Saturday, November 22, 2008

Flash from the Past

This afternoon, as I was shaving my legs with a new shaving cream, I was immediately transported back to when I was about nine years old. Why? Is it because I shaved at an early age? Actually no. It was because the shaving cream smelled exactly like this:

Yep! That's Love's Baby Soft perfume, lotion, and powder. I had them all.

So, after I got out of the shower, I took a walk down memory lane.

Here are some of the things I remember from 1973 to about 1976:

We got a white, wood-paneled Ford Gran Torino Squire in 1972.

It had dark blue, vinyl seats. We seldom, if ever, got to sit in the back-back (that's what we called the area behind the back seat), facing backwards. My parents did make cushions for the back-back so that we wouldn't have to sit on the hot metal. We liked to lay down long-wise, and roll around when the driver took the curves. The black stuff that held the windows in place never "set," so it was something fun to play in. It reacted to being played in much the same tar would. You couldn't wash it off--it had to wear off. My mom would always catch us after we played in it. We would always lie and say we weren't playing in it. She never believed us. It probably was due to the black fingers we had.

A few day before my fifth birthday (in fact, I think it was the day before), my mom asked me to put the vacuum away.

I know this will sound difficult to believe, but I wasn't the most obedient child. I guess for those who only know me because of this post, it would be difficult to believe I was obedient at all--with the black finger story above. So I procrastinated putting the vacuum away. My mom told me if I didn't put the vacuum away right now, she would cancel my birthday party. Yeah, right! No one in the history of the world has ever been that mean! So I didn't put away the vacuum. Guess who didn't have a fifth birthday party? I still remember crying as I said to my mom, "But look, I'm putting it away. I promise to be better!" Still, no birthday. I just realized....I think I actually inherited that very vacuum. I really should kick it or something. Ok, I don't clean the bag as often as I should--that'll teach it a lesson!

We were a one-car family until 1976. That was the year we bought a Datsun B210. For those of you too young, or naive, to know, a Datsun was a Nissan, but Nissan didn't want Americans to think it was such a Japanese car. Because Datsun sounds SO American!

Ours was dark brown. A couple of years after we bought it, it developed a dandruff-like condition. The clear coat was peeling and nothing we did made it stop. Maybe we should have tried Head and Shoulders.

About this time, I got my second Barbie-like doll. My first was Skipper:

My second was PJ:

She was sporty. She came with a tennis racket, golf club and really squishy tennis shoes. I think I chewed on them. I remember at some point I tried to make her do the splits--the wrong way--and her leg popped off. Poor PJ was an amputee! It made doing sports difficult for her. I still played with her since I didn't have a "real" Barbie for a couple of years.

My mom was really good at making meals for us. Somehow I didn't learn well enough since Darrell is lucky to get one a week that I prepare. My mom made my lunch and put it in my Raggedy Ann and Andy lunchbox. I had this one in first grade:

I remember the school had a wall low enough that a first grader could hold her lunchbox on top of the low wall and scoot her lunchbox along the wall on her way to the cafeteria. I don't know who that first grader could be, but I remember the sound so clearly.

It's amazing all that you can remember about your childhood. And all that you can remember from just one sniff of a familiar scent.

What are some of your early memories? Memories from when you were six or younger?


Stephanie said...

Stephanie is making me write these memories... For those of you who don't know her, she suffers from oldest child syndrome and can be quite bossy. Since I live with her I will compromise my anonymity and actually make a comment. Here are some memories from 1972-1977

1. I remember trying to ride our dog Pogo like a horse and getting bucked off. My head hit the wooden leg on the sofa pretty hard. I'm lucky I was able to retain that memory.

2. I had the bright idea after watching a few cop shows to fill two squirt guns with water. When my mom stopped at the first stop light my sister and I rolled down the windows and blasted water on the car's windshield behind us. Just like a scene from The Godfather (but with squirt guns and the shooters were a 3 and 5 year old.) The couple in the car behind us was a kind elderly couple. My mom got out of the car with some tissue and wiped off their windshield and apologized for our behavior and got back into our car and almost died of embarrassment. Not so much like the Godfather.

3. My sister and I had child seats in the back of our car. They didn't have seat belts, but they had a metal bar with foam rubber that was supposed to protect us in the event we were involved in a head on collision. Most of the time we would just walk around the back seat of the car while my mom was running errands. This is what I was doing while I was able to accomplish memory #2

4. I loved the grocery store as a kid. There were two things I loved when my mom went shopping. #1 wait in the car with my younger sister while my mom went shopping and have the following conversation with my sister for the next few minutes over and over until the first sight of my mom appearing from the store.
Darrell- "Hey Marilyn, do you see that guy walking over there?"
Marilyn- "Yes"
Darrell- "He's a dumb bum"
I would roll down the car window and yell "Hey Dumb Bum" and roll up the window really fast and lock the door until the next victim appeared in the parking lot. On a good day I could fit in about 10 victims. I was quite the rebel back then and had a "foul" mouth to match.

