Angela Kelsey

Tell the Story

“If Magritte had painted my childhood . . .”

Filed in Books, Memoir, Stories, voices :: February 7, 2011

In Composed: A Memoir, Rosanne Cash writes, “If Magritte had painted my childhood, it would be a chaos of floating snakes, white oxfords, dead Chihuahuas, and pink hair rollers. ”

Here is what my Magritte childhood looks like:

If Magritte had painted my childhood, the sky would be Florida blue and Carolina gray. I would slip through a rubber tube and sink to the deep end of a pool, rescued by my pregnant mother.  I would stumble through a split-level house in a perennially diet-morphing body.  Big dogs would roam the yards. My mother’s new blue bra would hover over a cherry hedge as I described it to a neighbor pressing me for details.  I would sit on an overturned bucket in the cab of a steel delivery truck on a Saturday with my father.  A tractor would crush a midnight orange-grove joyrider.  A wedding ring would be buried in  new sod.  A pig’s head would overlook its barbecue.  Shocking pink walls would match a nail-polish-remover-ruined bedspread.  In the corners, shadows of a gun and a to-be-removed tree.  My volcanic moods would erupt with the moon or books read or music played from records and tapes, 8-track and cassette.  I would drive away in a fast Camaro, windows rolled down, never-smoked cigarettes hidden in my purse.

If Magritte had painted your childhood, what would it look like?

Photo: Inspired by Magritte, from Istockphoto