Sunday, April 04, 2004

Waxing Nostalgic

Since Friday evening and throughout the weekend, my mind has been whisking me back through my memories but landing me in places unvisited in many many years. I don't know why I am reminded of these particular things at this particular moment but I am comforted by their familiarity.

I remember the South Kingston parking lot. As the three children in our household and the five children across the street one-by-one reached the age of sixteen, the number of cars parked in the street around our cul-de-sac made it resemble a used car lot.

I remember the block parties we used to have. The families up and down the street used to get together for the 4th of July or some other warm-weather occasion and have a cookout in the middle of the street. It was during one of these events that I first tried homemade ice cream.

I remember spending one July 4th with a good friend of mine, Linda Anderson. I would later relive that picnic while listening to Eddie Murphy chronicle events at his family cookouts. There was an uncle in charge of fire and meat as well as several cousins in charge of the fireworks show.

My most vivid memory of that afternoon happened before the sun went down. Linda's uncle Billy had started shooting off black cats so I was getting used to the rapidfire "pop pop pop pop" of a string firecrackers. All of a sudden, while no one was watching, the was a horrendous, echoing BOOM!!! Billy had decided to drop an M-40 (the M-80 - equivalent to a 1/4 stick of dynamite - had been recently outlawed) into a concrete enclosure in the middle of the yard. The design of the structure, presumably used to burn trash and yard waste, caused and amplification and echo of the concussive force... it's the second-best fireworks I've experienced.

Remind me to tell you about spending July 4, 2001 in Richmond, VT.

I recall a family that rented a house in the neighborhood for a while. They had a son, Tim, who was older than me and a daughter, Martha who was younger than me. Every time she approached him and, wanting to speak with him, said, "Tim?" He would respond matter-of-factly with, "Martha." For some reason, this drove Martha nuts and it was quite fun to watch.

I remember driving the Fiat spider a girlfriend owned. It was the first time I had ever even ridden in a convertible. I also remember that you could put the top down (or up, for that matter) without ever unbuckling your seatbelt.

I remember walking to U-Tot-Em or 7-11 with my brother from our duplex off South Peoria to get slushies. Mom told us we weren't allowed to walk there because it required that we cross Peoria to get there but we went anyway.

That brings back the memory of my brother taking me to Jenks to get my driver's license. We stopped at a U-Tot-Em to switch drivers so I could get some last-minute practice.

And I remember driving my brother's Camaro. I don't remember what year it was, exactly (1970-something), but I remember it was gold (and primer) and he paid $1,300.00 for it. I also remember that it had very heavy doors. I had never driven in my life and, for some reason, John let me drive the car down Joplin St. toward home... I'm surprised I didn't give him whiplash in the scant 3-minutes I was in control.

I also remember losing a tire from that Camaro while we all drove to Schlotzsky's for my birthday.

I don't know why these particular memories are coming to mind. Some are fleeting and are hard to recall at the moment but as they come, I live there for a moment and am comforted.

No comments: