Friday, September 3, 2010

My Childhood

A little bit about me: My. Memory. Sucks. I don't remember hardly anything from my childhood before 10, but even after 10 I don't remember beyond a few special memories before high school. And even high school, is sort of a blur.

So one thing I thought I'd start doing, is chronicling the things I do remember from childhood. I'm hoping that the more I think about it, the more I'll remember. I think it's important to be able to acknowledge where we came from and to be able to remember the events that have shaped us into the people we are today. Sometimes I feel sort of cheated that I can only remember vague glimpses of my childhood. Other times, I wish I could forget entirely.

One thing I know about my childhood: it was bittersweet. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to focus on remembering the good only, or the good and the bad. Both have shaped me, impacted who I am today, but is pain really worth remembering? Should I really be spending energy on trying to remember the skeletons in the closet, or should I focus on the rainbows and sunshine?

Is the sunshine as bright without memory of the shadow? Is the joy as sweet without remembrance of the pain?

My first story will be one of my very earliest memories. It is more like a picture that I remember than a story. the picture is of our old house in Cincinnati. I am only 3 maybe. I am standing on the rust-colored carpet of the staircase with my 3 older brothers, straining to be tall enough to watch. We are flying paper airplanes off of the staircase into the living room. Dad is making the airplanes for us and watching from his chair while we crash our planes into everything. One gets stuck on the mantle. Everyone is happy.

The biggest thing I remember about this is that everyone is happy. No one is yelling; no one is fighting. Dad is amiably playing along, helping us retrieve our airplanes when they get stuck or just making a new one to replace it.

The strangest thing about this memory is why I remember it. I couldn't tell you. Was it the first time I saw a paper airplane? Maybe. Was there something else going on in life that caused this memory to be preserved? Why do I remember this picture so vividly? The thick shaggy carpet beneath my feet. The weird vases on the mantle that our planes kept crashing into. The gold-colored lamp in the corner. the wing-back chair dad was sitting in. The shape of the cutout that divided the staircase from the living room. I remember it very clearly, especially considering how little I remember in general about my life.

What do you think? Do you think I should strive to remember the Joy and the Pain, or just the Joy? What would you do?

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