Suzanne over at Mimilou
tagged me for a meme last week.
This is somewhat of a first for me, as I've never really participated in memes or any other blogging sub-culture activities before. I've been doing this blogging thing for nearly a year now, but for the most part I've steered clear of the community aspect of blogging. Yes, I've made some friends along the way and discovered some people whose lives look a lot like mine
(and some whose lives look very little like mine but whom I just plain enjoy
). But I didn't really go looking for community when I began blogging, and I'm always a little surprised (thought pleasantly so) when I find it here.
That said, I enjoyed reading Suzanne's answers to this meme, and it seemed like a good writing exercise. Plus, as I keep mentioning, it's August and everything's harder in August, so I'll happily take an easy idea for a blog entry right now. How's that for a long winded introduction to a long winded post?Boiler plate text: The rules to this meme game: Remove the blog at #1 from the following list and bump every one up one place; add your blog's name in the #5 spot; link to each of the other blogs for the desired cross polination effect.
1. Melody http://melslifeinanutshell.blogspot.com
2. -A- http://motherswork.blogspot.com
3. Heather http://outloudvoice.blogspot.com
4. Suzanne http://mimilou.blogspot.com
5. Rebecca http://ministones.blogspot.com
Next: select new friends to add to the pollen count. (No obligation here, folks. Given my lack of community focused-blogging -- see above -- this is actually the most challenging part of this meme for me! Feel free to ignore if you're not a meme person... just consider this a friendly wave "hello" or something.)
1. Kristy http://bivo.blogspot.com
2. Gretchen http://www.mrbabyshow.com
3. Steph http://snowcentral.blogspot.com
4. Dana http://angstdujour.blogspot.com
5. GKGirl http://itsacanadiangeek.blogspot.com
Let the game begin.
What 5 things do you miss about your childhood?
1. Summer Camp
Camp was the first thing that came to mind when I read this question, and as it always does, thinking of camp immediately made me smile. I spent 6 idyllic summers at Camp Golden Arrow (later renamed Sunapee Arts Camp), a very liberal artsy fartsy overnight camp in New Hampshire. The place was liberal both in ideology (I have a stunningly large repertoire of anti-war songs lodged forever in my brain for a child barely even alive at the tail end of the Vietnam War) and in organization (one memorable summer, I simply opted not to attend organized activities. A handful of friends and I spent the whole damn summer playing chinese jumprope outside my bunk and no one seemed to notice or care). I survived the rest of the year just to get to summertime so that I could be back there. The entire camp dancing around the dining hall singing "I Wanna Be Sedated" after lunch... Walking the 3/4 mile sawdust path down to the lake for a water polo match with a greased watermelon... Improv Drama classes where 12 year olds explored topics like death and peer pressure... Dance Nights on the tennis courts; first the required square dancing, then the "real" stuff, and always "Stairway To Heaven" to end the night... The smell of chemicals in the darkroom... Overnight hiking trips... There's no question that camp was the single most defining experience of my childhood. 20 years later, I still find myself reliving my camp years every night as I sing Taps to Evan
before I put him in his crib.
2. My Hometown
This seems like a bizarre choice, given the fact that I spent the majority of my childhood dreaming of escaping the small Massachusetts town where I was raised. My parents moved away when I was in college and it was just fine with me not to have any reason to go back there. But lately, I don't know if it's the nostalgia for my own childhood that raising kids evokes or what, I've found myself missing the town I grew up in. I'll mentally walk through the house I grew up in and those where my friends lived when I'm trying to fall asleep at night, or I'll try to recall the exact lineup of stores in each of the local strip malls. The other night, I actually found myself giving Paul a "tour" using Google Earth
. I don't know if it's the town itself I miss, or just the idea of a place being that familiar and that comfortable, but the thought of that town makes me awfully nostalgic either way.
3. Friday Night Services
As a child, going to Shabbat services with my mom was an exciting way to end the week and see my friends. The temple became such a familiar and comfortable place that even when my social life took precedence in my teen years, I still came to services with my mom; we just took 2 cars and I went out with my friends afterwards. Our congregation was small when I was growing up, and the synagogue was a friendly, unintimidating place. On a regular basis, the rabbi would call me and Eden and Ashley up to lead a song at the end of the service and we were so proud to stand up on the bimah and help him out. (Why don't I remember any other kids ever doing this? Surely we weren't the only ones...) The entire experience was less religious to me and more about community, but it gave me the foundation for a lifelong commitment to Judaism. That rabbi should be very proud.
Erickson's was a local ice cream stand one town over, a long bike trip or a short car ride away. When we were very little, my parents would bring us there in our pj's after dinner, years later, I came in carloads with my friends and with many a boyfriend. Their chocolate mint ice cream (not mint chocolate chip, but a true chocolate with mint flavor infused in it) was among the most amazing flavors I've ever tasted. And I always thought it was damn cool that they'd give you a free doggie cup of freezer burnt ice cream to bring home to your dog. Ericson's closed in the winter and there was never any official announcement when it reopened. But one day, you would just know, and when you pulled into the bumpy gravel parking lot, you would see the long lines at each screened serving window that indicated that everyone else knew, too.
The other 4 items on my list are concrete memories, and this one is more vague. It's just the feeling I get when I picture being a child -- biking the 3 miles into town alone, spending hours catching frogs in the pond behind our house without a nervous chaperone, getting dropped off at the library for an hour or so and waiting on the front steps for my mom's car to pull up, wandering the neighborhood in search of a playmate, playing kick the can at twilight with boundaries a mile or so long -- being free. I don't know if people worried less or just trusted more. But I grew up loved without being smothered, equally at home in the world around me as in the house I called my own. I don't know that I'll ever be able to provide that for my own children. And my heart aches for them and all they'll miss without that freedom. They will never know what they're missing, but I will. And it makes me sad even as the memories make me smile.