childhood memories - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
My father got a recycled plastic slide, one in the shape of a giant tube that snaked and turned. He fitted it to the wall of my bedroom so I all day I could run up the stairs, into my room and slide down into our tiny backyard. It didn't matter that we lacked the acres others had, we were in the city after all, because it was so clever the way it twisted, and I'd pass through the insulating curtains that tickled. My mother would put drinks on the route up the stairs and often there would be a family picnic mid-day, outside in the dayshine and inside when it rained. Either way the teddy bears were invited and the food was wonderful. In ever daydream I'm back on that slide. It was such constant fun. At bed time I'd close the doors over the entrance, already looking forward to the sunrise and the chance to play all over again. They are the most wonderful childhood memories, all those simple days that seemed to go on forever.
Mama's apron was a staple of my childhood, patterned with all things British, from teapots to the palace guards. When I think of it the aromas of her fresh baking come flooding in to my brain, my heart leaps and there is that moment of serenity. I see her in that apron, arms wide, a hug just a few steps away.
Oh, how I wish I could return to those meadows, among the trees which had been planted time long past; and I yearn for the extra hours of June solstice, where we frolicked about the vast plains of the open country, and then hurtled back from wherever we came before the moon shed its light on us, and spawned “dastardly creatures”, as mother put it, and to awaken tomorrow so we could begin again. That was a youth of mine I shall never forget, as well as the friends I had shared it with.
It was a mild spring day, the sort when we kids were so happy to run outside without jackets. I ran to the neighbours house because they had a swing. With my almost five year old legs I pumped higher and higher. My hair flopped backwards as my face felt the warm sunlight and forwards as I faced the ground on the backwards swing. I can't recall how I fell, just the dull thump of hitting the dirt. I lay there unable to breathe, all the wind knocked right out of both lungs. I heaved but no air passed in. By the time I got home all I could do was slide down the glass of the front door and bang once. Dad opened it. I lay on the mat, still trying to breathe. He looked at me, panicked, seconds later I was lying on my parents' bed. Something about being jiggled as he ran got the air flowing. I lay there, just breathing. My parents were so shocked that they brought out a little dress they'd been saving for my birthday - blue velvet with a white lace collar and cuffs. I forgot the fall in a moment and admired the soft fabric, tears already drying. I kept that dress long after I'd outgrown it, letting it just hang there next to the school clothes.
There was an old man on our street called Ron and he gave all the kids candy that tasted of soap. He was nice, he taught us how to roller-skate better, pointing our toes at "10" and "2" as we went up the hill. But we loved him for a different reason. He had a tame crow that would perch on his shoulders and squawk on command. Or maybe it wasn't a crow, none of us really know anymore. We just stood there with mouths of sweet lavender admiring the inky feathers.
One day the aging wooden seat will submit to the downward pressure of my weight. No longer am I a forty pound girl but a young woman of three times that. My hands stretch up the ropes that bind it to the bough above, feeling the frayed fibres poking outward into the watery early light. These legs that used to dangle now push against the dirt, worn into a muddy hollow by years of use back in the days when Mama called from the front yard to come for egg on toast. There is a creak from above, a cascade of small leaves and the swing moves backward, feet lift upward - a suspended moment of childhood.
The rest of the world sees a bush of no importance, but years ago it was the headquarters of the most desirable gang in town - or at least in the local elementary school. The five of us took a pair of shears and trimmed away the lower branches, the higher ones cascade to the ground anyway like some imitation weeping willow. The ground under there was so muddy we put down one of Jimmy's mom's blankets, he says she still mentions that from time to time. She said his grandmother made it and apparently "So it was free?" was the wrong answer. Jimmy never was the brightest.
We'd never fit in there now, but I can still remember us huddled in there discussing vitally important things - none of which I can remember now. I've told my old folks they can do what they want with the yard, but apparently that shrub is sacred. Moms says sometimes she swears she can hear us still giggling in there. I give her the "raised-eyebrow-look" and she clips me round the ear if she can reach. I told my son it was our hide-out and he gave me a look of comedic pity, apparently hiding in the shrubbery isn't cool anymore.
Hopscotch, with stolen chalk and the sun beating down, was how we spent the last of each Indian summer. Without computers or television we drew the squares on the crumbling street and numbered them. Stones were easy to come by, along with the mud and the sticks it was pretty much all we had. We learned to be creative with our rhymes, and to be honest, they got ruder with each passing year. Our bodies grew, our minds expanded, the street crumbled some more; but always the chalk was stolen and the stones were free.
Of all the things on this woodland walk, it is the acorns I love best. They lie cold on the soil, bright against the dark rain soaked ground. Their shells glisten with drops poised to run home to earth, sitting proud on the impervious shell. They are every childhood tale, every meal for Squirrel Nutkin, the embodiment of fall. On my kitchen window sill sits a bowl of acorns from last season, dried and several hues more dull than these. With the bounty of the woodland tucked safe in my pocket I turn to take the path home.
One of the first things I remember about Thomas is that he was the kid who sat at the back of the classroom, always drumming on the desk with his pens and pencils. And he’d kick the chair of the pretty girl in front of him but when she turned around to scold him, he’d just give the biggest smile and flash his dimples at her; that was how he'd always got his way. I’d always admired his ability to worm his way out of any situation.
There were nights I lay in my bed listening to the sound of fighting. My mother would shout, my father would begin laying into her and the screaming would start. She cried, he seethed, and I pushed my face into the long toy snake my three year old body was wrapped around. I would think to myself how when mother left I would leave with her, flee the violence. Then one day she did leave... and I remained right where I was with just a toy to comfort me.
As I declutter my room to get is redone, I can't help but go down memory lane, back when I was the happiest. The pictures of me and my sister dancing in the middle of the blazing green meadow in the middle of spring or the necklace my grandma and I had made from scratch using shells we found on the beach. Looking into the mirror I can't help but see a young girl with pigtails and natural shimmering lips and baby soft skin. She used to go ride her bike every morning and Scott the beagle would always come around when he'd spot her. She used to play dress up using her mother's heels and her sister's shirts that fit way to big for her yet she still made it work. She used to eat without feeling the need to look in the mirror afterwards and she'd sing without feeling the need to check if anyone's around her. I want her back. Where has she gone?