Memories of My Childhood
Standing on tiptoe,
my eyes search
the dark recesses
of the closet…
There it is.
I reach up,
slide the box
off the shelf,
and crouch down.
Gently I place the box
on the floor
in front of me.
I peel back the cardboard flaps,
of what lies inside.
Peeking at the contents,
I carefully reach in and pull out…
A pale violet Easter dress,
with lacy white cap sleeves and neckline-
just one of many dresses
sewn for me by my mom.
A red hoppity horse,
the source of giggles and gales of laughter,
as my aunt
navigates around an obstacle course of trees
at my family birthday party.
A bunny shaped birthday cake,
covered in white and pink flaked coconut,
adorned with red licorice whiskers,
and black jelly bean eyes
for all my kindergarten friends.
carefully folded and placed in my little ‘flower girl’ hand,
after polkaing with family members
at my oldest sister’s wedding .
Murmurs of “Bug a Boo” and “Pootsie Pie”,
as I am tucked into bed
by my mom and dad.
A coffee can filled with water and a layer of butter
to dunk ears of roasted corn,
A pig with an apple in its mouth,
and stuffed with sauerkraut,
roasting over a spit,
Peanut butter and jelly pudgie pies
cooked over a campfire,
Pixie Sticks, Tootsie Rolls, and Dots
bought from the campground candy store,
Sand castles with moats,
and drawbridges made of sticks,
A mud pie concocted of wet sand,
pine needles, and leaves,
and topped with a sprinkle of dry ‘sugar’ sand.
A backwards fall into the fire pit
while delivering the pie.
Grandma’s ‘molly’asses cookies
dunked in my special cup of ‘coffee’.
A small, ceramic fawn figurine,
with a ‘broken’ neck (repaired by my grandpa with super glue),
the result of an unfortunate collision with a sparkly super ball.
Carrots carefully pulled from the earth,
rinsed by the garden hose,
and munched on while sitting on the steps with my grandparent’s house.
Pounding on the cottage door in the middle of the night,
a long car ride home,
and my grandpa’s funeral.
“Picture Rock” where I modeled my bikini,
and every new dress received for my 4th birthday.
Pink foam curlers
wound and clipped in my stick straight, brown hair.
baked by the light bulb
in my easy bake oven.
Four kittens and a momma cat
mewing in the hollowed out base
of an old oak tree
outside my bedroom window
one rainy summer day.
Forts built in the tree line
in the field near my house.
Twigs tossed in the creek,
disappearing in the culvert
under the road.
in tents (and sometimes under the stars)
with Jenny, Angie, Jill, and Jolene.
of ‘Kick the Can’ and ‘Sardines’
with the neighborhood kids.
Day games of kickball,
trees used as bases.
A lime-green, one-speed, banana seat bike
pedaled up the ‘big hill’ on the way to school.
A King Arthur puppet
with a painted clay head, and robe fashioned from scraps of baby blue silk,
and emblazoned with a navy felt ‘A’.
Duso the dolphin
leading the class in song
(‘Hey Duso! Come out to play!’)
Snow forts built at recess,
jeans soaked by melting snow (‘cuz in 6th grade snow pants were so not cool).
Kickball games on the playground,
and crawling over the fence
to retrieve balls from the farmer’s pasture.
A school spelling bee won
with the word ‘liable’.
And a city spelling bee missed
due to the death of a great aunt.
Matching pajamas worn at slumber parties,
all captured on film.
A record player spinning Shaun Cassidy’s ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’
and over again
until every word was known by heart.
After hour Baskin Robbin’s parties…
staying up all night.
Weekends at the cottage,
building cities in the sand,
teaching friends how to dive off the dock,
and rowing to the island to play castaway.
I am aware
of the lump in my throat
and the tears in my eyes,
and the smile on my face.
Carefully I pack each memory
back into the box,
grateful for the gift
of the childhood I had.