This marble-of-an-idea has been rolling around in my head for years and years. I’m usually outside when I hear it clank onto one side of my skull, and then I reassess. “Does everyone recall their childhood this way? DO THEY REMEMBER A TIME WHEN THEIR OWN THOUGHT AT THAT TIME WAS, “Wow, this is great! I can’t imagine feeling better about life than I do right now; I want to remember this moment forever.’ ”
It’s true, there are a few times from my childhood that I distinctly remember drawing back for a moment in my mind and saying to myself “This is fantastic! I can’t believe how much fun this is”.
Recollection one: Sitting on the pavement three doors down from my own home, waiting for every friend to arrive. It’s summer, early in the morning, but we can tell it’s going to be a gloriously hot and sunny day. When we’re all together we’re going to walk to our school four suburban blocks away just like we always do during the school year; but this is summer. We’re not even going to enter the building! Nope, we all have permission to catch the Township school bus that will take us to Kennywood Amusement Park for the day. The entire day. No adult supervision.
As we wait I specifically notice the smell of tar seeping from the utility pole nearby. We used to idly pop the tar bubbles that formed in the heat whenever we were near one of the poles as we decided where to go for the day. Someone’s house? The creek? The woods? Make no mistake our parents may have owned the properties but we owned that neighborhood. We knew every shortcut and every house we could go to get lunch. We knew which kids to avoid and which kids might have a tolerable suggestion for that daily morning question; “Wadaya wanna do?”
I used to hop out of bed in the summertime, shovel some cold cereal into my face, then hit the screen door running. My friends and I were master kite fliers, we used to have dogfights with the kites. Later on we all got go-karts (you know, with the lawn mower engines) – we’d drive down the street (illegal) and go to the huge parking lot owned by the church. Scooters, bikes with banana seats and sissy bars, coasters (THAT’S a go kart with no engine, made out of wood- you need a hill for those…), ice cream trucks. And I distinctly remember pausing every now and then and thinking “Ya know, I really don’t think life is ever going to get any better than this”.
It’s hard to quantify now but I have to admit, when I think back on those times… I just may have been right. ~TH~