Saturday, June 21, 2014


As I drove up the street yesterday, there was a small girl.  She was about 5 or 6 years old and cute as a button.  She waved at me as I drove past and I waved back.  She put her hand over her mouth and giggled.
As a child, I went to visit my grandmother and aunt and uncle for a week each summer.  They lived on a busy boulevard.  The girl (whose name I cannot remember) who lived behind them and I would play frequently.  One of the games that we played was to play in the front yard and when we saw a certain color of car we would stand and wave furiously to see if they would wave back.  Many did, much to our delight.  We would giggle, turn cartwheels, roll down the grassy front yard and do it all over again.  Such a simple pleasure.  I can remember the smell of the grass, I can see the cars driving by and hear the giggles.  At night we would catch lightening bugs in a jar, much to the chagrin of my aunt, who said it was cruel.  We would put leaves in the jar, a stick or two and punch holes in the lid so they could live forever.  They never did, of course.  But her early admonishments stay with me yet today.  I don't catch them anymore and anything in a confined area bothers me.
Yesterday with camera in hand I went to the zoo.  Never again!  I always thought it was small when I visited as a child.  It isn't.  It is a lot of walking on asphalt, up hills with screaming kids all around.  But I wanted to get a picture for my 2015 calendar, so camera in hand, I wandered through.  I was watching the tiger and realized he was pacing.  Just back and forth.  Pacing.  We have what is considered to be a "good" zoo.  Natural habitat as much as possible.  Gone are the cages.  But you know, as I looked at the tiger I thought about the lightening bugs in a jar.  
Last year on the road trip we went to a wild animal park.  You drove through it and the animals had a lot more space to run around.  That seemed different somehow.  I guess the thing that bothered me was the tiger pacing.  In a small area.  No more zoo for me.
I did notice as I left that the parents and kids arriving were full of energy, laughing, riding the carouselThe further they got into the zoo, the crankier they became.  Children wanting to be carried (I did also want to be carried), wanting food and drink along the way, parents cajoling them, promises of food at home that costs much less. 
One time when visiting an amusement park a father could be heard to say "You WILL have a good time, damn it, now quit crying".  Yup, memories!
As adults, we attempt to create happy memories for children in our lives.  I certainly do with the road trip every summer.  I wonder what memory will stand out for the three kids I drag along?  Please kids, I do hope it will be something other than me backing into the hot tub with my camera. 
What are your memories of childhood?  I hope you have some really good ones.


Angela said...

I remember going to the circus and seeing the animals, and I have the same thought now. I would never go to a circus now after I think about the way animals are treated.
My favorite memory was a birthday party with a clown doing tricks and giving me a very special balloon animal.

Bill said...

I understand we have one of the best zoos in the United States. I guess I don't much like seeing animals in captivity, but it is a good way for kids to see the animals up close.
Memories of childhood include fishing with my dad and ballgames with him. We used to go on a fishing trip every year in Canada and it was a very special time with him.

SassySam said...

Ahhh, memories of childhood. Pick up dodge ball games, playing all day until you dropped at night, ice skating and sled riding.
Haven't been to the zoo in years. It's hot and smelly and lots of kids. I think it's fun for the kids, not so much for me as an adult. I have been to those open "wild kingdom" things, and I guess they are a little better. At least you are in a vehicle.
Can you tell I am getting older?

Mark said...

Mia, I have heard the same comments about "better have a good time, we spent all this money".
I think sometimes the memories we try to create are not the ones that are remembered.
The thing that brings the most pleasure to me are family dinners on birthdays. Not the presents, not the food, just being together with cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and the chaos and dinner conversations. And finally moving to the adult table. I think I want to go back to the kids table for awhile!

Noelle said...

Staying out late in the summer, sleeping on the porch because the house was too hot, playing in the kids do this anymore?

ginger said...

I remember going to a relative's farm for two weeks and staying a month because it was so much fun. Jumping in the hay stack from the top of the barn which was a big no no but we did it anyway. Also learning how to swim in the creek with my cousins.

Those animals there, sheep, cows, horses were free to roam and much happier than at the zoo.

Elizabeth said...

Love that Ginger! Best memory? I think sled riding in the winter down hills with no fear. In the summer jumping into a pool when the weather was so hot. Eating ice cream before bedtime.

Twigs said...

Day trips at the shore. Piling in the car with towels, suntan lotion, bathing suits, coolers, chairs and beach umbrellas. We would leave early in the morning, on the beach all day and the boardwalk at night. It was a vacation every payday. How I loved it.

Ben said...

West View Park and school picnics. The park was just big enough to walk around and not get exhausted.