Memories

Here’s the Mail, it Never Fails

When I was younger, I always looked forward to getting mail. Something about having an item addressed to me seemed so important and professional. I just loved it. Hell, I still love it. Most of the things I obtained were not of importance and they definitely were not of any professional standard. But they still made me happy.

One piece of post that I knew I would get without fail was my American Girl catalog. Hours of entertainment came from that bad boy. Their pages had so much for me to peruse–dolls, Bitty Baby, accessories for said dolls, clothes that I could buy to match my dolls–it was endless. I’m pretty sure I bought some of the most useless crap of all time from the catalog. But then a magical thing happened. An American Girl store (Rightly named The American Girl Store) opened in downtown Chicago. Now, if I remember correctly, I was in 5th grade when it opened so I was on the border of I should not be wearing this stuff and I have no friends anyway because I’m home-schooled so it doesn’t really matter.

I think I looked pretty chic in my red vinyl jumper.RedJumper

I also looked forward to birthday and Christmas cards. The correct way of opening any card was to first rip the envelope open, preferably in the worst way possible. Just destroy it. Once it’s discarded, hold the card in your hand. Do not read it, I repeat, do not read it. Just simply turn it sideways and hope that money or a gift card falls out. I would even settle for Geoffrey Dollars out of desperation. If none of these items were included in your card then you obviously had a family member who hated your guts and wanted you to be miserable.$(KGrHqF,!q0FJh!Den+KBSZ,kEvzzQ~~60_35

The scariest thing that would come in the mail were report cards. In elementary school we would just take them home with us in our backpacks and give them to our parents. They obviously trusted us more when we were 7 more than they did when we were 16. Granted, our grades were made up of E’s and S’s so no one (not even our parents) really cared about those.

In 6th grade, once they started mailing them to our homes, is when the anxiety set in. You had to find a way to intercept that card from getting to your parents first in order to know what kind of mood you were going to have to deal with. Mine always ranged from A’s, B’s, and C’s so my parents didn’t really care too much. But occasionally my grades would slip in math and science and a D would get sent home. YIKES.

Basically, getting mail was like a box of chocolates. You never knew what you were going to get. And it usually didn’t involve money.rtt-new

Standard
Memories, Music

Little Lullabies

I had trouble sleeping when I was younger. Well, not really. I slept just fine. But getting me to go to bed was tough. I didn’t ask for stories, hugs, or for someone to make sure that there weren’t monsters under my bed. I asked for songs. Lots of songs.

My mom always sang me to sleep as far back as I can remember. She would make up lullabies, sing songs she knew, or sometimes just hum familiar tunes. When I was able to talk, I would request songs or sing them with her. I always enjoyed learning and repeating lyrics.

Once my brother was born, he also got an earful of melodic tunes. When we were younger we would sleep in the same bed and I would sing to him in the dark. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” was a random request that I had to sing over and over. Instead of the lyrics “So let’s root, root, root for the home team” I had to replace the word “home” with whatever color my brother suggested. So let’s root, root, root for the yellow team.

Eventually my parents had to start getting creative. You can only listen to “Old¬†McDonald” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” so many times. I liked when my mom sang “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. The lyrics were so colorful and there were so many things to visualize! Best song ever!giphy

In times of desperation, we would listen to ABBA or Disney soundtracks while falling asleep. Not always peaceful, but they did the trick.

I remember when my dad would sing theme songs from old TV shows that rescued him from his childhood. Gilligan’s Island was my favorite. Occasionally my mom or dad would sing The Brady Bunch intro as well. These songs were ideal because they told a story (of a lovely lady…). My mom couldn’t really sing The Partridge Family’s intro because there wasn’t much to it. And it doesn’t really do much in the relaxation department–Come on, get happy!–despite it being her favorite childhood show.

My parents would also sing us children’s church songs which were always very mellow and usually had a good message about God and Jesus loving us. That was always a comforting way to fall asleep.

I love that my parents took the time to sing us to sleep. I recognize that it wasn’t an easy task, especially when we didn’t drift off to a magical dreamland immediately and kept asking for them to sing another. I think I went through every baseball team color in the rainbow for my brother’s enjoyment. But that’s just what parents (and big sisters) do.

