Mighty Life List
Apr 12 2011

Your Childhood Memories


-Megan G.’s favorite childhood memory.

Your contest entries made me too happy to leave them in comments. A few that stood out:

My dad used to make dandelion butter with me, which involved stirring dandelions in a tin cup until it turned to butter. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized a distraction and slight of hand were part of the magic. -Liz

My favourite childhood memory is of my father play-massaging my back after bath. He would spray a little fresh kiddie cologne and do light clapping and topping on my back, arms and legs. -Marta

I used to hide in my grandmothers drained pond from my brother and cousins so I could read. -Beks

My favorite memory is hand drawing and coloring paper doll clothes for my little sister. We would spend hours pouring through the JCPenney’s catalog so that she could choose outfits for me to recreate. -Tamra

Having a breakfast of brownies and decaf coffee from a Thermos on the beach with my parents and little sister. -Holly

My favourite memory was thinking Michael Jackson from his thriller video lived in my furnace room. I was always scared to turn off the lights at the bottom of the basement stairs. -Alison Kelly

I remember playing in a room with a brass bed and red curtains, and watching through the window as a train went by. -Amy Jo

The pure magic my dad would create for my sisters and me on the evenings my mom worked. Like blowing out an egg and filling it with Rice Krispies (in advance so we didn’t see) and then cracking it and BLOWING our little minds. -Katherine

My parents were redoing the walls so after the old paper had been stripped, they let us color all over the walls. We kept a bucket of crayons at the top of the stairs and we would draw big lines as we walked downstairs. -Miss K

My mom waking me and my sister in the middle of the night when we had gone to visit PEI and taking us outside, bundled in our coats and Dad’s mittens over our PJs to watch thousands of Canada geese fly across the full moon. -Ellen

My favorite childhood memory is the fishtank next to my crib. My parent used it as a psuedo-nightlight, the gurgling and warmth and buzzing pump and darting fish would lull me to sleep every night. -Daffodil Campbell

My grandmother had no rules: she threw away toothpaste caps and slept in her clothes. My mom was the type that kept the plastic on things. I loved being so free [at my grandmother’s house] because it always felt like I was getting away with something huge. -Martha

When my three sisters and I made a boat out of a kiddie pool and rowed it down the ditch with a broom for a paddle when the creek by our house flooded. -Tiff

I had this older brother type character in my life, a boy four years older than me who was my parents’ best friends’ son. We both went to this private school about 20 miles away and had a long bus ride together every day. When his 8th grade class read The Hobbit, he’d read it to me on the bus every morning and evening. -Robin

My grandmother transformed the empty lot beside our house into some wild forest/garden. Under one of the trees was what I thought to be a carpet of white flowers. Turns out they were all butterflies. -Michelle

My father used to hook up the hose to the top of the house, so that the water would fall into the pool like a waterfall. We would take turns jumping “through” it. -Natasha

My favorite childhood memory: completing a 2,000 piece puzzle with my Dad. We weren’t very close when I was growing up, he much preferred doing “boy” activities with my brother, but one day he brought this huge thing home and announced we would be working on it together. We cleared off the dining room table and the family ate in the kitchen for over two weeks while we worked on it after dinner every night. I remember exactly what it looked like still to this day. -Faetra

I remember being about 3 or 4 and taking a trip to Maine with my dad. One night he woke me up and brought me down to the lake where we laid on our backs in a row boat and watched shooting stars together. -Megan

My mom running from the car, where I was waiting, up through the dandelions in our yard to grab something else from the house. It’s the only memory I have of my mother walking; rheumatoid arthritis permanently bound her to a wheelchair when I was 4. -Guinevere

On warm summer evenings, my parents would sometimes fill the plastic baby pool in the yard with bubbles and my brothers and sister and I would take our baths outside. -Katie

Sitting on my grandfather’s lap, him asking how old i am, and me triumphantly holding up a single finger. -Jill

In the summertime, I would pitch a tent in the backyard and it would be my “room” for about a week. Since I was a scaredy-cat, I would beg my grandpa to sleep in it with me. My grandpa was a big guy, and this was a tiny kids tent. He slept in it with me every night and listened to my kid-talk and still got up in the morning at 5 to go to work. -Rachel

Hanging out in the garage with my dad, who is something like the ultimate handyman. We’d have to take “cat breaks” so I could sit on his lap in the rocking chair by the wood stove and pet kittens. -Lacey

Playing house inside a circle of mammoth sunflowers that my Mother would plant for us every summer. She’d plant them in a horseshoe shape and then tie the tops together. -KellyBrz

We moved cross-country when I was five, and I drove with my dad while my mom flew out w my baby brother… We ate a two-pound bag of Skittles on the trip. I made him eat all the yellow and green ones. -Kate F

During summer vacation, my best neighborhood friend, Marcie, and I would ride our bikes to the nearby feed store which was the best hangout in our rural Iowa neighborhood because they had a pop machine. we’d dig out some coins and buy two Like sodas, then play Family Feud. That is, I would be the host and try to remember the previous day’s categories and answers and she would play every family member on both teams. -Kate

When we were 9 and 8, my sister and I would steal into the den and dig fistfuls of coins out of the giant milk jug where my parents stashed spare change. This technique supplemented our meager allowances for weeks until my parents started to ask questions about all the new little stuffed monkeys and monkey wardrobes we were acquiring. -Margaret

Since My Grandfather passed today I will leave a memory of him. He used to let us chop wood with him as young as 8 or 9 we had our own little ax and everything. -Charlotte Lunsford

My grandparents came to visit us after a stop in Las Vegas. When they arrived my G-pa called me over (I was about 6) and said he had something for me. He said that while he was in Vegas “he took out a Special Quarter just for little Jilly” and played it in a special Slot Machine and whatever came out would be for me… and from behind his back he whipped around a HUGE paper bag full of quarters. And just as he handed the bag to me, the bottom fell out and they went crashing to the ground just like a slot machine spitting them out! After counting them, I had $67.00 even. -Jill

Catching fireflies with my big brother then putting them in jar and filling bottle caps with granola and water for them. -Mosiphine

I remember racing into the dance studio upon seeing it for the first time at age three and asking the instuctor if we were going to do thiiiiiiiiis? (spinning around and around and around on the shiny tile floor). “Of course” she said. -Anngeedee

Grandpa’s pipe smoke “to keep the mosquitos away.” -ErinTine

When I was little I LOVED riding the school bus to my grandparents house. My grandma was the kind that had a 5 gallon can of flour under the kitchen table; she was always baking something. One particular day it was rainy and stormy and when I got off the bus at the end of the driveway I could smell my Grandma’s homemade dinner rolls. I ran all the way up the driveway. My Grandma met me at the door with a towel, helped me dry off and then I parked myself next to the wood stove with an afghan and a nice hot buttery dinner roll to watch Scooby Doo. -Heidi C.

Pretending not to wake up when my mom masqueraded as the tooth fairy. -Mia

Riding my bike to the little corner grocery store to buy bagfuls of candy. I could shove five atomic fireballs in my mouth at once though. -Amanda

If you didn’t add your memories because you weren’t interested in the contest, go ahead and leave yours below. Yeah. Do it.

