What Stands Out from Your Childhood Memories?

Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com

Having Mom staying in the household has brought back a myriad of memories. I decided one day to list the first five happy things that I thought of when remembering childhood, followed by the five worst memories -if you do one side, may as well do the other. After a while, I likely thought of more but these are my answers. I think it’s quite fun to quiz yourself sometimes, or interview yourself. It can be quite entertaining! 😉 I’m going to bullet point these instead of numbering, as they are not in order of importance.

Positive Memories from Childhood

  • Vacations. Our vacations were mainly taken to Florida and these were my favorite. Usually to Panama City or Daytona Beach. I loved everything about it. I took stuff to do in the car like reading, puzzle books, small toys or gadgets. I loved the places we got to go out to eat. I loved the water, looking for dolphins, swimming in the pool, and staring at the ocean, the boats, and walking on the beach.
  • Pool Days. Mom and Dad had friends that managed an apartment complex and on Thursday’s if it wasn’t raining, we would get up early, clean house, pack our bags, and lunch and head to our friends house, who had a big long house amidst the apartments in Columbia,TN and was beside the apartment complex’s pool. (For those in Columbia, it was the Colonial House Apartments on Nashville Hwy). In the younger days, my grandfather sometimes took me to the KOA campground. One time I got sick from it though, some type of virus or flu, and we never went back, until I had a friend whose family camped out there and then I went again!
  • Christmas. Christmas was always special, a magical time. First the decorations. Coming home and seeing the tree all decorated and then the house. Everyone seemed happy and the momentum built both at home and at school for THE BIG DAY. I usually got to “put in my order” for Santa which would show up under the tree. And the gifts were so special. I loved having Mam-ma come in to stay. She brought fudge too. Someday I’ll do a blog entry about Christmas Day as a child. It pretty much happened the same way every year. I could do a whole post on this one. Maybe I will one day.
  • Breakfast on the Back Porch. It’s funny and only fitting that this would pop up as one of my first top 5 that I thought of: FOOD! I loved our outside family porch time. It was rare and different. I mean usually it’s too hot or too cold, too rainy, but some days the weather landed just perfectly outside. We had a top on the patio. And mom would fix bacon, eggs, toast, or biscuits, jam and molasses and butter, juice, cantaloupe a lot of times. I think it’s why I love breakfast so much. It was like a little celebration for weekends and holidays and down time.
  • Going out to eat with church friends. Our entire family would go out to eat after church with other families. The adults would sit at the table with adults and the kids would eat at their own table. We would laugh and talk and be silly. This happened mostly every Sunday and Wednesday night. It was always something I looked forward to.

My Worst Memories from Childhood

  • Tension in the household. Every household has it, some worse than others. Some for different reasons than others. Some on certain occasions. I think mainly the things I remembered were just daily being afraid I’d do something wrong to make someone yell at me, or slap me, or whip me. I was yelled at a lot, slapped at much less, but it was something you never forgot. I was in a very strict household, where everything had its place, everyone had their jobs, and everything went in a certain direction, and on a pretty much set schedule. Work always came first, play second. (That is not bad though!) Often there were certain raised voices in the household and it when it came toward me it made me nervous and anxious and afraid and I would cry. As I grew into a teen and began to exercise my own voice and opinion, it could be volatile and very explosive at times. I learned to keep a lot of things to myself so nothing would explode. The less said, the better. It was what it was. I am what I am. And while I won’t go into detail about it, I DO KNOW I WAS LOVED and I do think they were doing the best they knew to do to try and FORCE things to be a certain way. Some things just can’t be forced to be effective I guess. But that said, our home was mostly safe, secure, happy many days, as long as you kept your thoughts to yourself. :-). Maybe that is why I’m so quiet and introverted huh?
  • Mowing. I hated mowing. Well I liked it if it weren’t so dreaded hot when it needed to be done. I didn’t have to do it all the time but sometime I was asked to do it or told to do it and it was all fun til I would realize I was too hot. I would come in, drink ice water and lay across the bed to recover from nausea and just being overheated. Today I look back and think gosh – I mowed mid day sometimes and it was 90 something and it’s a wonder those times weren’t heat exhaustion.
  • Not getting to be in the band or play piano. I wanted a piano and wanted to learn to play so bad. I thought it was so pretty. But we couldn’t afford a piano. Then in junior high when the teachers told us about the band, I wanted to sign up so I could learn to play the flute. I thought it sounded so pretty. But Mom talked me out of it as I guess she had a bad experience. However, I watched my friends join, enjoy it, and had amazing experiences from it. I always feel like I missed out on that. I love music. I would have loved learning the scales and the new songs. It was an avenue I never got to explore until one day when I bought a keyboard. But then life happened and so I never really got to “go down that road” during my learning and formative years. Well, they bought me a guitar, but I just really didn’t have the desire to play it like I did the piano or flute.
  • No one believed I needed glasses. I remember while talking the neighbors next door, we did what kids do – “hey let me try on your glasses”. I was shocked at how much better I could see. I told Mom but she felt like I was just wanting to be trendy like my neighbors and didn’t believe me. Until the teacher sent home a note that I failed my eye glass test at school. I was having to pull my eyes sideways to read the chalkboards. I could always see when I did that. My grandparents took me to the eye doctor and to pick up my glasses. I will never ever forget being able to see the leaves on the trees. Everything had detail instead of just being blobs!
  • Getting lectured. One parent liked to yell, the other lectured. lol. And they were long drawn out explanatory with bullet points and outlines and pretty much a complete sermon or talk series. It went on and on long after I had gotten the points. I remember wanting to dig a hole or just be able to go do something else but I had to sit and listen – I’m guessing they lasted from 15 min to an hour. I’m not saying it was bad or good or was needed or not needed. I just remember not liking it. lol

