I recently had the opportunity to take a little trip down memory lane. Trips like that can be fun or frustrating. Mine was fun. What made it fun you ask? Well, my memory, which is known for being a tad spotty was kinda spot on. Thanks to my spectacular hubby, a functional GPS and a memory that actually worked I was able to find everything I was looking for
When I was 10 years old I lived in a town called Cottage Grove, Oregon for a whopping 10 months! They were a very memorable 10 months though. I have memories of about 5 things. One: I loved our weird little house. Two: I hated the elementary school. I was totally miserable the whole time I was there. Three: I practically haunted the public library and read every Nancy Drew they owned (twice). Four: they had the coolest swinging bridge that I got to cross every day on my way to school. Five: In the summer we went swimming at a fun place called Tarzan’s hole and it was COOL (literally).
One of the first things we looked for when we drove into town was the swinging bridge. Cottage Grove has a tour of 7 bridges (6 covered, 5 originals) that can be toured and then there’s the swinging bridge. It was right there on the map. Located a few blocks off main street we found ‘my’ bridge. Giddily I jumped out of the car, ran up to it and began jumping up and down…. funny how the site of a bridge turned me into a 10 year old again. It was exactly how I remembered it. EXACTLY!!
Walking across the bridge I told my hubby that I could find my old home. I felt very confident that if we used the bridge as a starting point that I would just ‘know’ where to look. I assured my husband that the house was 2-3 blocks up and on a street to the left. Everything looked familiar (it’s ben 27 years!!). I saw the bushes that the neighborhood bully pushed my little sister into, and then I recognized the house of the grandmother of the bully…. the house that I marched up to and yelled at her grandmother that her granddaughter beat up my sister! Confidence took me three blocks up and then to the left and nothing looked right. Baffled I walked up and down for a bit and then decided to walk one block back. As I walked I decided to call my mom to ask her if she remembered the address. Reaching down into my pocket I grabbed my phone, looked up to call and realized I was standing right across the street from our former home. Recognition hit in waves. It looks very much the same. The landscaping’s slightly different but it was still oh so familiar. In this house I celebrated a very memorable 10th birthday. In this house I had fun sleepovers in a cubby hole in the wall in the basement. In this house I spent hours playing hide and seek, my favorite hiding spot being the laundry shoot. In this house I played wallball with my sister and friends in the basement. All such vivid memories. I’m so happy I found it.
After finding ‘my’ bridge and ‘my house’ the next place I wanted to find was ironically, the library. This, I found to be different. The library I found didn’t look at all like what I recalled. I was disappointed. Until I found the children’s section. Something felt familar and yet not…. all at the same. Immediately my eyes found the Nancy Drew section. My heart leapt. I probably read those copies? After all, how often would they be replaced? When we moved to Cottage Grove I was already an active, proficient young reader but I’d never been able to go to the library by myself. This library was close enough that I could bike. I didn’t really go by myself (I don’t think)… but my sibs and I would go together on our bikes while my mom walked behind with her stroller. For me the library was freedom. For me the library has continued to be freedom.
My last sentimental stop was Tarzan’s hole. Tarzan’s hole is a swimming hole that we used to go to. My husband found directions to it on the net and we set off. All along the way he’d say does anything look familiar and I’d say no. Then, he said it should be right around here and I looked up and recognized “it”… there it was. It was smaller than I remember and the water was low but it was beautiful. Tarzan’s hole is a stream fed swimming hole. It’s freezing!!! There’s a rope that we would use to swing into the water. My mom would sit on the far side on the rocks with my baby brother Richard splashing in the shallow end. I remember that it was always busy. Popular with the locals. I remember that the first time we went there I was unnerved by the idea of swimming in something other than a pool. I was afraid that there would be fish and they’d nibble my toes. My fears were quickly vanquished and I learned to be not so squeamish. I remember my father loading me onto his back with my arms nearly choking him and then swinging out and dropping into the water. I’d hold my breath the whole time and then gulp in air when we erupted to the surface. Then, my father would pry my freezing arms off his neck and send me off swimming while he grabbed the next kid for another drop into the Tarzan’s hole.
So, now I’ve shared my memories. This is a blog about preserving our memories. I urge you… what are your treasured memories? Have you written them down? If not…. take the time today to do so.
Do you want some jumping off topics?
Where did you live when you were 10? What did the house look like? Where was your bedroom? Did you share a room? Who was your best friend? What did you do for fun? What school did you go to? Did you like school? Why? Why not? What were your favorite toys? Activities? What makes that year memorable?
Go! Write! Remember!
I hope they’re good memories!