Posts Tagged ‘memories’

Memories Are Personal

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Memory is strange. Thinking logically, it would seem that people sharing the same life experiences would share the same memories, but that is rarely the case. I remember chuckling to myself as a teenager whenever my grandmother and her sister, Aunt Jeanie, would have conversations about their childhood inOhio. They both had crystal clear recollections of their home and neighborhood – and these memories were totally different. They talked about the corner grocery store, but they each placed it on a different corner. When they discussed their older brother, Uncle Bill, as child, he came across as two people or one with a split-personality.

That suppressed laughter came back to haunt me a few years ago in discussions about my childhood with the brother and sister closest in age to me. After awhile I began to wonder if we had lived in the same house during those early years – and whether we had actually grown up with the same parents!

These thoughts came to mind today when I attended a session at the library. Charlotte Hinger(, author of numerous books and articles, talked about the unreliability of family stories. A native ofKansas, she was involved in writing a book of family histories for the county she lived in. She discovered that no family has one history. Each family member has a personal history – and as I had discovered for myself – these histories seldom agree.

Charlottealso talked about family stories that have been passed on through generations that have been proved to be factually false, but the tales continue to be passed on. Amazingly, these fabricated family legends are most treasured.

Sometimes families keep secrets through tacit agreements for many years. Then when the people involved get into their 70s and 80s, they begin to talk. Such was the case inCharlotte’s family. One day a cousin approached her with a question for her then elderly mother. WouldCharlotteplease ask her if Aunt Margaret really did kill Aunt Mattie? ThusCharlottewas thrust into research into her own family history.

Consider your childhood memories. Are these recollections shared with anyone else or are they unique for you?

Music & Memories

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

During the past three weeks my life has been filled with a variety of music events. Each one offered a unique sound, different venue and performers who entertained with style and class.

Every performance generated its own hand clappin’; foot stomppin’; body swayin’; up on your feet dancin’ and singin’ along music. They stirred up memories of my younger self, some unforgettable life experiences and jolted me into realizing just how quickly time passes. And because events occurred all within a short span of time, I experienced a moment that gave me pause to think that lead to questions: Was this a sign or omen that my time on earth was nearing an end? Was this a message from God? A coincidence? A joke?

Let me explain…

One night I listened to a concert given by IMAGINE – a Beatles Tribute Band. This group took me on a musical journey with costumes and Liverpool accents that transported me back in time. As happened, I again boarded a Yellow Submarine, walked down Penny Lane and revisited YESTERDAY. What made it special was that everyone was there: Eleanor Rigby, Sargent Pepper, Lucy, Walrus, Nowhere Man and Jude. How quickly the days of my early twenties flashed before my eyes bringing both smiles and tears with the memories.

On another evening I attended a performance of MY WAY: A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO FRANK SINATRA. All I’ll say to this is, “Everybody, at every age, can relate to one of his songs, whether ones from the1940’s, the Rat Pack or beyond.” His music is fun, romantic and unforgettable. Tunes like Strangers in the Night; Fly Me to the Moon; Chicago; New York, New York; My Way and more were a delight to hear. They took my breath away and brought back memories from long ago that related to a different part of my life—a young, dating adult.  Once again my life flashed before me bringing both smiles and tears along with these memories.


Next came a night at the Battle of the Bands where local teens showcased their talents and age appropriate energy.  The five finalist groups took to the stage like real pros. They drummed, strummed and sang. They hopped, bopped, jumped and twirled to popular cover tunes and their own compositions.  I watched with interest and appreciation for their efforts, applauded with supportive vigor and experienced a night with the musicians of the future. This time my marriage and family were the focus because my oldest son participated in this same event so many years ago.  My life flashed before me bringing both smiles and tears along with special memories from this time in my life.

Okay, so what’s a body to think? Not much...flashes of memories came and went and I’m still here. Guess I shouldn’t think too hard, just enjoy the music and the memories, head off to Heaven Fest…a Christian music concert and Annie Get Your Gun show at the Dinner Theater, and hope for the best…music, memories and being here to post again next month.


