Monday, October 25, 2010

70's Memories

Before posting the conclusions of my last two entries, I thought it'd be fun to discuss some of the earliest memories I have. I've already talked about the time in kindergarten that I stank up the toilet as well as the day that I struck another student. Now here are some "all-new" memories:

I went to kindergarten and 1st grade at a school called Jefferson Elementary.

One week, every student at the school was given a card in which they could vote on which animal they'd like to be the new Jefferson mascot. I circled the one I wanted and was a bit disappointed when the pick I made didn't win.

Our PhyEd teacher looked a great deal like Charles Nelson Reilly.

During those years, I walked six blocks to school. On one cold morning, I arrived at the school to find the doors locked. Not seeing anybody inside, I walked back home. I told my mother what had happened. She looked through some papers in a kitchen drawer. A minute later, she found what she was looking for and told me that there was no school that day.

I sometimes walked to school with Ricky and/or Shelly Smith. I don't believe they were related. They just happened to have the same name. On one occasion, Ricky said he knew about a short cut to school. We went through some brush and railroad tracks to get there. I wasn't sold, so continued to take the conventional way.

One afternoon, on my way to school, I passed my uncle John; he worked at a factory called Wincraft and was sitting on the front stoop eating a sandwich. He said, "Hi" to me and smiled.

On another afternoon, I was walking home with my sister. As we approached the railroad tracks, I saw that a train was coming. Knowing I could make it across before the train came, I sped up a bit and asked my sister to do the same. Understandably feeling a bit nervous about the situation, she elected to wait. I easily made it across and then looked back at my sibling patiently waiting. Not wanting to wait for her, I resumed walking home.

In kindergarten, one afternoon, my teacher Mrs. Untiet was outside with us kids. She asked me why I'd be missing school for a couple days the following week. I didn't really know how to say that it was for a religious gathering. She kept asking things like, "Is it for a family reunion? Is it to see friends? Vacation?" I was so frazzled with all the kids around and feeling like I was being unfairly questioned that I began to cry.

My parents bought me a nice watch in 1st grade. It was green and my teacher, Ms. Whetstone, complimented me on it one morning.

Standing half a block from my house one day, an older teenager came up to me on the sidewalk and started conversing with me. At one point, he grabbed me so that I could not get away. I said that my mother was calling. I know mom and dad probably told me not to lie, but I think they'd understand in this case. The older boy said she wasn't calling, but let me go, anyway.

I went into the fridge one afternoon to get something to drink. There was a sippy cup, so I took a sip. I quickly spit it out when I realized that it was milk; I'm lactose and didn't suspect that that's what the sippy contained.

A fellow Jehovah's Witness gave each of us kids presents one evening. That was done, in part, to show that although Witnesses don't celebrate birthdays or Christmas, they would still be able to get gifts. This didn't end up happening as much as it should've. Nevertheless, on this night, I was given a small safe. Jim Dembraski, the gift bearer, showed me how to work the combination, but it was a bit complicated for my 6-year old mind to grasp. To help, he marked lines on the numbers that I was supposed to turn the knob to. I'm not sure what I ever put in that safe, but my siblings never figured out that an answer key to getting into it was staring them right in the face. At around this time, my parents also bought us a Holiday Inn playset.

My first crush was a girl named Courtney. At the tender age of 7, I fantasized that all the boys in our classroom were lined up and it was up to Courtney to choose the one she most wished to be with. There's no need to say that in this fantasy, she wound up choosing me. I saw her, for the first time in many years, in July of 2009, the occasion being our 20-year reunion. I desired to talk to her, but she hung close to the bar with her husband at her side and a beer in her hand. Just being able to look at her from time to time that evening brought me peace and a shot of nostalgia that I was able to live on for a few days.

The events I've just described transpired 35 years ago, an incredible amount of time. Despite this, I've come to realize that I'm never that far removed from the young boy who experienced them.


Anonymous said...

We should all remain children to a certain degree. When we loose the spirit of the child within us, we are simply waiting for time to pass us by. Thank you for sharing all your snippets of memories. It is so fascinating to read others were much like you back in a special time in our lives. Beautiful post. Hugs. Tammy... ps does the wife blog??

Thomas said...

Hugs to you as well, Tammy.

My wife prefers talking to friends and family by phone over blogging or emailing. She has a Facebook account, but is never on it. When she gets a message from a friend on FB, I'm the one that replies.

It's no coincidence that my favorite type of book to read is the memoir as it's the kind of writing that I get the most joy out of sharing.

Rocketstar said...

Good memory and good that you put them donw on paper.

Anonymous said...

As a 15 year zealous person for Jehovah (and elder) here is my story!

Thomas said...

Rocket, I've said it before, but it is incredibly cathartic to put these things down. Most of the incidents described, I've never told anyone.

Anonymous, thanks for visiting. I can't wait to read your story; I'm off to run some errands at the moment. As mentioned above, reading about other's experiences is one of my absolute favorite things. All the best to you!!

ExtraO said...

Sweet! I love it that seeing your first crush brought you peace.
I used to walk to school alone... or with other kids too. Nobody really lets their kids do that anymore (including me). Was the world actually less dangerous back then?

Thomas said...

Extra, not too long ago, my mother said she didn't know what she was thinking, letting us walk to school, but I gather it was just more acceptable to do back then. I mean, Jimmy Carter was President. What's the worst that could happen?

ExtraO said...

It was definitely more acceptable back then. That's how kids got to school! I used to walk to Jr. High too which was further away. There was a guy who lived in a halfway house that we called Chester the Molester. Rumors were that he often asked girls for their underwear. Most parents knew about him, yet we still walked to and from school alone! Well... we made it out alive, didn't we? That's the important thing.

Narkissos said...

good ol' days....they always seem better....I do not want to grow up you's a