Childhood Memories

May 20, 2011
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I open my eyes and look at the clock. 11:00 am, still leaves plenty of time. I glance out my window; it’s another beautiful summer day. Perfect. I get out of my pajamas and into shorts and a tank-top, then immediately run downstairs. Before I even get my breakfast I call next door. Mrs. German answers the phone.

“Are the kids home?” I ask. I rarely say their names; she always knows what I mean.

She says, “Yes,” and then puts either Erin, Kelley, or Matt on the phone.

“Can you guys come out and play?” I ask whoever is on the phone. I really hope that they can. Most of the time it’s a ‘yes,’ and they all come out, but sometimes one of them can’t. Lucky for me, they say yes.

I quickly eat my breakfast and then I run outside. It doesn’t take long to figure out what we all want to do. It is either shoot hoops, ride bikes, or go on my trampoline. Sometimes we do all three. This is one of those days. We all go into my backyard and get the brooms and elastics out of the little house back there next to the trampoline. Erin hooks the elastics on the netting of the trampoline while Kelley, Matt, and I start sweeping. The elastics are up, at different heights, and we see who can get over all of them without touching. We jump over the elastics for a while then take them down. We then start playing Mummy. Mummy is where one person lays down and crosses their arms and legs and everyone else jumps around trying to get them uncrossed. Then, I jump out of the trampoline and go get the blue and green balls from the little house. Erin, Kelley, and Matt know this means Piranha. Piranha is where you jump and try to avoid get touched by the balls. After a few minutes, we’re all out. We play Piranha a bunch of times and then decide to take a break.

“What time is it?” I ask.

Matt answers, “Almost 2:30.” Wow. Kelley suggests going inside for a few minutes. We walk down to my garage and while cooling off, we brainstorm what else we want to do.

While brainstorming, we look at the bikes in my garage and decide on that. The three of them run over to get their bikes and less than five minutes later we are riding. After about a half an hour, we get bored of going in circles. So when Elyssa and her little sister Abbey, our other neighbors, come down the street, Matt brings up basketball, one of his favorite sports. All but one of my basketballs are flat, so Matt runs over to get one of theirs. Abbey shoots hoops on my little basketball hoop that’s about Matt’s height (not very tall). Erin decides that the rest of us should play Knock Out, which I love, even though I am so much shorter than all of them.
Elyssa, Erin, Kelley, Matt, and I play a few games and one of the times, when we line up, I am third in line. That game, I almost win. I start to believe I MUST be third in line to win. While we are playing, I drop one of the balls. It starts rolling down my slightly slanted driveway. I can’t catch it. It keeps rolling, across the street, into the Snyder’s yard. It’s still rolling. It rolls off their driveway into a bunch of bushes. This isn’t the first time. Usually we can easily see the ball and someone will go get it. Not this time. None of us see the ball anywhere. Whoops! Oh well, luckily, it was my ball. We head back over into my driveway and decide to play Around the World, where Erin, Kelley and Matt win most of the games. It’s getting late, so Elyssa and Abbey go home. Erin, Kelley, and Matt go in for dinner. I go in too. We all agree to come back out after we finish eating.
It’s still really warm out, even at 8:30 at night. Without any communication, Kelley goes inside and comes back out with Shots. No, not alcohol, popsicles. Popsicle Lemon Lime Shots, basically like Dippin Dots, but better. We lay on the grass in the German’s yard and look up at the clear night sky.
“Let’s see who can find the first star,” Kelley says.
Less than a minute later, “Found it!” Erin bursts out in the silence.
“Time to come in,” my sister comes outside and tells me at the same time Mr. German tells the kids. I go with my sister inside. I sprint upstairs to get washed. I get back into my pajamas, turn out the light, and go to sleep. The sooner I fall asleep, the sooner it will be morning and we can all play again.
Suddenly, my mind reverts back to focus. I’m supposed to be writing my coffeehouse for English. I can’t get myself to write it. Every time I look up, I see, through the clean, clear window, our trampoline, covered in wet leaves, with the elastics hooked on the netting; the one we haven’t used in years. I start to think back to when I was eight, nine, even ten; back when summers were for hanging out with your neighbors, as much as possible. I think back to when life was simpler; when my sister wasn’t a college graduate, when Erin wasn’t in college, and Kelley wasn’t about to leave for college. I think back to when ALL of the kids on our street, however few of us there were, would spend our whole day together, jumping on the trampoline, shooting hoops, riding bikes, eating popsicles, and looking up at the clear night sky, yelling at Erin for always finding that first star. I wish we never grew up. I miss those days. And I have a feeling that Erin, Kelley, and Matt miss them too.

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