Here is a list of 7 things I remember doing as a kid. (Thank you to my husband for this writing prompt!)
1. Getting “Twister” ice cream cones with my Poppa, brother, and cousin.
As a kid we lived a few blocks away from a shop that sold “Twister” ice cream cones. They were made with super-soft ice cream that twisted around and around, tapering to the top in a swirl. You could order chocolate, vanilla, or chocolate + vanilla. If you ordered chocolate + vanilla, the flavours alternated in the twist up to the top. My Poppa would ask in his gruff voice, “Do you guys want a Twister ice cream?” And we would walk there and he would treat us. Still the best ice cream I’ve ever had.
2. Collecting caterpillars in our backyard.
We had a big tree in our backyard and we would find a lot of caterpillars around it. I mean, A LOT. Looking back, they were probably tent caterpillars that kill trees. Anyway, they were black with white, pinprick-tiny spots down their back, with a bit of (orange?) fuzz. Our mom would give my brother and I each a plastic margarine container and we would see how many we could pluck up and put in our container. I remember they felt really delicate and silky-soft, but if I thought about it too much when I picked them up I would get grossed out and drop the caterpillar and my container.
3. Smelling my Dad’s packs of pipe tobacco.
My Dad used to smoke a pipe. I loved the smell of it as a kid. I remember in the spring and summer evenings after supper he would walk us to a nearby park and on the way home, he would smoke his pipe. Sometimes we would stop at the I.D.A. Pharmacy and he would buy a pack of pipe tobacco. He would leave it on one of the shelves of the side table beside his favourite La-Z-Boy chair. Every once in a while when no one was looking I would crawl over, pick up the package, and take a big whiff of the plastic outer package.
4. Building sandcastles on the beach near my grandparents’ house because I was too afraid to swim in the water because of the sharks.
My grandparents lived in Deep River, Ontario, Canada. There are no sharks. But I was certain there was. So I stayed safely in the sand even though my parents and grandparents kept coaxing me to go into the water.
5. Getting up horrifically early on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons and trying to turn the big, clunking knob of the television as quietly as possible.
I don’t know what time my brother and I would get up on Saturday mornings…5:00? 5:30? But there was a show we desperately wanted to watch (and I can’t remember the name!), but sometimes for whatever reason it was preempted by “George of the Jungle.” We hated “George of the Jungle.” Did we actually ever watch “George of the Jungle”? No. But we resented it for preempting our show.
6. Anxiously awaiting the latest installment of our encyclopedia collection to arrive in the mail.
It was the 80s. There was no internet. But there were books! And encyclopedias! I loved encyclopedias. I would pore over them, cover to cover. Their glossy pages that squeaked a bit between your fingers. I LOVED it whenever we received our encyclopedia’s “Year in Review” edition. I remember the dictionaries that came with the set had a huge section at the beginning with random stuff like, “Name origins.” Some of the names had cool meanings but when I looked up my first name it simply said, “From Denmark.” Oh. Gee, thanks, Dictionary.
7. Popping the bubbles my Dad would make from the plastic from his dry-cleaned suits.
My Dad had to wear a suit to work every day. When he came home with his dry-cleaning my brother and I would gallop up the stairs to my parents’ bedroom, so that after my Dad put his freshly cleaned suits in his closet we could pop bubbles! My dad would tie a knot in the plastic sheet that covered the suits and a bubble would form at the knot. One of us would squeeze it and it would pop in our hands. Oftentimes several bubbles would form after he tied the knot, and it was fun to squeeze them and pop them all. It was kind of like hand-made bubble-wrap. My Dad would tie knot after knot, letting us pop and pop, until the plastic wrap was just a big knotty ball.