Did your parents or siblings ever sing to you before bed?

Standard
Memories

Where Do Babies Come From?

I don’t think I ever asked that question because I never cared enough about babies or where they came from. I was 3 1/2 when my brother was born so I knew that babies ended up in the stomachs of mothers, but I wasn’t quite sure how they got there. I didn’t really think about it too much.

For some reason, when I was in 4th grade (10 years old), my mom figured that I should learn about the birds and the bees. Barf. I hate when people call it that. So she went to the book store and purchased a children’s book called “Mommy Laid an Egg”. The illustrations haven’t erased themselves from my brain since that fateful day. I have carried them with me forever.

Once I received this strange book, my mom told me to read it and then we could talk about it together. Okayyyyy. First of all, since when do I read books? I thought nothing of it and just decided to skim through it. I didn’t really get it though. There were just a bunch of child-like drawings of naked people and I didn’t know how that related to me at all. So thanks for the present, mom.Image 1

After I was finished, my mom asked me if I wanted to talk about it. Once she explained to me what the naked people in the book were doing, and how they were really connected (like, physically connected) I wanted to throw up in every single room in my house. His what goes where? DOES NOT COMPUTE. But my mom reassured me it was okay because that’s how everyone in the entire world got here.

Oh and she also said that “it’s fun” and I was liketumblr_mdb5s0jaq11qfgzzvo1_500

So after learning about what sex was, I had a bit of an advantage on the playground. Whenever someone asked me if I knew what sex was (and this was asked a lot for some reason…) I was like, yes duh of course. I was really in-the-know.

I have learned from further research that “Mommy Laid an Egg” has become a banned book. I wonder if it’s due to the illustrations?rtt-new

 

Standard
Memories

Scaredy Cat

When Emily introduced the new topic for the “Remember the Time?” blog hop this week, I knew I would have endless things to write about. The prompt was “Remember the time we got really scared?” and my answer is yes. In fact, I can barely remember a time when I wasn’t scared.

I didn’t start off scared in most situations. It stemmed from over-thinking a situation, getting nervous about it, and being scared of the worst possible outcome. I feel like I could be a good survivalist because I would prepare for the worst case scenario. But then again, isn’t anyone who is still alive a great survivalist?

I could find a way to get worried about the most inconsequential activities. But in retrospect, the things I should’ve been worried about (like walking to and from school alone) didn’t bother me one bit. Oh, childhood.

Here are some things in my every day childhood life that scared me:

1. Losing my parents, getting abandoned, or having to be raised by someone else. This was like, my number one. I guess I made a comparative study of my parents versus other parents (of classmates or neighbors) and mine won every time. There was no way I would let my parents out of my sight.

2. Being trapped in a dark room. This happened to my neighbors and I. We were sitting in their shed, minding our own business when their older sister’s friend closed the door and locked us in there. I panicked. Obviously it would’ve been a lot more traumatizing if I was alone in there because they could’ve forgotten me. But since my friends were in there as well, we worried together. The best part was when the girl who locked us in there pinched her finger in the door while letting us out. Serves you right, bitch.

3. The Omen (1976). When I was eight years old I told my parents that I wanted to watch a scary movie that wasn’t Jaws. Jaws was like my go-to scary movie. Sharks were another fear of mine. So my parents were like, “Okay let’s introduce our daughter to Satan in child form and see if she enjoys it.” Like, as if I wasn’t scared of the world enough already. Now I had to worry about scary boys, scary nannies, scary dogs, being impaled, having 666 written on my head somewhere, etc. I still really like the name Damien though.omen_xlg

4. The dark. At night, when it was time for sleep, I would be scared for no reason. My American Girl Dolls looked especially terrifying in the glow of my red lava lamp when the lights were off. I mean, those dolls were scary even in the light of day. I swear they could look into your soul. My dad knew I was scared of them and would always put them on my bed, so when I walked in my room they would be starring straight at me.

