Thursday, October 8, 2015

Childhood Memories..


I still remember these little snatches of childhood... bits and pieces that I'm not sure about the reason for remembering...

Like, going to nursery school for the first time and being out by the cubbies in the hallway and crying when Mom left because of the itch on the bottom of my foot that I couldn't reach because of my mary janes.

And the first day in Kindergarten, when I was handed one of those life savers creme savers lollipops that is white and red swirls as I got off the school bus, and I was upset because mine was broken and I felt like it was a personal thing, like "why did *I* get the broken one?" and I was depressed about it but didn't want to ask for a different one. I was a solitary child in school as it was, too shy to speak out of turn and only wanting to blend in and become invisible by being indistinguishable from the other kids. So I kept it and sucked it up.

I remember playtime that day - there was a see-saw/ teeter-totter in the classroom and I decided I wanted to sit on it. But then another kid came over and wanted to sit on the other end and use it with me and I got upset because I had it first. I got off the it and walked away to find something else that was more solitary so that nobody would intrude on my thoughts again. It never occurred to me that it was a two-person toy.

I always had a tough time with sharing, and with changes.

Like when Mom decided to invite a kid from Kindergarten over to my house so we could play together.. she had talked to the girl's mother and arranged it, since the girl lived on the same street as us (if we hit it off, we could become easier friends this way). I remember being upstairs in the hallway and the girl wanting to "play pretend" and I asked her how it worked. She said that you just imagine that you're something or someone else and then she said "like you pretend to be the mom and I will pretend to be the kid and you will ask me if I'm hungry and I will say yes and you will make me something to eat and..." and she went on laying out the way we would be playing. I thought this part WAS "playing pretend" so I began to also narrate like she was. After several long minutes she said she wanted to play now and I said, we ARE playing, and she explained that the narrating of what we were gonna do was not the playing, now it's time to pretend to actually be those other people. I didn't get it. She called me mom and said she was hungry. I probably went and asked my mom for a snack.

And that same play date, I think, I remember we were downstairs near the laundry area and I can't remember if my mother was getting something off a high shelf or why we were back there gazing up towards the cabinets above the washer and dryer, but I remember the conversation. Mom was saying to let my friend "do it" (whatever "it" was) and I was upset and beginning to cry and saying "but *I* am supposed to do it" and Mom said to let her have a turn and I said that's not how it goes, and my friend chimed in and said "you ALWAYS get to do it" and I said "RIGHT, I am the one who ALWAYS Does it, you can't change it, I"M THE ONE WHO ALWAYS DOES IT", frustrated that they didn't see, didn't understand - they were doing it wrong - this was my job, part of the routine, I *ALWAYS* do this part. It's just how it is. I do it.

Later when I was in third or fourth grade these things called friendship pins were "in".. you could buy kits in the store of different sized safety pins and colorful beads, and you'd string the beads on the safety pins and then pin them to your sneakers, to the bottom laces nearest the toes. My mom had bought me a kit that came with assorted sizes, and of course the largest safety pins were the best ones in my mind, and there were not that many of the big ones.. so when my best friend came over (she was "like me" - I'll get into that another time) but yeah when she came over I remember saying to her that she could make one too, when she asked, and I said (too quietly - seems I was always either too loud or too quiet, and always at the wrong time for both) "anyone but the big ones" but she didn't hear me and picked one of the biggest ones and I got all upset, very upset, and my mom had to intervene again. I rarely threw fits, NEVER threw tantrums, always just locked myself inside myself unless I got so upset that I'd cry, which was what happened here. She was my only friend and one that I had waited all those years for (we became friends in third grade) but I just couldn't share. I still have trouble sharing.

I also remember being around 6-8 years old and going back to NJ to visit the family my mother had stayed friends with. They had a little boy 6 months older than me, and we played together as babies, they told us. We went back most summers to visit and so I knew the boy somewhat well from that, but not too well. When we went back this time I remember the mother telling me to go ahead down to the basement where the boy was playing, and the mom warned me not to mess up his matchbox cars, which she  said he had worked very hard to line up all across and around the room's perimeter. I went in and thought it looked cool and sat down and picked up a car that wasn't lined up yet and wanted to put it in the line, and he flipped out on me. Took the extra cars, brought them over to where he was sitting, and kept his back to me and kept working on his line. I tried to carefully take two out of line and race them next to each other and that was the end of that. I can't remember how it ended, only that it ended quickly and next thing I knew I was being shown the way up and out of the basement and being prompted by the adults to find something else to do.

I thought it looked like fun lining them up. When we got back home my mom took me to the department store nearby and we went to the toy department and I chose a package of cars that was some generic brand, and got home and found that the wheels didn't spin. I lost interest instantly. I liked the spinning wheels and these were pointless. Sure I could still line them up but I didn't care because I couldn't drive them INTO the line, and especially because I couldn't spin the wheels and then put my finger on it and feel it spinning and slowing down, like with my big wheel. I loved my big wheel. Not sure how often I actually RODE it - I used it to pretend it was an ice cream machine. I would turn it upside down and prop it on the seat and handles and spin the wheel and put my hand on it and feel it rubbing my hand, and listen to the sound it made. Later, when I learned to ride a bike at age 8 finally (coordination was never great), I would often turn my bike upside down and do the same thing. I liked that I could use the pedals with my hands and make the wheel spin that way. I would play with the younger kids in the neighborhood often, and they'd come over and ride their bikes around the driveway in a big wide circle with me in the middle, being the ice cream man (girl? whatever, to me it was "ice cream man" because that was what we called it when we heard the "ding.... ding" of the ice cream truck in the summers).

I liked textures a lot, and so did my friend who was so much like me. I remember going to her house and being bored and so she told me "let's take rubbings" and I didn't know what that was. She gave us each a piece of paper and a pencil and took me around her house, inside and outside, and showed me how to put the paper over something textured and rub the pencil over the paper, and the texture would come up. We spent hours doing that and showing her parents, who were very proud of us and praised our creativity. I liked the texture painted walls and the tree bark a lot.

Actually, the first time I became aware that people were making fun of me, that's what I was doing, enjoying textures .. sort of.

It was playground during first grade. I was walking outside with the other kids and I had brought a notebook and a pencil, and on the notebook I had previously drawn a picture of a person's face (I still can't draw people). It wasn't a very good drawing, but I didn't have any concept of any of that as I carried it with the drawing facing out, the notebook in my hand next to my side as I walked. I was making my way over to the grassy hill under the trees, where I liked to sit and feel the grass and look at the leaves and rocks and watch the kids, and an aide walked over to me and put one arm around me and said I had to come here with her. She walked me over to a group of 3-4 girls standing nearby, all huddled together, and then stood me in front of the girls. I had no idea what was going on. She told the girls to apologize to me for making fun of my drawing and me. I remember the sensation of blushing bright red, and tears stinging my eyes but was determined not to cry. I suppose they probably apologized but that didn't matter to me and I don't remember it. All I remember is that I learned right then to hide yourself from people because they'll make fun of you and you won't even know that everyone is watching you and talking about you behind your back in a mean way.

I never, ever forgot that lesson.

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