Saturday, May 30, 2015

Shadows of Epoch: 1-10

In his book, A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens referred to memories as being "shadows of the past". Okay, so I've never read the book, but the movie uses these words. Thus, a new chapter of my blog. I will be listing 50 (probably more) random childhood memories from my life that may or may not have an significant role in whom I have become as an adult. These are memories that will most likely be short without much detail. It's more of a blog entry for selfish reasons, but hopefully you'll get some enjoyment out of reading them. I'm hoping the more memories I think and write about the more details of my life I will remember. Here's hoping this serves as a catalyst for one of my goals of writing my life story for my daughters and grandchildren. 

Keep checking back...

ONE: Big Bubbles. No Troubles...I don't know why the mattresses were leaning up against the bedroom wall, but my brother Jason and I stood behind them chewing - what was at least my first piece - of Hubba Bubba. Sugar gum was not something we were often allowed to chew, but I can't imagine how else we would have gotten a hold of some. Yet, we were hiding behind mattresses. (Approximate Age: 6-9)

TWO: Rocket-Man...My dad loved fireworks. He kept them in a silver toolbox and only used them for special occasions...usually. They were from Missouri so the fear of cops showing up and hauling my dad away was a common fear. It was someone's birthday - either Evan's or Jason's because the party was outside - so he decided to let some fireworks off. There was the usual warnings: "Now stay back," and "Be carfeful,". This occured anytime there was even the remotest kind of danger. I'm sure there were some M-80s - Black Cats for certain, and I'm sure the tis-tisking of objections were just as loud. The only firework that night I really remember is the rocket one. It was placed in a bottle, rather than the ground to aid its trajectory. Didn't help. When that sucker flew it whizzed right past my mom's head and through the crowd of onlookers. I often wondered how our lives would have been different if that rocket would have hit her. (Approximate Age: 6-9)

THREE: Let there be A/C...Our bedrooms in Kinzers got really warm in the summer. We didn't have air conditioning. From what I recall, we relied on cool summer breezes from keeping our foreheads from beading with too much sweat. I remember one particular time my mom or dad opened Jason's windows - our bedrooms were parallel from each others - and mine as well to generate a cross-breeze. They put a box fan in mine - much to Jason's disliking - to blow out the warm air. I suppose it worked. I don't really remember, but I do remember one very hot night - I think Evan may have been a baby at this point - my mom and dad asked us if we wanted to sleep on the floor in their room. Let me tell you, we didn't hesitate for a second. Their room was frigid! I still remember that brown A/C unit perched in the window and I can still feel the crisp air on my skin. (Approximate Age: 5-9)

FOUR: Busted at the seams...One year for my birthday - we were at Shady Hill at this point - my older brother, Jason, got me a Diadora soccer ball. Man, it was awesome! I played with that thing every day and took it wherever I went. Actually, that's not all. It was awesome and I did love it, but I never liked new things getting dirty. So I kept in my closet - for a very long time. I would admire it every time I opened my closet, but would never take it out and use it. Several years later I decided to put some air in it - it had become considerably flat. The moment it started to regain its shape, it busted. Every panel blew off from its stitching. There's a lesson to be learned in here somewhere. (Approximate Age: 10-14)

FIVE: Praying for home runs...Getting off the bus one afternoon with Evan at the end of Shady Hill, I told him I had a baseball game that night. I don't know if I asked him to pray or if he decided to do it on his own, but I still remember him stopping and kneeling and saying, "Dear God..." I continued walking and as I did, I peered up to heaven and winked at God. I am not sure why I winked. Perhaps I felt that the prayer of me doing well would work or I just thought it was neat that my younger brother was praying for me. Well, he should've prayed harder. I'm pretty sure I struck out every single time that night. I felt so stupid for winking after that. (Approximate Age: 11-14)

SIX: Superman and soap operas...She was my best friend. At the age of 5, it seems like I didn't spend more time with anyone else than Mrs. Young. She was an elderly woman, the grandmother of our neighbor and friend, Scott. I don't remember much other than simply loving to go over there to visit. One time I remember showing her my new Superman lunchbox (which I still have). I opened it up for her and showed the thermos. She sat on her rocking chair watching me and watching the soap opera on the television set behind me. She always had Pringles on the stove ledge too. I cherish the memory of the time spent with her. I wish I remembered more. (Approximate Age: 5-7)

SEVEN: Hot dogs and some bloody fingers...During one of my visits over at Mrs. Young's, someone either came over to tell me it was dinner time or I looked at the clock and realized I needed to be home. For some reason I think it's the former. Something made me feel it necessary though to run out the door. It turned out to be more of a grand exit than intended. While running towards the door I tried to open the latch of the storm door all in one smooth motion. It didn't go as planned. I did not open the latch, but rather ran right through the glass door cutting almost everyone of my fingers. That night I ate baked beans and hot dogs with at least eight Band-Aids. (Approximate Age: 5-9)

EIGHT: A cane, a sweater and a gentleman...N. Maire was a dear family friend and relative. Having polio as a child and than later rheumatoid arthritis, she could never move her legs well if at all. With her legs always straight and stiff she was always with a cane. Marie loved cats and one of her loves was knitting. She once knitted me a sweater and it wasn't dorky one either. It was rusty-orange with a black around the neck-hole. I still have it. Years later I would buy a rusty-orange sweater with black around the neck-hole from Structure. I didn't think about it at the time, but I think subconsciously I was attracted to the sweater because it reminded me of her. I also remember Marie coming over for dinner once and awhile. Mom would make ziti. Having only one bathroom in our home, I remember my dad picking Marie up and walking her up the stairs so she could use it. Even with a bad back my dad would do anything for anyone. (Approximate Age: 5-9)

NINE: Not on my watch... We had a long line of cats going from our home in Kinzers to our one on Shady Hill. It all started with a stray cat we found running around our backyard. One of her offspring, the one-eyed cat (if I remember correctly) ended up coming with us during our move. Eventually she gave birth to a litter of several kittens - two of which she did not want. This was a tough lesson for a young boy to learn. I didn't understand. How could a mother cat not want her newborns to drink her milk? Well, I decided to do something about it. Those precious kittens were not going to die on my watch. So that's what I did. I watched them. I brought them inside and there I sat in the laundry room feeding them milk from a bottle. I saved both of their lives and even though I wasn't interviewed by the Penny Saver, I'm  proud of that moment. Every life matters. (Approximate Age: 11-14)
TEN: Sorry, Daisy Duke, you deserve better...For one of my birthdays while living in Kinzers I got a Dukes of Hazzard coloring book - most likely a box of new crayons as well. For birthdays, my cousins would come over along with my grandparents and we would always have cake and ice cream. Sometimes at family gatherings such as those my dad would get out the slide projector. Boring to us kids, but now I can understand the desire. This particular birthday we were in the living room, the adults were watching slides and I was lying on my belly next to my cousin, Gayle, coloring in my new book. I thought I could see what I was doing, but when the lights turned on it looked like the coloring of a blind man with his eyes the dark. Sorry, Daisy. Another Dukes memory are the belt-buckles my brother Jason and I had. I think we wore them, but I have no clear memory of doing so. I'm surprised I don't still have it. I also had a Dukes of Hazzard metal car with rubber wheels. I had a Matchbox too, but this was ten-times the size. I think I still have it somewhere. It's rather unfortunate that Hollywood had to botch-up the movie version of the show, but that's what Hollywood does best. (Approximate Age: 6-8)

No comments: