Childhood Memories

It is funny the things you remember from your childhood. I am not talking about the big events that occur. Those ones that impossible to forget. Such as when my family moved from Hawaii to California. I had to wear long pants, a shirt with sleeves and a sweater. I even had real honest-to-good shoes that covered my feet and laced up, mail-ordered from Sears. We flew on the Flying Tigers and landed in Travis Air Force base. We got off the plane and the first thing I felt was cold. It was July and I was cold. Pretty much have been cold for most of the time since.

No, those types of memories are impossible to forget. I am talking about the little memories, the vignettes in our life, the snap shots of our childhood.  I was a very imaginative youngster. M y favorite toy was those little plastic animals. I loved them all, from the farm animals to the “zoo” animals. I would always have at least one of them on me. My favorite one would change, so there could be a tiger or a horse with a bent leg or a farm dog in my pocket. There is a little scene in my head, a little memory of myself playing with them outside, by myself. I had many sisters and brothers, but they never played right so I would play alone. The best place was anywhere there was some dirt, a little grass, but the true treasure was a small bit of standing water left over from the daily rains. I could play for hours with my animals at this waterhole.

Finding a nickel was, of course, cause for celebration and adventure. A nickel, (a dime was pure ecstasy) prompted a trip to Kelly’s. Kelly’s was a bar/restaurant/candy store. A child with a nickel could load up on penny candy. In order for us kids to get to Kelly’s we had to cross and area that we called The Desert.  Which is humorous, we lived in deserts there. The desert was actually nothing more than an area of military warehouses where a few of them had been demolished, leaving several piles of concrete dirt and those materials you would find in a building. TO us kids, it was bleak and devoid of life, hence “The Desert”.

After trekking through The Desert, we had to go through a jungle. Again, The Jungle was a culvert on the side of the freeway. It was overgrown and always full of flowing water. Us intrepid explores would have to cross this culvert, trying to jump the raging “river” without getting wet. Being quite small I never made it across with falling in.

Then the grueling climb up the culvert side to stand at the side of the highway. The Promised Land of Delicious Candy was on the other side. Crossing the Nimitz was tricky and the most dangerous. As a child, I never saw the danger. I was more worried about the timing of the crossing. Once deemed clear, we would run as fast as our little legs would carry us.  And there, there was Kelly’s. Oh, the candy was everywhere. When I think back on it, it was just a small area of the store that was dedicated to candy, but in my child’s eye, it was a treasure trove.  There were candy buttons that one could buy, a foot for a penny, gumdrops, gum, every kind of hard candy one could think of, rice candies…all for a penny.  It would take a very long time to make a decision, even though on the way there we had talked about what we were going to get.  I actually do not remember what candies we bought nor do I remember the trek back. I do remember getting in trouble for going though.

It is these types of memories, the little things, which help us keep the magic of childhood alive throughout our adulthood.  They help us to make our own children’s time in youth magical, (or at least understand when they get up to mischief) and yes, it is these memories that we pass onto our grandchildren.