Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Glass Bubble

It’s hot today, going to be in the upper 90s or even get to 100 degrees. The sky is bright blue and there are a few cumulus (“cotton ball”) clouds. And something about this day, I’m not sure just what, reminds me of the days long ago (I was not yet ten) when my twin sister and I used to have such wonderful adventures in our glass bubble.

Oh, you never knew I had a twin sister? Well, I had. Her name was Monica, because back then, that was the most beautiful name in the world. It’s a pity you never saw her, for she was gorgeous. (Lots of people of course could and did see this raving beauty, but you, being visible yourself, weren’t one of them.) She had long, dark hair to contrast with mine, short and yellow, and she wore it away from her face, in a hair band. She had delicate, dark eyebrows and doe eyes. She was sweet and kind, very feminine, yet mischievous and ever so much fun.

And on afternoons like this one, when we were supposed to be taking our naps, we would sneak out the window of our room and climb aboard our glass bubble.

It looked something like the bubble that forms the cabin of some helicopters. It was perfectly spherical, though, and it didn’t have a rotary blade. In fact, I no longer remember how it flew, although I knew back then, and was adept at operating the control panel, with all its switches and levers and dials and lights.

Inside the bubble, there was a flat floor, with storage space below the hatch. In that storage space were bananas, Fritos, and a cooler containing Cokes and tuna salad sandwiches. Our swimsuits and beach towels were there, too, in tote bags. In the main compartment, besides the complex control panel, were two canvas chairs, two rope hammocks, and shelf full of books.

And in this transparent craft, Monica and I would rise high above the house, above the plains, where the bison and long-horned cattle grazed (for this was Oklahoma), above Medicine Bluffs, our favorite picnic spot, and even a little above Mount Scott and Lake Lawtonka. We would look down at the patchwork ground and the tiny cars and minute people. We would zip around a cloud, or sometimes fly right through it, just to see what it looked like inside. We would put the bubble in auto-pilot and lie back in our hammocks, admiring the sky and feeling utterly free.

Just staying up there in the blue was enough to enthrall us, without necessarily going very far away. Just being in the sky was our joy. But sometimes we traveled to foreign lands, too. We went to Paris once, to see the Eiffel Tower, and we went to Africa to see the animals, and to Brazil to see the Amazon and the jungle.

Our glass bubble was also a submarine. It could cruise on the surface of the water as well, so sometimes we would take it to Long Island and tie up beside Grandpa’s boat at the dock in Greenport, and sit there on the dock and fish. We liked the smells there, the salt air and something oily about the boats, and the way the ropes smelt. We liked the sound of the wavelets slapping the sides of the boats, and the way our bubble rocked if we sat in it.

Sometimes we would fly to some beach and be amazed that here, an entire continent ended and the vast ocean began. Sometimes we would batten the hatch at the top of our bubble and dive to see what was under the water. We looked for starfish, especially, and jellyfish, and dolphins and whales. The dolphins were always so friendly we could have petted them, had we not been encased in glass.

The only hard part was getting home before naptime was over, so Mom wouldn’t discover our absence. But we knew that we’d be off in our wonderful glass bubble again, the very next time this sort of day came around, with just this sort of sky and clouds and sun and breeze and temperature and indefinable something, a magical summer day.



JTKlopcic said...

What a marvelous memory! Thank you for sharing.

Just Mairs said...

Sounds divine...