The size of things | Mark’s Remarks


I look back at some of the things I thought and said as a kid and can only surmise that I was sort of dense. Ever do that? I’ve had a good laugh lately, especially with the idea of perspective.

In my mind’s eye, I can see myself sitting in the middle of our enormous living room, Christmas tree to the right of me in front of that huge picture window.  Now our living room is no where near tiny, but it isn’t the huge room I picture as a kid.  

I had a rocking horse when I was around 2. I don’t know where it came from, but we didn’t have room for it in our little house, so it was put in the garage attic after I stopped riding it regularly. I hadn’t seen it for years, but I knew it was up there.

Around the age of 10 or so, I clearly remember reminiscing with my friends about that rocking horse, bragging to them about how large it was. 

“It was the size of a regular sized horse,” I remember insisting. 

Some of my nice friends marveled at how lucky I was to have a rocking horse that was the same size as a real horse. Most of my friends thought I was a huge liar.

I was adamant. That darned horse was as big as a real horse. It was.

Then there was my grandma’s drying rack, or “clotheshorse,” as she called it. She would set it up on top of her floor grates, drying or warming towels, dish towels and such when they were a bit damp. I used to want to climb on that thing.

When I was on the playground one day, I started telling my friends about the drying rack that was about as big as the monkey bars we were climbing on. I told them how large that drying rack was, how it had reached almost to the ceiling and my grandma could put like a hundred clothes on it to dry.

Mind you, I hadn’t seen the old drying rack for years when I was telling tale. I don’t know why grandma stopped using it, but I probably hadn’t seen it in a good five years, having last set eyes on it when I was around 3. So, here I was probably bragging to my third grade pals about the size of my grandmothers gigantic wooden drying rack.

One day, probably 10 years later, I was in my grandmother’s cellar and saw that drying rack again.  It was so tiny, I was sure she must have had the larger version stored somewhere or she had given it away.  She insisted she owned only one drying rack and had always had only one.  And this was it.

Fast forward another 10 years or so, as we awaited the birth of our first son.  I crawled up in the attic of my parents’ garage and retrieved the old rocking horse. Sure, as rocking horses go, it was bigger than most. But it wasn’t even close to the size of a shetland pony, let alone a full sized horse.

This has happened to me many times in my dense headed life. I’ve stood next to men who were monstrous to me as a kid who now seem little and shriveled-up old guys.  

Hello.  I’m 6-foot-4.

I think again of my tiny little grandmother who carried me long after I was too big to be carried. We once fell in that same garage where the enormous horse was stored. I was being carried as she got out of the car, and soon she was flat on her back having slipped on something. Poor little grandma broke my fall. Yet at the time, she seemed tall and powerful.

I played under my brother’s crib when I was 4 years old, laying out block houses and highways for my beloved matchbox cars. I had huge car lots and quite a network of roads going on under that crib. Looking back, that thing must have been small and compact to fit in that little bedroom.  Yet at the time, I thought it was an expansive play space.

It never occurred to me.  Well, I suppose it did, but not until I was at an embarrassing older age. People grow. Inanimate objects remain the same size.

Drying racks. Hobby horses. Even grandmothers stay relatively the same size, although I think she eventually shrank a little.

Boy was I dense.

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