Monday, July 4, 2016

Random Memory Snippets On Eddy Lane

7115 Eddy Lane, 2016
Our house, 7115 Eddy Lane, was a red brick house with a carport, a front yard, and a backyard surrounded by a chainlink fence. It also had green bushes, which we called "hedges," along the short walkway from the driveway to the front door.[Now removed]

The second house from the main street, Oak Grove Lane, our house was separated from the first house on the street by a chainlink fence covered in honeysuckles. [Now removed] We used to suck the nectar from the honeysuckles in the summer.

I loved it but I had to be careful because I was allergic to bee stings. Not deathly allergic, as in had to be rushed to the hospital for a Penicillin shot, just allergic - as in had to take Benedryl, would swell a lot (if stung on pinky, would swell to elbow), and would need to sleep for several hours. 

My mom was allergic to bees (she became deathly allergic when she got older) and my dad was allergic to Penicillin. They were scared one of their children would get both allergies. That would have been a big problem because there was no alternative to Penicillin at the time. Luckily, two of us got bee allergies and none of us got a Penicillin allergy.

To the Right

The first house on the street, the one separated by honeysuckles, which was to the right when facing our house, had an above ground pool in their backyard. A few of times we snuck over the fence and swam in it. We weren't supposed to, and the people caught us a couple of times.


Along the back of the yard was the back of the houses facing the next street over, Fairfield Drive. The house directly behind us was a family that had a daughter the same age as my oldest sister. They were friends. The mother also provided daycare and I was one of her charges. 

I hated naps. She would lay us down each day and I would lay there quietly, maybe play quietly with the bedcovers or my fingers, daydreaming - but not sleep. Sometimes she would come to the room after a while, let me get up and play in the backyard until the other kids woke up - as long as I kept quiet. 

Because our yards were separated by the chainlink fence, often she would hand me over the fence to my mom when she got home from work.

Back Left

The house at the back of our yard, just to the left of the babysitter, had a big hole in it. I don't remember ever seeing anyone in that backyard, but there was a big mound of dirt beside the hole.

As kids are apt to do, one of my sisters told me the hole was an opening to "hell" - where the bad people go. Whichever sister it was, I don't remember which, told me she had looked inside once and saw the devil himself. 

I was always curious about the hole. I used to sit in the backyard and play - but always looked at the hole. I thought surely I would see the fire from hell or someone going into the hole since I understood bad people "go to hell." 

I wished I could look in the hole, see what was inside. 

I imagined half naked men and women squirming and screaming in pain as fire half engulfed them - with the devil dressed in red with horns and a pitchfork laughing at them.  It was a vivid picture like I saw in the Bible at the time. [Bibles used to have very graphic colored pictures in them.] 


To the left of the backyard was the backyard of our neighbors to the left. I don't really remember  any stories or anything about that house or the people who lived there. 


On Lark Place, the dead end street that connected to the end of Eddy Lane, was a house that had an apple tree in the front yard. We used to sneak into the yard and steal apples. They were green apples, still my favorite. 

One day the owner caught us. She came outside and called us to come to her. She explained that she did not mind if we ate the apples but we should ask her first. 

She also invited us into her house, she had a son about a year younger than me. She gave us drinks and we played with her son a little bit. That was the first time I saw a slinky in real life. I had seen them on television commercials, but not in real life. Her son showed me how the slinky would "walk" down the stairs. I was mesmerized.

Freezer Pops

On Oak Grove Lane, just before the entry to Eddy Lane, lived a boy we sometimes got to play with at his house. I remember mainly playing in his front yard, but I also remember inside his house was a deep freezer, always filled high with freezer pops. That is the first time I remember seeing them, and we loved them.

Labrador Retriever

We had a Labrador retriever, a black lab, when we were young. It was so understanding of us. We climbed on it, rode it like a horse, and pulled on its ears. She was even patient, though watchful, when she had puppies and we tried to play with them. 

