First, I want to call out my mom a little bit on this one. Generally we don’t remember a lot of things from our childhoods on our own accord, generally we have these things called photographs to help us remember things. There are approximately 9 pictures of me from my childhood, and that’s counting the one the hospital took of my when I was born. So, maybe that’s why I don’t have many childhood memories. I’m just sayin’, maybe.
I’m not sure exactly what the parameters are for this one. What constitutes childhood? I mean, other people have listed things form high school, but for me that was only like 5 years ago, so is that childhood? Can I count those memories? Or do I have to back to when I was 7? Oh well.
#1. Christmas Eve. I remember when Christmas Eve was the biggest celebration ever with my family. My mom’s side of the family would gather around 6pm and we’d be together until midnight-ish. Lots of gifts. Lots of food. Lots of love. It really was the most wonderful time of the year. We’d make my mom start eating first because it took her forever to finish and we couldn’t open presents until everyone was done. Then we’d all pick a spot in the room and the big kids would pass out presents. And that would take forever. We used to have stacks of presents so high that you couldn’t even really see the tree, plus they would be over flowing in the the next room. But then, somewhere along the line, the magic died out a little bit. Don’t get me wrong I still treasure those times with my family, but it just seemed like life was easier for everyone back when I was little.
#2. The Racetrack. I basically grew up at our local racetrack. Many Friday nights were spent playing in the grass on the hill behind the bleachers. We would get there at 5:30-ish and I’d go play until it was time to leave around midnight. Sometimes I’d bring friends with me, but mostly I just played with the other kids that were there. My mom didn’t seem to worry about me, not to make that sound bad, it’s just that when you know everyone in the whole arena, there’s not much to worry about. I had the whole place (drivers included) wrapped around my finger, it’s not like I was going to get kidnapped. After I turned “old enough” I was basically given free reign of the place, and still to this day, I know it like the back of my hand. Back then I could tell you anything you wanted to know about a race car, or any driver. Racing is in my blood. For a really long time I wanted to drive race car, if the opportunity presented itself, I still would. There are a few nights I remember more than others. I can remember one night when it was stormy and then the storm got really bad and we all had to leave. I remember losing my toys that I had brought with me that night because my mom didn’t give me time to pick them up. She just picked me up, and we left.
I also remember the night my cousin Wayne McCarthy was killed in an accident at that very track. I was Wayne’s favorite, no doubt about that, and he was mine. I remember everyone screaming. I remember it happening right in front of where we all were. And I remember my mom running down to the fence. And I remember being made to sit in the bathroom at my house with two of my cousins, while all the adults were frantic. I was only four, so maybe those aren’t real memories, maybe it’s something my mind has fabricated around the night but it’s what’s in my head.
#3. “Running Away.” Okay, just to be clear, I didn’t actually run away. I was outside playing in the creek and just wandered a bit too far. Things just got a little out of hand. A friend of mine and I were outside playing in this creek-thing behind my house, and we may have wandered across town in it. Nowadays I’d never do that because I know that there were snakes and bugs and other gross things in that creek, but back when I was in the fourth grade I was apparently fearless (or stupid). When we climbed out of the creek, it was dark and we were probably about a mile away from my house. So we started walking home. And then we started seeing police cars. So naturally we hid from them. I knew someone at basically every other house on the way home, so I could have stopped at any one of those houses to call home, but I was afraid I’d get in trouble. So I didn’t stop. I hid from those houses. When I did get home, my parents were crying. They had called the police, and basically then entire town was looking for me. But the kicker is that I didn’t even get into trouble. My parents we just so excited to see me again that they didn’t yell at me. Win.
(because I haven’t revealed anything embarrasing)
Records. I can remember not being able to walk across the floor at my house in fear of many the record skip. I can also vividly remember dancing with my dad to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s version of “I Wanna Be Like You.”
Fly swatters. I remember my Granny having one for all of us grandkids with out names on them. And when I say all of us grandkids, I really mean she had one for me and my cousin, Tim. We used to fight all the time (for the record I always won). And we’d get into trouble for various things out at her house. We had our own fly swatters, so clearly she didn’t mess around.
Billy Ray Cyrus. I was obsessed with the guy. I had his poster on my wall. One time, after my dad found me playing with a lighter in a cardboard box after specifically being told not to, instead of spanking me, he torn my poster down. I sobbed. That was the worst punishment imaginable. (He eventually taped it back together and put it back up.) I also used to sing “Achy Breaky Heart” for my Grandpa and he would give me quarters.
Rugrats on VHS. Back when Nickelodeon had good cartoons they used to do 6 hour marathons over the first week of summer, and I would record Rugrats day. Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, Spike, Reptar, Susie and Angelica were my faves. I used to put that VHS in every night and fall asleep to it.
Power Rangers. I was a Power Ranger back in the day. I didn’t do Rainbow Bright, or Care Bears, or My Little Pony. I was all about the Power Rangers (Tommy was my favorite). I used to beat up my swingset because it was a bad guy. One time the boys down the road took my belt-thing that had all the little gold medallions in it with every rangers spirit animal on it, and they tossed them everywhere. I never found them. The jerks (I’m talking to you Sean Flack)! I also used to have an imaginary friend named Jason who was also a Power Ranger. And when I out grew the Power Rangers, I didn’t out grow Jason. He then because my storm chasing partner, my FBI partner, and my imaginary boyfriend. Jason was always there for me.
I used to do some ridiculous things with my friends. Haley and I used to be Lizzie McGuire. She had the soundtrack, so we’d put on performances just for ourselves. And have photo shoots (none of those pictures will ever been seen by the public, like ever). Oh, and we also had fake identities on MSN messenger. Hope an Allanah Anderson…or something like that. We had the most fabulous lives! And we would trick all the people we knew into believing we were real. There was nothing more cool than tricking those people in school who were “cooler than you” into being jealous of your life (unfortunately it didn’t work on everyone, Taylor and Staci figured us out). We also used to swim in Haley’s pool, which was metal and round, and I’m pretty sure was actually meant to be a feeder for some sort of livestock, and pretend that people were drowning us. Haley and I went through a lot of ridiculous things together, most of which I will not be sharing with you.