When I was Four


When I was FOUR

I knew who I was and who I wasn’t.

I wasn’t Davy Crocket

even though I kept rocks in my pocket

and slung a pretty good wrist rocket


Snap! Snap! SNAP!

I wasn’t the LONE RANGER!

Though I cracked a cinnamon roll of red ribbon Caps!

Tapped large hammers, jagged rocks and cocked revolvers

just to hear the noise and smell that lovely smell.

I wanted real chaps to go with my cowgirl hat

as I roped the smoke and powder

but I wasn’t Little Sure Shot either.


Sure. I had a sword once. A pirate one,

but I never wanted to be Zorro like my son

or Batman like the neighbor boy.

Instead I friended black birds and masked cats.


I was Catgirl for a time.

I thought men in black were bad guys who wore mustaches

but I wan’t afraid of them

No need for fear and rescueing

cuz I was Daddy’s girl.


“Who are they!?” I asked

hanging a question mark finger

Waiting a Mother’s answer

She was facing more than that in choices of maturity.


Who were the bare skinned, long locked, fuzzy faced, sunglassed youth?

“Hippies.” She replied.

“They’re nice,” I said.

“You’re not old enough to understand,” she answered conservatively.

I wanted truth.

She couldn’t give it.


“Flower Power!” the teen-agers shouted from a Pakistani curry corner grocery store.


“Flower Power!” I smiled shyly and waved back

clutching penny candy Sixlets in a sweaty hand.


“Disrespectful kids!” hissed the crosswalk talk

“Shhh,” said my wary mother, gripping the bar tightly.


“Some day you’ll read about it,” said my dad.



I thought from my lowride stroller street seat.


I really liked those big kids

Just couldn’t understand the grown up faces

Mother’s fear

Dad’s protective stance.


Looking back

I’m finding more the meaning

Through paint and terra cotta

I gaze into a flowery child-held hand mirror

in wearing grown up reading glasses


I linger here and ponder Flower Power again.


A rose is a rose, I think

soft, supple….complete

Everyone needs identity, voice and wet ink


When I was four I understood

I wanted to read.

More than words I wanted to be “Smart.”

After all that’s what my Mother kept telling me I was.

So I was


Memorizing holy verse and feeling praise

Writing poems to integrity

Befriending Jesus and His ways

Loving on page after page

Retelling into reprint all my Little Golden books


I spent hours Hugging Sunbeams…

And if I chanced to meet a FROWN!

I’d turn it upside down with crooked letter alphabet

You bet!


Assessment went like this:

(Though, I’m not sure the order.  It sometimes changed.)



C…Doll food

E…………Ten times ten tea tables and needled record labels!

(Say that five times fast!)

Making and believing Disney Sing alongs

These found place, and space

Filled the longing

Useful was the world I was creating


And then I grew up

to unspoken broken

closed up

China cabinet

Never mind fulness

Tucked my sometime child  more away

in tight corduroy pockets

like prized tahini tea sets


When I was FOUR

I had my way with life

Music was mine

Cut my own original bell-bottom covers


Voices could swing and sway and hover…..high low

Bounce like a kick-back polka on the Lawrence Welk show

Lyrics spinning lighting fast then swirling slow at 45 and 33 speeds

Me breaking limits before I ever had my first Hotwheels

button starting turn table knobs and elbow loops


On a magical flute and tilt o whirl playground

Scratched and skipped

broke and scritched so many records



And when my brother came along

I grounded him in music too

to playing Hotwheels

Made hot deals with my one man pitstop pitcrew

as the vinyls spun and stacked

a buttered back to back

life was so good


I watched in wonder

as the singles flipped

like hotcakes

I ran and sang and finger painted myself

every color

from tan to Rocky Point deep blue

brown eyed


and brave

in cottony ponytails


I laughed the laugh of freedom

and believing


Free to be free

to be … me



cattail waving


Then one day

Little Mommy put her dolls to bed

to dance with Kitty

soft and purrrfect.


Everything right and beautiful


suddenly went wrong

in innocent mishandling


Up went Kitty

Down came


And that was that.


I cried.

“Kitty’s broken,” my Mother told me.

“But she’ll be well tomorrow,” I thought

“Won’t she?”

She was not.

Rough day

Rough play

Goodbye Kitty.


Life was not the same without that cat play.

It was decided: No more cats for me.

I cried and developed lifelong allergies.


Sad, cuz I might have been a Veteranarian


A Vet is what I wanted best

when I was nine and in fourth grade,

living the pony poster life

in the Lone Star state

of strife and Chiggerville

without a friend except

a baby brother


I learned the song

“Born free….as free as the wind blows

as free as the grass grows

Born free to follow my heart.”

The last line stuck with me.

like stickers in an endless grassland

hung my longing heart

Savahnah soft were words

they filled me with solace



From that day on

I read with the speed of the cheetah

and I was Queen


But When I was FOUR…

I don’t remember wanting to be anything

but happy ME

I didn’t want to hold anything

but Kitty

a book

and my Mother’s love.


I guess two out of three ain’t bad

better than some test scores.


When I was FIVE I caught a Small Pox tattoo.

I went for booster shots

and just before the trauma, I met a working cat

who gave me spots and turnouts

His name was Pickles the Fire Cat.


And so I started playing School and Firehouse

I learned a firetruck song

Some days you’ll find me singing still


Fifty years later

I’m remembering these games

give or take a plastic helmet

Cuz somewhere along the fireline

I thought it would be fine to be a teacher


Still do

Sometimes I am the ICO

Sometimes the engineer

between the fire lines

where I’ve secured a hydrant

and a safe scene

an endless supply of smiles and tears

and lots of children


The recess bell rings FREEEDOM!

I land a three-point shot

the ball swirls round

I cheer the children.  They cheer me.

For fifteen minutes I’m that child again

Completely proud


I blow a pretty pinwheel

chasing pain and joy

in being

four and five and nine

and forty-nine

in finding who I am

and needing wisdom


About hrobertson2013

“Each man ( and mermaid) will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land”. Isa 32:2 NIV Warning: The author of this blog is not an ordinary individual. Even Mermaids need a rest from all that's real and grown up. Welcome to the wonder of blog. Come be audience to all that's wet and wild in her stories, poems and thoughts. Instructor by day, super hero by night, and mystical mermaid by summer. Whenever she has the fortune of diving into a pond, reservoir, or mountain waterfall, you'll find her there swimming, and singing songs of life.
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2 Responses to When I was Four

  1. Juan Rodriguez says:

    Since first reading your poems in college, I have known that your best writing lies in bitter/sweet recall of times lost. I recall your Mexico poems, surely the best I’ve read of yours.

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