119 Responses to “Your Childhood Memories”

  • sizzle Says:

    This is so lovely. Makes me misty with nostalgia.

    The first memory that came to mind was washing the cars with my dad on hot summer days. My dad and I didn’t do a lot of things together and he lost his battle with the bottle when I was a ‘tween but doing that simple chore with him was fun for me.

  • Sarah Brown Says:

    These are wonderful.

    Every Saturday morning, my dad would make me Eggo waffles and then, before he started his weekend chores in the garage and the yard, he’d make me a magic wand with a star on top out of a twisted wire hanger and tinfoil. I would play with it all week and it would always fall apart around Friday afternoon.

  • Megs Says:

    One sunny day my mom and I were picking cherries from the cherry tree and a tiny little microburst of rain came falling from the sky. Right over the cherry tree. Standing underneath the cherry tree with my mom, a sun shower dripping through the trees, it felt like I was experiencing a moment of magic.

  • Yatima Says:

    My Dad had a huge copy of this insane, beautiful fantasy book from the 1920s called “The Ship That Sailed To Mars.”

    http://www.labs.net/anaiselise/timlin/timlin.htm

    Once when I was ill he read me the whole thing cover to cover. It must have taken hours. Every time his tongue tripped, he would do a funny little whistle and read the word again.

  • Rachel Says:

    Love this!

    When I was little, my bedroom was downstairs from the kitchen. Every morning my parents would sit and have coffee at the kitchen table together before my Dad would leave for work. The smell of the fresh coffee and the soft murmur of their voices always made me feel safe and loved. One of the reasons I love the smell of coffee in the morning so much – its such a nice sense memory, especially since they are both gone now.

  • Beth Says:

    When I was maybe seven or eight, my friends and I would meet up every day in the spring and summer and ride our bikes down the street. Only we were so fearless and reckless that we would do things like build up a head of steam and then stand up on the seat. I vividly remember doing this yet I cannot believe it. We were nuts but it was awesome being that free from worry.

  • monica Says:

    This post made my day!

    I remember my parents taking us to the drive-in movies with a picnic dinner, soda, and popcorn. My sister and me rode bundled in blankets in the open back of a pick-up singing at the top of our lungs.

  • Viv Says:

    Before the days of seat belt safety, my sister and I would ride in the back of my dad’s construction van that had all the seats removed. We would lie on the floor and look down through the bolt-holes at the street going by.

  • Marianne Says:

    This makes my throat feel thick and wonder what my daughter will remember.

  • Kelly H Says:

    When I was little, my mom would send my sister and I to our grandparent’s house on a farm an hour from the big city we lived in. I got to sleep in “uncle Dick’s room” (he was away at college). I can still feel the soft cotton sheets on that squishy bed and hearing the summer breeze come through the window. From my bed I could see my uncle Tom and aunt Sandy’s house up the hill with the lights on. Every 5 minutes or so a car would drive past on the country highway and in between you’d hear crickets creaking or the cows mooing. There was nothing more secure and comforting in the world. Even now at 40 when I get stressed and can’t sleep I close my eyes and pretend I’m sleeping at Grandma’s house on a warm summer night.

  • brittney Says:

    The time I asked if we could go to the amusement park after work, and my mom said, “we’ll ask your father,” which always meant no, but for some reason he said yes! And we went!

    We didn’t have much money, so this was definitely a coup. I’d never felt so powerful. I asked…and I got it!

  • Angela Says:

    My grandmother had a heart valve replacement in the early 80’s, and unlike the porcine valves of today, hers was mechanical. It clicked every time it opend and closed, and I remember drifting off to sleep lulled by the symphony of her creaky wooden rocker, her heartbeat, and the click-click of her artificial valve.

  • Carrie Says:

    Playing “vegetable stand” with my Granny. My grandfather had a huge vegetable garden and fruit trees (all behind your standard suburban ranch house). We would pick the ripe fruit and vegetables and then my Granny would buy them from me with her spare change (which she would always let me keep).

  • Sarah Says:

    I loved the idea of writing checks when I was a kid, so my dad always gave me one of his little notebooks that he used at work (he was a police officer). I would write out checks to people all the time.

  • Amy S Says:

    My father was a college basketball coach. I very vividly remember sitting with my mother in the stands, clutching my eskimo ragdoll. After the game ended my daddy would let me play on the court and just before we left, he’d swing up so I could slam dunk the ball.

  • Emily Says:

    Holding my grandfather’s hand and jumping the waves in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

  • Alex Says:

    Usually when I stayed home sick from school my mom would stay with me, but once my dad stayed home instead, and he made me soup for lunch and brought me his prized copy of Audubon’s “Birds of America” to look at. Twenty-odd years later, he was delighted when I used the post office’s Audubon bird stamps to mail my wedding invitations.

  • Syd Says:

    When I was a child, we’d spend a week a the beach in the summertime. My favorite memory: after spending all morning at the beach, we go back to the beach house. Take a shower. Eat a sandwich. Then find a cot on the sleeping porch to nap or read a book. It was walle with screened windows, as the beach house had no AC and was only cooled by sea breezes. I remember dozing to the sound of waves, while reading old paperbacks.

    My entire body just relaxed as I was typing that memory out for you. Thank you. I needed a little mental vacation.

  • B. Says:

    When I was 3 or 4, my family still had the old faux wood paneled station wagon, and my brothers and I would sometimes clamor to be the ones to sit in the back. One July 4th, we were coming back from watching the fireworks in town, and all three of us wanted to be in the back. So, our parents let us huddle back there, ducking down low to hide from the flashing police lights from the officers directing traffic. The sharpest memory for me is the damp grass and musty cotton smell of the quilt we had lain on, and the thrill of nervous excitement I had at Breaking the Law!

  • Cathi Says:

    These are so awesome.

    When I was maybe 5 or 6, our television (we only had one – it was the 70’s) completely went out. For whatever reason, my parents did not replace it for 12-18 months. (I’m not sure why there was a delay… there was not an abundance of resources, to be sure, although perhaps they were simply tired of three children arguing about viewing schedules.) Anyrate, we started a tradition of playing board games each night instead of watching television. After a week, no one mentioned the broken television, and we genuinely enjoyed the new activities. To this day, I am very, very good at Monopoly.

  • Katy Says:

    A long time ago, my parents decided to replace the kitchen flooring. It was this nasty brown carpeting type stuff. Mom took the last piece and set it across the kitchen, up against the wall. Then she put my sister and I on the other side of the kitchen. And handed us each an egg and told us to chuck it at that nasty carpet. So I joyfully did so. And my sister, four years younger, chucked her egg…. right onto the kitchen wall, completely missing the old carpet. One memory we will never let her live down :)

  • Michelle Says:

    love this post! My contribution:

    Playing “kick the can” each summer night with the neighborhood kids and my father, who was the only grown-up who would play with us. My father played seriously and didn’t cut us any slack. If he was “it” he always won – no kid ever out-ran him.

