This Is Me--2024 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Themes in the past have covered a range of topics and for 2024 the theme is a personal retrospective that I call "I Coulda Been" which is in reference to my job and career arc over my lifetime. I'll be looking at all sorts of occupations that I have done or could have done. Maybe you've done some of these too!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dreams or Reality

           Was it a dream or was it real?   Have you ever woken and in a hazy half-wakeful state wondered if what you experienced  was real?  As the sleep state wears off and consciousness gradually returns to the dreamer,  sometimes this question is pondered for a moment or even longer.  As years pass by we may retain vivid memories of things that may never have even really happened.  Likewise we may supress the memories of things that did happen to the extent they become dreamlike or pushed into the realms of forgetfulness.  Was it the real life or was it just fantasy?

           Last Friday I recounted a childhood dream about finding a baby skeleton.  I told how when I awoke I checked to see if the baby skeleton was where I had put it in the dream.  When I realized it was only a dream, I was disappointed, but the memory of the vivid dream remained with me.  This week I am offering a guessing game for you.

          To follow are four childhood memories that I have that seem very vivid to me.  One I know is real, one is definitely a dream, and the other two I seem to remember as real but I don't know for sure.  I'll leave it to you to guess which is which.


     It was 1957 and I was in the first grade. Beside the school I attended,  Garfield Elementary School in Cleveland, Ohio, there was a wooded area.  One day I was exploring the woods with one of my young friends--Jimmy Wolfe as I recall-- and we came upon a very large house that was built above the ground in the trees.  It was an actual dwelling that was mounted into several trees.  It was painted a very glossy tree leaf green, had a screened in porch, and had a wooden staircase leading up to the house.  Jimmy and I immediately left when we realized we were in someone else's yard.


      There had been a huge thuderstorm with a great deal of lightning.  I do not remember the actual storm occurring, but only the aftermath.  I went outside in the front yard.  The air felt clean and fresh and everything seemed new.  People were walking by on the sidewalk that passed in front of our house.  I was surprised to find large jagged shards of lightning pieces in the front yard.  I gathered them up.  They were smooth and solid as though they were made of glass.


       My sister Joy and I were going to downtown Cleveland with my mother.  It was 1955 and since my mother did not have a car to drive we had to take the bus.  We had to walk a few blocks from our house on West 143rd Street to the mainline where there was a bus stop.  As we waited on the bench a chilling breeze swooshed over me and with it a smell.  I looked across the street to what I had seen before but always tried to avoid seeing.  It was a large old abandoned house that I always referred to as the haunted house.  The unpainted wood was now weathered gray and a odor that made me think of foreboding history, mustiness, and perhaps even death exuded from the building. I was glad when the bus came and took us away from that frightening place. At the next stop two nuns boarded the bus.  Not knowing what a nun was I thought they were ghosts.


       It was very dark that night in the backseat of my parents car.  I was probably about 4 or 5 years old.  We were coming or going, I don't remember.  I only remember that I felt scared. My parents were talking in low tones, probably thinking I was asleep.  I heard them say something about a "tornado" and my fear increased.  But then I remembered them having also mentioned a city called "Toledo" in times past.  Since Toledo was near Cleveland, where we lived at that time, we would sometimes go there.  I then thought perhaps we were going to or passing near Toledo.   But my fear returned as I looked out into the darkness beyond the car window.  I was certain that they were talking about a tornado.  In the darkness, I could see the cornfields with the cornstalks leaning in the wind.

     So which was in the real life?  Which was just a fantasy?  Which two are questionable memories of a child's mind?

       Or what about you?  Do you have a particular childhood dream that stands out in your memory?  Do you seem to remember something that you are sure happened but nobody else can confirm?  Do you remember much from your childhood at all?


  1. Dreams are powerful things. Or at least they can be. I pay a fair bit of attention to mine. they have pointed me in the right direction before.
    I am guessing that the big treehouse is real.
    Haunted house- dream?
    confusion of words- dream?
    Lightning stike- not sure?

