Archive for the ‘Childhood Memories’ Category
We were helping my mother-in-law out at her late mother’s house a few weeks ago installing light fixtures and such and I spotted one of these:
It’s a Supermax hairdryer by Gillette from the 1970′s and the second I saw it, it brought back vivid memories of my parents’ master bathroom! The bright orange color instantly reminded me of my mom blowing drying her hair and putting on makeup. I then remembered the smell of my mom’s perfume that she would wear whenever her and my dad would go out for the evening. I would inhale the scent when she would hug and kiss me goodbye before leaving us with the babysitter. The smell of it always seemed so comforting.
It’s amazing the memories that can be triggered by the sight, smell, or sound of something. Our senses are so powerful and I think we take them for granted since they are constantly in use. This makes me wonder what other memories and feelings are locked inside the intricate vastness of my brain and what could possibly trigger them to come to the forefront of my mind.
Ok, for those of you who don’t speak computer language operators (***nerd alert***), the title of this post translates to “House Hunting is not equal to House Shopping”.
My number 1 project and obsession that has taken over the wedding planning that not too long ago governed my time and thoughts is searching for a house. Currently, Ben, our two cats, all of our weddings gifts, and I live in a tiny little one bedroom, one bathroom condo on the fourth floor that Ben bought 4 years ago. Most of my furniture is temporarily living in a storage unit on the east side of Charlottesville and has been for over 2 years now. Needless to say, we are passed the point of being out of room and have been for a while so we began our search for that elusive “perfect house” a couple of months before the wedding (I know we’re crazy).
For some reason, I envisioned finding our future house as an easy and fun task. That most likely is due to the memories I have of house hunting with my parents as an adolescent. I remember my parents would put us in the car on a Sunday afternoon, we would drive around looking for open houses, and when we found one, my sister, brother, and I would scramble through the open house or model home picking out our new rooms! What’s not fun about that, right? Well now that I’m an adult, I realize that finding a house that you will most likely be living in for the next ten years or more (especially with the housing market in its current condition) is alot more complicated than just picking your own room. It certainly shouldn’t be considered shopping because shopping is supposed to be fun (unless your a teenage girl and 30 pounds overweight, but that’s a story for another day).
Ben and I have been hunting for this perfect house since May. Every now and then, we think we may have found “the one” and get our hopes up, but then it turns out to be too expensive, too old, has too high of an HOA, has no closet space, has a tiny kitchen, is in a county with poorly rated schools, is too far away from our family, friends, and jobs, or just plain doesn’t look the same as it did in the pictures. There are so many aspects to consider when buying a house and the decision is made even more stressful by the fact that a huge risk is being taken on our part to sign our lives away for a mortgage. It also doesn’t help that Ben and I are both very picky and don’t like to make BIG decisions. We have a really awesome realtor and sometimes I wonder if she goes back to her realtor friends after looking at houses with us and vents about how crazy we are because she’s shown us sooooo many houses and we’ve only found 1 that we were willing to make an offer on, but someone beat us to it. I wouldn’t blame her if she thought we were the craziest and pickiest househunters in the world!
I keep reminding Ben that we just need to be patient and that somebody our house hunt will end with us finding that perfect place. I know it will eventually happen, but in the meantime we are packed in like sardines at the condo and both obsessively checking the new real estate listings in the area every day. I guess if I have to be cooped up in a tiny apartment, there’s no one else I’d rather be with than Ben.
This is one of my favorite spots in the world. I’m spending a weekend at the Island House Condominiums in Padre Island, Texas. My family has been vacationing here most of my life and I’ve been swimming in this pool since I was 4 years old. I hope my kids will one day come to love this little piece of paradise like I do.
Robert: “This is Robert!”
Patsy: “And this is Patsy!”
Both: “And we can’t come to the phone right now…”
Mikey: “Oh my God, they killed Kenny! You bastards!”
All: Snickering and giggling ensues.
This is the voicemail message that people would hear when calling my home phone number for a couple of years when I was in high school. The idea of a teacher calling to talk to my mom and getting this voicemail message always cracked me up!
My mom and step-dad had been trying to set a new message on the answering machine when my brother decided to bust in and ruin their efforts with a notable quote from South Park. It was so funny and we all couldn’t stop laughing so my mom and step-dad decided to leave the message.
I wish I could hear it again just for shits and giggles!
A while back, a good friend was poling her friends on facebook about their favorite roller rink songs from back in the day. She asked me if I was old enough to have experienced the roller rink craze. My answer: OF COURSE!!! And for those wondering, my most memorable roller rink song was Come and Get Your Love by Real McCoy. I have great memories of skating in circles, trying desperately not to fall, and thinking I was soooo badass to the beat of this song!
