A Memory of a Long Ago Summer Story

Dear Reader:

I grew up in the Haymount area of Fayetteville, NC -not the old historic Victorian mansions side but on the other side where ” Leave it to Beaver” middle class homes pervaded the landscape… ours being the wooden two story duplex on Huske Street.

It was a typical fifties neighborhood… our street was at the top of three hilly streets-all running downhill to the delight of us skaters, bikers and occasional sledders! ( except when we had to climb back up. )

Three blocks away was Fort Bragg Blvd and we were forbidden to get close to it, much less try to cross it. We were all pretty good until one of the first McDonalds went up across that major Highway! It was the closest thing to heaven.

We would save up our allowance each month to get one legitimate meal there with mother in her car… never breathing that the oldest in each family met once a month to bring back orders for the neighborhood gang. Of course it only lasted until ” Mac Scout” ( as we called the selected deliverer) got caught by a parent eating inside. Those early McDonalds was every kid’s fantasy meal!

Fort Bragg-biggest and most congested highway in the state… in the 50’s -we should not have been crossing it!

But the summer memory that has stayed with me is a creek that ran downhill through a forest area just a few blocks from the house in another direction. In grade school and junior high it was my escape to run to when I was upset or simply wanted to be alone.

One year when I was about 10… I was upset about something at school and went and sat down on the embankment to watch the creek flow over the rocks in the shade of overhanging trees. So soothing. I happened to still have my book satchel … I pulled out a notebook and wrote all my feelings out-then folded the note over and over before burying it under a dry rock on the embankment. I felt so much better.

It was the beginning of my love for writing and healing… I wrote when I was exceptionally happy or sad… and always on my birthday-writing out my dreams for the new age. Then I folded the note and placed it under a rock.

In real life the creek was smaller but the shady sanctuary it provided accomplished the healing.

The day before we left Fayetteville for good (when I was thirteen that summer)… I made my last trek to the creek. I had already written my last farewell note to that special place that brought me such comfort and joy. This time, however, I wrapped the note in aluminum foil and tied a string around it… leaving it under the highest rock I could reach.

I have never returned… I feel sure that whole area has changed with time and climate and real estate …but that’s okay… it is just as vivid in my memory as the last time I said good-bye. Everyone should have a special place growing up where they can commune with nature and God.

So until tomorrow… Every time I hear or sing Rock of Ages… I immediately think of that sanctuary that ” saved” a youth like me when I needed my special time… my conversation with God! A note for every new birthday year: new AGE hopes and dreams left under a rock!

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

The Dingles are off to New England… Vermont and Maine! Have fun and bring some ” cool” back with you!
One day in the sun and looks like Linda’s pink ruellia is already blooming and happy in the garden!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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