Creating Childhood Memories

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

My three grandkids (ages 11, 12, & 13) are staying with me for ten days while their mom is out of town. I live in an apartment with units both below and above me, so keeping noise to a minimum is essential.

We have been playing lots of games. After a while, we began to expand of some of their favorites. When drawing the features on the Cootie, we started adding personalities. Through the addition of clothing, hair, and other accessories we created such appealing characters as Callie Cootie, Curt Cootie, Junior Cootie, Clowny Cootie, and Mousey Cootie. We have a happy Cootie Family for the kids to share with their mom when she returns.

My granddaughter loves to play Casino with me. This is a good game for two people as you only deal out four cards at a time, so you cannot figure out what the other person has. It is also a good game for developing math and observation skills. Kayleen wins at least half of the time.

At one point in time the kids were all in different rooms – the quietest of times. Karl was watching TV, Richie was playing a game on the computer, and Kayleen was pouting on the couch in the living room (due to not being on the computer). I picked up the deck of cards and dealt out old fashioned Solitare. I had barely gotten started with the game when Kayleen came over. She was fascinated. She didn’t know you could play the game with real cards. She thought it was just a computer game! We played several games together and then she was occupied playing on her own for another 30 to 40 minutes.

Other games that we all like to play together include Bingo, Skip-Bo, and Yahtzee. I sometimes put out small prizes for the winners to choose, such as wrapped candies, colorful pencils, and other trinkets.

We have also gone to movies: Kung Fu Panda 2 and Star Wars 5. I have taken them swimming in the apartment pool and at the Chilson Recreation Center, and we have gone shopping (their favorite activity) several times.

All in all, I think my major goal is being accomplished. I want them to have happy childhood memories.

Gone Home

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

A 50th high school reunion beckoned me home to NJ.

100 + class members attended. Some came with spouses others without. Many still lived and worked throughout the state. Others traveled from NY, CA, SC, FL, OH, VA, MA, VT, and CO to join in the festivities.

What surprised me most was the instant connection we made with one another. Seemed like yesterdayÖOh sure, a few years may have passed, gray hairs sprouted and an extra pound or two found its way to intrude, but still present was the same zest for life. One success story after another brought a sense of pride for these old friends who so aptly represented East Side High School out in the world.

Good food, lots of fun and rekindling of friendships...fantastic. DJ played "our" kind of musicÖRock ën Roll of the fifties. Lots of chatter, laughing, singing and dancing! We let the good times roll!

Next day after the reunion breakfast I was on the move.
I drove all over NJ to visit with several high school friends who couldnít make reunion, college friends and family. I scouted old jaunts, rode by homes we lived in, WALKED, really walked, the boardwalk in several beach townsóSeaside Heights, Point Pleasant Beach, and Belmar. Oh the memories generated in these places!

Sand dunes, salty air, ocean waves caressing the sandy beach, sun bathers tanning on colorful towels and blankets and small boats cruising the shoreline were a welcomed sight. Amusement rides for adults and kids, including the carousel and its magical calliope music, drew children of all ages who, with ticket in hand, waited their turn. Hawkers at the game stands challenged the vacationers to take a chance at winning a prize. Carnival type food, pizza at Tomato Joeyís, salt water taffy from Jenkinsonís Beach teased and pleased my taste buds. Miniature golf, fun houses, souvenir shops and the fun filled arcades still lured the crowds. Aside from a few upgrades, the boardwalk hadnít changed much. And how could I not mention the spicy, Lobster Diablo dinner I savored while sitting at a window table watching the boats come and go along Shark River? Nothing like melt-in-your-mouth fresh seafood to top off a wonderful trip.