So all of these things – again – not saying they are good or bad, not trying to bring judgment upon anyone. I just simply sat down to do an exercise and this came from it. I’m sure there were probably many good things I should have remembered first and I’m sure there were probably more horrible things that happened that I should have remembered also, but both sets of bullet points were truly the first things that came to mind! So they must have made an impression.

It is what it is. It is what it was. EVERY FAMILY has had its good days and bad days. Ours was no exception. What would YOUR childhood list of the “first fives” look like? What did you like or dislike about your childhood?

Other Updates

I had the best lunch yesterday from Santa Fe. It was their enchilada meal. My boss went out for take out and she asked me if I wanted something. So I got this meal and gave her the $ for it. Oh I’ll have to get this again. Nothing fattening about it huh? lol

I’m so glad this morning to have been able to sleep in a couple of hours. I’m about to dive into laundry, a shower, breakfast, more coffee, and fall decorating.

What are you all doing today?

Meanwhile in Texas

Awwww, I feel for my daughter in this moment. Bitter Sweet it is. He’s taking formula now that they are back to a busy schedule with jobs and summer over. And he is learning to eat table food and had been on baby food for a while. It’s hard to leave each stage behind, but in other ways it’s a relief. On to new stages, new ways, and new details to manage. It’s a beautiful process. It’s hard work. But so worth the time and effort and patience to raise a well rounded, patient, persevering, spiritual minded, mindful and productive human being. Love that little River Roo! And my daughter for the lovely person she has become. Katy is a good Mom and Cody is a good Dad. And they love their little Chunky Monkey!

Ya’ll have a wonderful day and I’m going to set about mine!

New Summer Decor and the Excitement of Summers Growing Up

Had to share my new “runner” this morning. This is the only kind of “runner” you will find in this household, lol. Lisa gave me an Aztec or Southwest runner with my favorite colors in it. It’s so pretty and perfect for summer. I had some summer placemats already and although they are more of a Tuscan feel, the colors work.

So the table is coming together for summer. I may do a rearrange though for July 4th. We will be eating at the table a lot with Mom there. We usually eat with our plates and watch Netflix, but I’m not going to make Mom do that. A side benefit of this is that I’m starting to see my dining room table again. George should be glad I have been patient with this. Mom never allowed anything to remain on her dining room table for longer than an hour at most. I’ve been called in many a disturbance of what I was doing to come clear my things from the table growing up. Didn’t matter, studying, sleeping, talking on the phone – if you had something on the table and Mom saw it – you were in there pronto picking it up.

He has only a few things left on it. At least he knows and has removed his things without me having to say something or do it. He knows I’d just clean it off and dump it in a box or spread it all around and he’d have to resort it. lol.

All that said, we are borrowing Mom’s lazy Susan while she is there. My table is wide enough that I think it will come in handy as we “pass the buttah” across the table.

That green bowl there is one I bought to put cold salads in. Pasta salad, chicken salad, bean salad – those types of salads.

Lisa also gave me the birdhouse on the right. It fit perfectly in this spot. I might find a little bird to perch on the little hole there.

June Flashbacks / Memory Lane as a Child

As May morphed into June, I had some flashbacks into my youth. I’m not sure what prompted all this, perhaps it was spending more time with Mom, having a grandson now, but forwhatever reason, my mind took me back to memories I’d not thought of in a long time.

I remember being in school at various ages at the end of May and I remember the feelings that came along with that as school ended and summer approached. Lots of excitement in the days ahead. Not having to get up early and get ready for school, no tests, the thoughts of getting to sleep late, and a day being a clean slate with nothing but what you wanted to do.

There were end of school open houses and carnivals in elementary school. I loved those. I loved getting to show my parents our classroom, our artwork, where I spent my day. I loved the elements of surprise at the booths at the carnivals and potential prizes that could be won, or bought if you didn’t win, lol.

As I aged, into 5th or 6th grade, there were end of year chorus shows for the parents. Sometimes put on by the whole grade class and then I participated in chorus and we’d sing the songs we’d practiced for months just for that night.

In the eighth and ninth grades, the peer pressure was definitely there as most of my thoughts were tightly wrapped into what my friends were doing, thinking about doing, and of course we were thinking about the boys. The thought of summer arriving meant not seeing friends as much unless it was church or especially arranged.

