Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Five Things I Miss From My Childhood

DM tagged me back in the middle of June. Times have been a busy for me, but I think procrastinating is the main reason that I have not completed this yet. Here I go.

First, the rules:

Remove blog #1 from the following list and bump everyone up one place; add your blog's name in the number five spot. You need to link to each of the blogs for much cross pollination of the other blogs.

1. Lyvvie's Limelight
2. The Cerebral Outpost
3. Meandering Musings Muster Madness
4. Green Duckies and Other Tales of Dana
5. Sheepshead and Other Stories

Next, select four new friends to add to the pollen count. (Not obligated to partake):

1. Matt (if he ever blogs again - it's been awhile)
2. Larry
3. Johnny (no obligation remember. But if you feel like it, you can do it. Don't worry if you don't.)
4. June

In no particular order, here are the top 5 things I miss from my childhood.

1. Summer vacation. Yes, it sounds childish, but then, this is a MEME about childhood. What I miss the most about summer vacation is the games that were played. It was a ritual of mine. Each day I would get up and spend the day with my cousin, Ellen, and play with Taco Bell. Each summer we would have a different favorite movie, one that was watched so many times the tape started to wear thin.

One of the summers, our pick was Summer School, a terrible 80's movie about high school students just trying to pass their big test. As we watched the movie each day, cool inside with the air conditioning to block out the humidity, we would play a card game. It was a rummy game with chips on a plastic board and I remember the game would last for hours, always continuing after we had pushed the rewind button on the VCR. Once the movie was over, it was time to put on a record or two. My parents had a substantial collection of vinyl, most of it from the early 70's. There were a few records that grabbed my attention and my cousin and I would listen to them over and over.

What band/artist grabbed so much of our attention on those lazy summer afternoons? Why, it was the Monkees. For some odd reason, I just adored songs like "Daydream Believer" and "Last Train to Clarksville".

Once our game had finished, we would break out the box full of old Barbies, some were even hand-me-downs from Ellen herself. Ellen, a large fan of soap operas, would help create stories about Barbie, her evil empire and her mischievous intentions. I've written a bit about this before, back when this blog was just starting out. You can find that post here.

Summer afternoons were also time to play with Taco Bell, the family dog that I love so much. Many afternoons were lost, just walking him in the woods, or running back and forth together in the yard. Sometimes he and I would just sit in my room, I reading a book or playing with stuffed animals. There was a set of shelves in my room, shelves my dad put up to hold all of my stuffed animals. Taco loved small spaces; we used to call him a Cave Dog. He would find a spot at the bottom of the shelves and just curl up. It didn't matter what we did, we just spent time together. I laughed and smiled more often when he was around. He was beautiful each and every day. I miss him the most.

2. Another part of my childhood that I miss is the time I spent with my dad in the program through the Y.M.C.A. I have written about this in the past as well, you can find the posts I did about these times here and here. It was a time for me to bond with my father and I always was able to have a great time in the program. The disasters, like the ice house, were even good stories to tell after the fact.

Each year, we would have a lock-in at one of the local Y.M.C.A.s. I remember getting excited about being able to play games all night long, swim in the pool for hours, and exercise in the gym. My dad always would swim under the water, pretending to be a shark, making the duh-dum noise so classic to the Jaws films. I, like the other girls in the pool, would scream with laughter, trying to out swim him. He always let the girls win.

I treasure the time I was able to spend with my dad in this program. Someday, if I ever have children and one or more happen to be female, I will want my husband to devote time to the daughter. My hopes would be to find a program like this one, one where a girl can learn those things that are not typically taught to girls (like archery or animal tracking). The memories I have of this time are cherished in my mind.

3. One constant in my childhood was the time I spent in the bowling alley. Maple Lanes was a second home to me for many years. I joined a Saturday morning youth league when I was only 10 and stayed in that league until I graduated high school. As much as school was a social event, bowling was my a place to see my circle of friends.

While other kids were getting up to watch cartoons, I was getting up and getting my parents to drop me off at the bowling alley. I remember the thrill of my first 200+ game. I remember the different teams and friends I made from different schools.

Once I had a talk with my parents about them watching me while I bowled. Some other kids would have their parents there for every game and mine would usually just drop me off and pick me up later. At one point I had wanted them there, watching each game, each shot. Then I realized that my parents were supportive. They took me to the place where I could have fun and trusted me enough to behave without their watching over me. They did appear at the events when it was appropriate for parents to be there. It made me more independent and gave me freedom to form friendships on my own.

I do miss those Saturday mornings, even if I could never get up early enough now to join a morning league.

4. Snow. Yes, it still snows every year, but for some reason it seemed like snow was much more fun as a child. The first snowfall of every year would be a time to run out and make a snow angel or snowman. When the snow would get deep in the backyard, Taco would try to run around and once we got Chip we laughed as he out ran Taco. Chip's legs were just a bit longer than Taco's and it was the only time he could out run his big brother.

Some of the snow memories I have are from the times with my dad and the program at the Y. We went sledding and skiing (oh, that was a bad experience, Beth + Skis = Bad Combo). I also remember the first snowfall when I was in middle school. It was the last year I went trick-or-treating and I've written about it before. You can find that post here.

When it would snow and our family lived in the town home neighborhood, the busstop would get plowed and the snow would be piled up. The kids at the stop always tried to play King of the Mountain. There were a few games of this where I was declared the winner. The boys would also try to "whitewash" all the girls but always backed down a bit when it came to pushing my face into the snow. I guess beating up a boy in kindergarten helped. I would then protect the girls from the boys when it snowed.

Another thing I remember and miss about the first snowfall of every year was something my mom would share with me. Grandma used to believe that if you washed your feet in the first snowfall of each year you would not get any winter colds. It's just an old wive's tale, but still something I think of when it snows.

5. Maybe the last thing I remember about childhood and miss is my mom's cooking. Sure, everyone says that their mom is the greatest cook and I'm sure we all have great cooks in our families. My mom learned from the best though. Grandma was an excellent cook and my mom has taken it too an entirely different realm.

Mom works for a food production company and part of her job is to make food. I'm not talking about making food for dinner, but more like developing new products to test on the market. She's a senior processing technologist and has been known to make butter, cheese, and caramel popcorn just because she has some extra ingredients lying around at work.

But at home. At home Mom would make the foods I now identify as comfort foods. Garlic injected turkey, sweet dill pickles, spaghetti sauce from scratch. No matter what Mom made, it was always good. I only remember one food experiment failing and that was probably more my fault than hers. We tried to make bagels once. Bagels that turned out to be runny. One of my favorite meals of my mom's would be hot beef sandwiches. She would make a roast and then we'd just put it on bread, pour gravy all over it, and eat up some mashed potatoes with it.

Now I'm hungry.