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"The Place I Remember Best" by Lee Larson

Gary Miller

THE PLACE I REMEMBER BEST IS the old apple tree next to the long driveway of my old childhood home. My dad had nailed three boards across a flat fork in the tree where the branches split off, rising in two different directions. I would climb up in my tree to the haven of my own special place. I felt like I never belonged and didn't really fit in with the neighborhood kids. I played with them, at their homes and mine, but I had that deep seated feeling that I wasn't one of them. So, I'd get a good book and climb up into my platform spot in the tree, back against an upright limb and READ.

This place that I remember best is the safe spot where I would launch my mind into new places of acceptance where I was privy to all that was happening. The shipwreck: Alex Ramsey cast overboard and the Black Stallion swimming by him. I grabbed that halter line along with Alex and ended up stranded on a desert island trying to figure out how to feed myself and a horse. On another day I'd be following Nancy Drew searching for clues that would solve The Mystery of Larkspur Lane.

In my place that I remember best I was never alone, did not feel shy nor unaccepted nor did I incur the wrath of my mother or big brother or sister. I would read and read and couldn't wait to turn the pages. My special place offered me safety, excitement, wonder and amazement that I could travel so far seated in that one spot. One summer I tried to read 100 books and win a coveted certificate. Then I would travel while seated. Now my multitude of friends join me on an IPOD so that I can garden, hike, paint, make pottery or drive.

I still think with longing of my old apple tree, in the yard of my first home that has now not been mine for over 50 years, the place that I remember best: my first safe spot.