Back when I was much much younger, around six or seven years old, my parents didn't exactly have a lot of money. My parents weren't poor by any means, but they also weren't exactly rich. They had money, but they really didn't have all that much. While all the other parents could afford to have the nicest television set that was on sale at that time, all my parents could really afford was the cheapest or better said, tthe least expensive television set that was on sale at that time and they could find. So instead of the nicest one, they had no other choice but to purchase the cheapest one that was on the market at that time. And that's how we ended up having this very small gray-colored television set.
My parents would often tell my older sister and I, "It's better to have one than not to have one." And my sister and I would both agree on that. We would both not at the accuracy of that statement. After all, when our father wasn't busy watching Politicians debate against each other in our nation's Parliament building on his favorite Politics channel, and when our mother wasn't watching her Spanish soaps that were extremely popular at that time ( Spanish Soaps like Esmeralda or Por Tu Amor ), my sister and I would end up watching cartoons every chance we got. Back then we also didn't have cable, so we had no cable channels on our TV.
What my sister and I had though so we could watch cartoons on TV was this late morning and this late night cartoon program on our nation's simultaneously the most beloved and the most hated Television program. We watched caroons every chance we got. Before there was Johny Bravo, before there was Dexter's Lab, before there was Ed, Edd, and Eddy, and before there was Cow and Chicken and Courage: The Cowardly Dog, or better said, before there was Cartoon Network, what we had was cartoons that were incredibly beautiful and my sister and i really loved to watch.
There was this cartoon about this seemingly nice character who painted things with his brush. He would literally put the brush into paints of different colors and then he would paint the whole world around him. He would always end up creating something beautiful out of nothing. My sister and I really loved that cartoon. Fir it wasn't just really beautiful, it also showed that you can paint the whole world with your kindness, your creativity, and your imagination, if you choose to do so in life. That cartoon really showed that you can use your kindness to change the world, or better said, that you can actually change the world with your kindness.
And another cartoon my sister and I really loved to watch was Australia's finest cartoon to date which is still loved and watched by millions of children all over the world to this day, called Blinky Bill. Blinky Bill was one of those cartoons you just really loved to watch. It was about this really friendly Koala and all of his friends in Australian jungle. What was so special baout that carton is that every episode as short as it was had a very positive message about friendship. But since I wasn't as smart as my sister was, I didn't exactly understand all of the messages the same way my sister understood them.
And so, whenever I was watching Blinky Bill on TV and when I was laughing, my sister would just stare at the small TV screen and analyze what was happening to Blinky Bill and to all of his friends. She would never tell me what she saw. She would just tell me about the episode having a truly beautiful message, but she would never share that message with me. It drove me insane when I was younger that I couldn't figure out all of the messages that were hidden within the cartoon. Granted though, my sister was almost three years older than me, so she naturally understood a whole lot more than I understood. Compared to me, my sister was a genius. She still is a genius. She's still way smarter than I am.
But anyway. When Blinky Bill was over, my sister and I would usually stop watching all of the rest of cartoons that were airing on that day, because they just weren't beautiful and interesting enough. And then we would start creating a library of sorts with all the hard-cover books we had available. Now, when it comes to books, my mother was a much bigger fan than my father ever was. My mother had a membership of sorts and that meant that for every book she purchased, she got one free of charge. She had a mountain of books. She really had a mountain of books. I never counted how many books she had, but I think it's safe to say it was almost close to a hundred. So, what my sister and I did at that time, was that we used all of the books we had available to creat a library out of them.
We would collect books and put them onto each other. We didn't care about their titles at all. All we really cared about was about creating a library. After there were enough books on top of each other and we created a square that was large enough out of them, with a room big enough for both of us to fit in right in between that square we created, we would often pretend like we were in an actual library.
Sometimes she would play the Librarian and I would play the visitor, and other times I would play the Librarian and she would play the visitor. We had a lot of fun! We would laugh at each other, and we would make the silliest and funniest facial expressions, and all kinds of foolish jokes. We were like regular brother and sister who really loved to play the silliest and funniest of games. But the fun we had didn't last very long, because I was too young and she was almost three years older than I was, and frankly, my mother had eventually had enough of her books being used in such a way.
So instead of building libraries out of books, which we couldn't do anymore, because we weren't allowed to do that anymore, my sister and I had to improvise and create something different, something that would be way more funnier, way more entertaining. And that's how we ended up building fortresses out of bed sheets. Now, let me explain how that worked. We would collect all the bed sheets that we could and then we would create fortresses out of them, fortresses big enough for both of us to fit in. Late into the night we would also borrow our parents' night lamp, and then we would turn the night lamp on, not caring at all that we were wasting its energy. And after we were inside of the fortress we made out of bed sheets, which were usually our own, we would often talk to each other or tell each other all kinds of stories, which were usually the scary ones. My sister would scare me with ghost stories, and I would scare my sister with monsters that hide in the closet and monsters that roam outside our small town at night. It was really scary but also somewhat fun experience.
