How young were you when you think back to your early impressions, memories, fears or happy times? I don’t remember being 3 or 4. I remember 5 and over. I started reading and kindergarten at age 5. There are memories of that period burned into my brain and sometimes a word or name brings them back into focus.
I read a story today that mentioned a Mr. Fields of Sacramento.
I have no idea who that Mr. Fields is but I remember a Mr. Fields in Indiana, when I was 5. For a few months or longer he scared me. He would walk slowly up the sidewalk next to my house, bent over his cane and smiling as I’d run to safety in my house. I climbed on the kitchen chair and watched and waited at the window. It seemed forever for him to come back from the store carrying his grocery bag. He walked painfully slow because I could hear him grunt with each step. His hat was stained with sweat like his shirt. His suspenders had little badges and pictures too small to see. When he finally crossed Underwood Street, I could return to my sand-box, trucks and cars.
One day I was playing with my cars on the front steps and didn’t hear old Mr. Fields walk up behind me. He asked if he could sit on the steps and rest and see my cars. I was scared but I didn’t run this time. When he sat next to me I noticed his sweaty skin was black and leathery and his face was black and wrinkled. He smiled and said, “you know, when I was a little older than you I saw Mr. Lincoln. My momma held me up above the crowd and I saw Mr. Lincoln talking. I’ll never forget it.”
Mr. Fields was in his late 90s back then and he died at age 104. The local paper told about his life and how he was always proud to tell people he saw the president, Mr. Lincoln.
I nodded when I read that because I knew it for a fact. He had told me when I was 5.