Today in My History
2000: Stranger in a Familiar Land
IN MY OPINION
(The review) Books Read in 2008
"Keeper of the Bride"
FUNNY THE VLOG
Day 30: Acme from Bev Sykes on Vimeo.
MY BEST CHILDHOOD MEMORY IS...
1 December 2008
Over on That's My Answer, Indigo issued a challenge for each person to leave a blog entry title for the next person. The one for me turns out to be "My best childhood memory is..."
I suspect that you can't just do "a" childhood memory, so I thought I'd reminisce about happy moments I remember from childhood, some of which may be duplicates from previous entries (but I'll try to be original).
Let's start in second grade. Every year in our Catholic school, each classroom would crown a statue of Mary with little crowns of flowers. There was always a big May Day crowning in church, with all the kids participating, but each class had its own individual crowning. I used to love singing Oh Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today...queen of the flowers, queen of the May...
In second grade, we had a drawing to see who was the person who got to be queen and crown the statue. Sister Mary Humbeline passed around a bowl with folded up pieces of paper on it and we each took it.
Now in those days, kids didn't start reading at 3 and come into kindergarten ready to do calculus. So we were just learning to read in second grade and Sister said that if there was something written on our paper, to bring it to her and she would read it for us (I think there was the queen and members of her court or something like that).
But I knew how to read, so when I opened my piece of paper and saw that I was going to do the crowning I was thrilled. It's funny, but I don't remember a thing about the actual ceremony itself. I just remember the thrill of being able to read on the paper that I had the honor of crowning Mary myself.
I was also in the Girl Scouts in grammar school and each year we put on a stage show for our parents, since our leader had been in theatre in her life. Our neighbor, Estelle, came to see our Christmas show. She had gifts for my sister and for me. Karen's was this huge box and mine was a tiny box. I was so disappointed that I didn't get a big present. I don't remember what Karen got, but I opened my box after the show was over and inside was an amethyst ring, my birthstone. I had never had such a beautiful grown-up gift before and I felt silly for being so upset about the size difference in the boxes. I wore that ring for a long time and ended up giving it to Char's daughter (also a February birthday), on her 21st birthday.
My mother's parents lived in Inverness, which was about a 40 mile ride, through the country from San Francisco, in the pre-highway years. We didn't visit them often because my father hated the drive and I always got car sick. But one day when we were driving there, we passed by a field in which was a mare and her fairly young colt. I remember we stopped the car and got out to watch the horses. I was always such a horse fanatic. I called him "Brownie" (because he was brown and I am nothing if not origial in my naming!) and thereafter we always brought sugar cubes when we went to Grandma's house, to give to Brownie. Eventually he grew up and moved away, but I remember the thrill of stopping to visit, briefly with "my" horse.
I also remember stopping to pick wildflowers to take to my grandmother, whom I loved. Poppies and Lupin. We would drive into their farm and I'd get a big hug from her. She had a unique smell which was probably sweat from hard work. She always gave the best hugs and always whispered "my precious child" in my ear. She had 32 grandchildren and yet I think she made each one feel like her special one.
I also remember the feel of the sun on my back as I stood at the wall of blackberry bushes and filled my bucket with the sweet berries, then went in the back door of the little house, where the berries were stored, as were the Lorna Doone shorbread cookies. I love making my own little Lorna Doone sandwich, squishing a sweet blackberry between two cookies.
I remember the thrill I had in the 6th or 7th grade -- I've written about this before -- after I'd been on a diet, when my classmate Jimmy Wohl saw a picture of me and couldn't believe it was me because "she's not fat enough to be Bev." Best back-handed compliment I've ever received, probably!
I remember the day we got our first television set in 1953, when I was ten years old, and how, when the guy installed it and left, we turned it on and watched "Life with Luigi," with J. Carroll Nash as Luigi. I don't remember anything about the program except that it was the very first program I ever watched on our very own television set. I think Luigi was a butcher, but I could be wrong about that.
And I remember the thrill I felt the day I stepped into the Adult Room at the public library. I haunted the local library. The Golden Gate Valley library was a long thin building. It was laid out so that you entered in the middle and on either side were horseshoe shaped rooms. On the right were the children's books, starting from the left end around the semi circle to the right, easiest to hardest. The teen age books were on the right side of the horseshoe.
I had begun on the left side of the room and as I got older moved farther and farther around until I had read all of the books that interested me in the room. That was when I ventured across the entryway into the adult section. It was like a little kid entering this off-limits place, but nobody stopped me. I headed for historical fiction and the very first book I read from that room was a book about Thomas Jefferson.
Isn't it amazing how when we look back on our childhood things that to the casual observer might seem so mundane suddenly leap out as little jolts of pleasure that make us smile, 50-60 years later.
Thanks for the suggestion, Vicki!
Tomorrow night we will be at Davies Symphony
Hall in San Francisco listening to the gay men's chorus perform Steve's New World Waking
cantata, with Jennifer Holliday (Dreamgirls) as the soloist. I'm just so
proud of Steve I could burst. (But don't tell him that. I don't want to ruin
PHOTO OF THE DAY
She looks like a gumdrop
MILES TO NOWHERE: 88.5 miles