And of course that experience also didn't last very long. And the reason why it didn't last is because we both had school in the morning, and our parents figured we needed to stop doing it. And so, even though we were both secretly against it, we eventually stopped doing it. There was no more libraries, there was no more fortresses made out of bed sheets, because we simply had school in the morning, or better said, because my sister and I had to stay awake during class. My sister was finishing her own grade in our small town's Elementary school, and I barely started with the first one. Now, my first year at Elementary school was also quite fun.
I remember having second thoughts on my very first day, and how my father held me in his arms and kept telling me, "Everything's going to be Ok, my son. Everything's going to be OK." And I remember telling him, "I'm scared, Dad. I don't think it's going to be OK." And then my father would end our conversation with, "You will handle it, my son," and then he would send me straight toward the doors that led inside.
Now, I wasn't exactly the smartest kid, I wasn't exactly the sharpet of all the tools in the shed, I think we have already established that. So, when it came to my classmates, female and male, I wasn't exactly as sociable as I wanted to be. I wasn't exactly that kid. I was actually very shy. I didn't really know how to talk to anyone of them. I made a few friends of course, but those weren't the kids that were exactly on the popular side. An in time, the friends that I had, were the only friends that I had. I couldn't have them all on my isde, but I was happy enough to at least have some of them. And then the classes started.
Classes that were usually meant for kids my age at that time. We would learn about the magic of the alphabet, we would learn about the magic of numbers, and we would learn about many other things first graders learned at that time. And when we wouldn't learn about the alphabet or about the numbers, we would often go outside to marvel at the beauty of nature. We would go to the woods that were near our Elementary School, and we would grab some of those leaves that were on the ground, or we would collect some of the dirt. Our teachers always knew what to do to make our days a whole lot brighter.
And when we wouldn't be outside doing what we were usually doing, we would be inside school doing all kinds of things that would enrich our knowledge that we surely needed for next year.
But anyway, after the school was over, my father would usually wait for me outside to drive me home, but I always purposely said to him I wanted to see my mother at the local grocery store she worked at, so I could collect myself a Kinder egg every once in a while. I always got my Kinder egg, because my mother and my father were just too nice not to give me one.
After we arrived home, my father knew that if we wanted to change the way our house looked from the inside and from the outside, and if we wanted to change the roof that was over our heads, he needed to earn some extra money. And so he went to our neighbor's house which belong to a very nice old married couple, so he could earn some of that extra money from them. He didn't always need me along with him, but when he did need me, I would always go with him, and I would help him for a while. When I was done helping him, I would go into this small secluded space surrounded by tress that was in the middle of their extremely large garden, and I would practice all kinds of moves I had seen in American Ninja. I would grab hold of one of those sticks that wre inside of that secluded spot, and I would practice all kinds of moves I had seen in that movie. I wasn't terrible at it. I was actually very good at it! I actually mastered it!
But anyway, I would often be called by my father and he would tell me to go inside the neighbor's house to bring him something to drink she he could freshen up. I ended up going because I knw that my father was tired from all the work he had done and he needed something to drink. And so, whenever I entered our neighbor's house to get that drink, that drink was already prepared for me. It was prepared by the old man's wife. This very kind old lady who always had something kind to say to me.
She would say, "You're so kind," or she would say, "You're such a sweet young man," or she would say, "You're so handsome," or she would oftenly end up with "You're going to go very far in life." I loved hearing her say those words, because at that time I actually believed them. She was the first person I had met that was very, if not, extremely kind to me. She would also often tell me all kinds of stories which ended with all kinds of lessons in life. Sometimes I would bring my father his drink and then I would go back to her amd we would have these long conversations about things that really mattered in life. She was very old and she was very wise, and I was very young, and I was very unwise. So, I didn't exactly understand all of it, I didn't exactly understand the half of it. I honestly didn't understand every lesson in life she tried to teach me.
But if she taught em anything, she taught me of the importance of kindness, that you always have to be kind toward those who are kind to you. And that's a lesson I'll carry with me, thanks to her, for the rest of my life.
Now, when my father didn't have to work for our neighbors and thus didn't get the chance to earn us some extra money, I would often beg him to go to our small town's VHS library so he could borrow some of the movies that wrre filmed on VHS tapes.
It was a really fun movie. Always made me laugh. It made me see the importance of friendship and the importance of family. It made me see how beautiful it is to have friends and how beautiful it is to have family. Even though we had some rough times as a family, I'd always cared for my mother, my sister, and my father. We didn't have much fun. We didn't go outside very often. But no family is perfect. Mine definitely wasn't perfect. But it was still family I loved being a part of.