    One summer night, I hid patiently and then made a sprint for the can and by a milisecond I actually beat my dad! I was the hero of the neighborhood for the entire summer and my dad was so proud.

  • Laura Says:

    When I was very small I lived in farm country in Upstate NY, literally on a farm (just corn and apples and soybeans, no animals, sadly), and used to be able to run back into the woods in the back of our house by myself. I could only do this in summer, because in fall the deer hunters were out in force. Mom and dad, understandably, didn’t want me to get accidentally shot, and it was no fun having to run around in a huge puffy orange vest. In the summer, though, I used to camp out in a deer blind back in the woods, and in the little clearing below that the hunters had made for camping and cooking lunch. There was a break in the trees that looked like a window, and you could peek through it to the soybean field beyond. I called it “The Secret Place.” Seems morbid now, being that people were there the rest of the time to kill animals, but that place was magical when I was 6 years old and had the run of it.

  • Judy Says:

    My dad worked swing shift until my older sister started kindergarten, so he was home during the day. My preschool was down the street from our house, and one day I got sick and he came and carried me home in my alphabet blanket.

  • Kris Says:

    My mom has always been a night owl, so it made sense that she was the kick starter of the Aurora Borealis phone tree. It has to be perfect conditions for those moving lights in the sky: clear and cold and usually late at night. My mom would start the phone tree and then wake my sister and I up so we could bundle up and watch the Aurora Borealis from our front porch in Alaska.

  • Kris Cameron Says:

    We were lucky enough to live in Monterey for a few years and every day my dad would pick me up from school and ask me if I wanted to go to the beach for a half hour or be pushed on the swings for a half hour.

  • Megan G. Says:

    Oh! That’s me!

  • Ariel Says:

    Going on an epic camping trip to Yellowstone with my dad and little sister when I was ten. Turning every song from Carole King’s “Tapestry” into songs about buffalos as we drove past them (“Way over yonder, Where the buffalo roaaam!”) Standing outside at a lookout point while it rained, sharing a plastic poncho with my little sis and making silly faces/antics to make my dad laugh, who was videotaping us from inside the warm, dry car. Buying a small buffalo figurine at a local store. Using an entire roll of film (that’s 36 photos) taking photos of Old Faithful with my camera. Laughing in the car until I almost peed my pants.

  • Wendy Says:

    I remember my grandmother giving me a bath, in the darkening evening with just the glow of the under-cabinet lights, in the kitchen sink and her playing “this little piggie went to the market” with my toes.

  • Michelle Says:

    Such delightful memories – my own childhood had such little joy, save my grandpa who ran a hardware store, smelled like cigarette smoke, bourbon, and gum, lit up like a christmas tree when I was around and always called me Michelley – no one else ever did and it pains me that he never met my son.

  • Emsy Says:

    One night when I was about 7, I was getting ready for bed, and I hadn’t bothered to turn the light on in my room. I heard someone call my name, so I turned around, and Smokey, my oversized teddy-bear, was silhouetted in my doorway, talking to me.

    “I KNEW IT,” I thought, “you’re real.”

    Then, my older brother’s head peeked into the doorframe – he had been moving the bear. We didn’t get to see each other that often, so I was happy even though I knew he had made Smokey talk. But for that one second…!

  • Erin Says:

    Best thread ever! I just bought a copy of the Mars book for my son’s birthday, three seconds after reading that comment.

    Every Saturday night, our family would meet up with other families from our church at a local tavern. There was a room with a pool table and video games where we would go hang out while the adults drank and talked in the dining room. When the food came, we’d come back in and eat. My favorite thing was to get a tall table at the other end of the room and eat there with my sister away from the grownups. The burgers came out on a square of wax paper and were pancake flat and delicious accompanied by a tall plastic glass of Pepsi.

  • Debra Says:

    My dad had a home office and looked after me until I was school age. I would wander in to play the “alphabet game”. I found A, he found B, and so on. I was amazed that he was so fast with the next letter, while I would slowly scan for F, F, F… Every time I came in to play, he had to take his document with carbon paper out of the manual typewriter, then line it all back up again after we were done. Sometimes I would ask for 3, 4 games in a row- so much fun! Dad’s been gone two years, and I’m a pretty good typist, but every once in a while I feel out the alphabet on my keyboard, letter by letter, and know I had a good dad.

  • Cindy Says:

    I was raised by my grandparents until I was three and moved back to BC with my parents. After that I had little to no contact with them until my 10th birthday.

    My grandparents saved for a long while to make the long trip from MB to BC for my birthday (I didn’t know they were coming)

    When I woke up that morning, my grandfather and my little sister had walked down the road to a secluded spot that grew hundreds of foxglove plants, picked them and quietly brought them back to the house. Imagine my surprise to wake up to a houseful of foxgloves and my beloved grampa. The best birthday ever – I specifically got married in July so that I could carry foxgloves as my wedding bouquet so grampa could be there with me (he had passed away the previous year)

  • Jan Says:

    When my sister and I (only 2 years apart) were little, my parents would load us up into the station wagon (one with “wood” panels on the side like B. mentioned above) and we’d just go for a drive. It was usually in the summers because I remember riding with the windows down and the feeling and scents of southern nights as we rode and rode for an hour or more. They’d sit in front and talk about whatever grownups talked about, while my sister and I sat in the back-facing bench seat riding backwards and waving at cars behind us. Just before we got home, Dad would always stop at a walk-up ice cream place not too far from the house and we’d all get ice cream cones; my sister and I even got to have the ones dipped in chocolate. Major treatage!

    I also remember their taking us to the nearby drive-in movie, and I realize now that it was always a double feature. They’d have us in our pajamas when we left the house. The first movie would be for my sister and me and the second one for them, because before the second one ever started, we’d be sound asleep in the back seat.

  • Jennifer Says:

    Watching Star Trek (Original Series) with my father.

  • Rose Says:

    My favorite childhood memory is from when we lived in our cabin in the woods. My dad was always building things so there was a lot of excess sawdust. I would mix it up with rocks, sticks, leaves and call it Kakashishi. I think it was a pretend kind of soup.

  • Jenny Says:

    When I was very young, finding a penny on the felt like I had won the lottery or unearthed a pot of gold. I would pick it up, bring it to my heart, and shout, clutch it and shout, “I’m rich, I’m rich!” Knowing this, my 12 year old (half) brother hatched a very clever scheme. On the morning of my fourth birthday he woke me up very early, excited to show me that a money tree had appeared in our backyard overnight. Sure enough, when I ran to the back yard I found one of our little trees had “sprouted” not only pennies, but nickels and quarters on nearly all of its branches and leaves. I was so blown away by the surprise and joy of plucking treasure from a tree that it would be many years before I realized the “magic” was my brother. At an age where kids are notoriously self-absorbed and barely interested in any members of the family, much less a four year old sister whom he was forced to stay home and baby sit instead of being able to cruise the streets with his friends, my brother took it upon himself, as a birthday gift to me, to take a portion of his hard-earned paper-route money and spend the many nighttime hours taping coins all over a scrubby lilac. The idea was brilliant, but the timing of his gift was priceless. At the time, I had been enduring some of the darkest days of my childhood. Our mom and my dad (my brother’s step-dad) were in the midst of a toxic divorce, involving the police being summoned to the house on occasion to break up the fighting, and ultimately, my dad ignoring me in order to cause pain to my mom. Though the breakup did not involve his biological dad, my brother, who lived with us full time, was by no means spared the pain of the divorce. Yet, somehow, while the adults mired in their own drama and self-pity, a twelve year old found a way to put his hurt aside in order preserve a little bit of magic in mine.