My second favorite activity involving the grocery store was to promise my mom I would behave if she would buy me an ice cream cone from the snack bar to eat while she was shopping. I would gulp down the cone as fast as I could and get out of the basket and re-arrange everything in the store I could reach. My favorite thing was to re-arrange all of the hot dogs, so one of each brand would be in of the other brand's section. I would do the same thing with the gum and candy at the checkout stand. To my Mom's credit, she always believed in me and gave me the benefit of the doubt I would be good for once. Too bad it never happened.

#5 This may have been in 1977. I was walking with my sister to the gas station my Grandfather owned that was just around the corner from his home. This was in Kanab, UT, so it was perfectly safe for a 4 and 6 year old to walk the town unsupervised.
I saw a monkey in a net cage that was supported by two trees in the front yard of a house. Keep in mind, this was Kanab, UT, in 1977. Next to the cage was a stick. To paraphrase something that may or may not have been in the bible "God will only tempt a man as much as he can resist." Bull..... I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to have it out with a defenseless caged monkey. I walked over to the cage while my younger and wiser sister cautioned me about my intentions. I started poking the monkey with the sharp end of the stick. It started screeching and jumping around the cage. Just the response I was hoping for, I started poking at it more. I thought the stick was long enough to be out of harms way, which I wasn't. The monkey reached out of the cage and scratched my forehead and eye. I ran to the gas station crying where no one believed me about what caused my trauma. The next day I walked by the house again for the final revenge, but the monkey's owner must have made the decision to keep it as an indoor only monkey from that point forward. To my credit, my willingness to have it out with that monkey most likely prevented Kanab, UT, from becoming an exotic animal smuggling hub. My guess is the monkey's owner was checking out the town for this purpose.

From, Darrell

Diana said...

Darrell, I swear I love you more and more each day. (Ya better not say anything to Steph. Our friendship may end today) Now I know who walked by my house each day with a stick... poking and prodding... trying to get us to come out and play. I shoulda known. Was that you that pulled up my cosmos wildflowers? (You both are so funny.) I'm sad that you can't bug me anymore or wave to me at the mail box, or give me house selling advice, or lessons on making a souffle'. Heck, I can't even send John over to bug ya back. That's okay though, I consider this comment window your garage and we can bug ya all we want here!
Hey Steph, you are pretty cool Too! I enjoyed this post. It brought back memories.
My word verification is "strop". (just in case you wanted to know)

Anonymous said... there is no way I can match Darrell, and I know that is not the point. But he made me laugh so hard and I like to make people laugh too....but what could be funny after his childhood memories....

Well here I go....

I remember every Saturday my bachelor uncle would pick up me and my sister and take us to breakfast. We would plead for the belgium waffles w/strawberries. My uncle would always tell us no because we never finished it. We would beg and plead and promise to finish it this time. So he'd give in and we'd get the waffles, eat two bites and say we were full. It happened EVERY time.

2. My uncle had an old boat in his back yard. My cousins and I would climb in and play Miami Vice.

3. My mom's other brother had us spending the night and he left to go across the street to see his girlfriend. My sister was 9, cousin Tara 8, cousin Amy 6, me 5. He told us he'd be right back and told us to leave the TV off. The minute he left we turned on the tv to HBO and there was a movie on that cussed! Whew...we were so living on the edge. Then we decided we needed popcorn and poured the whole bag of kernals into the pot. Needless to say it exploded and there was TONS of popcorn covering the floor. My cousin Amy, who was used to these episodes heard my uncle coming back and dragged me into the coat closet where we hid while my older sister and cousin Tara got in trouble and had to clean up the mess.

4. My sister and cousins Veronica & Cisco were playing Gilligan's Island one day. They had a really cool back yard. One side was grass and a couple of trees and the other side was seriously like a jungle. It was perfect for Gilligan's island. So my sister and Cisco were the headhunters and they captured me and Veronica and put us in quicksand. To make it more realistic, we flooded the entire back yard and dug out a pit and Vero and I stood in it until my sister and Cisco filled it back up to our chests. Then my aunt and uncle followed the flood of water that began flowing into the house through the door we forgot to shut and our game was RUINED!

Anyway, there are a couple of my more mellow escapades as a child.

Emily said...

Barbies. Barbies. Barbies. Oh! And Barbies. (I remember that Skipper doll's dress)