June 19, 2005

Questions of my Childhood

Amy tagged me with this meme and went to the trouble of emailing me to let me know (and throwing in a little ego-stroking as well). Since I'm a sucker for flattery...

Five Things I Miss From My Childhood

1. The toys. We'd spend hours outside playing with G.I. Joes, and not those wussified later versions either with the lame-ass "real" hair and beard, or kung-fu grip, or even later those dwarf-i-fied posers. I'm talking real freakin' G.I. Joes, with miniature versions of actual machine guns and grenades and bayonettes instead of made-up "cool" weapons. We didn't have any stupid nicknames either, like "Cobra" or "Streetsweeper". No secret fortress or fancy basecamps, we'd dig actual trenches and ambush pits with twig and grass covers, and someone's Mom would make us little canvas ponchos and squares that we'd turn into tents. Each of us had one or maybe two Joe's, a rifle for each and maybe a pistol and a few grenades. Then there were the Erector sets. I had three or four of them, huge metal boxes stuffed full of metal girders and plates and L-beams and pulleys and hundreds of stripped little screws and nuts. Mine all came from the flea market, where my folks would run across them on someone's table and buy it for me. They weren't complete sets, just lots of random pieces thrown together for sale secondhand. That was ok though, and I would spend hours building giant cranes and cars, and every "new" box of parts was like Christmas. For a while, my brother and I were into Hot Wheels. When we finally talked our parents into getting us a set, I specifically asked for a Camaro. I was so disappointed when we opened the set and pulled out the two included cars, because one was a Camaro. Turns out that what I really wanted was a Corvette, and my parents achieved deification when they handed each of us an extra car and mine was the Corvette I so desperately wanted! I remember my brother's first car was the Hot Wheels version of the Beatnik Bandit in bright metallic green. We collected a couple dozen cars apiece and never went beyond a fairly basic track setup, although my folks bought us a pair of high-banked turns one year for Christmas. There's so much more... Lego, back when you had to use your imagination when building things with them, and your whole collection of parts consisted of red and white bricks with maybe a few clear plastic and the rare yellow, black or blue brick. I've posted before about the Secret Sam briefcase. We had a closet in the old house that was full of board games. The contents of that closet could become a post of its own, maybe for a rainy day, that seems appropriate.

2. Orchards
. I grew up on the outskirts of San Jose, California (before it became the Silicon Valley) and our playgrounds were fruit orchards. We spent the days running around and playing in them, we camped in them at night, and often we earned a little pocket money in them during the summer by cutting apricots for drying. Later we moved to the opposite end of the city and instead of apricots and cherries we had miles and miles of pear orchards. All summer long we feasted on pears picked right from the trees and towards fall had huge battles where the ammo was overripe fruit. At the end of the day we'd head home bathed in a sickly-sweet miasma from the smooshed fruit that we'd been splatted with.

3. Rainy days.
I still love rainy days, but when I was young my Dad built a patio cover made of corrugated aluminum. Next best thing to a tin roof, believe me. I loved playing outside even when it rained, and at night the best lullaby ever was the sound of the drops dancing and drumming outside the window.

4. Fishing with my Dad. For one stretch, my Dad worked nights. During the summer he would come home before dawn and get my brother and I up to go fishing. He'd send the dog in to wake us up while he brewed up a thermos of coffee for himself, and sometimes he brought a bag of donuts for breakfast. We'd quickly get dressed and grab our poles and tackle boxes and head for one of the local reservoirs. We had lots of choices in our area, but I remember going to Coyote and Lake Anderson most of the time. When we got there, we'd bait up with earthworms (sometimes with salmon eggs just for a change) and toss our lines in from the bank. We caught mostly crappie and bluegill, occasionally a small bass and even more occasionally a catfish. If someone was nearby we'd offer them our fish, if not we'd release them. After a couple of hours the sun would be fully up and the fish would quit biting so we'd head home. Dad would go to bed and we'd head outside to play all day.

5. Mom's Goulash. "Goulash" is what my Mom called it, although I know now that it was nothing like the real thing. I remember it had chunks of tomato and hamburger and maccaroni in it and I absolutely loved it. We didn't have it often because my Dad hated it, and I learned something valuable from him. As my kids were growing up we'd sometimes have something that I hated, but I ate it anyway because they liked it. And since I would do that, they learned that sometimes you do something you would really rather not just because it makes someone else happy. I asked my Mom for the recipe a couple of times before she died, but she never got around to giving it to me, if she even had it written down anywhere. I'll never try to make it from memory, because I remember it as being perfect, and I don't want to disappoint myself.

So that's my five. Thanks Amy, this one was fun!

The rules:

Remove the #1 item from the following list, bump everyone up one place and add your blog’s name in the #5 spot. You need to actually link to each of the blogs for the link-whorage aspect of this fiendish meme to kick in.

margi lowry *dot* com
Note-It Posts
Eat The Lettuce
Prochein Amy
Rocket Jones

Next, select four unsuspecting victims, list and link to them.

Son of Cheese
Dusting My Brain
Oorgo Blog

Posted by Ted at June 19, 2005 10:56 AM
Category: Boring Stories Links

We had what my mom called "hamburger goulash" for dinner once a week when I was a kid. I do have a recipe (my mom wrote it down for me when I moved out), but I won't offer it, because it might not be quite the same...

And reading your orchard story, all I could think was: bee stings!

Posted by: nic at June 19, 2005 01:43 PM

Thanks for sharing, Ted!!!

Posted by: Amy at June 19, 2005 06:56 PM

ohhh, look...Link whoring and tagging...

I'll get on it.

Posted by: Derek at June 20, 2005 04:30 PM
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