    It will forever be the best gift anyone’s ever given me.

  • Bran Says:

    When we were little and my parents were out, my sisters & I would go to the garage where all my mom’s high heels were kept and have a fashion show. We would strut up and down the garage and pose every few seconds. My favorite shoes were the red high heels.

  • Tamera Says:

    Making “salad” out of all the weeds in the yard and my dad pretending to eat them. His favorite was the octopus weed.

    He also let my sisters and I put barrettes and ribbons in his beard when we were little. He’ll probably let our new niece do it to him, too :)

  • r8chel Says:

    This was such a lovely post to read while I was on the exercise bike. :) Thanks so much for posting these wonderful memories.

  • Ami Says:

    I don’t remember how old I was when we took a family vacation to St. Louis from West Bend, Wisconsin. On the way there, we all took turns reading Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, out loud, to each other, to pass the long car ride. I think it was the summer between 5th and 6th grade.

  • Ashlyn Says:

    We lived in New Mexico when I was younger. Whenever there was a thunderstorm at night, my parents would leave the garage open, and we’d sit in the trunk of our car wrapped up in blankets watching the lightening. I still love thunderstorms, and I still remember how rain smells in the desert.

  • DM Says:

    My favorite memories are of staying with my grandparents in Buffalo. I slept on a cot in the dining room while my grandma and grandpa, mom and dad and my uncle would watch hockey on Canadian TV with the old dial control for the TV antenna. When I got up in the morning, my grandpa would be in the kitchen with the newspaper and the percolator. The kitchen smelled of old people, gas stove, coffee and Chesterfields. He would drink coffee and smoke, picking the loose tobacco bits from the tip of his tongue.

    This is a great post and thread! Thanks everyone.

  • LauraG Says:

    When I was tiny and my brother had just been born, my family started looking at houses in another suburb of Dallas to be closer to my dad’s office. This meant endless days of “house hunting” and walking through endless empty houses to find one they wanted. One evening, after they’d planned on going house hunting, my mom “had a headache” and asked me to go with my father. I fell asleep on the long drive to the new housing area and when I woke up, my dad had driven me to Six Flags. We rode ride after ride and I especially remember sitting and having root-beer floats. That drink has always reminded me of my father and of that day- I’ll make them for him when I’m visiting home and we have an afternoon alone.

  • Tia Says:

    When I was 3 I “ran away” exactly one house down and across the street from my house. I dragged a half-inflated rubber dinghy and got the dog to follow me. I went completely buck naked and my neighbours (kindly elderly ones) brought me home after my long journey…

  • nisba Says:

    Being very small and falling down the stairs — physical coordination’s never been my strong suit — and my dad kissing me afterwards and saying “I thought we were going to have to get a NEW punkin!”

  • Caro Says:

    I picked out an old cookbook at a garage sale with my mom when I was about 6 years old. Once we were home, she let me pick out a recipe that we could make. I chose a recipe for “hot cakes”, having no idea what they were. We stirred the ingredients, followed the directions step by step, and as we poured them onto the frying pan, I realized that our mystery recipe was better known to me as pancakes! My mom made the whole experience a great discovery of reading, cooking and learning.

  • Rebekah Says:

    I love this.

    My aunt and uncle live in West Texas, and when I was little they had a giant galvanized tub filled with ice cold water and cans of soda in their backyard. My cousins and I spent hot summer days hanging around this tub in our bating suits, and sometimes completely naked, drinking sodas while our parents sat in lawn chairs telling stories.

  • Betsey Says:

    My sister and I used to gather all our barrettes, hair clips, and pony tail holders and put them all in my dad’s hair while he read. We inherited our naturally curly hair from him and would comb it out to a giant Afro first too.

    Also, my dad was a preacher and we lives next door to the church. Frequently indegent men would come asking for food, money etc. My mom always saved plastic food containers sour cream or cottage cheese came in. She would give them our leftovers in those containers and they’d thank her for the meal. Theyd sit on the church steps next door to eat and rest before making their way back to the highway. No one was ever mean, threatened us, or tried to steal. We later heard our home and church was known for such kind acts which is why thy sought us out. What an honor.

  • Gina Says:

    I used to tell my mom I wanted my closet light on at night because I was scared of the dark, but really I just wanted it on so I could sneak over next to it while I was supposed to be sleeping and read books. I thought I was being sneaky, but I bet she knew.

  • Meg Says:

    When I was a teenager I use to suffer really bad with menstrual cramps. We were at our beach house and I came back from the beach crying and in pain and my dad, put me in his bed, the only bedroom with an air conditioner, a cup of hot tea and some pamprin and rubbed my back until I fell asleep.

  • Jen Says:

    My grandmother and I spent practically every Saturday together shopping, lunching, doing each other’s nails, ordering take-out and watching movies (usually Gone With the Wind). One summer Saturday we were on our way back to her house and talking about cars. She kept telling me she had a convertible at home. I knew better, as the oldsmobile we were in was her ONLY car. She told me her convertible was “hidden” and while I knew most of her house inside and out, I didn’t know the secret place. It was dark green, a two-seater, and fast. We wer laughing over this-until we pulled into the driveway and there was a dark green MG sitting there with its top down. She was stone-cold silent. My mouth made a large ‘O’. She insisted she knew nothing about this. Turned out, the joke was on both of us-a friend my grandparents hadn’t seen in years had just purchased it that weekend and was out for a drive, decided to stop over. We joked for years about her “hidden” convertible!!

  • Liz - somewhere north Says:

    My childhood home in northern CA sat at the top of a huge hill. My best friend and I spent hours and hours sliding down the hill on pieces of cardboard, picking wildflowers as we trudged back up to the top to slide down again. I remember the warm, tired feeling I’d have when the streetlights would flicker on (the cue that playtime was over) and our moms would step outside to beckon us in.

  • Liz - somewhere north Says:

    One more, because I just realized how genius my mom was to do this. On really hot days, she’d let us “paint” the house. She’d fill an old paint bucket with water, let us use big paint brushes and rollers and paint the house with water. The water made the paint look darker for a bit so we felt like we were doing something, and when it dried we’d just have to go back and “paint” it again! It kept my sister and I occupied and cool (from the excess “paint” splashes :) for hours.

