I got this idea from Virginia Belle and, well, I like an assignment that gets me thinking. That and the office is quiet. And maybe I'm a copy cat. So this is a list of 13 Things That Remind Me Of My Childhood. There were a lot of (obvious) things that were part of my childhood (barbies, matchbox cars, various books, Donna Summer) but then there is these 13...
1. The beach – My parents loved the beach and we went all the time when I was little. My dad, being a contracting engineer, could arrange to work at projects for months and my parents were kind of nomadic when we were very little so we had a few summers we spent on the beach (before they decided to just move there already). One memorable summer was in St. Augustine and we shared this big beach house with two other families and I remember the grown-ups always laughing it up (and boozing) on the back deck. (I grew up to be just like them.) And then when I was in 3rd grade we moved about 10 minutes from the beach and before we moved into that house we lived right on the beach in a hotel for a few months waiting for our house to be ready. Every day after work my dad would take us out in the ocean. I remember hanging on my daddy’s arm jumping through the waves. That is why I love the beach so much because I always remember that carefree childhood and the safety of my dad's arm.
2. Jordache Jeans – This is the first time (and not the last) my parents succumbed to the "but everybody has them" argument. (Later it would be Guess jeans.) Yet I was only allowed one pair and I thought, "How unfair! Mean parents." But I loved those jeans. If I ever have a little girl I am making her wear the Jordache jeans. In fact, are they back in style yet? Anyways, the Jordache jeans represent a time when I started to recognize such a dirty little thing called "cliques." Those Jordache put me in the cool girl crowd. Now, I abhor cliques but I do love jeans.
3. Twizzlers – remind me of the fact that my parents fully supported Friday night treats. (And I like to carry on that tradition.) Every Friday we could pick out our own bag of candy. My sister and I would often get strawberry soda and the Twizzlers and then bite the ends off them to make a straw to sip the sugary sweetness. I loved having a dad who loved candy but I blame him for my sweet tooth.
4. Green Peas (yech) – Anytime I see a helping of peas you might hear me utter, "Did I ever tell you about the time...." because when I see them, I can't help but remember this story. One time my parents went out and we stayed at friends of theirs, The Peacocks. Why the friends weren’t out with them I don’t remember since they always went out and partied together. But for dinner, Mrs. Peacock served a side of peas and my brother, sister, and I despised them equally. Our parents never made us eat them. If we tried something and we didn't like it, we were not forced to eat it. (I support that logic but I am a very picky eater...) So being the stubborn souls that we are, we all refused to eat them. They're gross! Well, she would not let us leave the table until we finished them. So, we sat at that table for hours - I mean hours - and, yet, we never ate them. I remember wanting my mom and dad so bad because THEY wouldn't make me do this. At least my brother, sister and I were a team. She finally got mad and sent us to bed. To this day, I still don't like the peas. And I don't think my sister and brother do either.
5. Paddington the Bear – My aunt Liz always sent us books for Christmas. And they were always hardbound and more literary choices. No glossy paperbacks for us. I blame her for why I do not go to the library or borrow books. I want a never-before opened book. I don't want to share. (Yet I think everyone ELSE should support your local libraries.) Anyways, one time she sent me a Paddington the Bear book and I became obsessed with him. He had me at "please look after this bear."
6. Love’s Baby Soft – I loved this scent (what girl didn't?). It represents all that is little girl. Which now is reminding me of the Oingo Boingo song, "I Love Little Girls." Why was Danny Elfman never arrested for that one? Because they knew he was destined for great things, like the Simpsons theme (among many awesome scores)?
7. Vintage aprons and napkins – My grandma had a collection of them and she gave them to my mom at some point. My sister and I and our friend’s Debbie and Tracy would play restaurant. I loved being the waitress and putting one of those very cool aprons on. When I am antiqueing and come across vintage aprons I remember those times, trying them on, and probably starting my love for vintage clothing.
8. My mom’s piano that my uncle has now – I remember summers going to visit my grandfather and every morning of the week we spent there, my sister and I (sometimes we’d let my brother join) would get up and bang on that piano every morning. We never had lessons but we sure pretended like we could read the sheet music and channel Chopin. We would wake the whole house up. My uncles who were in their late teens through college during these years would never complain about us little brats. When I went to graduate school and lived with my uncle I ended up taking lessons on that piano. I looove that piano. My mom took lessons on it when she was little. I aim to get it someday. Today, I love the classical piano and would love to start lessons again.
9. Little kid learning to ride a bike or tie a shoe - Whenever I see a kid trying to ride a bike, I remember how hard it was for me. I was (probably still am) a timid child. Probably a little prissy so I was afraid of falling down. However when my brother - who is 2 years younger - was riding his bike before me, well, that gave me the impetus to just get on that bike and take a chance. (I'm a dip-my-toes-in-the-water-first and a you-dive-first kind of girl.) Also, it took me forever to learn how to tie my shoe. I'm not sure what that means....so whenever I see a kid try to learn one of these things I think about my own struggles that I had with, really, a lot of things.
10. A Red Baseball Mitt- My daddy loved baseball, he played on softball teams and he had us in sports once we could walk. In fact, I don't remember a year in my childhood not being part of some athletic pursuit, whether it was softball, soccer, basketball, tennis, swimming, even cheerleading. But when we were very little I most remember our nightly softball games in the backyard. Daddy as pitcher and two siblings were a team on defense, the third the batter. He taught us teamwork and healthy competition. Probably why to this day I think every game should end in a tie. (Unless you are FSU, TN, USF, Nationals, TB Bucs, Steelers and if my money is on you - then you better win.) But getting to the red mitt, my dad gave me his red mitt that he had for years. (Yeah it was vintage so I liked that. I really am an old soul.) I played every year with that in organized softball leagues until the one day I lost it and I cried for days. It sill upsets me. I sometimes see a red mitt and think, "Could that be it?"
11. Barry Gibb's ugly mug - Y,all, I was in love with him as a child. We had this huge poster and I used to kiss it even! And my parent's didn't think that was weird? He was old even back then. Probably why I like older men? Damn Barry Gibb! But I do like to imitate him. The Bee Gees remind me of childhood no doubt.
12. Gowno (he polish word for "shit") - My grandma was cool teaching me those dirty words. Sorta. My Polish grandma lived with us in Florida for a few years and she did a lot of cooking for us so my mom could work. I remember always asking her what was for dinner and she would snap, "Gowno." I would ask her, "What does that mean?" and she would respond, "Nothing. It means nothing." This same conversation was on replay. I liked her response. For years I thought it really meant "nothing." Until I was corrected. I wish I had the opportunity to tell her I really know what it means. So, I intend to pass this word down for many generations in response to "what's for dinner?"
13. Orange Gumballs - Before we moved to Florida, we lived in Connecticut. One time, my dad went down to Fla for an interview and we all waited up for him to get home late one night. He got the job and he brought me, my brother, and sister little orange gumballs to represent "the move to Florida" This is very symbolic as Fla is where most of my childhood memories began.