    How did I go?

  2. Most of my dreams I can't remember. The ones that stick with me are sometimes fragments of fears that plague me. Vivid snipits of half truths, I'd be glad to forget.

  3. rLEE-b ~
    Here are my four answers, all of them entirely correct, by the way. (No reason for me to enter into this lacking confidence, eh?)...

    THE BIG TREEHOUSE: "Dream." (It feels similar to dreams I've had.)

    THE LIGHTNING STORM: "Dream." (I've lived 50 years and never held "jagged shards of lightning", and frankly, color me just a little skeptical that such things exist. Ha!)

    THE HAUNTED HOUSE: "Dream." (This remark made it seem dreamlike to me: "I looked across the street to what I had seen before but always tried to avoid seeing.")

    A CONFUSION OF WORDS: Definitely "Real."

    These are my final answers.
    Where's my prize?

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe

  4. Thanks for the comments so far. I don't want to confirm any answers yet because I know hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of other readers want their chance to answer this and I want to give everybody a fair chance (that would be a dream). I will post the confirming answers tomorrow.

  5. I tend to forget dreams within minutes of waking up. And I rarely dream anymore. Odd.

    I would guess the real story is either of the last two stories.

    Straight From Hel

  6. It's funny you should post this. I had a dream this morning that seemed so real it was bizarre. A dream about the details of my own home (I currently rent) even though there were some things that were off but all things are not exact. So let me give this the ole' college try:

    Treehouse - dream
    Lightning Storm - dream
    Haunted House - real
    Confusion of Words - real

  7. Yeah, my first thought is the treehouse is real. Sounds too odd to be made up! (Life is stranger than fiction...)
    Dreams are powerful. My YA series was inspired by the wisp of a dream.

  8. I often have vivid dreams and am later unsure as to whether they were dreams or reality. It's caused me more than my share of confusion!

  9. I think the lightning pieces was a dream. The for-sure real one was about the tornado. My best guesses.

    I used to have a few recurring dreams in childhood, which I seem to have grown out of. I do remember a lot of my dreams. Most are quite vivid.

    Please don't send the men in white coats. I'm just a writer.

  10. I remember lots of my dreams. From these I get ideas or insights about my life. Past, present and future. I believe in dreams and especially in making them come true. Pop on over to my latest post and you will see what I mean.
    My blog is Dream Weaver after all.

  11. I like this topic because I can definitely relate to this a lot. I have so many memories of when I was very very little but I'm not sure if they're real or if I've exaggerated them in my mind.

    I think that...
    treehouse - dream
    haunted house - real
    Lightning strike - you aren't sure
    confusion of words - you aren't sure

  12. I think the Big Tree house is real. To a child, broken glass may have been Lightening Shards so this could be real or made up, I’m not sure myself. Haunted House, a child’s mind at work, a dream.
    Confusion of words: Real.

  13. Lately I dream of family who have passed on....perhaps they are trying to tell me something.
    At the present am on holiday in Spain but missed my blogging friends so found this Internet station.
    Take care.

  14. Thank you all for your participation. I meant to post this earlier, but got involved with other things. Anyway here are the answers:

    The Lightening Storm-- was definitely a dream, but the imagery was so strong that I still remember it vividly.

    The Big Treehouse -- Sure seemed real, in fact maybe I did see something like it, but misinterpreted as a big green treehouse. But it might have been a dream.

    The Confusion of Words -- probably was real, but my parents couldn't remember it-- why would they if they were just casually conversing. The memory for me seems very dreamllike.

    The Haunted House -- I definitely remember seeing this house on more than one occasion and being very afraid, although my young mind probably exaggerated much of the scariness. I recall my mom shushing me on the bus when I saw the nuns and very audibly cried, "Look at the ghosts." In my mind I was connecting them to the "haunted house" that I was so afraid of and I had never seen a nun before.


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