Archive for May, 2009

Childhood I – Memories

A Collaborate Post
By Clonez and Connor

childhood

Waking up every day at six in the morning. Tired; just want to crawl back in bed.
Running to the bus-stop. Lazy; feeling half asleep.
Rushing that quarter mile to get to the other side of the school. Forgot one of my books.
Sitting in class drooling on desk. Seats as hard as cement. Third lecture today.
Watching cars zoom by out the window. Daydreaming away.

What was it like again to be a child? If you could be a kid for just another day, what would you do? Some people take being young for granted. When you’re young, you wanted to grow up to have the same privileges as an adult: to go to work just like daddy used to do or to go shopping just like mommy used to do, so you try to act older than you really are. Then there are some who live their childhood to its fullest. They go to the park, ride their bikes, play with friends, and eat lots and lots of ice cream. This is the type of person who usually ends up with plenty of memories to look back on when they are older.  Being in high school, I feel I am running out of those final days to live my life to it’s fullest. I am torn between the two worlds of childhood and adulthood. I can envision my friends tugging on my left arm and teachers and parents tugging at my right arm.

Making Friends

Being a child, I definitely remember how easy it was to make friends. Common interests are so easy to locate when you are little. Another thing is that there isn’t any judgment that takes place. You don’t have to be more popular or more pretty/handsome. I remember going to the beach by my old house.

I see a small boy playing in the sand with a shovel and bucket.
“Can I play with you?” I said.
The boy says, “Sure,” in such a kind way.

We both start digging in the sand together, having fun.
We watch the waves rush by and surround our castle we built out of shells, rocks and sand.

*>>Fast Forward 10 years>>*

I see a teenage guy playing beach volleyball with some friends.
“Can I play with you guys?” I said.
The guy says, “Who the f*ck are you? Get the h*ll out of here!”
I walk away with my head lowered, kicking sand.

Making friends is tough when you are older. Before, it took only about 2 seconds to become friends when you were five. It could take 2 months to become friends when you are fifteen. Being young, you aren’t judged by your personality or the way that you look or who you hang out with. Being older, those is the only things you are judged by.

Pooh and P’u

I decided to take Religions of the East last semester in High School. Probably the religion that spoke to me the most was Taoism. Taoism emphasizes acting like a child; going off on adventures to places in your wildest imagination. One thing I remember the most is the concept of Wu Wei, or effortless action. It doesn’t necessarily mean being lazy, but when you are a kid, you just go with the flow, you don’t try to have fun, like adults may try to do. Instead, you just have fun. You go and ride that bike and see where it takes you. Instead of riding a bike to a certain destination, you let that bike take you anywhere. When you want to dance, you just dance  anyway you want to. You don’t try hard to follow some choreographed dance routine. Adults try and push that circle peg into the square opening. They want everything to come out the way that they want it (the idea of being perfect) and go against the laws of nature. The final idea that Taoism taught me is the idea of P’u. If you have P’u, it means that your identity hasn’t been affected by anyone else. There isn’t any outside influence to make you act a certain way.  You don’t try and fit in with another group. Instead you just be yourself. As a kid, you are who you are in your natural state. Most adults say that children haven’t found out who they are yet and they need to try new things, but that is how you start to carve that uncarved block, forcing yourself to fit in with the wrong crowd.

Where does Pooh come into play, you may ask? Well, Winnie The Pooh is the perfect example of a fictional character who still has P’u. Winnie The Pooh is like the hero of childhood. I used to read all of the books about him when I was little and watch all of the movies. Growing up with classic Disney movies is something that I remember deeply from my own childhood. I’m not talking about any of the recent ones with twisted plotlines meant for older viewers. I’m talking about movies such as The Lion King, Toy Story, Alice In Wonderland, Aladdin, Lady and The Tramp or The Jungle Book: all stories that have messages behind them. I don’t think anyone is going to learn something from watching The Shaggy Dog, or something like that. Anyway, I hadn’t realized that Winnie The Pooh was closely connected with Taoism. Those classic Disney movies were something that you could remember for years to come and reflect back on.

Another classic Disney Storyline that reminds me of my childhood was Peter Pan. The whole idea of escaping from the adult run world really drew my attention when I was little. I would always fantasize about running away to a world where you could just be a child and get away from the stress of growing up. Then there was always Captain Hook who came in to ruin all of the diversion of being young, representing the message, “It’s time to grow up and face the real world now.”

Music

Psychic spies from China / Try to steal your mind’s elation / Little girls from Sweden / Dream of silver screen quotations / And if you want these kind of dreams / It’s Californication. The first verse of the ever-popular song, Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Not important, right? Wrong. This song has to have had the biggest impact on my childhood more than any other media whatsoever. This song came out in 1999. I was five years old at the time. Like 60% of my extended family lived in Arizona at the time. One crystal clear memory was driving home in the dark from my aunt’s house in Cave Creek (which then was in the middle of nowhere) with my mom, dad, and 2 or so year old sister. Californication played on the radio and I sung along with the *entire* song. Afterwards, my mom asked, “did you sing that entire song?” I replied with a single word. Yes. Nowadays, whenever I am in the car with my mom, A Red Hot Chili Peppers song plays on the radio. Whenever I hear their music, I am instantly zapped back to the early 2000’s and listening to them at family gatherings around my pool. It’s fantastic to feel so young again, even if I am in fact only fourteen.