The conversation between my friend and I lead me to wonder about those who had not had the opportunity to skate like no one was watching as a kid. I quickly thought about the city that I currently live in. Charlottesville doesn’t have a roller rink. I wondered if they had one in the past. I quickly dialed Ben’s number to ask him what seemed to me like the most important question (but probably seemed to him like a pointless one).
Ben’s answer was no, Charlottesville had not had a roller rink in his twenty-seven years as a resident. This saddened me. All of these Cvillians, and I’m sure countless others hailing from small town, Anywhere, had been deprived of the roller rink experience. They had no roller rink songs, no memories of skating beneath flashing neon lights to the beat of some one hit wonder while trying to impress their friends.
But then I realized, what they lacked in roller rink experiences, they made up for in other ways. For example, I never experienced a snow day living in south Texas, but Ben’s childhood was filled with them (especially from the blizzard of ’96 that I hear about so often).
I still hope my kids get to enjoy the roller rink experience someday, or the twenty-first century equivalent. Hover boarding perhaps?
I remember the first time that my young mind comprehended the depth and permanence of death.
It was summer time. I was 9 or 10 years old. I was in the midst of two weeks at summer camp. I sat on the dock alone dangling my feet in the warm water of Inks Lake while I soaked up the hot Texas sun.
I don’t know what thoughts I had or emotions I felt that lead me to this frightening conclusion. I don’t remember what path my mind was following. As soon as the thought struck me, I was paralyzed in fear. When you die, that’s it. When you die, you are gone and life is over. When you die, you have no idea what happens next. I don’t want to die, but I have to. I was only a child, but these very disturbing adult ideas took over my body and mind.
That was the moment that I realized that death was permanent and real. That is when I understood that the ones I loved could be taken away from me forever and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. That is when I think I stopped being a child, and started my journey toward adulthood. That moment was the barrier between my innocent, ignorant, happy childhood and my stressful, fearful, incessantly analyzing struggle to become an adult.
I used to yearn for that blissful ignorance. I used to swear I’d give anything just to turn my mind off when I wanted. But now, I embrace adulthood and all of the fear, uncertainty, and pain that accompanies it. I used to wonder why such a terrible feeling would have overtaken me as I enjoyed a peaceful, warm, summer day when I shouldn’t have had a care in the world. Now I feel that the beautiful moment accompanied by its conflicting, painful memory is the perfect metaphor for life. It’s full of good and bad, happy and sad, but they come together in life so I’ll take them both if that’s all I can have.
Alot of people think it’s strange that I played bar as an adolescent. I never thought it was out of the ordinary until I received this feedback from my peers.
There was this one specific instance that I remember when I was about 12 or 13. We had cousins and friends spending the night and the seven of us decided to play bar. I must have been the ringleader since I was the oldest. We took turns as both the bartender and the customers. We served grape juice as red wine and lit the ends of pretzel sticks with a book of matches that we had somehow gotten our hands on. We had a blast and it was all good, clean fun. I guess we had outgrown playing house or school and needed something a little more grown-up to occupy our imaginations!
Years later, when reminiscing with friends about our childhoods, I asked surprised, “Yall never played bar?” I had always assumed that was one of those games that all kids played at some point during their childhood. Now it doesn’t surprise me that all seven of us turned out to be drinkers (not alcoholics, but ones who enjoy a few beers every now and then).
So what I took away from this discovery that playing bar was not a run-of-the-mill game played by all children is that it was really harmless and probably resulted from the fact that the fairly new house we had moved into had a sunken bar that had to be incorporated into our make-believe games. And it could have been worse…we could have been playing bar with real wine and real cigarettes instead of grape juice and pretzels. Or even worse, we could have been playing doctor!
So what I want to know is did any of you (all three of you out there reading this) ever play bar or anything else unconventional?
If you know me well, then you know that every year in January, I spend a long weekend in Las Vegas with several of the most awesome ladies in my life.
The tradition started twenty years ago. My mom was having the most hellish year…her mom died, father-in-law died, the dog died, and the van got stolen. So in January, when the new year started, her best friend, Mrs. C, and favorite aunt, Aunt Platt (aka Mary Fuckin’ Poppins) said after last year, this year cannot get any worse, so let’s go to Vegas to start it off right. And so the tradition began.
When I was a little girl, I used to cry and cry when my mom left us every January for that long weekend. My dad thought I was crying because I missed my mom, but honestly, deep down, I think I was crying cause I knew how much fun they were having without me and I wasn’t old enough to join in!
Well the year I turned 21, that rite of passage awaited me, and I got to go to Vegas for the first time! I haven’t missed a trip yet and this will be my 7th year! It’s pretty much my version of Christmas and it’s the best damn 5 days and 4 nights a woman could ask for. No men allowed…only ladies…and we party our asses off until we are sick!