One time when I woke in the middle of the night, I saw a ghost child in my mirror. It waved for me to come closer but I pretty much ran into my parent’s room and slept there. That was really the only time I think I’ve seen a ghost in my life. I mean, it could’ve been smudges on the mirror….okay it was definitely smudges and fingerprints on the mirror, but it looked so real, man.

5. My friend’s older siblings. I wasn’t familiar with the world of older siblings simply because I was the eldest child in my family. My friend’s older brothers and sisters always seemed so grown up and frankly, terrifying. One time I was sleeping over at my friend Kelly’s house and she and I were just playing a friendly game of Crossfire when her sister sauntered into the room telling us that we had to watch this movie with her. It was a Slither-ish movie where this girl was sitting in her bathtub and huge leech-like insects went into her ears and basically destroyed her life. Just like Kelly’s sister was destroying my life. And then to top off the night, her sister made me eat cheese. Torture.

That list may not be frightening to most of you any of you, but it gave me a lot of anxiety. There were dangers and things to be scared of around every corner. And I just happened to find them all.rtt-new

Standard
Memories

Collectables

I was a sucker for anything collectable in the 90’s. Well, not anything. Not the normal things that people collect like stamps, coins, or baseball cards. I was more into collecting toys. Certain toys that were meant to be hoarded. The creative geniuses behind the making of children’s toys would draw me in every time they put up a sign that said “Collect Them All!”

My earliest memory of going gaga over playthings bloomed from the introduction of Beanie Babies. Beanie Babies were….okay, how do you describe Beanie Babies without sounding like a total lunatic? I collected sacks full of beans that we shaped like different animals and had cute names. They were supposed to pay for my college tuition. It all started with the purchase of one for my baby cousin–it was Bessie the Cow, I still remember. My first Beanie Baby was Lizzie, the Lizard and my brother’s was Tabasco the red Bull. We had hundreds of them, yet I remember purchasing every one like it was yesterday.

Tabasco

Tabasco

Of course my brother and I couldn’t share so we each had our own collection. We had some of the same ones, but mostly our tastes strayed from each other’s. And, unlike most children, we would actually play with our collection. It wasn’t just for looks, you see.

There were books printed with all of the Babies you could collect. Some were “retired” which meant that they didn’t make them anymore. Even at a young age I thought that was ridiculous. What, were they working so hard being inanimate objects that they were finally allowed to receive their pension? So stupid.

We found most of our little buddies in Cracker Barrel. Yes, we frequented that establishment often in rural Indiana. There was also a store called Mr. McGregor’s Garden (ya know, from Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit?) that got a hold of some new Beanie Babies before anyone else and held a night time sneak peak. My mom, my brother and I went and I swear there were Beanie Babies flying over my head.

The best Beanie Baby I have would have to be the special addition Princess Diana Bear (She would die over again if she knew there was a Beanie Baby made in her memory). It’s purple (so regal) and has a white rose on it’s chest. I used to have it in a sweet display case. But now it’s somewhere in storage. Like a candle in the wind. (Hah that makes zero sense but I had to say it.)princess__20354

Of course Beanie Babies weren’t the only thing I collected, but looking back, they were the funniest to recount. I also collected McDonald’s toys, Pokemon Cards, N64 games, and many, many other trivial things.

What did you collect as a child?rememberthetime_zps58158eef

Standard
Memories

Sleepovers

Sleepovers were exciting when I was a youngster. Hell, they’re still exciting. They’re not always comfortable, but no one ever promised comfort. They promised games, staying up way past your bedtime, pranks, and some tears (whether they were from laughing too hard or crying, there were always tears). The one sleepover that’s still vivid in my mind is my friend Kelly’s birthday party.

Side note: I do remember an instance from a sleepover at my house. One single friend was sleeping over with me and my cute little brother who was probably 4 came in the room wearing an over-sized shirt for bed. I asked my friend if she wanted to see something funny, and lifted up my brother’s shirt, revealing his belly and little undies. He was so sad. The next day my mom said that he asked her why I’m so mean to him. Ugh heartbreaking. The reason I remember this so clearly is because it literally scarred me for life.

