26 August 2010

Childhood memories

My childhood isn't very clear in my mind. It wasn't awful but it wasn't great, either, and I've mostly filed it away. I remember places from my childhood. I remember a few people. But actual memories? They are rare. And the memories I do have, I can't put an age to me. I could be one or I could be nine. Like the day I found the cat who would become the mother of on of my family's favourite cats (named Stupid, believe it or not). I remember I found her in the creek, when we (my brother, our cousin, and I) were off exploring. I remember it was Easter, or maybe just around that time, because I tried to feed her a chocolate egg. (She was hungry!) But putting an age to me? I'm fairly certain I was around five, from the image of my brother and cousin. But maybe not.

Two days, no, two moments stand out clearly. One was quite possibly the saddest day of my childhood, and the other the happiest. My birthday, talking to my dad on the phone. We'd just learned the day before that he was being sentenced to prison for vehicular manslaughter (bad car accident). I got to open one of my presents early: it was a bear from the PX I'd been begging the parentals for all year. The other is a few days after my birthday, three years later. Waiting anxiously in the living room. Hearing the truck pull up, dashing out the door in naught but shorts and a tee. My birthday is in December. There was snow on the ground, and ice underfoot. I jumped on my dad and held on for dear life.

I was seven. I was ten. Second grade, fifth.

I got to thinking about childhood memories because one came up out of nowhere as I was walking home today. Classes finally started, and I had a break for lunch, so I decided to make a dash for home to fix a sammich. I walked under a walnut tree, kicking the walnuts as I went, and their scent wafted up to my nose. They say scent is a strong memory aid, and now I'm rather inclined to believe it. Anyway: walnuts. When I was a kid (age: unknown), we would collect walnuts. I dunno from where. But we got them. And we would take them to some place, that was off the beaten path, and kinda creepy, where they would hull the walnuts. My memory: sitting in the truck bed watching the walnuts being hulled. And while this seems rather simplistic... That's because it is. Because I know there's no way I can describe the sun on my face, the cool metal of the truck under my bottom, the smell of the walnuts as they were hulled, the sound of the machine, or what it looked like. It just was. A perfect moment, frozen in time. And kicking a walnut into the street slammed that moment into my head.


  1. it is odd sometimes how the past creeps in on us... often times memories start to return when we feel more secure, more at peace with ourselves... I have had many similar experiences... I quit trying to make the come back, and just welcome them when they do... enjoy your weekend.. blessings

  2. When I was a kid, we would throw the walnuts in the drive way. After weeks of driving back and forth over them with the car, they were de-hulled. When I am near fresh walnuts on the ground and smell that aroma, that is what I remember. Also remember how I hated messing with them. X.


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