Wednesday, August 4, 2010

on memories


 I've been thinking about what little things become our favorite memories while on our vacation this week, watching my kids partake in our traditional and beloved Michigan activities.  I'm sure they will lovingly remember our trips to the woodsy ice cream place, the long walk across the sand from the parking lot to the edge of the lake, the smooth ride of their grandparents' giant white car, and the walks around Lila's garden to collect flowers for the supper table.  Plus, all the things they are noticing as special and memorable that I'm not aware of.

After all the trips my family and I took to my grandparent's house in North Carolina, my fondest memories were probably surprising to the adults:  the feel of my grandmother's turquoise shag rug on my bare feet, the sounds of crickets and the electric bug zapper, the warm driveway, the scent of pine needles, and the chest freezer in the garage that was always stocked with ice-cream sandwiches.  These are details that may seem random to someone else, but each is packed with the good feelings that they evoke for me; the rug, the crickets, the ice-cream all add up to a feeling of total love and comfort.

From the Michigan trips, maybe they'll have special fondness for their memory of the lemondrops they always find in Joe's car, or the super-soft sheets on their beds, or Lila's collection of old children's books.

At my mom's house, I think they'll remember chalk drawing on the driveway, the cupboard always stocked with cookies, or the white toy chest in the hall full of blocks and puzzles.  But they're probably noticing other things too that will survive in their memories.    There is something about grandparents' homes in the minds of little children, something magical. 

This week at the farmer's market in Muskegon, Skyler and Reed dipped their fingers into a quart of blueberries on display in front of one of the farmer's stands.  I told them to stop, but the farmer stepped in and said:  "Let them help themselves!  Future customers!"  Then, after they had stuffed their faces, and I had bought 3 quarts, he handed them each one more handful.  He winked at me and said:  "They'll always remember this."  That's confidence in the quality of your berries, I thought, but also, yes, they probably will remember that, because isn't that just the type of thing kids remember?  When Mommy says no, but a nice farmer says yes?










I love that they are old enough now that all the fun things we do might stay in their heads. 

What are the small details you remember from your early vacations or visits to Grandparents' homes?  I love to hear about the tidbits that remain. 

Please share!


We are in mid-air right now on our way home...

9 comments:

SNW said...

What a brilliant writing prompt! I'm all over it.

Eileen said...

We didn't have grandparents in America, but we had a great-aunt who kind of subbed as grandma. She had a very grandmotherly house, with doilies and a crystal bowl full of butterscotch candies. When we visited her, my sister and I would each drink a Coke and eat sugar cookies thickly coated with sugar crystals. Then we'd go outside, to the back of her yard, where we could nearly always find a bullfrog.

Elizabeth said...

Interesting that you asked for Grandmother memories because yesterday was the 128th birthday of my Gram, your great-grandmother.
She was on my mind all day. Momma Jenny, as she was lovingly called, was born in 1882. As children living in Washington DC, my sisters and I visited her NC home every summer, a large white frame house with a wrap around porch with rocking chairs, a secret back staircase, and too many rooms to count. It was in that house that Jenny, left as a widow with four young children, supported her family by running a boarding house. She was a dietitian and in our minds, the best cook on earth. She was the first of the family to attend college and therefore she set an example and an expectation for all of her daughters and granddaughters to follow. We looked forward eagerly to our visits, all loved her dearly and still miss her.

Liesel said...

I remember our Grandfather's (Pop's) huge sedan, with a slightly smoky smell (gasp!), in which he would drive Chris and me to a gas station on the island and buy us grape or orange soda in frosty glass bottles. I was also intrigued by Gram's wooden rocking chair, with a secret drawer that swung out from the side to reveal sewing supplies. Remember??

Sylvia said...

Checking the crab traps, Maureen and Carlos' fig tree, the smell of sea and sand in Mary and Bill's subaru, Gran's chutney, playing cards...not to mention the alligator in the golf course, the sunken ship, the hermit's house, and the waterslide.

Cat said...

My Granny, Marie Champion White, was a nurse and fluent Spanish speaker. She helped many new women immigrants from Mexico learn about their rights. I loved her smell. We would play cards at the kitchen table and watch Fragglerock. I'd carefully water her plants and we'd swing, I wrapped in the blankey she had made for me as a baby.

Cat said...
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Anonymous said...

My favorite memories of my grandmother is that my brother, sister and I always stayed with her on school vacations! She always had a way of making everything seem so special.....I remember how the bakery truck came to her house and we would run outside to it and she would always say "okay, you can each pick one thing!" Mine was always chocolate donuts! And she always had bananas for us, which seemed like a big treat!?! And we would take hot baths in a big galvanized tub next to her kitchen stove and watch Andy Griffith at the same time! Life seemed so simple back then....so many happy memories....

Jodi said...

I love this post! all of it is so true, the things you remember about your childhood are always in the tiniest details, aren't they?

There are so many of those things in my own life but i'll give you a few:

Waking up on Sunday mornings to the sound of my mother cleaning breakfast dishes, my dad's hammer while he tried to finish the addition in the back and Jackson Browne on the stereo.

The smell of my Grandma's attic and that dark old wooden railing at the top of the stairs.

the feel of the leather seats in my mom's 1970 (something) junker. it would stick to the back of my legs in summer.