When my mother died in August 1998, I spent a whole day going through old photographs and other memorabilia relating to Mom, Dad, my brother, and myself. In the end, I think I barely scratched the surface; but I was not able to spend more time at the task. One of the things I rescued from the trash was this drawing of a castle I made at the age of six.
In the upper left-hand corner, Mom wrote in Hungarian, “Little Jimmy drew this 1951 February 1.” At the time, she was pregnant with my brother Dan, who was born on April 5. We were living at 2814 East 120th Street in the Buckeye Road Hungarian neighborhood on Cleveland’s East Side. Already, I had gotten into trouble at school for not speaking English, so by this time my Dad was probably looking into getting a house in the suburbs so that I could become a regular Americano.
What does this drawing say about me? If I were a psychologist, no doubt it would speak volumes. I always had grandiose visions which were fueled by the stories my Mom told me, either of her own invention or from children’s books she took out of the library next to my school (Harvey Rice Elementary) on East 116th Street. According to one website about interpreting children’s drawings:
Children who draw fortresses or castles want to communicate their feelings of power and richness. But they may also be creative kids who love to create imaginary friends with whom they have long conversations or games. These children are full of fantasy and creativity but they generally have problems at school because they get easily immersed in their imaginary worlds.
That sounds about right to me, actually. Thanks to my Mom, mine was a richly imaginative world. Perhaps that’s why I write these blogs. I want to share my imagination with the world, or at least a small corner of it.