Outside this window was my second home, a place where I grew up and could look outside and feel like I was on top of the world, and could do anything, or be anyone. Outside this window, I had some of the best times of my life. If you were watching as I burst outside those doors you would have seen a kid living their best life at the happiest place on earth.
Well, there are no words to sum up what’s outside this window, what it did to all the kids who passed through the glass, and all the memories this place contains. To reach this window, you had to step into the kindest most loving person’s house, Miss Emma. You had to walk in the front door and be greeted by Cooper, a dog the size of you jumping on top of you, Beany, a tiny dog yapping from the couch. Once you stepped foot in, he would run full speed ahead to get you. Then Jack-Jack would come over to check you out. If you were lucky, you might see the cat, but the worst part might be all the kids running or hiding, but as soon as you saw Miss Emma’s face, it took all the background craziness away. When you heard that British accent, saw her kind smile, and with one motion could get all the kids and animals calm, you knew you felt safe. You would pass the playroom, the living room, practically another living room, and then enter the kitchen. Once you walked around the island or ran, and if you were tall enough to reach, then and only then, could you lay your eyes on the window.
This crystal clear glass laid eyes on her backyard but this wasn’t any backyard. I spent around five years of my life there and how it changed each year. When I first got old enough to go through that teleportation device there was a treehouse, trampoline, swing set, garden, kiddie pool and little kid slide, pool, fairy tree, and lastly, the woods. We had access to almost everything in that backyard beside the massive trampoline and the treehouse, sky-high and rustic, that we always wanted to explore. Now I understand her reasoning for denying us access to those two worlds we always wanted to reach.
She wouldn’t let us use the huge trampoline because there was no netting on the side so if we would have bounced out of place, we would have gone flying off and you would have heard a bone in our body crack or we would have landed in dog poop. That wouldn’t have been good for any of us. Also, let’s be real, we were kids and most likely would have gotten in some sort of unneeded fight and someone would have gone flying off or we would have just have been dumb and said, “ Hey guys look what I can do, I can do a front flip.” Then one of us would say, “ Ok prove it, do a front flip off this and land it. We will count 3-2-1 NOW!!!” Then we would all need to take a hospital trip, just another fun adventure in her big old van. So now I understand why only her daughters Hannah, Nicky and, Amelia could go on it to tan.
While the treehouse, we didn’t want to admit, was falling apart. It was slanted and some steps had fallen off, the wood was flimsy and weak with splinters and covered with dirt. That didn’t stop us from wanting to explore and see what was inside. Sometimes we would try to see if we could sneak into it, but we always got caught by Miss Emma peering out that window. It was made for her daughters to play in when they were little and hadn’t been touched in a long long time. Eventually, it got torn down along with the tree because it wasn’t safe for anyone. Our hearts were broken that we never got to go in, but we all knew it had a good life.
Next, this backyard contained what I like to call my personal American Ninja Warrior course. It wasn’t always this way for a long time it was just a swing set, rustic and old, with paint peeling off. When I was younger I would sit on the swings and swing back and forth for what felt like hours. I would try and see how high I could go and try to reach the clouds. Once my legs got too long to swing without hitting my legs and feet on the rock-solid dirt ground, it became my very own American Ninja Warrior course. I would climb up till I was standing on a bar of the swing set, all the weight on the one side. I would balance my life and the swing sets. Then I would jump from swing to swing or try and shimmy down the bar wanting to do it quicker and faster than my previous run. I would make different courses to weave through the swings.
Speaking of the kiddie pool, Miss Emma had one where we would bathe the dogs, play with the little kids and even get in ourselves and grab the slide so we could slide into it. She had an above-ground pool, but we were put off from using that too because we were too little to be able to use it without someone most likely drowning. The only time we really used that one was when a little kid’s parent-approved and brought a floatie. We would set the kiddie pool and baby slide right next to each other on the porch and would have competitions to see who could do the best slide or jump into the pool and would help push the little ones down. The slide was smaller than us and our legs were hanging off but we didn’t care. We used that pool so much as soon it was hot enough to feel the fiery sun on our rosy cheeks, we would jump off our feet asking if we could use it. If Coop, Jack-Jack, or Beany needed a bath or they decided to jump in we would all get in to help. We used that thing so much she had to get another one from the marks of hands and claws. We sure got good use out of that pool. One day when we got older Miss Emma and Mr. Dave wanted an upgrade and redid their pool. They added a cool deck with steps so they could have chairs and lay out. That pool was really snazzy and that is where the real jump-offs went down.
Additionally, another surprise outside that piece of glass was what we called a magical garden. In the garden, she grew watermelon, pumpkins, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. We would check every day just to see what was new in the garden and if anything was big enough for us to reach out and pick. When there was something, we would have buckets to fill with anything that could fit in the grasp of our hand or had the right color. For Miss Emma, it was like her own personal grocery store in her backyard.
Furthermore, two of my favorite things about her yard that the window peered out on were the fairy tree and the magical woods. The fairy tree had a door with vines around it, and Miss Emma told us it was her door so that fairies could live in that tree and we did everything in our power to keep that tree safe. We also stayed around it because we wanted to lay eyes on the fairies for ourselves. At the base of the tree, there was a root with a circled hole in it. Shaw, Kaitlyn, Lily, and I would collect berries, get water cups from the house, leaves, mud, pine cones, and grass, mush it all up and make potions. While the woods was a new adventure every day, we would all go into the woods and pretend it was something new each time and contained some type of magic, monster, or world. We used everything the woods had and what was around us to make it our own. Everyone and everything played a role in our story. If the dog next door was yapping it was the beast guarding the gold glowing treasure chest, and the sticks were swords and we were all in battle.
Outside this window was an outlook on some of my favorite and best childhood memories and where I grew up. I have this window to thank for who I am today. Miss Emma was my amazing babysitter for so many years who shaped me in many ways. She was more than your average occasional babysitter when your parents were going out, she was family.