Thursday, September 18, 2008

Relatives and fondly remembering the past

I went to visit my Mom yesterday, a task that involves driving 45 minutes north to the town of my birth. I used to love going back there but now am saddened by its slow slide into decrepitude and proliferation of dollar stores and non-English speaking residents. I love my mom dearly and I am troubled to think of her alone in that city. She doesn't want to move out (I've offered for her to move in with me many times) and she gets along fine by herself. 
So, the visit.
We always have fun together, talking and shopping and reminiscing about times gone by (though I always come away with a faint sense of unease at how I remember places in the town, things that I did there and the unsettling thought that life can never be happy & carefree as it was when I was young, oh, about 7th grade all the way to senior year in high school. But I digress.). This visit was a little different in that my Mom asked me to stop by my Aunt's house to pick up something. A 10 minute visit turned into 3 hours! My cousin was there by chance and when we saw each other we hugged and I got all warm & fuzzy inside. This girl (woman, actually, another shock to me, because other people age--I don't!) who is 9 months older than me, consisted of such a huge part of my childhood memories that it's hard to think of being young without her popping up into my mental narrative. 
We were inseparable for years..I was always going over to her house and we would play board games, go to the playground across the street from her house, play manhunt, pretend for hours that we were actors and re-enact scenes from movies (Poseidon Adventure??? Who pretends THAT movie?!?! Jeez.). We would watch The Little Rascals, with me sighing loudly in the background ( I hated the Rascals. Now Abbott & Costello, well...THAT was real TV) or play records (Styx for her, Bee Gees for me) on her battered record player. We would go to the corner store (Viola's) and buy candy like Sixlets or Tootsie Rolls. We would pester her older brothers & sister and then there would be yelling. Dinner was always fun, with 6 or more people around the table. I was an only child, and was always fascinated that 4 kids and 2 adults could co exist in such a way. With only 1 bathroom!!Numerous people from the apartment complex where they lived were always ringing the bell or yelling in through the window. 
Compared to my quiet house with only Mom & Dad there, my Aunt's house was like a magical trip that I got to go on every week. 
I was so happy to see her and to talk with my Aunt, the time just flew by. Today I am filled with a sense of melancholy, because remembering happy times when I was younger invariably makes me sad. If I could be young, oh, let's say around 5th or 6th grade...and go all the way through high school again...that would be a great gift to me. I do not have the greatest memory for my childhood, and to hear my cousin tell stories about how she remembers that snack I used to eat (it was a precursor to fruit roll ups, and I didn't remember me eating it until she told me) or the time we had a "feast" at midnight (this I remember all too well) just fills me with bittersweet feeling inside. in turn, I got HER thinking about stuff (Pillsbury Food Sticks, and that flashlight thingy she had with different colored discs that you used to shine on the wall)that she didn't remember until I told her! I wish I had appreciated the fun times more...but I guess if I can think about them, and smile..perhaps I did.


Anonymous said...

As i read this i had to pop in Journey's greatest hits!! lol.. now i have to reminesce.. well actually i am.. of my friend Chris miller that lived next door. and all the mahunts and CHiPs episodes we would reanact, kickball, pizza on the front lawn of his house that his mom had the pizzeria triple cut the slices so they were manageable in our little 5 year old hands lol.. omg the memories! now i'm tearing up.. what i wouldn't do to be back there again.. as Journey belts out "Don't Stop Believin".

nighthawk said...

old days gone
no more penny candy
and barbecued lawns
and I hear these days
no one waves
to the friendly engineer
he left on the midnight train
and the caboose carried with it
old days

Daria said...

What a great post!! I'm sitting in the office reading and laughing. We did have a blast when we were younger. Only, I remember it differently. It was YOUR place that was cool. First the pool, I mean, comeon!! And the ability to go downstairs to the 'secret' door to the deli. We walked in together like we owned that place. You owned only EVERY Barbie doll and accessory. We did have a great time together. Those adventures, however silly...were awesome!! Great visit!!