Thursday, March 20, 2008

Journal Topic: Childhood Memories

Explore a memory from childhood, finding all the details you can.

We never really liked sitting still, especially in my grandmother's house. The grownups all talked about their illnesses and their problems. We didn't care about such things and were unable to sit still through all of it, especially without squirming, snickering, and making faces at each other. We were required to sit there for a few minutes at least. Mom called it "visiting" and we were glad when our few minutes of visiting ended. We could go outside and play after answering a few questions about school and homework, soccer and softball. My sister and I felt free when we opened that screen door and ran out into the front yard. It was the perfect yard for children, complete with a huge oak tree right in the center with branches low enough for us to climb if we gave each other a boost and a lift. My sister would go up first. I would help her up from the ground and then she would take my hands and lift me onto the branch. From the highest branch that we could reach, we could see the whole neighborhood, which was more a little collection of homes than a real neighborhood, one of which belonged to our aunt and uncle. Our two cousins lived there, and we would usually meet up with them and play in the yard until our parents were finished visiting.

It seems half of my childhood was spent in trees. The tree from my grandmother's yard was one, the tree in my cousin's backyard was another. We built a tree house in that one, and would collect what we called "dirt bombs" which were really just clumps of dirt from a nearby field, and we would wait for my older cousin to walk by and pelt him with the dirt bombs. It was especially fun for me because I really, really didn't like him. Another significant tree from my childhood resided in my own front yard. I named him Bob (I have no idea why) and he was magnificent. His trunk was so large that I could never manage to put my arms all the way around it, although I did try many times. I even asked my dad to try and he couldn't either. It was the only way I could get him to hug a tree, and then we called him a "tree hugger" for days afterward. I think my love for the environment and my desire to protect it came from loving that tree. Bob had weathered Hurricane Camille, and as a result, was slanted at a fairly severe angle for a tree, roots showing above the surface of the ground. A wisteria bush was planted there, tangled in the roots, and when spring came every year, the vines that wrapped around Bob, all the way up to the topmost branch, would explode into beautiful purple blooms. Sometimes, when the wind would blow hard enough, you could stand under the tree and be showered with the blossoms. The scent on the air during that time of year was amazing. I'm pretty sure that's why Spring is my favorite season to this day.

I wouldn't trade my memories of playing in my grandmother's tree, or my cousin's tree, or Bob in my own front yard for anything. However, I do wish I had spent more time visiting with my grandparents. When they are gone, you can't visit with them anymore.

I'm fairly certain this isn't exactly what the topic meant by exploring a childhood memory. I know it probably meant one specific memory, but I chose to treat it like a writing exercise just to let my mind wander and see what came out. And how appropriate that my mind would wander to trees and flowers on this day, the first day of Spring!

1 comment:

  1. That was so well written!! I could picture myself there, and hope that if you ever write a screenplay that you include a scene of Bob and the wisteria blooms floating down onto a playing child's face. A beautiful image of childhood innocence, don't you think?