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Editor: Brian Michael Barbeito/
Assistant Editor: Kelly Kusumoto
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
The Grasshopper Boy -by John L. Waters
the summer was very young the late June grasshopper nymph had nothing
but nubbins for wings. The creature hopped amongst green tender shoots
of calendulas and other delicate plants. Its soft callow flesh was as
green as the green leaves it lived on - and this was a mighty blessing
which made the hopper beast almost invisible to hungry dino-birds.
much as Geppetto's pride and joy pine puppet Pinocchio wanted to become
a real live boy, the grasshopper boy wanted to become a grasshopper.
He often was seen pulling along behind him a large wooden green
grasshopper toy. It was a twenty-incher - a green toy with bright red
wooden wheels. The device had been purchased by his mother from The
Children's Shop - located about two miles away - down on West De La
Guerra Street about half a block west of State Street. Right near Ralph
Runkle's Shoe Shop.
This was the
boy's one and only pull toy. It was his own pride and joy! And like
Pinocchio, this boy was living in a make-believe fairy tale world. A
little like a diminutive Jurassic Park. Away back in the year 1944.
was everywhere here and the grasshopper boy was truly a roving
biologist. He wandered all around the yard - which covered
approximately two-fifths of an acre. The garden teemed with worms,
butterflies, wasps, bees, ants, spiders, ladybugs, millipedes,
centipedes, and other types of intrepid fliers and small creepy
crawlies. And the boy also explored all the plants and examined them
lovingly each day.
A three foot
thick hedge of Eugenia grew eight feet high around the garden's
perimeter, and chicken-wire fencing kept out roaming stray dogs and lost
children. Although he was intimidated by strange dogs and unfamiliar
children, the grasshopper boy felt perfectly secure inside of this deep
green vault. Rather like Green Mansions! The seduction and the romance
of Mother nature! Without any timidity the boy explored every twig and
leaf, bud, flower, and seed pod. Stems and roots also intrigued him -
the interlocking geometries of this tiny world. He luxuriated on nests
made of soft grass and small branches.
was naturally happening all at once inside of the boy as well as
outside of him. Suddenly he looked above and saw the huge avocado
tree's leaves vibrating in a cool breeze. He ran fifty feet out of the
shade and stood near the giant bamboo clump. He then looked skyward
into a brown-bottomed broken cumulus. Cracks of blue let no rain fall.
A bold bird squawked at him from the Melaleuca shrub near the tall
cement pillar that had the words "Las Rosas" carved near its top. His
Mother and his brother were inside the house. For the time being, the
grasshopper boy was content by himself in the mighty world, and because
he was so intent on his special interest, he felt no negativity at all.
Although the night before the city of Bremen was bombed again and
again, the boy was as happy as could be. (In the 1939-45 period the RAF
dropped 12,831 long tons of bombs on Bremen.)
worked as a professional free-lance lyricist in Hollywood from 1969
until 1977. It was there I met the two composers with whom I wrote
eight songs which were published. I became ill with an acute respiratory
disorder. I left the Los Angeles area in 1977 and worked out my
Since January 2000 I've
been attending Humboldt State University in the over-sixty program. I've
been doing independent research. I have a large number of letters,
articles, poems, graphic designs, musical pieces, and songs.