Miles From Fenway


Random Memories
August 18, 2005, 1:56 am
Filed under: family, Rhode Island

Childhood memory is a funny thing. You can never tell if what your remembering is an actual recollection of the event, or an amalgam of stories you’ve been told. For example, I will swear until my dying day that I remember falling into the deep end of a pool when I was three (or so) and on vacation with my family on Cape Cod. It’s not a full memory, just a vague recollection of going under and a hand reaching out to grab me. This belief, that I truly remember the sensation, even if it is in the hazy way you remember a dream when you first wake up, is most likely unfounded. I was most likely too young to actually remember and have simply pieced together a “false memory” (see what working on psychology textbooks will do to you) from the endless retellings of the story at family gatherings.

But the one thing that I know I will remember, and that I know is true, are the details of my grandparents house in Pawtucket, RI. Though they moved to FL when I was somewhere around ten, so many memories are stored in that house that is no longer theirs that for years I couldn’t drive by it without getting misty eyed. Oh let’s be honest, I couldn’t drive past it without bawling for at least a year.

Certain things stick out. The green shag carpeting in the family room for sure. I used to pretend it was grass and have picnics on it. With my mother’s parents living so close to my childhood home I spent an amazing amount of time with my grandparents. I used to sleep over with Grandma and Papa quite frequently, and perhaps that’s what contributes to the fact that I actually do remember that the Chips Ahoy cookies were always in the left hand cupboard above the stove. And that the Tupperware was underneath the microwave in the corner. It’s literally impossible to forget their kitchen table as it now resides in my dining room after living for a long time in my parent’s kitchen as well.

I remember the living room was a sacred place, only visited on holidays and when I wanted to be a rebel. I remember that at the far end of the hallway stood a bookshelf that had the greatest glass clown on it. I remember the “toy basket” that was home to my life-sized Raggedy Anne and Andy dolls. But most of all I remember the basement.

I spent more hours down in the basement than I ever would have imagined I could. I was a bit of a “’fraidy cat” and was never a huge fan of the dark. So a basement filled with stacks of boxes, a washer and dryer that made some interesting noises, and an old desk filled with more National Geographic’s than I have yet to this day ever seen in one place, wouldn’t have been the most likely of play places for me. Yet I found myself there constantly. Sitting at the desk, a small lamp my only illumination, looking at all the pictures in the magazines I couldn’t quite understand yet. Creating trains filled with cargo out of any box that was light enough that I could move. And best of all, getting rained on by pennies.

One lasting image I will always have of my grandmother is her standing at the top of the stairs to the basement tossing pennies down on the floor. I was never supposed to know she was throwing them. I always acted as if they had appeared out of thin air and then scampered off to wherever they had rolled to exclaim in my newfound riches.

I know that many of these memories may be, yet again, the product of numerous stories. But to me they’ll always be real. And for some reason they came flooding back to me tonight and I felt like taking a trip down memory lane. And what would a road trip be without company. Just don’t touch the radio. I like this song.

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5 Comments so far
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That’s such a sweet story. I hope that you still have such great memories of your grandparents…even now that you’re older. I lost my Nana just about 2 years ago and it still seems like yesterday…but she left me with so many great memories…and stories just as vivid in my mind as the one you’ve told.

Comment by Miss Browneyedgirlie

I was just talking to a friend of mine last night, we had both been in car accidents. I asked her if she can remember when it happened, and she could recall every detail. I do not remember mine, because I was sleeping when it happened, but I can imagine the whole scenerio as if I were awake only based on what the other people in the car with me have described. I dunno, it’s just weird to me I guess. But you are sooo right about memories and stories, now you’ve got me wondering about some of my childhood “memories” hmmmm.

~April~

Comment by Gimpy

really great line: “I remember the living room was a sacred place, only visited on holidays and when I wanted to be a rebel.”

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