  • Erin Says:

    My parents used to take my brother and I on “surprise vacations” when we were growing up. They’d wake us up at some ungodly hour of the morning and tell us we were going on a trip. My brother and I would go back to sleep in the backseat of the station wagon and by the time we woke up again, we’d almost be at our destination. We’d start guessing where we were heading, and the anticipation and excitement was just overwhelming. Most of the time we’d go to an amusement or water park for about 2 days. I was always most excited about staying in a hotel and eating at a restaurant (something we rarely did at home). I realize now that these little trips were probably a financial stretch for my parents, but they some of the happiest memories of my childhood. I plan to continue the tradition with my own kids (someday).

  • Abudhabimomma Says:

    The firemen at the fire station up the street driving their big red truck to our lemonade stands. Having them there always made lots of other cars stop too!

  • Pretzel Thief Says:

    (Argh, I missed the contest, though I don’t think I would’ve been eligible anyway given I’m Down Under! Loving all of the memories…!)

    Lying atop my (late) father as a kid and listening to him breathe, thinking he was the strongest and most awesome person in the world.

    Being quietly delighted when my parents would tease each other and laugh warmly at each other’s jokes when they thought I wasn’t looking or paying attention.

    When war broke out (in the Fmr Yugoslavia, where I’m originally from) and the constant shelling would get so bad in my hometown (Karlovac) that sometimes we had to go stay with family friends in Zagreb, I’d dread every Sunday at 7pm when my parents would drop me and my brother off. I remember climbing the stairs up to our friends’ apartment, holding onto both of my parents, and making sure my steps were in sync with theirs as we climbed. For some reason I felt this was like a secret thing that made us closer in those moments before they’d leave, even though I never let in on it to them. And then later, lying in bed, I’d blow kisses to them in the dark, convinced they’d somehow get to them. (I know this is a bit of a melancholic memory, but it’s a fave and I love it all the same because of the sweetness factor.)

    The last summer vacation we spent as a family in 1993 on the Adriatic Coast (before my dad was tragically wounded and died months later) and what a wonderful time we had. My father taught me how to dive on that vacation and playfully ribbed me about my initial unsuccessful attempts. I was almost nine and whenever I go to dive now, I always remember it was the last “tangible” thing he taught me, and how grateful I am that he did.

  • Emily Says:

    When I was little the tooth fairy would come to visit me, my mom would not only leave me money under the pillow, but she’d leave a trail of “fairy dust” (glitter) from my pillow to my bedroom window. I would show everyone who walked in the house, and didn’t let her vacuum for weeks!

  • Caro Says:

    This is partially a kid memory and partially an adult memory. The best kind, right? :)

    When I went to summer camp the first time, I was six, and I was too young to stay overnight camping after the big canoeing day. They bused us back up to camp, but we all knew that the older kids were spending the night ‘under the stars’, and my sister had told me all about how they would lie in their sleeping bags for hours, watching for shooting stars. I had never seen a shooting star and I wanted to see one, badly. The next year, I was old enough to stay, and I was so excited. I picked a spot in the field far away from everyone I knew, so I could be quiet and just watch for my own, special, first shooting star ever. The sky was so big, though, that I thought I’d never see one – there were just too many stars to watch. Finally I decided that I’d watch one constellation all night and surely I’d see one there. Because it was the easiest to pick out, I chose Orion’s Belt. I watched it for hours, long past when everyone else was fast asleep.

    To this day I have no memory of whether I saw a shooting star that night, but I adore Orion’s Belt unconditionally. It’s the only constellation I look for when I’m outside at night, and if it’s over the horizon I feel strange and sad. Flying to London for the first time at 21, somehow I saw it out of my plane window the whole way, and I knew I’d be okay, that everything would be fine.

    My first night in New Zealand at 25, I ran out into the street, excited to find the Southern Cross for the first time, and my mind did flips when I saw Orion’s Belt instead, turned on its head the way it is down here. I’d had no idea you could see it from our spot on the globe, and the fact that it’s still there, still watching over me, never fails to make me smile. It’s like I have a friend in the night sky, and when I see it I always feel seven again, falling in love while looking for shooting stars.

  • Amy S Says:

    Pretzel Thief, your memories took my breath away. My father was from Karlovac, and I spent many summers there and in Zagreb. My grandmother moved in with us when the war started and we lost touch with most of our extended family when she passed away a year later.

  • Pascha Says:

    When I was four years old, it was raining in our front yard, but not in our back yard. My brother and I were ecstatic, running back and forth between the two.

  • Amber Says:

    Love this.
    My grandmother raised me…although I have never thought of her as anything other than Mom.
    When I was in elementary school she enrolled me in the only GATE program available all the way across town. Every morning she would drive me there. and we would stop and get breakfast at McDonald’s. I rarely eat McDonald’s now, but their breakfast always reminds me of her belief in me and how proud she was. She took me to the library almost every week for story time and spent countless hours reading to me. Whenever I would fall asleep in the car and we would arrive home, I would pretend to be asleep so she would carry me back into the house. I think she knew I was awake but humored me anyway.

    For a few years I had to live with my biological Dad, and every week she drove 2 hours round trip to pick me up from school and spend time with me. We would go to the beach or a park and it was always the highlight of my week. That time with her meant so much to me and kept my hope alive through the rough patch in my childhood.

    It has been almost a year since she passed away. Although I miss her immensely every day, I know that when I have my own children she will be there with me in the things I do for my kids because I had so much love from her to guide me.

  • Daniella Says:

    Great thread!

    My favourite memory is going shopping with my dad on a saturday – just the two of us (I was the oldest of 4 daughters). Every time he would always buy a bounty bar (which has 2 bars of coconut covered in chocolate) for us to share and would always say ‘don’t tell your mother’. It was our little secret…
    I always think of him when I have a bounty bar, and will probabley do the same with my son.
    For those non-aussies this is what they are: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bounty_(chocolate_bar)

  • Alana Says:

    On a Sunday morning my Dad would get up early and make pancakes with Lemon & Sugar. The whole family would take turns getting the pancake in the pan. My Dad,(a bit of a deadhead) would have the Grateful Dead playing and between flipping the cakes he’d dance with me in the kitchen. I miss seeing him that happy.

  • Layne Says:

    I remember telling my dad how I missed flying kites like we used to when I was little over lunch. The next day, I came home to find a brand new kite. We both skipped our classes (he was a teacher, I was in high school) for the afternoon, flew the kite, and had a picnic lunch. It was one of the best days with my dad.

  • Alyson Says:

    When I was fifteen, my grandpa took my sister and me on a cross-country road trip. My sister and I passed the time in the car doing two things – reading To Kill a Mockingbird out loud to each other, and listening to a Time-Life cassette tape called Your Hit Parade: The 1940’s. I still know all the words to Sentimental Journey and Rum and Coca Cola.

  • dreadpiraterach Says:

    One of my fave memories is a mixture really, of every road trip or holiday we had when I was a kid. My dad loved music (something I have gratefully inherited) and there would always be a constant stream of music for the whole holiday. Every time we were in the car my dad and I would have our windows down and would belt out the words (Turn back Time by Cher, My Name is Luca by Suzanne Vega and Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull were particular favourites) and my mum would feign annoyance and boredom but would always be singing along in the choruses. Those songs pull me straight back to being a kid again..