I’m going back to Vegas tomorrow. I’ll get to see cousins, aunts, good friends, my mom, and my sister and I ABSOLUTELY CAN’T WAIT! So in honor of my Vegas Girls and because it is Vegas Eve (yes, it is a holiday in my book), I wrote this poem!
Twas the night before Vegas, when all through the houses
The ladies were packing and picking out blouses.
Bracelets were hung from their wrists with Sin City charms,
As they decided which Vegas purse to wear on their arms.
The Vegas girls were way too excited for bed,
While Elvis sang Viva Las Vegas in their heads.
Now was no time for sleeping or resting or naps,
All that business could wait until they got back.
Thinking back on all of the past Vegas trips,
They grew more excited to trade money for chips.
Even though they might be digging into their secret stash,
They hoped to return home with a big wad of cash!
They would celebrate with drinks on that long Southwest flight,
Waiting for touchdown, to start that great night.
As the fabulous Las Vegas sign came into view,
The ladies would cheer along with the Southwest crew.
They would enter the Flamingo and finish check-in,
Drop off their luggage, and get ready to win.
Passing Bugsy’ Bar as they’d head to play black jack,
There would stand Elvis with the party pit pack.
“Now Tito! Now, Mireya, now, Claudine and Chip
Come dealers and pit bosses, please hurry quick!
See who’s come to visit us once again this new year,
The Vegas girls are back to take over you hear!”
The trip would be filled with great friends and good fun,
The ladies would sing “Way to go dealer!” at the top of their lungs.
Playing black jack, and craps, and hitting the slots,
They’d take over that casino and play till they drop!
They’d eat cheeseburgers in paradise at Margaritaville,
And catch up and visit as their fruity drinks chill.
Trying to beat the house, they’d stay up till all hours,
While the cocktails waitress kept bringing amaretto sours.
From Texas, Seattle, Virginia, and all over the place,
The girls traveled far and wide with a smile on their face.
They come every year to forget all their worries and cares,
And have a fun time and get away from men, which is rare.
They’d head to the Bellagio champagne brunch as the trip neared its end,
Pretty soon Leslie would be calling dad asking for money to lend.
They’d all say goodbye as they got into cabs,
After paying their bills and closing their tabs.
The Vegas girls saddened that the trip was already over,
Would already be wishing for next year’s trip to come closer.
Back to the real world, they would have to go.
Back to work, responsibilities, and earning the dough.
But don’t fret Vegas girls, because it’s only Vegas Eve,
I shall see you all tomorrow with an ace up my sleeve!
A couple of years ago, my mom moved from our big, ole house in the suburbs to a tiny townhouse in the city. In the move, 3 very valuable objects were misplaced and the family mourned the loss of these beloved items.
Ok, so I’m not talking about the family dog or something worth a large chunk of money. I’m talking about the 3 Christmas stockings that my mom made for my sister, brother, and I as babies. We’ve hung these up every year at Christmas time and when they were misplaced, we were afraid we had lost them forever. My stocking is one of my favorite things in the whole world. As a matter of fact, if my house was burning down, and I could only save one non-living object from being destroyed, it would be a toss-up between my two blankies (My name is Leslie Elsaifi, I’m 27 years old, and YES, I still sleep with blankies) and the Christmas stocking. My stocking is very near and dear to my heart partially because my mother made it for me with her own two hands and partially because it will always have a connection with Christmas memories which is always a very special and happy time for me and my family.
I also love mine because it says “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and I was born on Christmas Eve! So needless to say, we were all jumping for joy when my mom stumbled across them back in November (just in time for Christmas) while looking for her punch bowl!
And without further ado, I present to you, the magnificent stockings made by Patsy Mitchusson:
Every now and then something brings up a random and long-forgotten childhood memory. Since these seem to become fewer and farther between as I get older, I thought this blog might be a good place to document them so I can come back and relive them whenever I want.
When I was in preschool, we made green eggs and ham. Me being a picky eater, although you’d never know it by looking at me now, didn’t like eggs or ham, and especially not when they were dyed green. So instead, I got to draw my own green eggs and ham on a paper plate with crayons! What a brilliant idea! Gotta give props to those preschool teachers!
I’d like to thank my cousin Janette for the childhood memories idea. A few years ago when I was in college, she and I were sitting outside enjoying a few beers when she brought up some funny stories from our childhood that I had completely forgotten. She suggested that we write them all down in a book so we wouldn’t forget them. Thanks Tweety…this isn’t quite a book, but I figure it’ll do!
And just for shits and giggles, here’s a childhood picture of me to go along with the childhood memory! Thanks for the big green foo foo dress mom!