Friday, April 8, 2016

A to Z of Melody McDonald: “E” is for Exploring #AtoZBlogging Challenge

Another thing that Melody liked doing was exploring. There was never a single spot ANYWHERE that did not come under Melody’s careful scrutiny; no tree was left unclimbed (did I ever mention that you would be safe in calling Melody a tomboy?); no alleyway uncombed (unless she was bodily dragged away) and no cinder-block left un-poked or unturned (you never knew if there might be a blue-belly lizard hiding in some chink there…).

When she wasn’t busy hunting for lizards under rocks or blocks, she was busy exploring with her friend Steve Even. And, when the two of them started exploring, watch out! That’s when her exploring sometimes got her into some kind of trouble.

Steve moved into the neighborhood just before school started in the third grade, but Melody
Blue Belly Fence Lizard
didn’t meet him until school started. He was in her class, and she really disliked him at first, because all you had to do was look at him to know he was Trouble with a capital “T”, but then, when she found out they had a really neat tree in his yard with a Tarzan vine hanging from it (it was really a rope, but hey! Melody had no compunctions about using her imagination to create memorable moments), she was ready to join forces. And whatever other misgivings she might have about him, he liked animals almost as much as she did.

Together, they explored places that alone they might have had some qualms about. One of the places they explored was a haunted house (see “H” is for Haunted House, to be posted in the future). Another was what they called the peacock farm, which indirectly caused a great many nightmares for our girl.

They also explored down at the Back Bay, which was really fun and just across the street from their school. There were a lot of small canyons running through the whole area surrounding the bay itself. The Back Bay has now been named a Natural Reserve, which should give a pretty good idea just how interesting it was.

They found gourds and lizards and snakes (no rattlesnakes). They found salamanders and jack rabbits and lots of holes that were, fortunately, too small for them to get into. They saw lots of birds and flowers. And gophers and lots of junk. And mud; lots of mud, along with salt. It was a paradise for two young explorers.

They also explored around Steve’s house and discovered Steve’s dad feeding their kittens brandy “because, he said, “it stunts their growth.” His intent was to create a breed of “teacup kittens”.  Both Melody and Steve were highly incensed over that particular discovery, because it went against everything they loved and believed in.

Everywhere they went there was something to be explored, and explore they did.

When you were a child did you like to explore new things (or old) or did you just like to read about explorations? Share with us, if you’d like.

By Basar - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The A-Z of Melody McDonald: “D” if for Drawing #AtoZBloggingChallenge

One of the things that Melody enjoyed doing more than anything else was drawing. She wasn’t too bad at it, either. Okay, so she would never win a prize competing against the Italian or Flemish artists. She might have had a chance against Picasso, because at least her results were understandable to someone with a normal mind-set. A frog looked like a frog and a horse looked like a horse… sort-of… With a little training she might have had hope.

Anyway, her Gramma Mary abetted her in her endeavors. Actually, all of the McDonald kids were aided and abetted by Gramma Mary, because she provided endless amounts of paper, and pencils were always there. Gramma Mary worked as a draftswoman for the U.S. Navy at San Pedro, California. And there, she was able to get her hands on pads of paper of two sizes, nicely stapled and ready to go.

She wasn’t stealing; this was recycled paper of a sort. When a project in her office was finished, the paper, instead of being shredded (this was before those times began) the papers were lined up, cut to size and stapled. They were the put out for the disposition of everyone in the office. And she would gather up a goodly amount and give them to the kids the next time she saw them.

And they made good (or bad) use of them. Melody had so much fun drawing seasonal scenes. At Halloween, she would draw haunted houses with rickety fences around them and ghosts stretching out of windows. There would be bats flying in the sky, jack-o-lanterns sitting on fence posts, and witches flying across full moons. Sometimes she would even draw clouds across the moon so all you could see would be their hats or shoes. So much fun!

And they had never-ending amounts of crayons, so those pictures were always colored after being drawn.

Christmas was time for Santa Claus, winter scenes, Christmas trees, snowmen, snowy skies, sleds plum full of presents and of course, the reindeer. I especially liked drawing Rudolph. I also liked drawing winter scenes and hanging them all over the house. I guess they just reminded her that it was winter, since there wasn’t that much snow falling on the ground there in Southern California.

There were horses in fields eating, running, rearing on two legs. Bugs, butterflies, giraffes, rabbits. The two animals she wasn’t very good at were cats and dogs, strangely enough.

She still likes to draw, especially for the enjoyment of little children. She still can’t draw cats or dogs, though.