    Thanks for sending me down memory lane and remembering something so lovely :)

  • Cari Says:

    We lived next to my grandparents who had a big garage that my grandfather would work on his classic cars. We lived in the south were there were pretty nasty thunderstorms and lost of tornado warnings. So when the storms got really bad my parents would jerk my sister and I out of bed and rush us to papas garage, where we would sit in our pj’s on an old car seat. And no matter what time of night it was papa was always there waiting for us. The smell of motor oil from the garage and a thunderstorm is to me, the perfect combination.

  • Kelly Says:

    One summer my mum went home to Ireland on holiday while Dad camped in PEI with me and my younger brother. I remember him making pancakes outside in the sunshine on our green Colman stove, dropping half the batter in the grass and quick as lightening scooping it back up, saying “fiber! good for ya!” and continuing to make pancakes on the griddle with little bits of grass sticking out. It was hilarious and one of a few cooking adventures… like him using Lysol cleaning liquid to fry eggs in (he thought it was cooking oil) but when it had an odd smell and started to smoke he looked closer at the label of the bottle. He didn’t make us eat the eggs.

  • Meg Says:

    Every night, my sister and I had to go up together and get ready for bed. We would stand on the edge of the tub so we could see the mirror over the bathroom sink, put our arms around each other’s shoulders and sing “Gooood evening frieeeeeeeends” like some Lawrence Welk number. Then, when we were ready, we’d get in bed and sing in unison for our parents: “Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee’re reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedyyyyyyyyyyyy” and they’d come up and kiss us good night.

  • Erin Says:

    I loved stormy afternoons, especially if there was a blackout. Dinner would be cheese and crackers, grapes and sausages, and we’d eat by candlelight and play Monopoly. The windows would be cracked open, so we could hear the rain and the wind lashing the trees around.

    When I was very little, I was scared of thunderstorms. I would go find my dad, and he’d hold me in his lap. He loved the thunder and lightening, and his enthusiasm was infectious. As I grew older, thunderstorms would prompt a mad dash to the garage so the two of us could watch the lightening streak across the sky.

  • JennyM Says:

    The July night we moved into the new house, and there was no furniture yet in the big, two-story central family room with hardwood floors. I was 9 and my sister was 3. All the doors and windows were open, and since my dad’s new (state-of-the-80s-art) stereo was hooked up, my mom put on a record (Paul Simon — Graceland), and we danced and sang and ran around in the big, empty, echoing house while it got summery-dark all around us. I remember my mom and dad sitting cross-legged together on the floor, silhouetted against the darkening windows, while my sister and I danced around and around to “You Can Call Me Al” and “Under African Skys” and “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.” It was a perfectly happy moment.

  • libby Says:

    This is probably best thing I’ve read in ages. Thank you for publishing everyone’s stories.

    Growing up we had an old piano. My dad would sit down and play and sing songs. His favorite was “Blueberry Hill” by Fatz Domino. Years later my mom pointed out that the piano was completely out of tune. I had never even noticed! My musical ear is probably totally off as a result-but when he sat at the piano my brothers and I would gather around as if he were a king at his throne.

  • Andrea Hidalgo Russo Says:

    tea time at my grandparents house in Chile. Oh man! Its so difficult to express with words how delicious the bread, ham, cheese, marmalaides, pastries, company and tea is at my granparents house in Iquiqiue Chile. Maybe it had to do with coziness of their home, the ocean smell in the air, the fact that everyone sat at the same table no matter how many people were invited, or that everyone spoke to each other and listened no matter how young or old. The thought of such moments brings happy tears to my eyes because the complete and all consuming happiness that I felt as a child are some of the most wonderful memories. In a couple of weeks I am taking my daughter Sofia Emilia to meet her great grandparents so she can have magical tea time with them too.

  • marsha Says:

    In the early 1960’s, my siblings and I were sent to our grandmother’s for a week or two each summer. Across the street from her house was a black family with lots of kids. We weren’t allowed to go across to their yard and they weren’t allowed to come across to ours. Sadly, it was stricly racial on the part of the adults. However, we all wanted to play together so badly that we made up games that could be played without ever crossing the street, all day, every day. For about 6 years, we couldn’t wait to get there to see our friends and they couldn’t wait for us to come, even though we were never closer than 25 feet from each other.

  • Pat Says:

    What these wonderful memories should do for all of us — whether we’re grandparents, parents, or maybe will be parents some day — is remind of all the different ways we can add joy to a child’s life. Give them space. Let them make a fort or climb a tree. Break your rules. Take time. I loved reading these! Just reading them should make us all better people.

  • samantha Says:

    My granddad had a clock that would tell the time if you pushed a button. He had me convinced that there was a little man living inside the clock, and I would leave peanuts for him in a hollow on the underside which my granddad would take out when I wasn’t looking. We continued this game long past when I was old enough to know that he was really the man in the clock.

  • Kristina Says:

    My favorite childhood memory, best day of my life thus far, really, was when my mother had to take my brother and I with her on a business trip because my dad was out training in the field (military), and while she was out conferencing, my brother and I linked up with two other kids around our age, and ran wild, pretty much literally. Two straight days of no adult supervision…and we didn’t do anything really bad, like light ants on fire; we just ran around screaming, snuck into the convention space so we could scam swag…I don’t know that anything will ever be as exciting or thrilling as that. :/

  • SarahJo Says:

    My favorite childhood memory involves my dad putting on his Blondie record, specifically “One Way or Another”, and then chase me and my brother and sister around the house. He would “catch” us and then throw us onto the couch. I remember how we would giggle endlessly.

  • Courtney Says:

    When we drove home from somewhere late at night, we would often fall asleep in the car and my dad would carry us from the car to our beds. Sometimes, I would pretend to be asleep just so he would carry me.
    I miss my Dad so much, he was a huge teddy bear.

  • Dawn Says:

    My dad owned a small diner in his younger days, and because of that, became the best short order cook. On Saturday mornings, we would come downstairs to fluffy omelets, baskets of toasted bagel halves, crisp bacon, and these incredible little fruit fritters he would make. All the while singing along to the Barbra Streisand/Barry Gibb album, “Guilty”. To this day, the song, “Woman In Love” makes my eyes fill with tears because I miss my dad so much.

  • jenG Says:

    I spent many hours rollerskating in circles in the garage to Whitney Houston and Kids Incorporated, my first cassette tapes. I believe the wheels were pink. Eventually, we strapped my little brother into some Fisher-Price skates so he could join in.

    As a grown-up, I started rollerblading, but it was never the same.

  • dgm Says:

    I had three really good friends who lived on my street. When we got together we would practice gymnastics in the yard, and we always ended up standing on our hands with our feet propped up against the house, talking and laughing with one another in that position for what seemed like hours.

  • Laura Says:

    strung together like this creates such a feeling of magic.

