The things we did back then!
I woke up recently and found myself going down memory lane, all the way back to my childhood. You see, growing up for me wasn’t anything like Leave it to Beaver or Father Knows Best.
I have a few very early memories from my childhood; and this is for some reason what I awoke thinking of. My father was an immigrant farm laborer and as a very young child I would accompany him when he would pick cotton amongst many other things as well. He would drag a 10-12 foot long bag behind him and fill it up with cotton as he was picking and moving down the row. As the bag filled up, I vividly remember him sitting me on top of this big bag of cotton and I’d get to ride it down the row as he would gently pull it along with him.
I remember the wind against my cheeks and holding on tightly as we went down the row
I remember the wind against my cheeks and holding on tightly as we went down the row. Eventually, my mom or a sister would come along and take me off my cotton bag and my ride would be complete for the day. I wasn’t more than 2 or 3 at the time.
My second early childhood memory was of standing in my living room and hearing my mom crying. My Dad was also very sad. I didn’t know what was going on, but I looked over at the black and white television and I saw a black car, a woman over a man and people running everywhere. Much later in life I came to find out it was the assassination of John F. Kennedy, November 23, 1963. I didn’t understand what I was seeing other than the sadness of my family around me.
As I bounced between these distant memories, my 2 younger brothers also came to mind. When my parents wanted to go visit our aunts and uncles, I was not allowed to stay at home with my 4 older sisters. I was grouped with my younger brothers and the 3 of us would pile into the car. At home my brothers and I loved to play outside in the dirt. Our favorite thing though, was to create little houses and we would landscape the yards and imagine what life would be like as grown-ups. We would each pick a hot wheel car and make roads in the dirt in the backyard, lots of roads and they would lead back to our little houses. We didn’t have a lot, but we had our imaginations and that’s all we needed. We would make a hedge around our houses and plot out the circular driveway and how we would plant our yards. My parents had a green thumb and loved to garden. They loved to grow roses, flowers, and fruit trees. My brothers and I would go through our yard and pick flowers, buds, leaves, small branches and we would begin to create the most beautiful magnificent yards ever!! When my parents realized we were picking from the garden, they would make us stop and we’d be done for the day. The fun we had using our imaginations and hands was priceless and I have such fond memories of it.
Every Saturday was cleaning day for us girls. We each had our duties and we would turn the radio on and clean until American Bandstand came on. It was American Bandstand and then Soul Train. We would get to see new bands, new artists, new songs and see all the new dances. Whenever a new dance would trend, we would all try it out. Not all of us had the natural talent or ability though. I was pretty good and when I had figured it out, my sisters would stand behind me and I would teach them the dance.
I have beautiful memories of Christmas’s, Easter Sunday and days at Roeding Park Zoo with my family. There was always laughter with a little bit of fighting mixed in for good measure.
My parents did a great job providing for us and teaching us values and hard work
My parents did a great job providing for us and teaching us values and hard work. We didn’t have a lot of money or possessions but we did have a lot of love and shared many happy times together. One by one, we left to college, got married or left to work and eventually moved out. I had great role models with my parents and siblings and I am thankful for all of it.
Memories is what we are left with as life goes on; one season at a time. We hold on to the good and keep them close to our hearts. The not so good, well, we all seem to have a remarkable ability to look back on our life and focus on the good of the situation. The memories we hold dear are what shapes us on the inside, and that impacts us on the outside too.
And then we start over with our own families. Such is the beauty of life, renewing and living.