So happy I went because Helen Pepsin (maiden name) rose to the occasion and uncovered/rediscovered her old self, the one from a lifetime ago...LOL. She was and still is lots of fun. I wonder how she got lost in being Mrs. Eddie and Jimmyís mother, Andyís mother, Matthewís mother and Amyís mother.

Gone homeÖyou bet I did. What a trip! A true blast from the past.

Traditions Must Go Forth

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Checking out a suggested add-a-friend on Facebook I found a post linked to one my childrenís favorite eating establishments when they were growing up. None other then Coloradoís legendary tourist attraction, Casa Bonita.

Itís been years since Iíve patronized this Mexican- themed restaurant located in the town of Lakewood, a suburb of Denver. But as soon as I saw its name in printÖoh, how the memories returnedÖ

The pink and gold, fairyland-like facade on the building made to resemble a hacienda, †blaring Mexican music that greets you as you cross the parking lot on your way in, the colorful lights leading to the entrance and the a massive wooden door with wrought iron hardware.

Once you step inside youíre instantly transported back in time to old Mexico where replicas of the main house of a hacienda with antiques, rustic furniture, hand hewn doors and beamed ceilings amaze and delight. After you soak up the initial ambiance you find yourself following long, twisting and turning cobblestone path toward the restaurant.

The journey takes you past blossoming gardens, hidden courtyards, posters of Mexican activities, and a window that shows the tortilla making crew hard at work.

After you order your food, perhaps an all you can eat menu selection, you move along in a cafeteria type line for pickup and seating. A hostess greets you and leads you to your table in surprise location. You may be led to the middle of a plaza in small village during a festival where the palm trees, mini lights and colorful lanterns emphasize the atmosphere of the town that includes a church, general store, post office, other business buildings, homes of the local residents and a 30 foot waterfall. You may be seated in the town square, a gold or silver mine, a cave or cavern with stalactites and stalagmites nearby.

Your no sooner settle down to enjoy your meal when the fun begins with a whirlwind of entertainment including live cliff divers, flame jugglers, Mariachi bands, authentic dancers in colorful costumes, a wild gorilla chase and a shoot out between the Sheriff and Black Bart.

All this comes before the hot servings (all you can eat) of Sopapillas and honey.

After the dessert itís time to explore the haunted tunnel known as Black Bartís Cave, watch a puppet show, visit the magic theatre, play games in the arcade to earn tickets for prizes and peruse the souvenir shop.

Casa Bonita is a family attraction that has drawn children of all ages since 1974. Itís where many birthdays are celebrated, end of the school year parties are held, out of town guests are entertained or where you go just to have a good time.

Right now Iím thinking about reliving that experience and taking my grandson when he comes to town. After all, itís a tradition that must go forth.

The Book Aunt

Monday, February 15th, 2010

When I was a little girl, my Great-aunt Thelma always sent me books as gifts. Now I know to some kids this might rate up there with underwear for Christmas, but to me it was heaven. Aunt Thelma had no children of her own, but she had an uncanny knack of choosing books I loved. To this day I have the well-worn, first-edition copies of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach with her neat cursive inscription and the date of 1973. I was eight.

In my life I have read thousands of books, but Roald Dahl still heads the list as one of my favorite authors ever. As a childrenís writer myself, I aspire to his extraordinary ability to invent completely ridiculous situations and characters that are somehow totally believable. What kid could resist this opening scene from James and the Giant Peach?

"Here is James Henry Trotter when he was about four years old. (illustration)

Up until this time, he had had a happy life, living peacefully with his mother and father in a beautiful house beside the sea. There were always plenty of other children for him to play with, and there was the sandy beach for him to run about on, and the ocean to paddle in. It was the perfect life for a small boy.

Then, one day, Jamesís mother and father went to London to do some shopping, and there a terrible thing happened. Both of them suddenly got eaten up (in full daylight, mind you, and on a crowded street) by an enormous angry rhinoceros which had escaped from the London Zoo."

See what I mean? So, what books do you remember from your childhood?