Monday, June 13, 2005

Childhood meme

Oh dear. I've been seeing this one and fearing it might come this way. But out of gratitude to faithful comment-leaver Kenju, who has tagged me with the childhood meme, I will comply at least partially. As for Part B, which seems like a chain letter or Ponzi scheme - well, see Kenju's post for the explanation and pretend I tagged you if you want to do it.

Five things you miss from childhood...

1. Feeling it was perfectly OK to spend an entire afternoon reading out on the roof. Or writing a book and then binding it. Or making an apple strudel or learning how to write runes, or studying Finnish from a textbook I bought at the library discard sale (why did they have that book in the first place?). Nowadays, if I were to indulge myself that way, an evil voice in my head would ask: "are you being productive?" Jeez, who cares??

2. Soaking up the doting of my favorite aunt, my mother's twin sister, who thought I was the cat's pajamas and said so, often. In our house praise was generally absent - my Pennsylvania Dutch father believed it would spoil and corrupt us. My mother thought I was a scary, selfish, evil child. So my aunt's love was the most important thing in the world to me, and was perhaps the only thing that kept me out of the loony bin! I posted a little about the house she built at Buxton, next to the Hatteras lighthouse, across from the Coast Guard outpost which has now been abandoned, here.

3. Lounging in the tv room with my brothers, in my PJs, every Sunday night, enjoying our Sunday night dinner of "eggshakes" (raw egg, milk, ice cream, sometimes a banana, nobody worried about salmonella in those days) and popcorn, watching "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" on tv, though it was in black and white at our house because my dad didn't want to shell out for a color tv.

4. Sitting in the "way back" of a station wagon speeding down the road with the tailgate down, dangling my legs over the edge and watching our previous locations shrink and disappear behind us.

My dad would not allow this but my friends' parents did. Hard to believe, isn't it?

Even when I was in my pre-teens, watching scenery and pedestrians hurtle backwards made me mourn the many things we lose every day and never get back.

Even then, I realized I was abnormally elegiac and that I didn't seem to appreciate things fully until I could see that they were ending or that I was losing them.

The first time I heard The Incredible String Band sing "This Moment," I had an epiphany. And don't talk to me about Worst songs of the 70s because I LOVED The Incredible String Band. I thought I would blind you with one of their album covers. I hope it doesn't give you a migraine.

From "This Moment"

This moment is different from any before it
this moment is different it's now
And if I don't kiss you
That kiss is untasted
I'll never get it back

But why should I want to?
I'll be in the next moment...

I began making an effort to enjoy what I have - at "this moment" - instead of mourning what is lost. I'm still trying.

To flog the station-wagon analogy, now that I'm 51 there's an awful lot more road behind me. But since I'm still healthy - and can still dig deep holes and walk a long, long way - I try to keep looking to the road ahead.

Looking back is sad, and this meme isn't helping, so I'm going to stop here with number four. Please leave me a sweet childhood memory in the comments - I'd rather read one of yours than remember my own.

Update: Thanks to people who have left me nice memories in the comments. And, here is a take on this meme that actually CHEERED me up instead of depressing me so go enjoy it at Vile File.

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At 8:22 AM, Blogger Badaunt said...

We used to ride on the back of the pickup truck sometimes. What fun! (But only in the countryside, not in town.)

And yes, I remember the endless time to do 'useless' stuff, too. Sometimes it's worth recapturing that feeling, I think.

At 9:34 AM, Blogger Isabella said...

Smarties boxes! I seem to recall that Smarties aren't available in the US, so I guess I should explain that they're kind of like M&Ms, but better, and come in boxes. As a safety measure, the boxes are now tightly sealed and have perforated openings. There was a time, though, when the box was a real box. You can just fit the end of the box in you mouth, to make a Smarties box kazoo. The "new" boxes don't let enough air through the right way. We had Smarties kazoo orchestras! I miss that.

At 10:35 AM, Blogger kenju said...

I enjoyed reading this, Melinama, but I am sorry if I caused you pain in remembering your childhood. Forgive me? Thanks for writing - even though you didn't want to.

I miss going to the movies with my mom nearly every Friday night from ages 6 to 10. They were westerns, of the kiss-the-horse variety, but I enjoyed the lessons they taught me.

At 9:24 PM, Blogger Mirty said...

I remember afternoons spent lying in the green, green grass of the fields behind the junior high, spending hours just throwing a tennis ball and watching my dog run after it.

I once took three hours to draw, with old-fashioned pen and ink, a single rose blossom. I did it entirely with dots, not a single line. I remember those hours as blissful. (And I still have the drawing.)

At 9:47 PM, Anonymous Lynn said...

Oh! I love that album cover. Silly me, I love those outrageously bright colors.

Childhood memories... I'm not sure what to post right now. Maybe I'll post my list later.

At 9:48 PM, Anonymous Lynn S said...

That's funny... it posted before I was done entering my information. Probably just my stupid fingers.

At 7:04 AM, Blogger Don said...

Mountains. I spent most of my childhood in Utah, and even though the largest portion of my life has been in Kansas, there are always mountains in the back of my mind.

The Incredible String Band is an old favorite of mine, and I need to transfer the ancient vinyl to CD sometime. The cover I liked best was U, though it isn't quite as magnificently garish as The 5000 Spirits, or the Layers of the Onion.

At 9:26 AM, Anonymous colleenR said...

I miss a favorite doll. When I was 4 it got left when my family was visiting relatives. We had gone to far to go back. When it got sent back to me (it seemed like years had gone by), I didn't want it anymore. And this was formative enough to perhaps create a theme in my life. I've posted the 5 things on my site and this is another one I just remembered now that my memory has been nudged.

At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Amy said...

I miss spying.

At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Lynn S said...

I posted mine.

At 4:26 PM, Blogger Ms Vile File said...

Thanks so much for your kind words, Melinama!

I think childhood is vastly overrated... The first 15-20 years of one's life don't really count. Too much time spent learning how to control one's motor functions and going to school. So dull.

Adulthood is much more fun.


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