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11 Reader Comments on Childhood Memories | Cup of Jo

Lately we’ve featured quite a bit of nostalgic posts, and in flip, you’ve given us your greatest life classes and household tales. Here, 11 readers share their childhood recollections…

On nicknames:

“When I was little, my hair was bright orange, like a Troll doll. My family started calling me Troll. To this day, I am 47, it makes me feel special.” — Mary

“My name is Kristina, but my dad, and only my dad, has always called me Charlie. If I’m in a crowded place and someone says ‘Charlie,’ I don’t even notice, but if my dad says it, I immediately respond, like it’s my own name.” — Kristina

On growing a mantra:

“When I was 11, I saw the movie Grease for the first time with my 14-year-old cousin. In that moment when you first see Danny Zuko at Rydell — John Travolta turns around as the camera zooms in on his big, beautiful grin — my cousin said, ‘Just so you know, boys in high school don’t look like that.’ The line has been a perennial refrain for me ever since: A house in a Nancy Meyers movie? Just so you know, boys in high school don’t look like that. A mother looking well-rested with clean hair shortly after giving birth? Just so you know, boys in high school don’t look like that. A teacher in a movie who has a single reasonably-sized class? Just so you know, boys in high school don’t look like that.” — Ashley

On favourite books:

“We were big fans of Hank the Cowdog in this family. Every time we road-tripped from Austin to Amarillo to visit my granny, we listened to eight hours of Hank, thanks to books on tape! My husband and I can’t wait to read them when our son is born.” — Bec

“My mom was our school librarian, and one year she read us Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney about a woman who sows mountain flowers all over the countryside and later sees how they brighten the world. The best part: my mom had us grow flowers from seedlings in pots on the windowsill of the library and every week we got to see our plants grow and feel like we were changing the world! That book is why I became a writer.” — Jaime

On free-range recollections:

“My father was a park ranger for the first 10 years of my life in the 80s. Our family lived in a state park in the Midwest where vacationers would camp, swim, ride horses and paddle boats. If my brothers or I complained of boredom, mom would always say, ‘Go outside.’ We roamed the park trails and spent most summer afternoons at the pool. That life gifted us a collection of stories — like the time some visitors picked up and took my brother to the park office, as they thought he was a lost little boy. The park was part of a small rural community. For school, a local parent drove an old school bus to pick up the kids who lived along the highway to take us to a three-room schoolhouse on the prairie. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized how unique this childhood was. I’ve since lived in four states and abroad, and out of all my lives, I’ll never forget our family’s life in the park.” — Angela

On feeling grown up:

“When I was four years old, I was dancing in the car backseat to ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,’ when I stopped suddenly and exclaimed ‘That’s not true! I want a home, a family, and a job in the workplace!’ Funnily enough 25 years later, I’m a single renter who is bouncing between teaching jobs. But I have a place to call home, a loving extended family and workplaces that value me. So, I guess four-year-old me would be proud.” — Jesse

(*11*) — N.

On curse phrases:

“My parents rarely swore, and I still remember the first time I swore in front of my mom. She was picking my friends and me up from school and one of my friends was late. I kind of sighed, ‘Ah, shit,’ in the back of the minivan, and my mom’s eyes found mine in the rearview mirror. She didn’t say anything about it until dinner when she started crying about how ‘my daughter is just swearing in front of her parents now!’ I felt so bad that I watched it around her from then on. Now that we’re all adults, though, I swear in front of her all the fucking time.” — Hannah

“Growing up, my parents did a good job of hiding curse words from me. When I was mad at my mom, I would call her ‘The Darnit Lady,’ and I thought that was really sticking it to her!” — Michaela

On feeling bittersweet:

“I am from the land of yes ma’ams and covered dish suppers at church. There’s nothing better than the memory of homemade vanilla ice cream in an old ice cream maker with my dad cutting and dropping slices of peaches picked from our tree. I miss living somewhere that included mac ‘n’ cheese in a salad bar. I have vivid memories of hearing my grandmother tell stories involving her childhood friend, Nell Lee (known to most as Harper Lee). One summer, I rode my horse into town almost every day. My dad was the high school principal and my mother was the deputy sheriff. I was the high school mascot and to this day, I highly recommend any job where the dumber you act, the more successful you are. High school adventures included bonfires in someone’s field and continually driving around the town square. There was one restaurant in town and it stayed open late each Friday night to serve a fried chicken meal to the high school football team, band, and cheerleaders. I now live in New England and each time I visit home, I am engulfed in a wave of nostalgia. I think, ‘This was a wonderful place to be a child.’ And it was… and it wasn’t. Within 24 hours of arrival, I’ll overhear something said that makes me think, ‘THAT is why I left.’ It was simultaneously both the most loving community I have known and the most discriminatory. There was a wrong and a right side of the tracks. I often say that it feels like going back in time and not always in a good way. It is a strange feeling to be grateful to have lived there and grateful to have left.” — Jess

P.S. More reader feedback and what issues enchant your youngsters?

(Photo by Stocksy/Courtney Rust.)

#Note-Author Name – Kim Rhodes

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