ANYWAY Kelly was one of my best friends who, before I moved away, I informed that I didn’t want to be her friend anymore. I really knew how to make a clean break. She cried at recess. Why was I the worst child of all time? This sleepover was before that though. Everything was fine and I was invited to spend the night with other gals. Some I knew, some I didn’t.

I remember bringing a long fleece nightgown to sleep in for some reason, not thinking about how hot I would get wearing that while inside a sleeping bag. When I got there we ate and ran around the house–typical stuff when you’re a child hopped up on sugar. There was a token mischievous girl who liked to cause trouble, one who was really loud, and the rest were relatively normal. Excluding me and my fleece nightgown.

When the sun started to set, “Spice World” was turned on and we danced to the same two songs on repeat. All I have to say is God bless Kelly’s mom and dad. I fear the day that I have to host my child’s sleepover. By the third time “Spice Up Your Life” played, I was sufficiently drenched.spice world

At around 10 or 11pm we started sneaking upstairs. I remember crawling in single file formation into Kelly’s parent’s room as they watched TV in bed. After a while they kicked us out. We were laughing pretty hard by that time so of course, minutes later we did it again. I said it once and I’ll say it again. God bless Kelly’s parents.

The next morning I woke up dripping with sweat from my poor choice of sleep wear. I was also exhausted from the night’s festivities. My mom would usually make us go to bed at 7:30 because she wanted to get rid of us. I don’t blame her though. Whenever I babysit for someone and they tell me that their kid’s bedtime is 9pm, I’ll roughly translate that to 7pm. It’s just a survival method. So yeah, since I was used to going to bed so early, I was pretty tired. However, if I woke up fully rested, it wouldn’t have been a successful sleepover.

rememberthetime_zps58158eef

Standard
Memories

Summer Vacay As A Wee Lass

Today I’m gonna try participating in Emily and Ashley’s linkup blogathon. Basically every week they’ll provide a childhood related blogging prompt. Usually I’m not a fan of people suggesting what I write about, but I am a fan of all things adolescent so I’m pretty game for this. This week’s prompt is Summer Vacations.

I’m going to focus my energy on the elementary school era. School was my arch nemesis when I was a youngin. I would do anything to get out of going and seeing the same dumb people every day and playing on the same dumb playground. Staying home was just so comforting and cozy, so the idea of summer vacation–when I could be home all day for 3 straight months–was the best thing ever in my book.

I didn’t even really do anything that memorable with my time off. We lived on a cul-de-sac and happened to have lots of young neighbors my own age. It was nice because my neighbors were all so different, so I played a lot of different games depending on who I hung out with.

Right next door to my house were my friends William and Emily. They had two older sisters too, but I didn’t really play with them and they weren’t interested in “playing” anyway. William and Emily had an awesome wooden swing set in their yard as well as a huge tree perfect for climbing. Whenever we all got in the tree (usually William, Emily, Me, and my little brother) we would pretend to be jungle animals. I always wanted to be a baby snow leopard (NOT a jungle animal just for the record) that was “zero years old.” Because I was a tall kid, I was obsessed with being small. It was creepy.

Okay, who WOULDN'T want to be a baby snow leopard?

Okay, who WOULDN’T want to be a baby snow leopard?

One time a neighborhood girl across the cul-de-sac from my house was selling lemonade with her family. She was pretty young so I never really talked to her, unless of course, there was lemonade available. I remember her mom offering me a cup that I probably drank in one gulp. I’m pretty sure I asked for 3 more cups. They started to get annoyed, but to be honest, no one was gonna drive down a cul-de-sac so they probably wouldn’t have sold anything anyway. They were lucky to have me around.

The neighbors diagonally in back of us (our backyards met) had a little girl named Ellen. Ellen was my brother’s age and she had a lot of sweet toys. Her mom eventually had twins so that was another thing to entertain us as well. I did a lot of living and learning over at Ellen’s house. One time I told her that giants were coming to take our parents away and she started crying. Oops. You live, you learn. Another time we were playing dress-up in Ellen’s backyard and her mom was video taping it. It was pretty fun until I ripped a fake sword out of my brother’s hand and he started crying. Oops! You live, you learn. Because that sad moment was captured on video, I can relive it whenever I want. Ouch.

