a little odd. The only trouble is, most of the time - unless someone points out the error of my ways - I don’t know I’m doing it because to me it’s normal. So please be sure to tell me if you don’t understand something and I’ll translate.
Growing up mostly in Cheshire, England, in a non-LDS household was uneventful by today’s standards. No Primary. No Young Women. No family home evening. Not much excitement to stir the memory. My brother and sister were twins, and I was two years older, so I spent much of my time alone. I didn’t mind, because I had enough imagination to fill a zoo. From an early age, I had a make-believe horse stabled in the attic. At that time, we lived in an old Victorian semi-detached house in Knutsford, and I think I was the only one who ventured up those creaky, uncarpeted stairs to the two bleak rooms in the sky.
There were no curtains on the windows, sashes were broken, and the glass was dusty, with bird droppings encrusting the outside in strange patterns. Cobwebs in corners fluttered when I blew on them, and spiders kept busy trapping countless flies. I had no fear of spiders back then, since British specimens are not poisonous.
There was nothing comfortable about those rooms with their uneven floorboards. They smelled musty in summer, and dank in winter. A bare light bulb dangled by its knotted wire in one ceiling; the other room had nothing but window light. Yet those rooms were my refuge. The place where imaginary friends lived and played – and where I enjoyed many a quiet read.
It was there that stories began in my mind. Instead of empty space, I saw Snowball, my plucky white stallion, surrounded by tackle-filled walls, bales of hay, and a tub of water, which I refilled on a regular basis, along with a bucket of feed. I enjoyed the company of pretend children, fairies, goblins, and animals of varying sizes. Instead of a Secret Garden, I had a Not-So-Secret Attic.
More about my writing beginnings in the next post. Right now, I should climb down those attic stairs and return to reality. It’s amazing how vivid some memories remain after years of hiding away. But work calls. My new book, Famous Family Nights, will soon be in the stores, and there’s much to do.
Feel free to join a Facebook group for Famous Family Nights by clicking HERE.