Mighty Life List
May 10 2011

More of Your Childhood Memories

More collected childhood memories, from your comments on this post:

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. -Angela

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. -Sarah Brown

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! -Brittney

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. -Judy

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. -Wendy

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 brought me home after my long journey… -Tia

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!” On the morning of my fourth birthday [my 12-year-old half brother] 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 a portion of his hard-earned paper-route money and spent many nighttime hours taping coins all over a scrubby lilac. 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. -Jenny

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. -Ashlyn

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. -Betsey

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. -Meg

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. -Erin

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. -Pretzel Thief

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! -Emily

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. -Marsha

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. -Dawn

Walking home from the community pool in bare feet popping tar bubbles on the side of the road with my toes. -Sarah

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. -Cindy

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. -BeckyC

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. -Amber

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. -Cheryl

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. -SarahC

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. -Steph

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. -Christina

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.” -Kelley

19 Responses to “More of Your Childhood Memories”

  • Barb @ getupandplay Says:

    Wow, these are incredible.

  • amy Says:

    Reading these always makes me weepy. They are all so beautiful in their own way!

  • Sarah Brown Says:

    This is my favorite post. I wish you’d make it a regular thing. When you posted it the first time, it inspired me to fill pages with memories like this. So wonderful to read everyone else’s!

    Also, that picture of baby Hank reading just kicked me right in the gut. The hat!

  • methodpam Says:

    These are all just so sweet. Thank you for sharing more of them!

  • The Woman Formerly Known as Beautiful Says:

    I remember when I lost my virginity at 18 behind a couch on a pizza-crumb riddled carpet with with my first boyfriend whose college roommates were in bedrooms farting nearby and I thought, “This is what all the fuss is about? It’s so lame!”

  • Kristin Says:

    I love these posts. They always make me well up. This time Jenny’s money tree story sent me over the edge! So sweet.

  • Amber Says:

    Is it ridiculous that I’m thrilled you picked mine?? Am also mortified by my typo. Thrilled wins, though!

  • Dia Says:

    Jenny’s story is my favorite. of all time.

  • Rebecca Says:

    Oh MAN. Totally welling up. Jenny’s tree. Grandpa’s jacket.

  • Mia Says:

    These are all so beautiful, but Jenny’s and Marsha’s brought tears to my eyes.

  • kara Says:

    My daughter is 6 and will lose her first tooth soon. I am getting some glitter!

  • Mel Says:

    the money tree one made my voice crack when I was telling someone else about it.

  • Heather Says:

    I can’t have been more than 5, and we were on vacation in Florida with my grandparents. I had some shells and starfish from a gift shop and was playing on the screened-in porch of the condo while it rained outside. My grandmother saw me putting the starfish in a puddle where the rain was blowing in, and she came out and gently told me that the starfish was dead and putting it in the water wouldn’t make it alive again. I knew that. I just wanted to bend and pose its arms.

  • Helen Jane Says:

    Marsha’s is a history lesson with a side of tears. What a touching memory of children’s enduring “rightness” against such an ugly side of adulthood.

  • Pretzel Thief Says:

    Holy shi(i)t(ake) mushrooms! You posted mine, squeeeeee! Thank you, Maggie. Love all of the ones posted, so poignant and beautiful.

  • Meg Says:

    Dying over here. Dying.

    Amber’s…Jenny’s…Marsha’s…everyone’s! So heartbreakingly beautiful and simple and wow…I was completely transported.

    Please, make this a regular thing.

  • Lindsau Says:

    Jenny and Marsha know how to get me. Wow.

    Please do this regularly. Perhaps first loves, best memories of ones we have lost, best elementary school moments, etc. We all need more sweetness in our days.

  • BeckyC Says:

    Aw, shucks. I feel honored. My mom will be pleased to read this. Gramps left us so long ago but he was wonderful while we had him.

  • Monica Says:

    I hope people never stop commenting on that post because I could read these all day.