I don't know what happened to her.

I  remember trying her dog food, little brown squares with a hole in the middle. I will always remember the taste. It was not awful, just distinctive.

By today's overprotective standards, it often seems surprising that kids of my generation survived at all.


When we were young we always wanted to play in my dad's work van. It was a standard brown van, two seater, empty in the back for his tools.

Our driveway to the carport was slightly slanted upward. I remember playing in the driver's seat once and, I guess I put it in Neutral or Reverse - probably Neutral because we did not have the keys.  The van started rolling backward down the driveway and stopping when it hit the curb on the other side of the street. 

We weren't allowed to play in the van anymore.

Doll House

I had another friend while we lived on Eddy Lane during second grade. I don't remember where she lived or her name. What I do remember is that she had a Barbie Dream House and Barbie Red Convertable. I loved going to her house and playing Barbies with her.

On my birthday, she and her mother came over and gave me her Barbie Dream House. I was ecstatic! I remember looking at it with such joy.

While we were playing, I overheard her mother telling my mother she had bought a new Barbie Dream House, the latest version, for her own daughter so that I could have the old one.

My friend then turned to me and said, "I didn't want to give it to you but my mom said I had to cause you're poor."

I remember it because I didn't understand it.

Kids, even poor kid, usually do not understand they are poor until others tell them. It wasn't until I started attending Bryant Elementary that I understood what she meant. Even then, I was confused because the "definition" was so confusing - "rich" people had pools (which we did) and poor people wore hand-me-downs and ate government cheese (which we did).

Since the definition never made sense to me - even as I got older and realized there were many things we didn't have and our material wealth items increased and decreased several times - I decided the definition of "poor" was just a social construct to make people feel bad instead of being relevant to how I defined myself.


During my second-grade year, I was introduced to Brownies. Many kids in my class were members. I wanted to be a Brownie too. I did not really know what it was except the kids really liked it and were often only friends with other Brownies at school.

A lady ran a Brownie Troop out of her apartment off of Mabelvale Cut Off Road, next to Skateworld. They met every other Saturday.

I attended a couple of times. I found out it cost money to be a member - you had to first buy the book, then the sash and uniform, and pay regular dues to the troop. I think the book alone was like $10 or $20 dollars.

My mom told me we could not afford any of it.

The leader of the troop told me I had to at least buy the book to keep coming. My mom said she would try.

On one of the designated Saturdays, my mom took me to the apartment and dropped me off. She went back home but someone else, maybe my step-dad, was using the car after that. The meeting was to last a couple of hours and the car was supposed to be back by then. I had ten cents in case I needed to use the payphone to call her. [I think the price of phones calls had increased by then but Arkansas remained ten cents for several more years.]

My mom watched me go the apartment door and knock, then she drove away.

No one answered. I kept knocking, but no one came to the door.

When I stepped back from the door and looked up, I saw a sign taped to the door, at the height level of an adult.

Fortunately, I could read. The sign said, "No meeting today."

I walked to the skating rink and used the payphone in the lobby to call my mom. As she did not have the car, and cell phones were not even invented for another ten years or so, she could not come get me.

We decided I would walk home. Times were different then.

I set out down Mabelvale Cut Off Road, turned right on Warren Drive, left on Valley Drive (passing Watson Elementary), right on Oak Grove Lane, and then right to my home on Eddy Lane.

All told, it was about 1.2 miles, though I always thought it was longer.

I have always been good with direction, which is fortunate because even I am impressed that I knew my way home at eight years old.

That was the last time I tried to join the Brownies.

I don't remember my mom ever saying anything, but I remember thinking how irresponsible that the troop leader put a note on the door instead of calling the children - she had all our contact information.

I had no more interest in the group or the leader.

Ceiling Collapse

My oldest sister had her own room with an attached bathroom - her bathroom had a window that faced into the den that stretched the length of the house. I assume the den was built after the main house.