Germs

I grew up in Chicago for the first  ten years of my life, and so the backyards are tiny and there isn’t a single blade of grass in the ground. Instead there was just a cramped up patio, an even more cramped up garden area, and a set of lawn chairs. In the summer, I remember every year my mom would bring out that kiddy pool that was propped up against the wall. I would watch my parents spend hours filling up this half  foot deep pool with a huge hose that ran from the heater in the front of the house all the way to the backyard. The only thing me and my sisters ever did in that backyard was go swimming in the summer. Other than that, it was not put to use. So here we are, sitting in this tiny “puddle” of a pool. My parents would bring out some Popsicles; the kind that changed color as you licked off a layer. I love it that you don’t have to be a clean freak when you are little. When I was young, I had no idea what a “germ” was. Now that I am fifteen, I just try to stay out of the way of anything I find to be dirty. Anyway, what we did was dip our popsicles in the water that we “swam” in and lick it. I do not remember the reason why, and I didn’t understand at the time why my parents always told us to stop, but now that I think about it, it was rather disgusting. We would also drink from the water that we swam in when we were thirsty. Also, I didn’t understand why my dad was so mad when we started crawling on the floor of public places until I was older. Growing up, I started to expand my fear of germs. When I was little, I would just ignore it, but now it’s like I can’t go around without a bottle of Purell with me. Sometimes it’s hard to learn things when you get older. There are lessons you don’t want or need to know about, such as the idea that there are foods that are bad for you. I know that there is a problem with obesity in America, but why can’t a kid just eat what he or she wants and enjoy it while you can? There is not reason why I should see someone eat a salad at age five. It’s just unheard of and rather sad, because the person is missing out on the greatest gift of youth: candy.

Nanny

I remember my parents spent quite a long time looking for a babysitter to watch us when they went out. There was this one babysitter I remember, she had a Russian accent and always wore some foul smelling perfume. I think her name was Olga, or something. Anyway, whenever she stopped over, she treated us in a strict manner. She made us eat our vegetables, clean up our dinner afterward and go to bed early if we disobeyed. I remember complaining to my parents when they came back home. I still don’t know where the heck they could be going at night. I never understand that late night “adult business” that goes on. It turns out that we got her fired, thankfully. She was such a nightmare. During the time in search for a babysitter, my cousin Jeff would come over and take care of us. He would always come with an arts and craft project for us to do. He was just loads of fun to be around, we would run up to him and hug him whenever he stopped by. My parents finally ended their search and found a nanny for us. She was a plump, African American lady named Reece. She would come over and do housework and take care of us. Me and my sisters all loved her when we were little. She knew all of the friends of our family and took us to the park by our house.  I always loved that park. Every time we went we would see one of my sisters friends or one of my friends there. Reece would say, “Hey there! Nice to see you again!” and this would happen a couple of times a week. The park was just so peaceful. We would play there for hours straight and get tired and come right back home. I remember the block party every year called “Sutton Fest.” There was a DJ that came and all of the smaller kids in the neighborhood would come over and dance. Reece knew them all; I still don’t know how she can know all these people. There was a hula hoop contest, a dunk tank, and even a fire truck that would come in. Reece would watch from the side laughing an clapping to the music. I still remember her laugh; you could tell it was her even if you heard it from across the room. Now that we are older and have moved, she stopped coming over every day and now comes once a year.
Reece would come over every once in a while and say, “My have you grown, boy!”
I would tell her, “Oh no, I stopped growing over a year ago.”
She would say, “No, you are gunna get taller like your Daddy.”
“I will?” I asked. Turns out I did.

I, Connor, have some babysitter stories as well. However, mine contrast greatly against Clonez’s memories. Before my younger sister (3-4 years depending on the time of year) was born, my mom hired a Ukranian babysitter who was 20 something named Rita. I LOVED Rita. She was really, really cool. She even let me eat raw hawt dawgs, something my mom never ever allowed. I am not sure why we fired Rita, but we did. Perhaps it was that she moved away or something. But whatever. That was 11 years ago. When my sister came around, my parents changed babysitters every couple of times. Sometimes they would hire one again and again, and othertimes I had a babysitter one Saturday night and that was it. Every single Saturday around six o’clock, my parents would go out on “date night.” I remember one night in particular telling my mom she looked pretty in her red dress and high heels. I also didn’t know what they did together or why. I just knew when they got home, they’d tip toe into my room and kiss me and tell me they were home, because I never used to be able to sleep well without them home. I can remember two other babysitters of mine. One was named Emily, and she was thirteen at the time. Gosh, she must be graduated from college by now… Anyway, Emily was my favorite. Sometimes, my mom would drop my sister and I off at Emily’s house to be babysitted, but other times, the three of us would hop in the car while my dad was getting ready, and go pick Emily up. One real memory I have is of going to pick her up and ringing her doorbell. She had on a green scarf with stripes on it. After we arrived at my home, I cooked myself a Kid’s Cuisine. Hahah, those were yum yum. Emily would stay up with me and read me books like “If you give a mouse a cookie,” etc. Like Clonez, I also had a babysitter that I DESPISED. Her name was McClain, however that weird name is spelled. I remember she was how should I say it…. voluptuous. One night, I got out of bed and walked through the living room to the kitchen because I was thirsty. And there McClain was, sitting on the floor eating the ranch flavored Doritos drinking out of the gallon jug of milk. Our family’s jug of milk. BUSTED. My sister and I didn’t have to put up with McClain much more after that. My family still makes fun of her on rare occasions. Har har. Although she did show me a really tasty Mexican restaurant.

There are many aspects of childhood that Clonez and myself haven’t touched on, but we will. Just you wait and see! Childhood isn’t just a word. It was an experience. Memories. Adventures. Discoveries. Time to be ourself and not be judged by others. Time to be honest. Time to be carefree. Time to wear pullups and learn to use that magical invention called a toilet. No… childhood isn’t just a word, it’s a major era of your life. See you next time.. (;

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