This week we’re talking about our fondest childhood memory. I have no idea what I was thinking about when I suggested this topic. Perhaps I did not have anything in particular in mind and was just feeling nostalgic. Recently, my parents have been sharing stories from their younger years and the kids and I have been listening intently. Today, my youngest is going over to a dear friend’s house to interview her, he is going to write a biography on her for a project for school. She’s 91 and he plans to ask her all about her childhood and what it was like to grow up during the recovery of the Great Depression. I love hearing about other people’s childhoods. It is so interesting to see what events shaped them into the person that they became. Not too long ago my aunt, who was 5 when my parents got married, told me how when they were first married (they had moved into the house next door to my mom’s parents) my dad would sit on his front porch on summer evenings and play his guitar and sing. She said that she and the other neighborhood kids would just sit and listen to him.
So now I am trying to figure out which of my childhood memories is my fondest. There is the year that my brothers and I all came down with the Chicken Pox at the same time. It was Christmas so we couldn’t go anywhere but my grandparents made a special trip to town just to see us.
There are all the nights that my dad would play his guitar and sing or play the fiddle and us kids would gather around on the floor of whatever room he was in and listen, sing along, or dance. Those nights always seemed so magical. I remember walking home from friends’ houses and as soon as I could hear my dad playing I would run the rest of the way home, rush up the stairs to his bedroom, and plop down on the floor to listen. He doesn’t play often now but when he does I still rush to listen. I’ll never tire of listening to him play and sing.
However, there is a memory from my childhood that I often mention. It is not from a particular day in my life but rather from simply that time period. My dad’s parents lived on a farm about twenty-five minutes from town. We spent a lot of time on the farm, my dad was often there to help his dad with the farming and work that needed to be done around the farm. In the fall and winter he was there hunting. All of us kids ran free on the farm. When my dad became very ill I stayed with them while he was at the Mayo Clinic. Often we were found playing in the creek, catching minnows, chasing butterflies, walking among the sheep, and so many other activities that I could fill a book. On the rear of the house was a large deck that faced the west. Grandma had a small table with a large umbrella that could be opened or closed coming up out of the middle of the table. On nice days Grandma would ask, “How do you feel about dining in Paris today?” To which I would always excitedly agree. She would make sandwiches, sometimes tuna fish, sometimes ham and cheese, or peanut butter. Then we would fill our colorful aluminum tumblers with Tang. We would carry these out to the table on the deck. The umbrella would be opened. The two of us would take our seats at the little Parisian cafe where we would chat and eat. Sometimes our meals in Paris would be followed by a night at the symphony. As the sun would begin to set and all the creatures would begin their nightly songs we would continue to sit at our little table and listen to the symphony that nature created. The soothing songs or the birds, the croaking of the bull frogs, the bleating of the sheep, the low mooing of the cows, the chirps of the crickets, and song of the Katy-dids, and so much more would create a lovely lullaby for us to end our day on. To this day, I still find the symphony of nature to be the greatest and most soothing songs I have ever heard.
What is a memory that you enjoy sharing with others?