And then there was church camp! lol All the churches of christ would come together and hold a couple of weeks of camp in the summer. I would get with my friends and we’d see which week to go so we could get in the same cabin together. We’d get to the church early to get in line to make sure we got the week we wanted and friends lined up together and made sure to write each others names on the form as to who to be in the cabin with.

How fun it would be to “get ready for camp”. A shopping trip for new shorts and tops, a bathing suit, beach towel, summer sandals, bug spray, and toiletries, complete with razor and shaving cream for those two hairs on our legs, lol.

I also remember the annuals coming out before school ended and the signing of the annuals. I remember getting my favorite crushes (there were always several) to sign and I would cherish the words written. lol I remember the anticipation of hardly being able to wait to see what they had written. Did they sign it “love”, xxx000? lol lol lol

In high school, and while driving, I had a little more independence. Summer meant working in the evenings and weekends in retail at Parks Belk, part of the Belk system at that time. But in the days at lunch I would meet friends sometimes, particularly my friend Sheila. We would have lunch, might shop somewhere, and a few times would hang at her pool.

I remember the summer before college, Sheila and I were going to Lipscomb – then David Lipscomb College – Now Lipscomb University. We had a blast all summer planning our dorm room. We were so excited.

I remember the excitement of it all, of move-in day, of my independence FINALLY. No one to tell me what to do, what not to do. I remember the excitement of that feeling of a clean slate and that I could be who I wanted to be. Who DID I want to be?

I remember wanting to “have my space” decorated with plants, a stereo, a phone (we didn’t have cell phones but a phone in the room was the access point to ones significant other at that time). I just remember the glee of having my own space and independence. I didn’t have a car until late fall my first freshman year. It became apparent that I would need one. My grandparents bought it for me and I paid them like $68 a month for it. Eventually they gave me the gift of not having to pay anymore on it.

But going back a bit into my younger summers when I was in elementary school, I remember going to the farm with Mom and my grandfather. We packed our lunch for the day, big jugs of water, and I was encouraged to pack a “to do bag” to draw or write or whatever in case I got bored. To me that was fun as we were “going on a day trip” of sorts. It was “hay day”! And Mom drove the truck while the hay bales were picked up. I remember one day there were bunnies under a hay bale. I also remember the garden and picking peas and beans and digging’ up taters. And later shelling them on the porch while homemade ice cream was churning.

I was never a fan of the wasps and bees nor the hot humid weather though in the summers. I wanted to play tennis so bad. I loved it. I would be excited for summer to come to play and would go with friends and we’d play 30 minutes and it be too hot and go get ice cream! lol

I enjoyed the farm days though and went with Grandaddy often through the years. He would count the cows, check on the horses and sometimes we’d ride them, and sometimes we’d fish in the pond. Once I caught a snapping turtle. In college he took me to Panama City and we went deep sea fishing. Then I caught an Octopus. lol

I then remember in all of those summers though, how bored we’d get by the time July 4th was over. We missed our friends, sometimes camps were over, the days got hot, you were forced inside by the scorching heat, parents began insisting on extra chores – mow the yard, vacuum and dust, clean out your closet. We would go through the summer doldrums and boredoms. I would listen to music, draw, write, watch TV, listen to the radio, learn the words to music by recording the songs on my tape player from the radio and play them over and over again. I would dream and plan the future, lol. And we’d meet friends on Friday nights for the matinee and new movie of the week and see some friends in the nice air conditioned building. Or perhaps we’d go skating on Tues/Thurs nights to see friends.

And sometime toward the end of July the excitement of school starting again was just what the doctor ordered! School supplies, school clothes, conversations with friends over what teacher we’d get and would we be in each other’s classroom. And picking the next year’s “notebook” was a big deal. Negotiations began in the aisle at K-Mart b/w me and Mom or Dad over the notebook “that one is too expensive, pick a different one”. Most of the time though I got the one I wanted. New hip jeans were a must! New tennis shoes and socks. Grandparents often kicked in and helped. Nanny (Mom’s Mom) often would buy me a few pieces or even make me some. My high school year she made me some cute dresses and tops, allowing me to pick the patterns and materials. I bought jewelry and accessories to go with them. I got “best dressed” in my senior year, lol. Thanks to Nanny.

I hope you enjoyed my walk down memory lane. Before I go I have to mention a period of time in my high school years of the “preppy look” – I worked in jewelry and accessories and saw so much of the styles. Do you remember any of them and were they stylish in your neck of the woods? Aigner everything – key chains, billfolds, purses, and even sweaters. Monogrammed everything. Whales and frogs on belts and key chains. Pink and green together.

Of course the best thing I loved about summer was getting to go to Florida or going on a trip and that is a whole nother blog post! lol

If I reminded you of your own memories, I’d love to hear a memory that you thought of while reading this. Please tell me something about your summers growing up. What did you get excited about as school ended and summer started? Did you always get excited when it was time to go back to school in the fall?