I've had the opportunity to instant message my brother quite a bit the last couple of days. In talking with him, we were both reminiscing a little about growing up and some of the things we enjoyed. We weren't a family that was well off financially and we lived in a small home, but we were happy. In fact, I don't really have any bad memories of my childhood and I'm grateful to my parents for that blessing.
Growing up, we lived across the street from a park. In essence, it was our front yard, complete with playground equipment, basketball court, soccer field, and baseball diamond. I remember meeting up with the neighborhood kids so we could play pick up games of football. Or making huge cities in the sand for our Hot Wheels cars. Or playing an imaginary hero's quest games with my friend Ponchy. He would be the narrator and bad guys for us to fight against. Or playing in the sprinklers on hot summer days. Or seeing who could climb highest up the big pine tree. There was always something to do at the park.
My brother used to be a master of making his own toys. He would find sticks and string and make a bow and arrows. He would also save the cardboard tubes from wrapping paper and old shoe boxes to make his own Ghostbuster equipment. He helped me to have ideas to make toys too. We would find a long stick and a short stick and nail them together to make swords. One time we even wrapped the handles with some electrical tape that we found in the garage. My dad wasn't very happy when he found out we used all of his electrical tape. I had to replace the wasted tape with a new roll. My dad even taught us how to make rubber band guns with wooden ground stakes and clothes pins.
Getting haircuts was always an interesting time growing up. I remember my parents discussing giving my sister a hair cut. She had long thick hair that was in a braid. I remember my dad sitting her down, taking the scissors, and cutting off the braid. My mom must have been horrified. The cool thing was she had the braid kept in tact to save. My dad also used to give my brother and me buzz cuts every summer. Oh, how I hated and loathed getting a buzz cut. I think my brother really enjoyed them, but I hated them with a passion. In 4th grade I received a buzz cut earlier in the year than usual. I would normally get my haircut after school was out for the summer, but that year my dad gave me the haircut over spring break. I was so embarrassed to go back to school. I wore the hood of my jacket as long as I could that day until the teacher made me take it off. I'm sure the other kids didn't care much, but back then I thought they were all laughing at me. After I got back from my mission I gave my dad a buzz cut because he didn't want to pay for a haircut. Sweet revenge. It was fun and I probably enjoyed it a little too much.
Aside from the fun and games we had growing up, we had chores to do as well. Bringing fire wood from the wood pile into the garage was a weekly task, so we could keep the house warm in winter time. Mowing the lawn and cleaning the garage were also regular chores I remember having to do. We also had to take turns with indoor chores like doing the dishes (which my brother hated), cleaning the bathroom (which I hated), and cooking dinner (which my sister hated). I remember coming home from school and being given the chore of having the house cleaned up somewhat before my parents came home. We would literally wait until the last minute. One of us would spot my mom's car coming down the street and all three of us kids would spring into action, trying to get all of the house cleaning done in the minute and a half before my mom walked through the door. We were usually less than successful.
Thinking about these things has really made me grateful for the happy childhood that I was able to enjoy. I hope my siblings have equally as happy memories.
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