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Through A Child’s Eye

Colleen Shields Griffin | Ford Spencer

With six brothers and sisters, I still found ways to be alone. At seven, I studied picture dictionaries and daydreamed in gardens. I played with siblings. Yet, it was the adults that fascinated me. I watched them constantly. When backs turned, I peeked at soap operas, gulped cold coffee and blew at cigarettes embers turning to ash caterpillars in the tray.

One afternoon, I strolled my doll along Main Street. I blanketed her, popped a bottle in the baby’s mouth and bumped along the sidewalk littered with crushed chestnuts. Purple and yellow crocuses poked through warm dirt. Today, I didn’t need a sweater. Instead, I wore a knit orange and red striped jersey. It held the toilet paper more firmly in place. Drivers craned their necks for second looks. The wide sway of childish hips created a band of toots and honks. I smiled to myself, feigning deafness, ignoring the pointing and laughter. I chattered to my doll.

When I turned the corner, I knew I was caught. Surrounded by excited children, my mother beckoned me up the driveway. My wiggle disappeared as I slowed the carriage. The chant of siblings shouting, “Spank her, spank her,” rang in my ears.

About Colleen Shields Griffin

Colleen Shields Griffin is a freelance writer who lives outside of Boston with her husband and four children.

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