My other two sisters and I shared another room between my mom's room and the living room. Most of the time I slept with my oldest sister in her room. 

Once there was a leak in the attic and the entire ceiling fell into the room where my two sisters slept. I think it happened while we were not home. I remember seeing all the ceiling material and insulation all over the beds and floors. 

I imagined that it would have killed us if we had been sleeping when it happened. It would not have, but my little brain was convinced otherwise. 

I was scared to sleep in that room from then on.

Dad Remarried

My dad had gotten remarried. He lived in Shannon Hills with his new family, a wife and her two kids.

I remember my dad would come visit us sometimes, maybe spend some time talking to my mother (probably about the child support he was not paying) while we would play in his work van. Other times he would take us to McDonald's to eat and then back home.

I remember one of my older sisters said she wanted to go live with him. He said, "okay" and she packed her stuff. I said I wanted to go too. He said he would come back to pick me up the following week, then left with my sister.

The next week, I was waiting with my packed bag by the door.

He drove up, my sister got out of his van, and he left.

Not a word.


While attending Watson Elementary, we had a nurse come in to teach us about dental hygiene. She taught us about brushing our teeth. She also provided us with toothbrushes, toothpaste, red candy-type pills to chew that would cause our teeth to turn red in places we had missed. She gave us each a whole pack of the pills so we could practice at home.

I became obsessed with brushing my teeth and using the red pills to check my work - then rebrushing. I brushed at least three times a day, after each meal, and sometimes more.

As my step-dad was in the Army and then the Reserves, once he married my mom we were eligible to go to the dentist on the base.

Each time we went to the dentist, the dentist would tell me I had around 24 cavities and my sister just older than me would have one or none. She never brushed her teeth.

I decided then and there that I would brush my teeth but not obsess over it because teeth health was about more than brushing, somewhat unique to each individual. Whether right or wrong, that became my belief.

I had baby teeth then but once I got my permanent teeth, cavities were much less a problem for me. Maybe it is mind over matter. Go figure.

The Step-Sister

After my mom and step-dad got married, which I was already mad about because I was a momma's girl and he was stealing her attention from me, my step-dad got custody of his daughter and moved her in with us.

She was younger than me by a couple of years. If I was mad before, I was livid now. 

I had always been the baby. Now a new "baby," Shannon, arrived. 

I hated him. I hated her.

I spent the rest of the time at Eddy Lane, and a few years after we moved to Alexander, making my dad's life hell - mainly by doing things and blaming Shannon for them.

For example, I used to hide my mother's glasses, blame Shannon for it, and then magically find then like a hero. [This was almost a year after the "lost wallet" and "money jar" incidents, so you would think I would have learned better.]

My step-dad always saw through it.

He would sit me down and talk to me about my feelings [again with the talking], ask me why I didn't like Shannon, why I kept lying about her. 

For the several years, I acted this way - and he always reacted the same way.

It wasn't until a few years later, just before he and my mom separated, that I actually had a transition in my perspective. [A story for another time]

The timing of my understanding, and the continued reflection and increased mature understanding, came too late. 

He left with his daughter and I lost touch.

A few years later, when I was in my pre-teens, my mom reconnected with him and I went with her for a visit. I was not strong enough, not mature enough, to express even my apology.

After I became an adult, for years I thought about writing him a letter letting him know how much his parenting style affected me in positive ways - that he was one of the best men I knew growing up.

I found out he died in 2014 or 2015, and one of my very few regrets in life is that I never shared my feelings with him.

The lesson, among many, was not to put important things off - like sharing with someone how they positively affected your life. 

Time is not unlimited.

Deedra Abboud is the founder of the Global Institute of Solution Oriented Leadership, a "rising tide raising all boats" resource on the art and science of finding solutions, not fault - at work, at home, and in the community. She is an author, keynote speaker, lawyer, and frequent media resource. When she's not helping clients or speaking at organization events, she's traveling the world.  At last count, she's been to over 15 countries including Bahrain, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

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