There are those who will say “never look back”. Who will say that one should either “live in the moment” and “be present” or should “set one’s sights on things to come”. I, however, am of the firm belief that the past is a doorway through which we must walk into the present and then beyond. And so. I cannot help but let my mind drift back in time: sometimes to the near past… sometimes to the distant past. But always back, always to the past, to times gone by. Even as I presently seek to live fully in the “here and now”.
My childhood memories are sweet. Those I shared in the last post sparked several other precious memories to surface as I reflected. While going about my morning, I realized I had forgot to mention other little moments: like the coldness of my Maine home’s sun-porch during the winter months, Jack Frost’s intricate designs painted on the windows. Mom reminded me a while back that she used to bundle up my baby sister under layers of quilts and place her in this frosty spot, snug in her baby carriage. She was none the wiser for her frigid nap times.
I had also forgotten about my mother’s sewing compartment. That mysterious, folding arrangement that contained the best thing of all: buttons of every type and variety. I would sort and examine and arrange these various buttons, all while my mother mended our clothing or sewed us something new. Even now, I remember discovering the secret compartments within the two-tiered box and feeling like I had discovered a goldmine. Underscoring this memory, I have in my mind the sound of Christmas music playing in the background, for some reason.
It is funny how the mind works.
I remember other tastes in addition to those already mentioned before. One I disliked was powdered milk, purchased and consumed because a carton of real milk was often too expensive. Thinking of that glass of milk further brings to mind Hilda Ireland’s chocolate-chip cookies, which were perfect in every way. My mom still has her handwritten recipe among her collection of best-loved cooking delights. And for one final taste: that of dogfood, believe it or not. I remember once and only once popping one nugget into my mouth and then giving the next to my dog, Princess.
The funny thing about memories is they lead you somewhere. I cannot help but continue travelling back in time, courtesy of my five senses. It is a flight into long-lost corridors in time.
I guess the most important thing about beginnings are that they are the origins for all else. My childhood is the foundation on which the rest of my life rests. In many cases, the memories I have created of my childhood have been sought to be recreated for my own children. I have tried to do for them what was done for me: the making of homemade treats, the promotion of lots of outdoor play, the emphasis on reading and the offering of a great deal of love.
But as with all beginnings, journeys start somewhere and end in another place.
I am now a forty-four year old woman with a full-time career, a family and home of my own…along with being a person who lives her life with a mindset to move quickly and decisively, wasting not a second. This Puritanical mentality leaves precious little time to process and savor those sweet memories of my childhood, many of which have faded and morphed into something of a fairy tale.
More fiction than fact.
Sometimes, it is important to place the finger on pause. To stop in one’s tracks. So that one can listen to the voices of the past, the sounds and music that plays on in the mind. So that a person can see what used to be. So that they can smell the yeast rising in the bread dough on the counter, to be soon kneaded and folded into a dozen loaves. So that they can see that little girl doing flips on her swing-set, a gymnast in the making.
So that one can be little again. That innocent, beloved little girl who still lives on inside the mind.
While it might not be the most important thing, it certainly is the beauty of remembering one’s beginnings.