  • Karen Says:

    My parents piled my sisters a friend and I into the car one summer morning and didn’t tell us where we were going. 2 hours later we joyfully arrived at an unfamiliar amusement park. While waiting in line for tickets, still bubbling over with excitement at the surprise, we heard over the loudspeaker that “Weird” Al was performing that evening. The four of us huge fans pleaded, “Can we please stay for the concert?!” And our Dad answered “Why do you think we’re here?” Our minds were blown.

  • Sarah Says:

    Walking home from the community pool (Randall Ridge) in bare feet popping tar bubbles on the side of the road with my toes. Sadly the pool has been plowed under and now 12 crappy homes are being built on the site. CRAP.

  • Dawn Says:

    This post makes me want to have a dinner party with all of my oldest friends in the world, and have each person tell the person to their left their best memory of them.

  • Cindy Says:

    When I was a little girl, I absolutely adored my Dad. I would get up earlier than I had to – before my 7 brothers and sisters – so I could watch him shave. First, though, I would need to warm up so I’d stand over a heat register, oh did that ever feel good. I’d watch my flannel nightgown billow out. Then, I would go to the bathroom and sit on the toilet seat and watch my Dad pass the electric razor back and forth over his cheeks. One time, he grabbed my arm and ran the razor over my forearm. I remember giggling because it felt funny and when I looked down at my arm, a small patch of blonde hair was gone. I thought that was the neatest thing.

    Then, I went to the kitchen table to wait while he got dressed. We had breakfast together, oatmeal with brown sugar and milk. I would watch how much brown sugar and milk he put on his oatmeal and then try to copy him.

    Next up was waiting for his ride to work. This was in the 60’s when many people carpooled. I would stand next to him in my flannel nightgown, looking way up at him. He carried a briefcase, and wore a hat and when his ride came, he would put on these funny rubber things that just slipped over the soles of his shoes.

    I’ve been married 28 years and to this day I like to watch my husband shave. My husband uses the shaving foam and a safety razor which takes longer but I don’t mind. I feel like I’m 5 years old again.

  • Holly Wood Says:

    I was about eight when we had a family reunion on my grandparents’ farm. My grandpa drove at least six little grandkids in the trailer of his John Deere five-wheeler for a whole afternoon, up and down the lane. No seatbelts! Dirt in my teeth. Can’t get much better.

  • Jena Says:

    On St. Nicholas, we would gather at my grandparents’ house to write our lists and put them in our stockings. At some point in the night, candy and nuts would begin FLYING out of the walls with a huge popping sound. It was magical. Much later, we found out it was just my uncle and my dad flinging them at the walls so they would make the noise and bounce off while we weren’t looking.

  • debbie Says:

    I was thinking how great it would be if someone collected hundreds of these favorite childhood memories and put them in a book — parents could use it for creative inspiration as they think up ways to make their children’s childhood magical … and perhaps it would remind us of our own happy memories, inspire us to add unexpected joy to the lives of others and bring out in each of us the playful child that still believes in magic.

  • Barbara Says:

    These posts make me wish mightily that I’d been able to have children. (Too old now.)

    Until I read this thread, I’d never known a “favorite” childhood memory. Rather I always sort of panicked in workshops, etc., when the meditation would tell you to conjure a favorite memory from childhood and recreat the feeling… then it would build from there. I always floundered, and was never able to move on into the meditation. It saddened and greatly concerned me, and over the years I’ve searched and search my memory banks for one, if not more.

    Nothing has ever come to mind, until I read this thread. And now, I can remember summer evenings at my grandparent’s house, the adults talking on the front porch, me playing with my cousins out back. Lightning bugs. Granddaddy Longlegs. The smell of boxwoods and hay. Stars coming out, laughter, washing feet before being allowed in bed, and wishing wishing wishing my cousin would come again tomorrow, and living on thoughts of how he cared for me until I saw him again the next summer.

    Thank you.

  • Jenn Says:

    Laying on my back in the grass, with my Gramma, near her Airstream travel trailer…sharing a bag of pastel colored marshmallows, and pointing out shapes in the clouds.

    My Gram will turn 101 this August.

  • BeckyC Says:

    My Gram wouldn’t let Gramps smoke in the house so he rode his touring motorcycle to Dunkin’ Donuts every night to smoke and drink coffee with his Navy buddies. When my little sister and I would stay the night, he’d come home with a box of Munchkins for breakfast. He would sit in his recliner, me on his lap, and the dog on my lap while we watched “Lawrence Welk” and “The Wheel.” His leather jacket was cold against my cheek from the wind and he smelled like cigarettes and sugar and coffee and it was perfect.

  • Pretzel Thief Says:

    @ Amy S: Dude, OMG! Where are you now, where did you live there…? Or did you live elsewhere and came to Klc/ZG for periodic visits? Hit me up via my blog if you see this!

  • Amanda Says:

    The strongest memory I have had in recent weeks of my father is when he woke me up in the middle of the night to watch Princess Diana and Prince Charles get married. He had a pot of coffee going and I got to have a huge mug of warmed milk with splash of coffee in it and what seemed like a ton of sugar. He told me it would be the only time I’d ever get to see a real princess get married. And now with Prince William getting married, I wish he was alive to watch it with me.

  • dani Says:

    Our house in Utah had a long hallway to the bedrooms and at the end of the hallway there were two candles. My parents would light them at night. They would also start the dishwasher after dinner and I loved the sound of the dishwasher coupled with the candle-lit hall as I walked to my bedroom.

  • Kelly Says:

    I came back this morning to start my work day by reading any new entries in the comments. Its such an interesting snapshot of people’s childhoods in different climates and regions. Adding to the idea of a book, how interesting would it be to have childhood memories of those in far flung places and cultures (Bali, Japan, Russia, Ireland) and the point of the book to promote that children everywhere deserve to have happy memories, and some proceeds of the book go to Unicef. Add gorgeous scenery and art,… Mother’s Day gift anyone? Maggie, how about your contacts at that company that does the photo books, perhaps it could be created and available on file to print on an “as ordered basis”, the way you would a photo book? Just some thoughts..

  • Gina Says:

    My parents were re-doing their bedroom and had dragged their mattress to the living room to camp out there until the walls and floors were done. My sister and I spent long hours jumping on the mattress and surrounding pillows we’d set up. The best night was when Van Halen’s “Jump” came on MTV – we pretended we were rock stars as we bounced all over the living room.

  • Melissa L. Says:

    I remember Saturday trips to the corner store with my Dad, brother and sister. He would always get s bag of Hawkins Cheezies and a Diet Pepsi, and we were allowed to get one treat each. One day, my sister and I happened to find a quarter under the mat at the register, and after that we checked each trip and found money each time. I know my Dad hid it while we weren’t looking. I hope he doesn’t know that I know.

  • Jenn Says:

    Mine is watching my Grandpa’s fireworks shows every Victoria Day. My grandparents lived out in the country and he would wait until it was nice and dark out (and past our bedtime) and we would bundle up and sit in the backyard on lawn chairs and watch a private fireworks display just for us.

