I grew up in desert places. We lived in North Las Vegas Nevada for a while and then moved to the high desert in Southern California to a place called Apple Valley (no apples, no valley, just dirt). It was hot and dry and hot. There were plenty of places to play, but they all involved dirt. I, like Gina, did a lot of playing house in the dirt. We had a big open field in the back of one of the places I lived and for some reason there were a lot of holes in the ground that were just deep enough for us to carve stairs out of and walk into. There were several of these grouped together, so we made a bunch of different rooms for the house and spent most of our time out there.
Another place I lived we had a trampoline and we spent hours and hours jumping and trying to see who could bounce the highest. We spent so many nights out there sleeping on the trampoline. We would all start in our separate places at the beginning of the night, but by morning we were one big pile of arms and legs all on top of each other in the middle. It was awesome. We jumped on that trampoline as often as we could, and I can't tell you how many times I fell off that thing. One time I landed on my neighbors old wooden fence and slid down, palms facing the wood, to the ground. The fence was about six feet high and as a result the splinters were the entire length of my hands. That one hurt. Another time I was bounced by my brother and flew so high up into the air I actually said, "I can see my house from here!" even though I was in the backyard. I landed on the ground over an old fallen tree with my eyes closed. I didn't want to that log to be the last thing I saw before I died, because I was sure I was going to die. I laid there for a couple of minutes until I realized I could hear my brothers asking if I was alright, and I could hear my own heart beating. I opened my eyes and was so surprised that I lived (and that nothing was broken) that I jumped up and screamed "I'M ALIVE!!" at the top of my lungs. I jumped right back on and kept playing. Some of my brothers could easily do flips in the air on the trampoline and I so desperately wanted to do one too. When I finally braved up the courage to try to do one, I chickened out half way into it and landed on my foot wrong. I ended up breaking my pinkie toe and I think it was one of the most painful things in my life.
My brothers were always coming up with new tricks on the trampoline. They invented something called the Shredder. They would jump up two or three times, then jump on their knees, fall back onto their back, and flip around 180 degrees onto their stomach and jump right back up again. It was awesome to see it in action, and when someone mastered it, it was a big deal. We loved doing the Shredder on the trampoline. Whenever we went to the trampoline my mom would make us take my younger sister who was only two or three at the time. We hated having to take her with us because it meant that we couldn't jump as high, or do any Shredders or flips. So we invented a signal that we could do back and forth to each other to tell them we wanted to go and jump on the trampoline. We would take our first two fingers and move them up and down as if they were legs jumping in the air. All we had to do was call the persons' name, make the sign, and we'd each go out different doors and meet up at the trampoline. To this day most of my brothers remember the signal and then the reminiscing begins. We had that trampoline for a while, until my youngest brother (who is twenty years younger than me) fell off of it one day and broke his leg. After that my mom took it down and gave it away. It was a sad day for all of us, except for my mom of course. She was quite happy.