The Polish word pragnąć evokes a feeling that its English translation—to yearn or long for something—does not. A single word covers the aching longing for a distant someone or a nostalgic yearning for a place left behind. As a young girl, my longings were simple. I longed to belong, and then, when that was within my grasp, I wanted to be somewhere else.
Alice, you beautifully recreate a time and place. There was so much wrong with the fifties — all the racism and sexism and so much more we knew nothing about - but there was so much right. How lucky we were, in many ways.
What a beautiful and thankful look into the past and beyond. You reminded me of my own childhood and the carefree times spent with Nancy Drew and my fascination with the piano teacher, one who once seemed celebrity in status... I had zero talent, my brother went on to become a musician. Thank you this piece, it brought back many memories and put a smile on my face.
A poetic post, Alice. Loved it.
Being a post-war child of the 50's and growing up in a gloriously free and happy country (Australia) did, I think, contribute greatly to my desire (and belief) that my own children and my grandson will have that kind of peace and quiet. Thus far, despite the odd health glitch, we've been immensely lucky.
We acknowledge that freely, at the same time feeling immense sorrow for the less fortunate innocent in the bad world beyond our borders. I wish it would change but am wise enough to know that history keeps repeating...
Hi Alice - what a truly, evocative piece, beautifully written. I'm an Australian 50s kid, and my upbringing wasn't that different. We played cowboys and Indians in the backyards, and explored the local dump with glee. Wonderful, thank you.
I long for the freedom of childhood and the " I can do anything" mantra we grew up with. We were a blessed generation and I for one is very grateful for that. Thank you for sharing your story. Lana
Thank you for such a wonderful superbly written account of your childhood. You are a very gifted writer and I enjoyed every word of your story.
I thank you for sharing about this part of your life. I get to know you a little better each time you write.
I am grateful to be a recipient of all of these contributions to a considerable age.
Lovely! And grateful to you Alice for the quiet Sunday morning touchstone you and your writing pals have forged together.
There are words in both Turkish and Portuguese that convey that sense of longing, nostalgia....that sense of being left behind. American English has always been forward-marching and didn't seem to recognize that feeling state. But now, I wonder. There is a melancholy descending that may call for its own language.
The kids were swept up together like metal bits collected by a magnet. We didn't make plans to meet . We just did and then roamed the streets on our bicycles like an underage motorcycle gang, Great description of all of us growing up of a certain age. Great writing
It’s the privilege of youth to look only forward, to take what exists for granted, to desire some measure of escape, and to yearn for what is not immediately in reach. You’ve captured this so well - in addition to describing the freedom we of a considerable age had in our youth to play and to wander, untethered by our current world of constant and instant communication. And now our task is to look back and try to make sense of it all and to appreciate the people who helped us believe that anything was possible. Your story and journey express that so beautifully.
Alice, I grew up in peaceful England in the 1950’s and remembered those idyllic childhood days you describe. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for starting my day with you keen and heartfelt observations of life and family.
Dear Alice. Your parents made our world better. How very proud they would be to know that you continue to do the same in so many ways, not the least through this enchanting glimpse into a disappearing time and place. Never stop writing!
As I was reading I hoped the story would continue into a novel! It was so beautifully written and brought back so many memories of my childhood
My parent’s parents were from Poland and Ukraine. They “adapted” to American life... but barely. So many of my memories with them were of being well fed and then being left on my own to amuse myself. In many of the same ways that you were. Those were such precious and precocious times for me. Yes, pragnąć, as your words invite me to reminisce.