  • Amber Says:

    When I was about 6, my Dad took me on a “date”. It wwas after my parents’ divorce, and after he started dating my (soon to be) step-mom. We got dressed up in our very best, and he took me to the fanciest restaurant in town. The maitre’d gave me a long-stemmed red rose, pulled out my chair, the works. My Dad gave me a bottle of “First Lady” perfume by Dadi (which he of course told me was French for Daddy). From then on, he always called me his First Lady. What a beautiful way to make a kid feel special during a tough time. God I miss him…thank you for making me remember this!

  • Shannon Says:

    My Dad used to get run ragged by both my little sister and I whenever he dared to initiate this bit of magic: he would tell us to go get our fairy wings (those gossamer things to be strapped around the arms; every girl would recognize) then spend literally hours “flying” us around the house in his arms. Every time those evenings he would sneak into our rooms as we slept to wedge our wings in the blinds of our windows so that when we woke up, we would see them hanging there as though they had just been in use. He would say “you faeries must have gone flying when you slept last night! Good thing you practiced yesterday!” What a wonderful memory, cheers to amazing fathers!

  • Cheryl Says:

    When I was small my grandparents had a trailer on lake ontario. My grandma would go swimming with us several times a day, as much as we wanted really, and while we were all out in the water she would make up rhymes and sing non-sensical, silly songs that she made up. When we went inside she’d make us change into dry clothes and then let us put her “mouse” in our hair (mousse). When I was with her I was never concerned with anything but having fun.

  • Sarah C Says:

    The close of a day at the beach on a gloriously sunny holiday in Donegal (in the north east of Ireland) when I was about 8. As you probably know the weather’s not that great here in Ireland, but the sun was splitting the stones every day that week, and one long day at the beach, we stayed so late that it finished with us all watching the tide getting closer, closer and closer to our picnic blanket. Instead of being super-sensible and leaving, my parents went with it and let the water get so close that my brother and I built a little wall out of the sand around the blanket to keep the water away, while they lay on the blanket watching our efforts. We were totally surrounded by water in the end and had to paddle to get back to the car, arms loaded with all our stuff. It was so exciting to me and my brother.

  • Athena Says:

    Love these all.

    When I was 5 or 6, my father brought home a couple of refrigerator boxes, taped them all together and cut out “windows” and “doors”, gave me a bucket of crayons and some stickers and told me to go to town. I just remember the feeling of awe that ten whole feet of cardboard was mine to decorate as I pleased. The “playhouse” stayed in our living room all summer long.

  • Melissa Says:

    When I was little I would dip my ripple chips in the dill pickle dip and lick it off…

    Than make my Dad eat the soggy, unsalty leftovers. he never complained.

  • Carrie Says:

    I do not have a very strong memory, but I am amazed at how effective reading other people’s memories is at bringing up the best memories from my childhood. Thank you, Maggie. Thank you.

  • Abbie Says:

    When I was small, probably around 4 years old, and we were at church and bored with the talks, my 6 year old sister would pull out a hymnal, open it to the table of contents, and “read” off to me the different stories in there (they were all about a cow named Mookie): “do you want to hear ‘Mookie Goes to the Farm,’ or ‘Mookie Goes Swimming,’ or ‘Mookie Eats a Lot of Ice Cream’? The stories were different every Sunday, and I would pick the one that sounded most interesting. She’d flip to some song halfway through the book, and quietly “read” me the story I’d asked for.

    I don’t remember if I realized back then that she was just making them up, or if I didn’t find out till later, but it sure was more fun than paying attention to church.

  • steph Says:

    My favorite childhood memory is when my dad used to play guitar and sing to me. It was just after my parents’ divorce, and this was our time together – our weekends. I loved all those songs and learned all the words, and I still love them… After a while, he stopped playing guitar, and I begged him to play to me again, but he won’t now… and now that I am grown, I realize all the songs were love songs to my mom. So now the memory is a little bittersweet, and I wonder if he had ever sung “Every time I tried to tell you, the words just came out wrong… so I have to say I love you in a song” to my mom, maybe she would have understood, and stayed.

  • hippittee Says:

    my mom picking my brother and me up ‘early’ after school, stopping by a food cart/stand to get freshly made curly fries, having those along with boiled eggs and fresh cuts veggies for a country picnic.

  • Elizabeth Says:

    Every summer during tourist season, some old double-decker buses ran in a loop around our small town. When my brother and I were 8 and 10 or so, we thought it was the height of adventure to be allowed to ride BY OURSELVES from the museum where our mother worked, over the river, to the ice cream parlour (coincidentally, across the street from our father’s office — didn’t occur to us at the time that parental help, should we need it, wasn’t far away). We would get ice cream cones and climb back on the next bus. The key was to sit up top, up front, with ice cream as the bus lumbered back across the river. Heaven.

  • meredyth Says:

    One of my favorite memories is playing Barbies with my sisters (and brother) in the creek near our house. It was moss covered, and in the spring, daffodil covered. I remember thinking that if fairies were real they would be living at this creek. We used to have our Barbies go swimming in the creek and later they stayed in a tent we created out of an old bath towel. We also used to walk in the creek and pick blackberries and raspberries, which my mom made into cobblers. The silt swirling around our ankles were “dust angels”. Because of the mica in the silt the dust angels glittered. Now, everytime I see a good creek I want to get my feet wet and find wild raspberries. The storebought kind don’t compare.

  • Adina Says:

    Eating a spoonful of chocolate syrup topped with whipped cream with my mom (her favorite sneaky afternoon dessert)

  • Christina Says:

    My family would go to the beach on the weekends, and my dad would fill a huge 5 gallon bucket with water. It would sit in the back of the truck and warm in the sun all day. When the day was done, we would scamper back to the truck where he would rinse me and my brother in warm fresh water while we stood in the bucket. Then it was dipped cones at Foster’s Freeze.

    The best.

  • Kelley Says:

    Well. Now I’m crying.

    Here’s to memory, and to life well lived because of those who make them with us.

    I remember my grandmother giving me a mug half-full of brown sugar for a snack.

    And my grandfather carrying me out of bed in the morning and sitting me down in front of the fire before school.

    And my dad telling me “Always do more than you’re asked.”

    And my mom telling me “Why buy the cow when you’re getting free milk?”

    And my brother, who’s 7 years older, just letting me be around him although I talked non-stop and had buck teeth and I’m sure was supremely annoying.

  • Kate B Says:

    These are fabulous – thank you. All of your special moments have launched a dozen memories of my own.

    One of the first that came to mind is from when I was 5 or 6. My parents got my brother and I out of bed – it probably wasn’t very late, but it felt like the middle of the night – so we could watch the Ewok movie together. We all love Star Wars!

  • Lauren Says:

    My cousin, sister and I used to spend a week in summer at our grandparents’ house. During one sunny summer rain, our grandmother put us in our bathing suits and sent us out to the patio to take ‘rain showers’, complete with shampoo and soap. My cousin just had a baby this week, and I can’t wait to meet him. I think there needs to be a rain shower in his future.