THINGS THAT REMIND ME OF MY CHILDHOOD
- •Jigsaw puzzlesIn our den was a yellowed laminate card table dedicated exclusively to the act of constant puzzling. My areas of expertise included the seemingly mammoth voids: the sky, the ocean, the grass.
- •Open windows and cross breezesEvery Sunday morning, without fail, my dad would open all the windows in our home and play smooth jazz on the radio in our kitchen. I could always count on being woken up by the sounds of Sade and the chilly breeze of crisp morning air.
- •Pancakes with cinnamon in the batterA Sunday morning staple, along with the smooth jazz and open windows. Every pancake tasted like Christmas and Thanksgiving and sunshine and love.
- •Industrial-sized dumpstersMy family has gutted and remodeled all six homes that we've lived in. Because we did all of the work ourselves, we'd keep a massive dumpster in the driveway for however long it took to demolish the home's bones.
- •Green shag carpetFor seven months, my brother, mom, dad, and I lived together in one small 10x20 room. We slept on air mattresses atop a sea of green shag carpet, and we would lay awake at night telling ghost stories and re-writing the endings of books we liked and movies we'd seen.
- •Empty garagesEvery Saturday afternoon, my parents would back their cars out of the garage, open the garage doors, and put an unmarked disc in the CD player. A dance lesson would ensue, in which my brother and I were taught how to two-step, swing dance, foxtrot, samba, etc. I still haven't found a man who dances as well as my dad.
- •Hay balesWhenever my brother and I would accompany my parents to visit our family farm, he and I would play hide-and-seek in the pastures where the cattle grazed. Acres of Texas hill country were peppered with hay bales, and every game of hide-and-seek involved hiding behind one of the bales.
- •WhistlingWhenever dad came home from work, he'd walk in whistling. My mom whistled while she got dressed in the mornings; my brother whistled while he showered. I now catch myself whistling whenever I'm feeling particularly grateful or happy to simply be.
- •HumidityMost people hate it; I think it's amazing. I feel comforted by the thick, warm air that carries with it so many of my childhood memories.