The Desert

I mentioned before that I grew up in a small desert town in California. As a child growing up in Hinkley sickness was pretty average. The city had its k-8 school, and it was pretty good and just about a mile from the house. Across from the school was the railroad tracks, then the market, post office, and the local bar. Many times Yancy and I would ride our bikes to get bread or stamps. Every home on our side of the tracks set on a 2-acre lot with a well. Our home was a three bedroom one bath, little stucco house in the desert.

I remember the beautiful smell of the desert rain. Now that I am away from it I realize its beauty I once neglected to notice. Coyotes would sing me to sleep every night outside my window. I now long for sunsets and full moons of the desert. Lucerne Valley had the beauty of the foothills and the mountains, amazing views, oh the things I traded for some trees.

If you believe in aliens, the desert is where you want to be. Everything is normal until you realize it’s not. Military bases surrounded my childhood home. One was some secret tech place. A place you pretend doesn’t exist and don’t talk about. I remember being very young and one of their experiments almost crashed into our house, and it hit the antenna. My mom loaded my brother and me in the car with Z, and we headed out to the place that doesn’t exist. Out on a dirt road passing no trespassing signs seeing the armed guards in the distance. My mother was often a fearless woman; I can’t imagine what she was thinking. The guards in the desert stop us and make my mother exit the car. I remember my little mom screaming at these big armed soldiers and getting back in the car. She said they wouldn’t be flying over again, and we can never come back here. She went on a rant about them having a life size remote control airplanes. It was essential to save lives during wars, but they can’t terrorize the citizens and endanger them. It paid off I’m pretty sure we call them drones. I remember the flying wing too. Some of the kids on the playground had played some demon summoning game and thought it was coming for them.

It was a different time, a different life. Once we moved “down the hill” to the metropolis in southern California, life was about adjusting socially. I was 13. My poor mom. I’ll eventually get on to those stories.

In the desert, I learned so much. I learned how to survive anything. We hunted we camped and every year we went to the desert resource center. They taught us how to stay hydrated what plants we could eat, how to identify snakes and properly kill them, how to build and start a safe fire. It was no big deal for my brother and me to go hiking off in the desert. My mom could see us just about anywhere.

One year Yancy and I became slightly obsessed with the Olympics. We created a range of competitions for our cabbage patch kids to compete in. We were catapulting them, tying them to our bikes to see who would fall off last. These poor cabbage patch kids went through it. Someone was continually spending the night in the tree or up on the roof. We had them stuck so much we knew better than to ask for help getting them down. We had to figure it out ourselves. That’s how we accidentally cut off Iona Elizabeth’s leg using a branch cutter to get her down. She won the Olympics, and we moved on to our next adventure.

We used to look up places in the encyclopedia and pretend we were taking our cabbage patch there on a trip. We would get out an atlas and plan all the cities on the route and what we would do there. Yeah, we were a little geeky I guess, makes for some great memories though.

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