Sunday, January 20, 2008

From the Corners of My Mind

I have warm fuzzy feelings about the memories of my youth. I'm not idealizing my childhood. It was all well and good and all, but certainly not ideal.

Youth is crap; I much prefer being an adult. Why, you ask? First off, children's priorities are all 'effed up. God, I remember stuff that as a child I thought was the end all be all most important thing ever! And that was crap! Needing the electronic game Merlin? I assure you, I did not need that game (I did get it, however, for Chanukah I think? Although, then we had to get batteries for it. Argh, the angst.).

Oh the things I thought were a big deal - that I prioritized worrying about! Being disruptive in school (talking, duh) and living in fear that the teacher was gonna call my parents. And if she did, it was certainly going to be the end of the world. Or when I was a little older, once I had my period, spending the entire freaking school day terrified that I'd bleed on my pants. You can have no idea how much time I wasted suffering over that, figuratively wringing my hands. All right, I coulda used Zoloft back in the day, but still! If only my future self could have visited me back then and said, kid, listen, chill.

And children have no power! Not that I would have wanted power. Can you imagine if I'd had power? That would have been bad. I mean, come on, my priorities were all wrong.

And you're a real live person (albeit with ridiculous notions) in a tiny body and no one takes you seriously (for good reason). But I remember feeling mighty grown-up as a five year old. And at ten? Sheesh, don't get me started. (Too late.)

Anyhoo, my point (lordy, I wonder how often I'm gonna say that during my life of blogging). I like to think about things and places from my youth. Objects that I had. Places where I spent lots of time. I like to wander through my elementary school in my mind's eye (I feel like after saying, "mind's eye," I should make some oooo eeee oooo noise. Dunno why).

I had a pretty snazzy elementary school. Frank E. Doherty, West Bloomfield, Michigan. They built it, gee, probably around 1969 (also when I was built). I like to stroll around there in my brain. Do you ever tour places in your brain that you thought you forgot? I recommend it; I find it very satisfying. Doherty's architecture was very open, with a large oval library in the center of the school. It was sunken! Like a living room! And it was ringed by shelves that were topped by Formica counters. So as you walked through the halls outside of the library, those counter tops were proper counter-top height. And it was just open walls into the library, and of course across to the other side. Alrighty then, this can make no possible sense to you, so I'll stop. Suffice it to say, nice school. Wait, not sufficient, I do want to mention the little nook down the little hallway off the gym/cafeteria. Near the incinerator, the janitor (I want to say Mr. Booker, but that sounds suspect to me) had a small cranny (though he was not a small man). I think it was even decorated and had a TV and a wing-back chair. Not sure why I ever got to go back there (never for nefarious reasons, I assure you), but I do recall it being a cozy wonderland.

Seriously now, do you ever do that? Can you ride a bike through the streets of the neighborhood of your youth, in your brain? And just as you think you couldn't possibly remember what's around the next corner, you ride along and there it is, your memory of the next corner?

Go think about something pleasant that you haven't thought about in years. Report back.




Daniel said...

I wish I had the time right now to dredge up some well-designed spot from my childhood and word-charette it for you right here but instead I need to reprogram TiVo and read my voter guide and oh yeah there's the 2 year old in the bathtub, I ought to get back to him soon. But this is a post from a few years back about a few places where, as a powerless and self-important youth, I recall the times were good. But I am glad to say, somehow, the better times seem to be the more recent ones.

However, my elementary school custodian's office never sounded so cool as yours does. Good ol' Curtis... the only man I was allowed to call by his first name. His office was a hole. Literally. If we pulled out his ladder he was stuck there till the next flood. I still think of him and berate myself for how we treated him... oh man now I feel bad. Isn't blogging wonderful?

Daniel said...

Hm, my link seems broken. It was supposed to take you here:

(and with that he disappears into a cloud of good intentions and bad coding...)

joanna said...

You know when you wrote, a few posts back, about what you like to read on other people's blogs? "When I read other people's stuff, I like it when they describe something that I feel all the time, but never knew anyone else felt." That's what you said. In case you forgot.

Guess what? You totally just did that for me. I often (offen, not of-ten) tour in my mind the dwellings and haunts of my youth, and while I never thought I was particularly unique in doing so, it didn't occur to me that anyone else was doing the same.

I like to take mental field trips of my grandparents' house and yard, my summer camp (in NEOTSU!), my junior high school (so many secret passageways and hiding spots there). Sometimes I like to imagine the floor plan of the Brady Bunch house, even though I was never actually there. But I used to have dreams that I lived there and was part of the family (interpretation?), so I sort of was there, in a way.

My elementary school janitor's name was Bryce, by the by. Bryce was a friendly guy who wore a jumpsuit and a silvery comb-over, but was sadly nook-less, as far as I ever knew.