At times, certain memories come flooding back to me from when I was little. Though brief, these fragments always seem to comfort me. I suppose memories in general can be like that, as you’re essentially giving pleasant past experiences new life.
With this in mind, I felt compelled to compile a few of my favorite childhood memories together.
As a child, Christmas is magical and sacred. It’s a joyous time that slowly wanes as you hit adulthood thanks to a stressful array of expectations. I think a lot of this has to do with the giving/receiving aspect.
You see, you’re not obligated to play the role of Santa Claus as a child. Instead, each year is marked with packages full of toys, bright baubles to put on the tree as high as you can reach, fuzzy fleece pajamas, and tasty treats.
For me, I recall the night before Christmas being one of the hardest nights to fall asleep. I always had this deep desire to know the exact moment those beautifully wrapped presents arrived under the tree. If I close my eyes, I can still picture the way I listened for the telltale jingle of ornaments.
Aside from your birthday, nothing comes close to celebrating Christmas when you’re little. I hope one day, should I ever have children, I’ll be able to create lasting Christmas memories for them as well.
As children, we’re spared from the difficulties of adulthood. Things like making ends meet, taxes, traffic jams, and jury duty. When you’re young, it’s easy to look upon the future with rose-colored glasses and dream of being the one to call all the shots.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly discontent in my adult life, but my former self would probably be disappointed if she found out this is what she has to look forward to.
Staring at the ceiling in bed each night, I’d often think about the house I’d own one day, the kids I’d have, and of course, my future career. I can’t tell you how often the memories of performing in front of an invisible crowd come to mind. I’d sing, give them a hell of a show, and hear their roar of approval.
It was always fun to see myself as this hot shot adult rather than the bullied outcast who dreaded going to school. While life didn’t end up as I expected, it’s still fun to look back at the outlandish goals I set for my future self.
As an added bonus, I also enjoy hearkening back to the time when my 5th grade teacher insisted I’d grow up to become a writer. Thanks Mr. Brite for your astute premonition.
Afternoon Walks/Bus Rides Home
Speaking of 5th grade, I remember the walks home at the end of the day with perfect clarity. These walks would grow to become the norm for me in middle school, high school, and the early years of junior college.
Once I reached high school, I’d also hop on the city bus, as both of the high schools I attended (Downey and Beyer) were a bit outside walking distance. I can still picture the act of switching on my iPod before spending a few blissful moments alone with myself.
They brought me so much joy and peace, and I miss them terribly.
There never seems to be enough time to relive those walks as an adult. The closest I ever get is driving to and from work, which is a far cry from peaceful. Trust me, New Jersey drivers are the absolute worst.
If I had to pick any moments to jump back and revisit, my daily walks/bus rides of solitude are high up on the list.
I noticed far more in my youth than I do now. Out of everything, these memories cause the most yearning. During those aforementioned walks, I could pick out every crack in the uneven sidewalk beneath my feet. I could hear every car, feel the weight of my backpack digging into my shoulders… even the air had a personality all its own!
Perhaps it’s my depression that clouds my mind as an adult.
My life has become a blur, one where the days bleed together into gray sameness. It’s as though I flipped the “observation” switch to a permanent off position. At least I can remember the details I soaked in as a child. Ask me and I can tell you the desk I sat in, the design of my backpack, and other strange nuances of my youth.
For example, at the age of about 10 I had this metal baton with two rubberized ends. In the backyard, a square patch of concrete served as an island in the center of the lawn. Previously, a spa had been there. After being removed, it became my stage.
One where I liked to pretend I had an audience ooh’ing and aah’ing over just how high I could chuck that baton in the air. Memories with that much clarity are so wonderful even in their simplicity.
There are many childhood memories I can’t categorize. Which is ironic, as these misc adventures are the ones that come to me the most. At the age of 8, my mother and I lived in an apartment complex on the outskirts of Campbell, California.
Our apartment was located on the third floor, and had a narrow balcony. On rare occasions, I’d step out onto the balcony and take in the scenery. In the distance was always a distinct bird call (likely from a pigeon or dove), and in my mind, I can still hear the precise series of notes.
There are a few early memories filed away for review, including my irrational phobia of sparklers from about the age of 3 onward. You know, the ones you give kids to hold every 4th of July? Yeah, I was deathly afraid of those suckers and the prospect of burning myself.
My young self possessed a strange timidity. In 3rd grade, kids would impress one another by jumping across a narrow gap between the “jungle gym” bars to the slide. I stood frozen in fear countless times wishing I could do it. Spoiler, it never happened.
There are far more pleasant memories than those of my irrational fears, though. Some of these moments include the Book Mobile, calling sourdough baguettes “Favorite Bread” whenever my mother and I went shopping, watching The Mummy about 100 times, the online dream discussion forum I called my “home,” my inability to play the board game Operation, and of course, all of the books I read.
These are just a few examples of recurring childhood flashbacks. I enjoyed writing these out immensely, and am curious as to which childhood memories stick out in your mind? Comment with some, I’d love to read them!