Stories of my Childhood

When I was a child, my family and I visited the botanical gardens very often. I remember the embracing smell of the oceans of tulips, roses, and narcissuses in the springtime. I remember the garden where we planted arugula and pulled the carrots out of the ground. The was a nature center for children where my siblings and I would construct nature journals, learn about and smell different spices, and plant seeds into small pots to take home. We would pretend to be frogs by jumping on the lily pads that stimulated the frog shaped fountain to squirt water. During the winters, we would marvel at the giant Christmas tree decorated with ornaments bigger than the size of my head and walk the winding paths through the snow-covered trees as the sun slowly set and it was time for us to go home. I remember showing off my unimpressive gymnastic skills on the grass blocked of by the “do not walk on this grass” sign, attending the annual winter train show at the greenhouse, painting pumpkins on Halloween, and watching the leaves turn fiery colors in the fall. Memories of the botanical gardens are those of seasonal wonders and change, of youthful frolicking and excitement, and of appreciation and nostalgia for my childhood. I really miss those days when, walking through the gardens, my mind could only be occupied with exploring the amazing scenery around me, and nothing else, and when seeing a butterfly or finding a pretty pine cone to take home was all it took to make my day. Those were simple days.

I like to believe that I was a rather resourceful and sneaky child, and I have exactly two incident to prove this. In first grade, my teacher brought a packet of sparkly stickers and told us that if we behave, we would get one at the end of the day. I lost that opportunity within a matter of minutes because I had criticized somebody’s artwork. Knowing that now I would not be able to get a sticker in an honest way, I resorted to repeating my offense, which landed me in the time-out chair in the back of the room. I often frequented that chair in order to take naps and chat with the class pet hamster, who also happened to be my best friend. But today, I was on a mission. In my swift in sneaky ways, I snatched the packet of stickers off of my teacher’s desk, which was next to the time-out chair, and tucked them into the waistband of my skirt. The guilt only came to me a couple of years ago.

My other moment of glory occurred during a spelling test in second grade. Naturally, I had not studied and went along giving my best (uneducated) guesses, when, in the corner of my eye, I spotted the answer sheet sitting atop the bookshelf, which was near the little, solitary desk in the corner of the room assigned for rowdy test takers. Attempting to strike up a conversation with a fellow student was enough for me to be asked to sit at that desk. But even with full knowledge of the answers, I still managed to spell a few words incorrectly, such the child I was. Though at the time I believe that I had truly outsmarted my elders, I now wonder whether all that solitary time I had subjected myself to as a way to achieve my goals had played a role in shaping the person I am today. These incidents also really make me question the educational system in the United States.

As I was searching through my mind for stories, I happened upon a few memories that I deemed too uninteresting to tell. Coincidentally or not, these memories had occurred much closer to the present day than the ones discussed above. I wonder how long these stories will have to live in my mind in order for them to either mature into a meaningful recount or be forgotten. For example, as a ten-year-old, I wouldn’t dare speak a word of the stickers I had stolen five years prior and would have tried my best to forget about that incident. Today, this memory has many  lessons to teach me and is covered in a thick layer of nostalgia, making the storytelling worthwhile. I can only imagine what events from this past year will have such an effect on me down the road. Yesterday I went to Starbucks with my mother for coffee. As we were walking back to the car the sun was setting and adorning the world in a magical glow. The chilly wind carried scents of autumn. The parking lot smelled and sounded of cars. I hugged my mother. I wonder how I will remember this day. I can only wonder

18 thoughts on “Stories of my Childhood

    1. Everything is going pretty well, thank you for asking. I’m just at a crossroad in my life where I have to make a lot of decisions and face a lot of changes. I think that is reflected in my writing: thinking about the future really makes me miss the past.

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  1. When I was a child aged about 7 we did a fun end of term project where we stuck smarties & other sweets onto rice paper, I think mine was a choo-choo train, we had to leave the icing glue to set & of course when we came in the next day older kids had been in and scoffed the lot! I remember the incedent, but I don’t think I was much upset, maybe the teacher smoothed it all over!! I guess art has always been usurped by the powerful among us! 😂😂

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    1. I remember I did something very similar at about that age. I celebration of 100 days of school, we had to make designs out of 100 pieces of small candy and glue it on a sheet of paper. We hung our projects on the walls of the hallway, and after a few days most of the candy was gone because as other kids would peel off a pieces of candy and eat them.There seems to to be no way of stopping children from eating candy!

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      1. No, the teacher did not expect this to happen. We were all very devastated when we saw that our creations had been eaten. Maybe I should write a post about that and talk about how nothing lasts forever…

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      1. I have to agree whole-heartedly. There are some memories that you want to hold on to, only making it difficult to see beyond.

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      2. I find myself in that position often. While I reminisce the past, I find it difficult to take on the future. This post is the first part of a series where I pay tribute to my past but in some ways also let it go. I am now letting the past live in my writing, instead of only in my mind, if that makes any sense.

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      3. It makes sense because I do that as well. Writing about the past with an intent to let go is catharsis, lest the thoughts keep echoing inside my head occluding the present. I want to live the past but I cannot and living it inside my head only smothers me.

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  2. Kat, I really appreciate your writing. Your stuff is written so elegantly, yet is completely devoid of over-inflation and pretension. It’s quite refreshing to read. Lovely memories, too. Your final paragraph concerning memories taking on greater significance given time/age is interesting. I am just beginning to discover this fact for myself, having now penned down some of my earliest memories. More and more my memories seem like dreams, open to interpretation, as well as a questioning as to whether or not they really happened. If we have dreams of the future, we can have dreams of the past. Perhaps it’s all illusory?

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    1. Thank you!
      Now that I think about it, the visuals in which I remember memories are very similar to the way in which I remember dreams. It’s usually a collection of freeze frames, background noises, bright colors, and it feels as if I’m floating through water. I read somewhere that the brain specifically tries to erase dreams from our minds so we don’t confuse them with reality. Maybe our mind is trying to do the same with our memories so that we don’t get confused or overloaded with information?

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      1. I think you may be on to something there! Wouldn’t it be interesting if neuroscientists discovered that the brain couldn’t tell the difference between dream and memory, as in they’re both of the same neuro-chemical nature? And I wonder if we would ever be able to get an accurate EEG read out of the two…and I’m not a neuroscientist, obviously, so these could be ludicrous questions…

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    1. Thank you! yes, school is a very interesting place. In theory, it confines a child’s freedom and tells them exactly what they have to do, but in reality i managed to get away with a lot of shenanigans and be my rebellious self

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