A lot of my childhood memories revolve around love, joy and curiosity for life. I was an invincible child, living the classic midwestern my family. I recall hot summers and bright colors filling the sky. The lawns were deep shades of green and shadows flooded the fronts of all the neighboring houses.
I had a never-ending thirst for understanding the world around me. I was always curious and analyzing things, even in my early years. I thought about people, places, and breeds of animals even as I jumped through sprinklers in my hot pink swim suit. It was as if the sun was ever shining during those summers. Even as the moon crept up in its place, it was still as if the sun never went down.
I loved the smell of cookouts then. I enjoyed eating hot dogs too, before I found out what they were made out of. I felt no shame living my life as it was, for other ways of living were still unknown to me.
Animals were the main source of my joy in those young summers. I loved my big russet colored golden retriever ‘Winston’ and my stubby-legged loud welsh corgi ‘Dexter’. Unlike most kids, I also grew up learning to love other animals that most kids wouldn’t think of owning. Some of them included my millipede ‘Taco Shell’, a large black scorpion and her babies in which she soon consumed, and a hedgehog ‘Hedgie’. All the time I didn’t spend outside in the hot sun, I was inside cooling off and watching my some of my favorite TV channels, Discovery Kids and Animal Planet.
All through my life, it’s been small things that make a difference to me. Especially when I was younger, I remember what simple things brought a smile to my face. I remember how lucky I felt when I got to have that cheap sugary gum ‘Chiclets’. I also loved going to the market place back when they had that little bakery shop there. More than anything I loved their chocolate chocolate chip cookies.
Running through sprinklers or testing the ice cold hose water that filled my mini pool is where you would find me all summer. I’m not sure how much I even got in the mini pool, for by the time the temperature of the water was tolerable, the water was filled with dead bugs and grass. I would also make mud pies in my little city back yard. That’s probably where my love for cooking originated. I would dig up my mom’s gardens and make different things like ‘fertilizer’ (dirt + water), ‘rabbit food’ (water + flowers, dead plants, grass, and old vegetables), and ‘glue’ (water + flour + pinecones’.even though I’m still not sure why I thought pinecones were in glue).
There was a certain feeling of feather-lightness and strength that I felt as a kid. Without the knowledge of world hunger, terrorist attacks, and homeless children on my shoulders, I felt as if nothing weighed me down. I think that’s one of the most challenging and scary changes kids go through as they grow up. Having to learn that not everyone has a home, that people die every day, and that some people are so full of hate is one of the hardest parts of growing up. So when I look back on my childhood now, I automatically contrast how I feel now to how I felt then. The first difference that comes to mind is how I used to feel carefree like that, and how I don’t anymore. So, one of my greatest childhood memories is feeling carefree, because that’s how we all really want to feel.