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August Blog Challenge - Day 20

Describe three significant childhood memories.

I don't wanna do this one.  I can't think of anything.  Nothing seems very significant.  Things were happy and fun.  Scenes run through my head.  Nothing I can really write about.  Maybe if I start with some of those...

Memory is a tricky thing.  It is the place where we keep all those moments we never want to lose. And also the ones we can't bear to remember.  We take them out to comfort ourselves.  And to torture ourselves.  Memories can change; they can fade over time.  They can also burn brighter as the years go by.  Kenny's new tattoo says, "Remember who you are."  Yes.  Remember who you are.  Where you came from.  Who loves you.  Remember these things.  Yes.

So the first memory to surface...

My dad, putting on his uniform.  Shiny shoes, big gun, smokey bear hat.  It was daily routine.  But, I remember once, seeing him strap on the bulletproof vest.  It stopped me in my tracks.  Everyone knows that law enforcement is a dangerous job.  Every cop wife knows that this may be the night he doesn't come home.  That every time he puts on the badge, he's putting on a target.  Cop kids only know that dad's gone a lot at weird times and that he has a really cool car with lights and sirens. But that day, I realized that every time my dad went to work, he literally risked his life for us. And now I see Darren, doing the same. It's awe-inspiring and very humbling.

Okay.  The perfect one found me right away!  That was an incredibly significant moment for me.

I'm still having trouble with others.  My childhood has many great memories.  Wrapped together, it is the significance of family, of friends. but no other memories alone seem significant.

Waterskiing. Friends and boats and food.  Greg and I skiing together, two of us on one pair of skis. What were my parents thinking letting us do that?

Camping.  We were camping when St. Helen's blew, the week before the big eruption.  Rufus was with us, and we woke up to what looked like snow. It was ash.  We packed everything up and drove home, stopping every few miles to rinse the air filter with water, the world looking alien.  I remember camping, the adults in the motor homes, playing cards with their "hooters," and all us kids down near the river, around a campfire, talking, playing music.

Fishing with my dad. I remember Denise and I on a charter boat, eating all kinds of junk food while big men puked over the side into the sea and my dad being so proud.  "Look at those girls!"

I remember sitting on the mantle with my tv dinner taunting the babysitter.  "You can't make me. You're not my mom."  I was a brat. Denise followed along, "Yeah!"

I remember my mom baking cookies. She always made a triple batch.  And let us help.  And lick the spoon. I remember skateboarding down the hill with pie crust dough in my hands once.  I'm not even sure why, but my mom was laughing at me.

I remember waking up one morning to Denise sitting in front of the wall heater, still in her pajamas, drinking pickle juice and putting a light bulb into her sock so she could sew up the hole.  She must have been about 6 or 7.  So independent and determined.

I remember using an ice cube to keep that wall heater going as I sat in front of it on cold mornings.

I remember running the streets in Kelso with gangs of kids, breaking into the abandoned high school through the window and running down the halls.  Staying out until the street lights came on. Climbing on rooftops and trespassing through neighbors' yards.

I remember looking at a book.  The word "clean" was on the page. And I could read it.  I thought to myself, "I can read!"  This one is fairly significant, in the sense that books, reading, opened up entire worlds to me.

I remember my swimming instructor pushing me off the high dive because I wouldn't jump.  I was so mad.  And at that moment decided that no-one was EVER going to force me into something I didn't want.  This was significant, in that it influenced me in a way that colored everything that came after.

I do remember when Denise was born.  My dad came to get me in his police car.  He gave me red licorice. We went to the hospital and they held her up to the window.  "That's your baby," he said. My forever friend.  This was surely significant.

And I'll leave you with my earliest memory.  I saw a toothbrush in the wastebasket.  I wanted it for my doll.  So I reached in.  And cut my hand on a broken blue and white Corningware bowl. (Remember those?) My mom took me to the doctor's office.  I stood on the front seat of the car on the way there.  The seats were red and the car was white.  When we got to the office, the seats were blue. When the doctor was working on my hand, I was screaming. He called me "Mushy," which made me mad.  They made my mom leave the room.  My mom said there's no way I could remember that. When I told her the details she was amazed.  I was 18 months old at the time.

We remember some things and forget others.  Yes, memory is tricky.  Not always to be trusted. But important, yes.  Significant, yes.


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