I've been thinking about the past a lot lately - great and/or funny memories from my youth. I think it's important to document for the future when my kids actually want to know about my life growing up. (Plus I read Bossypants over spring break so I was inspired by Tina Fey's stories.)
1. Some of my first memories are of the Fort Wayne house I lived in before my family moved to Auburn when I was four. I loved the Fort Wayne house because it had a swing set in the back yard and a church pew in the dining room and my brother's room had a stairway to a really awesome attic. It was a block away from the park. My dad would walk us to the park while my brother and I rode our bikes. We would hide our bikes (actually, mine was a tricycle) in the bushes of a house right across the street from the park because our neighborhood wasn't the greatest and my dad was worried that the bikes would get stolen.
2. This was the same house where my dad would sit in his recliner by the tv and pull out a Count Dracula puppet. In his count Dracula voice, he would say, "One. Two. Three. I'm going to eat thee." And then he's pretend like the Count was eating me. I would run away because I was scared of that puppet.
Other things my dad would do to scare me... one time he hung me by my overalls on a hook in the laundry room and walked away. I started kicking and screaming for him to let me down. He thought that was pretty funny. In our garage, he had a stuffed fish hanging. It's mouth was open so it's sharp teeth were visible. Several times I remember him picking me up and forcing my hand in that fish's mouth and he would tell me that the fish was going to chomp my hand off. I would usually start crying before he put me down and let me escape. When he used to tuck me in a night, he would tell me that there was a momma snake living under my bed, protecting her eggs that were almost ready hatch and soon baby snakes were going to crawl on to the top of my bed and get me in the middle of the night. Of course I'd scream in fright and my dad would laugh and laugh. He definitely like to freak me out.
3. When we were building our house in Auburn, my parents would often drag us to the construction site. My brother loved exploring the area but I remember being bored. Until I learned that I could take the automatic stapler staples and make train tracks with them. I would put the pieces together to make a long track for my imaginary trains.
4. After we moved to Auburn, we would often drive to Fort Wayne to visit our family. My grandparents lived in the house my dad grew up in until I was about seven (and they moved to the Lake). My dad would take my brother and I to visit them. I loved eating plums off their plum tree and sneaking pieces of rhubarb when my grandma was making rhubarb crunch. I would explore the hallway closets upstairs and play with the games and toys that used to belong to my aunts. In the summer, we would walk a few blocks to the Little League baseball games where my dad would buy my a pixie stick for a treat. I always wanted purple.
5. During our Fort Wayne visits, we often stopped at the A&W root bear stand where we could order food and sit in our car to eat it. I never liked root beer but I always ordered it when we went to the A&W.
6. Behind our house in Auburn was a small creek that ran through our property. I spent hours exploring the woods next to the creek. My friends and I would find spots with overturned trees that we would call our house. We would skips rocks across the creek and take big pieces of tree bark and make boats filled with grass and leaves to send down the creek. We called them our love boats and pretending they would be found by imaginary boyfriends. Sometimes we would find empty vodka bottles and we would write notes in them and send them down the creek.
7. A few times growing up, the creek behind our house would flood our back yard. Once or twice, our entire house was surrounded by water. I remember my dad would have to drive us down the road in the mornings so the bus could pick us up because we couldn't wait at the end of the driveway. Sometimes I would go swimming in the back yard.
8. When I was 19, I received a letter from a couple who lived about 30 miles away from Auburn. They had found one of the bottles I'd sent down the creek. Apparently the note I wrote gave my name and address and asked the recipient to write back to me. That note must have been in that bottle for over 10 years before being found. Pretty impressive.
9. In the summer, I often played with a neighbor friend who was two years younger than me. I was always intrigued by her parents who were avid recyclers, gardeners, and composters (before recycling and composting were cool). One summer, they set up a camper in their back yard and my friend and I would hang out playing cards and eating cherries off their cherry tree. In winters, several neighbors would gather in the woods behind my friends house because there were a great hill for sledding. We would spend hours sledding down that hill.
10. My friends brother had the first Atari in the neighborhood. He had impressive Pac Man, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Pitfall skills.