Wednesday, 20 June 2012


It's funny what we remember about our childhood. It's not the momentous occasions the adults made such a fuss over. Usually, it's some small moment the adults dismissed as normal or routine but to a little person, it's an important event in his/her life. Tricycles, bicycles and Saturday matinees were big events in mine.

When I was two, I remembered gleefully riding my little tricycle and following my big brother, who was riding a bigger one, around this potbelly stove that was set in the centre of this large room. My parents were amazed that I remembered this.

When I was seven, I watched my childhood friend riding his shiny new bicycle and marveled at how easy it looked. Daring me to try, I impulsively hopped onto his two-wheeler with no idea how to ride it. Unfortunately, the bike was pointing down the steep driveway and took off with me desperately hanging on and screaming in fear. Luckily, Dad was close by and grabbed the bike as I wobbled past. Art never offered his bike again.

Saturday matinees with my big brother were special events. We grew up loving cowboy movies, Tarzan movies and adventure movies with lots of sword-fighting. I loved musicals, often tap-dancing out of the theatre. My brother suffered through these movies with mouthy comments and would walk a distance away from me when I started dancing down the street. He loved animal movies but I disliked watching any dog or horse movies because I knew I would cry buckets of tears. Some never had a happy ending.

Dad would give each of us 25-cents--15-cents for the movie and 10-cents for the ice cream bar,  candy bar or soft drink. Sometimes, my brother and I would walk down to the "Nuthouse" which was two doors down from the theatre, pool our money together and buy a bag of cheese popcorn, caramel popcorn, hot butter popcorn or a bag of salted nuts. We would come home, stuffed to the gills. Once in a while, I would have someone's bubble gum stuck in my hair. It's a wonder I wasn't traumatized with my weird haircuts when I was growing up!

Memories are fun. The bad ones tend to get forgotten while the good ones remain. It's great fun when someone would say, "Remember when. . .?" and we would all chime in with our version of what really happened. Childhood memories and each of our life experiences contributes to the family tapestry, an entertaining verbal history passed along to our children. It's hilarious to discover that stern Great-Uncle Stan and grumpy Aunt Martha were once "hell-on-wheels" in their younger days. Or that my serious paternal uncle who had a distinguished 40-year career as a law-maker was once a pot-smoking, college drop-out!

Thank goodness for our treasure chest of family memories!                           

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