Through facebook.com I’ve been connecting with some old high school classmates. I graduated in a class of over 450, so there really aren’t many people I recall knowing then, much less remember now (30 *gulp* years later). I did manage to connect with one gal whose company I always enjoyed and whom I’ve often wondered about over the years. She turned me on to her partner’s blog site: The Amazing Force of Gravity. Hilary is a gifted writer and I get the feeling she’s a bit of a kindred.
Anyway, I was reading her most recent post and she posed the question: what two items from your childhood or youth would you like to see again and why? My response was “In the words of John Mayer, ‘Whatever happened to my lunchbox?’ I'd love to see that again... and the big pink stuffed dog that my dad brought me from somewhere.”
I had planned to pose the same question on my blog today, and hey… if you feel like answering it, g’head. Then, per Scott’s request (and my way of thanking him for coming to my plumbing rescue), I began baking my Grandma’s famous Hungarian cake, Dobos Torte. Can anything that fills the house with the redolent scent of coffee, butter and sponge cake fall short of being classified as phenomenal food?! As always, any time I make anything Hungarian, I get a nostalgic tug back to my childhood. So, making the cake seemed to fit with my state of mind after reading Hilary’s blog. It also made me realize that the things I loved most in my childhood, the things I’d most want to revisit, can only be found in my memories.
These are things, the moments that I’d go back to (before I turned 18): Any time spent in Grandma’s kitchen; ice skating in my backyard with my siblings and assorted neighborhood pals; swimming at Linda Park pool; building snow forts; being held by my dad and smelling the mix of turpentine and tobacco on his skin; being Belinda of the Day on the Bozo show; hearing my Grandpa Black’s laugh; watching my dad paint or draw; watching our Springer Spaniel (JB) play with a log in the yard; every moment spent in Hungary - but particularly the day I took a little boat to an tiny island on Lake Balaton with Laci & Marika, where Marika and I spent the afternoon making clay sculptures; lying in bed and listening to my Mom & Dad and Grandma & Grandpa Black playing euchre; getting lost in my piano playing; the first time I read Alcott’s Little Women; sledding down the neighbor’s hill; watching Bugs Bunny with my little brother after school; my big brother protecting me from a neighborhood bully; the moment I discovered Sandburg’s poetry; and afternoons spent with my godmother, Mrs. K. But mostly? Mostly I’d like to go back and tell that little girl that it was all going to be okay someday… more than that, worth it - that these moments would stick with her along with the harsh ones, that she‘d end up being a decent human, a woman of joy no matter the circumstance, and that all the bad would only refine her.
Joy is not in things, it is in us.