The Mystery of the Universe
by Georgie Bright Kunkel
When I was much younger I used to worry over the universe. Well, actually I still worry about it but when I was younger and less knowledgeable my worry was much greater.
Questions like, “Mom, where does the sun go at night?” was one of my queries. I don’t remember what my mother used to tell me about it all. She was such a busy mother with eleven children to care for that she had more mundane problems to solve than worrying about that. Being the youngest I learned quickly what was expected of me which was certainly not as much as was expected of my older sisters. Since I had a live--in nanny my world was much less stressful. She spent all her time playing games with me and taking me places. I remember being fawned over by the ladies in the church Ladies’ Aid Society that we attended once a month. The ladies would hover over me saying, “Poor little thing. She doesn’t have any father.’” My father died just before I was born and so I was the object of many remarks about being a child without a father. I really soaked up all the attention.
I am still in awe of the universe and I can’t understand it all even yet. Questions that rose in my mind are still there but I have quit worrying about it all. Life creeps up on everyone and we all learn from just living life one day at a time. Growing up in a family of so called god-fearing people I tried to accept it all without question. But to tell the truth I am still in awe over it all. However, I have a lot of questions about a universe in which so many people suffer while others live in luxury. It took me a long time to accept that life is not fair for everyone. My own life was pleasant probably because my mother never passed on the pain and suffering that she must have lived through after my father died just before I was born. I can’t imagine what my mother experienced living through the shock of my father’s death and being responsible for the ten living children she still had to raise. Luckily she was a brilliant woman who took what she was dealt and made a life out of it.
Looking outside at the remaining snow reminds me of the days when as a child my older brother had to shovel snow off our sidewalk so we could walk to school. I loved the snow as it gave us kids the chance to have snowball fights on the way to school. I remember that even our school principal came out and entered into the snowball fights that we had in the school yard. The boring walk to school was made more tolerable by games that we played while making the trek there each school day. Since I was always trying to figure out the mysterious universe I loved science class. That was always my favorite subject.
The advent of television certainly opened up the world to our family. I remember when the first person on our block bragged about getting a television set. All us kids made excuses to go to their house so we could enjoy this great new experience. When I think back to my childhood days I remember how innovative we kids were. I don’t remember ever being bored or asking my mother, “What can I do today?” There was always something interesting to engage in. I still have the paper dolls that I made to play with when I was much younger. I designed clothes for my paper dolls so my young friends loved coming to my house to play with them. I would even create new paper dolls and new clothes to give to my little friends. As I look back on it all I must have been quite creative as I thought up many exciting things to do in my yard and my young friends would gravitate to my place to play games.
Our street had a dead-end as they call it. There was a woman who lived at the end of our street and she supplied the neighborhood with fresh cow’s milk so we had plenty of milk at our house. I remember when a friend was visiting us from the east coast and he was surprised that we used milk that was not pasteurized. He wouldn’t drink any of it when he visited us. I couldn’t understand this at the time.
Luckily I found West Seattle which seemed much like a small town at the time. It has been my home away from my original childhood home for many years. They say that you can’t go home again and I am beginning to believe that. My original hometown has changed so much that it doesn’t resemble the hometown that I knew as a child. The neighboring town which was four miles away is now just one part of the bigger community which now encompasses both towns. My original family home is now virtually abandoned. What they say about never being able to go home again is true. I have now become a city dweller and don’t intend to ever live in my hometown again. But I will never shed all the memories I have of the years that I spent growing up there.
Now to get on with my day looking out at the gloomy landscape of our Seattle winter. This computer helps in taking me to places around the world so that I don’t have to sit and be overcome by the gloom outside.
Yes, life is good and even though I probably will never figure out the meaning of the universe, I will keep trying.