– Or Childhood Memories –
When I was five years old, we lived in a tri-level house on the corner of Boston Blvd and Quincy. It was this strange rosy-purple color – the siding, that is – and had no garage. The yard on the left was flanked by pink-rose bushes, and we had three trees in the yard. In the fall, there were enough leaves on the grass that my dad could gather them into a pile about as big as I was at the time, and I’d jump in them.
My room was in the basement, sort of – my window opened up to the ground. We had a computer room on the third floor, where my dad would work, and there was a green futon in it, and it matched the green lamp on the desk that always reminded me of my dad’s office at work, for whatever reason. I think he had a similar one on his desk there.
I remember the night my brother was born, and leaving the house with my grandparents to got see him for the first time. (I held him and he burst into a fit of tears; the picture is quite hilarious.) I remember the small craft table I had in the kitchen, and the couches in the living room; I remember sliding around in my socks on the wood floor. Parading around with my brother, bags or blankets on our heads.
On some Saturdays, my family would pile in the car and drive into East Lansing, onto the Michigan State campus, and we’d feed the ducks on the Red Cedar River, or wander the campus. Sometimes, we’d spend the day at the Beal Botanical gardens; this huge park filled with exotic and common flowers that wound around pathways and duck ponds. At one end, you entered from the street – from the sprawl of the city directly into this beautiful field of plants – and, at the other, was this huge, mesh peacock that the grounds keepers covered in flowers in the spring and summer.
I remember art fairs that sprawled over the entire college campus. I remember MSU, and its buildings that reminded my of gingerbread houses. And I remember trees – East Lansing was one of the few places with trees.
Later, when we moved to a dinky little township called Delta, I would build memories in the holes dug for house foundations, basements with no home to claim them, and piles of misplaced dirt. I would walk down to the creek behind my house – and, in one specific, freak incident, walk down in the middle of April, clad in snowpants, a jacket, and boots, to walk atop the frozen water. I remember the crushing despair at having to leave that place.
I remember Michigan, and I do believe I over romanticize it a bit, but it was my early childhood. I went to preschool there, kindergarden, first grade, and had three recesses! And it was dreadfully hard to leave. But, looking back on it, even though I miss the walks by the Red Cedar, and wandering around the MSU campus with my parents, and vehemently declaring that I would never, ever got the Michigan State, I also appreciate that it lead me to Virginia. It lead me to where I am today and still influences who I am today (if Soup Night and my lack of spice tolerance are any indication).
I suppose the point of all the grossly nostalgic writing is this – I think it’s important to know where you come from, and to look back, every once and a while, on the things you remember and how those memories shaped, and continue to shape, who you are as a person.