My Anchor

What is my most prized possession? To be honest, I don’t have one. I bought my bed, which I was extremely proud of because “twenty one year olds don’t buy beds” was what I told myself at the time. Let’s see, what else…OH I’m pretty fond of my hair products, but then again those can all be replaced with a quick trip to my local beauty supply. There is nothing that I own that if ripped from my hands tomorrow, or the day after, or ten years from now would cause me any amount of angst. I do however have memories that I cherish which are near and dear to my heart.

The other day, a friend and I were talking about things we used to do, and the conversation included stories from our, well my childhood. At the end of our stroll down memory lane, I sat back in my chair and said,”I loved my childhood.” My childhood was hands down the best time of my life. Now I understand that I am still very young but up until I was around ten or eleven years old, life was bliss. Ignorant…maybe, but bliss nonetheless. Now honestly and realistically speaking growing up wasn’t perfect, but I had an amazing sense of perspective as a child.

Family is extremely important to me and when I was a child it seemed to be important to everyone around me as well. This may not have been reality, but as I said, some of my bliss may have been youthfully ignorant. My aunt was and always has been the glue, in my eyes, to my family and her house was open to everybody. Her’s was the house where the door was never locked and you came and went as you pleased.773, the house in the city with two giant pine trees in the front yard with a cherry tree and grapevine in the backyard (where they do that at);this house was my oasis. Holidays and birthdays were celebrated here, deaths mourned here;impromptu violin recitals I performed here, my family was here. I think it is safe to say that growing up, my cousins and I probably spent more time at this house than we did at our own, not to mention that we all lived here at one time or another. I don’t remember the dates, but at one point my mother,my sister and I, my cousin with her four children and my grandmother were all living together with my aunt in this oasis. Sure this was rough at times ,which I think goes without saying when you live with anyone, but I loved it!

My cousins,sister and I used to make up dance routines to songs and perform them all the time! You know the song “Stand by Me” ,which we knew from The Lion King, well there were four of us participating in this dance routine and only three verses. That was a problem, but not for long. Another verse was made up and dance moves were learned so that we could perform this song ,and if my memory serves me correct, to a standing ovation! Yes, this ovation was done by our parents and family, but it was deserved. Celine Dion’s song “That’s the Way It Is”, we remixed it…sort of. You see,my cousin always had holes in her socks, so we changed the lyrics to “When there’s holes in your socks, it’s so easy to do. Just pick up a rock and bang it on your shoe.To put holes in your socks. Never give up to put holes in your soooocks. And THAT’S the way it is!” My cousin would sit on the stairs in the basement and perform it to our amusement. Do not judge us!

This five bedroom, three bath house was everything to me but outside of 773 was amazing as well. I remember our yearly mother’s day brunches at which Derrick, my cousin, would attempt to break his record from the previous year of how many plates of food he could eat, and I mean full, entire plates. D, was like a bottomless pit, and his record sits at twelve plates finished, unbreakable by none. When I think of my childhood, I think of chick o sticks, and juleps, countless trips to the corner store, and piling eight people in a car to go to Discovery Zone. My childhood memories are filled with a real and fervent sense of family. For years, it may seem that I walked around with rose colored glasses adorning my face but it was quite the opposite. I believe the reason I have such  fond memories of growing up is not because I was a child and didn’t know any better, or I didn’t know what was really going on, I think it was because I did know, but felt that family made it better. My mother didn’t lie to us, she shared in an age appropriate way which I can only respect.

My mother was the most important person in my life growing up, and life with her and my sister was amazing. From laughing at my sister crying from getting a pine needle stuck in her eye (she was watering the Christmas tree,my mom treated them like real plants,we would keep our REAL decorated trees up until March…no lie), to all three of us sitting up late at night during thunderstorms with the windows open, to going to work with my mom…it was simply put fun. I used to love going to work with her. In fact, there wasn’t one job of her’s that my sister and I didn’t frequent, even as we got older.

Because of those things and more, my childhood was idealistic.Family is what I value most and when I was a child the feeling was mutual…again at least in my ignorantly blissful mind it was. These times, these memories, they’re what’s important to me. Not having the ability to recall the most meaningful moments in my life would be devastating. Those years were the happiest of my life, and they are the blueprint to who I am. The values and morals I have today are because of my childhood; my work ethic no doubt stemmed from seeing my mother work, whether physically or emotionally tired, day in and day out giving 100% every time. My love comes from watching my mother and my aunt bend backwards for people that didn’t necessarily deserve it. The earliest years of my life taught me how to love unconditionally which is basically the foundation of my personality. My childhood is my anchor.

My childhood shows me that despite the turn my life has taken, life can indeed be great. It’s these times that I look back and reflect on, the times when I was happiest, that honestly make my future look a little brighter. My childhood makes me believe in the possibility of something better coming my way and that the idea of “something better” is not a fantasy. My most prized possession is my memory because without it…I don’t know.


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