Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Early Childhood Memories

My earliest memory was of my Mom and I. I was 2 or 3 and had managed to climb out of my crib in the apartment we were living at The Crossings in Glassboro, NJ. I clearly remember swinging one leg over and then the other and basically falling onto the 70's carpet below. I wandered down the hallway and surprised her in the kitchen. She wasn't upset but she was a little shocked that I had figured out how to get out. "What are you doing Marc!" she said surprised.  I said "I got out Mommy!" "You sure did!"

Another of my earliest memories was drinking out of a glass for the very first time. It was apple juice, sweet, and I remember holding so tightly with both hands while in the kitchen. I was a green juice glass. It seemed so big and heavy at the time. In retrospect, I figure my hands were just so small. I was so proud of myself. I said to Mom, “Look Mommy I am drinking just like a big kid!” She smiled and agreed. No more bottle for me! I have fond memories of catching pollywogs with Adam and my Dad in the stream which ran through the field next to the apartment building. Dad would allow us to hold the tiny black tadpoles in our little hands, watching them squirm around before releasing them back into the stream. It's one of my favorite memories. I remember playing with Lego's and blocks with Adam. We had these die cast metal toy planes that I loved to play with as well. There were 747's with stickers all over them. I see them in several pictures we have and have often wondered what happened to them. The wistful memories of childhood toys...

Adam and I would also play “ghost” with sheets over our heads. Unfortunately, we were not too smart and forgot to put eye holes in the sheets. Adam ended up falling and cracking his head open on one of Dad’s huge rocks he had collected in the apartment. Mom and Dad rushed him to the hospital and stitched up a gash on his forehead. You can just barely make out the scar today from so many years ago. I also remember doing lots of artwork with Dad. Being an art professor at Glassboro State College, he actively encouraged us to draw, color, paint, and create sculptures.

There are memories of playing with my brother and sister in the Crossings apartment. Adam would trick me into getting into the toy chest and shut the lid and shut the lid on me. Why I would fall for it every time is beyond me! Adam and Sheryl would also climb up the bunk bed ladder and play up there leaving me screaming down at the bottom because I couldn’t climb up. I was so jealous that they were having fun without me. Sometimes Mom would allow us to create forts with all of these sheets. She would walk into the  bedroom or the family room (when we moved to Wenonah) and would find every piece of furniture was covered and connected in sheets. We would be underneath plotting some battle against an imaginary foe. My sister Sheryl taught us how to create the forts. In the age before video games, she also taught us how to play games outside: Red Light Green Light, Mother May I, Simon Says, Flashlight Tag, Freeze Tag, Hide and Go Seek, kick ball, and whiffle ball. We would stay outside way past dark playing these games. Either Adam or Sheryl always won. It was tough sometimes being the youngest (although I did enjoy being spoiled by my parents).

It was a simple time and we were struggling financially but Mom always stretched her dollars and we never went without. I never seemed to noticed that we were poor, that’s just how it was. I always had toys, always had clothes, and always had food on the table. Mom’s macaroni and cheese, her meatloaf, her baked chicken all come to mind. Dad would make the best pancakes on the weekends and Sheryl, Adam,and I would have contests to see how many we could eat. I believe Adam won with eating thirty pancakes in one sitting! I still can smell them in my memories. There was lots of cereal, lots of soups, canned veggies, and applesauce. We were a “left over” house. Mom used up everything. Today, my sister and I feel that this is why were are so thrifty. Whether Mom realized it or not, she taught us the value of the dollar, even at so young an age.

My Nanny was the same way and probably instilled this unto my mother. She ironed wrapping paper so that she could reuse it. She saved boxes and countless bags. She made apple sauce from the crab apple tree in the back of her yard. I remember really not liking it. I was definitely a jarred applesauce type of kid. It is kind of comforting knowing and realizing how much you are influenced by your Mom and to an extent, your grandparents.

The reason I write about my memories is that as I get older, some of them get fuzzy. Some memories just become feelings, sounds, smells, or a freeze frame of what was once a large event. I don't like forgetting things but alas, that is what happens as we get older. I would watch my mother try and remember childhood friends from pictures and see the joy in her eyes when she would remember certain things about them or the day the picture was taken. She would state, "My God, I haven't thought of her in years!" It gave me joy to see her smile over them.

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