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Patricia Lee Gauch | Who I Am

Who I Am

I grew up an only child, daughter of Muriel and Mel Lee, on a flat and narrow street in Lockmoor, Michigan, three blocks from Lake St. Clair and the night hoots of freighters making their way across the lake in fog. It was a block noisy with children, as many as 75, playing street games like softball, and lawn games like Red Rover Red Rover, Mother May I , Statues. We loved to roller skate and jump rope to singing rhymes (“Polly Put the Kettle On, Sukey take it off again…”)

Patti Gauch at 9 (holding baby turtle)

Patti Gauch at 9 (holding baby turtle)

And we loved to “Pretend.” My neighbor friend Ann was a willing partner, both of us twirling until one of us fell down, the one standing became princess. Ann was also a willing believer, so when at 7 I invented small creatures that I discovered among the quilts on a bed, and named the two Brownie and Pinkie, she believed, allowing great adventures for the two sprites, and great storytelling for me.

As a young child, my world was abloom with imaginative play. Even now, I remember cuddling into my bed at night, planning how I would leap out of my bedroom window – and fly. I could actually feel the flight, how my wings would pump, taking me into the nighttime sky. I was often disappointed to wake up in the morning and realize that, despite heartfelt promises to myself, I hadn’t flown after all.