The neighbors to the very back of us were Sarah and Laura. They had a younger brother (maybe two younger brothers?) but we didn’t play with them. Sarah and Laura were slightly older and went to a different school than most of us did. I think they went to the Christian school. Fancy. They were awesome though because they liked to play and they were really dramatic. One time I took all of my Pretty Pretty Princess jewelry and stuck each piece carefully in the branches and bark of a tree. I brought them over and they were so mystified and impressed with my work. We played with the tree jewelry as if we were magic fairies coming across these beautiful gems. That was like the one and only time I was creative. Otherwise I was a baby snow leopard.

There were nights when I caught fireflies with those girls and even went to their Christian Summer Camp (it was pretty cool, not gonna lie). Ellen would come over and swim in our pool that we had to fill up with the hose. Sometimes we would beg to go to the public pool. William and Emily would play hide and seek with us until the sun went down. We would ding-dong-ditch our own houses, play with each other’s pets, and draw amazing pictures on the sidewalk only to have them washed away overnight.

My summer vacations were simple, but they were full of adventures.remember-the-time

Standard
Memories, School

Criminal Minds

I’m gonna tell you a little story about my kindergarten self. No, it’s not the story about how I went around during recess asking kids if they were a boy or a girl. But I will say that it’s a great way to guarantee tears. This story is still about me being a jerk, but I kind of learn a lesson at the end. Key words: kind of.

It’s typical that kindergarten classes are only held for half of the day. I would go to school from about 8am to noon. My teacher was Mrs. Ford. She was tall, skinny, and had short dark hair. She had the voice of a smoker. That’s about as much as I can remember about her. She wasn’t very lovable.

Every day we would have play time where we were allowed to do whatever we liked in the class room. There was a play kitchen set up in the back of the room that was always a super popular hangout. I would usually spend my time looking into the overhead projector. I didn’t know what it did, but I was fascinated by it. I was so dumb.

I remember resting my face on the shiny part. What was wrong with me?

One day, I found something even cooler to look at. Sitting on Mrs. Ford’s desk was a paperweight with a snowflake inside it. I don’t know if you understand how magical this was. THERE WAS A SNOWFLAKE INSIDE A PAPERWEIGHT. I had never seen treasure, but I figured that this was as close as I would get.

I was one of the kids who would walk home from school while the other kids took the bus. Everyday Mrs. Ford would walk our class to their buses while the kids who walked or got picked up would go their separate ways. I couldn’t stop thinking about the paperweight. I wanted it. But for some reason I knew I couldn’t steal it. I figured if I couldn’t have it, then neither should Mrs. Ford. So I hid it in her classroom.

When I came back the next morning, the paperweight was on her desk. Damn you, Ford. So after school I hid it again. And she found it again. This went on for a while. A couple of weeks at least. Until one day when I hid it really well. I remember exactly where I put it. On the floor by the play kitchen. There was a lip where the wall stuck out over the floor and made a little gap. It was there where I placed the paperweight. The next day it wasn’t on her desk.

Mrs. Ford made an announcement to our class. She said, “Someone has been hiding my paperweight everyday. I couldn’t find it today. If you see it, make sure to tell me.” She didn’t seem amused. I’m sure if she didn’t know it was me before she made the announcement, she probably did afterward. I can’t imagine myself having a good poker face at the ripe age of 6. After that, she announced that we would have a special guest later that day–a policeman. A policeman?! Oh sweet Jesus why? My first thought was that he was going to arrest me. She must have known it was me, and now I’m going to be arrested and I’ll never see my family again. Being arrested is embarrassing enough, did Mrs. Ford really have to get a policeman to publicly arrest me in front of my peers?

All of a sudden I heard someone shout “I found the paperweight!” It was that ginger Heather Boch. She found it. Good job Heather. Way to ruin all of my hard work. But then I realized that maybe, now that it’s been found, they won’t arrest me! And they didn’t. The policeman only talked about traffic safety and stuff. I felt a rush of relief once he left. I never hid that stupid paperweight again.

Standard