Old Memories

November 2, 2008
By
Memories, like wisps. So many years, so many days, so many thoughts, so much time. It flows together like a puzzle, pieces are missing here and there, but I still function as a person. But my childhood, probably one of the most interesting pieces of my life thus far, has more than its fair share of gaps and confusions. From what my parents tell me, there is so much that I had experienced before my 6th birthday, yet years and years of it slipped from my mind long ago. I had been to four continents by the age of 5, and the only thing I can remember is Germany. Like a dream sometimes, I think of it, its seasons, the leaves, in shades of sunset, contrasting a cloudless blue sky or an empty street. The streets, the stones and the people, the tiredness of my little feet, the jealousy I felt towards my brother in the blue stroller that I was too big to ride in. There are events I remember, some daily, some unique, special, yet fading each day from my mind. Most of all, I remember going out each day, behind the condo we stayed at, to the sandbox and playground.
It was such a simple place, from what I remember, and its grandeur must be magnified in my mind. A slide, two plastic swings, (where I first learned to swing by the way), and of course the sandbox. All bordered by crabgrass and dirt. Behind it, I think, was a fence, preventing unsuspecting young children from wandering into the briar patches that lay beyond. And I’m not joking, it was like a giant forest of briars, impenetrable and impassable, and I always held a supernatural fear of it for a reason I have long forgotten. It’s strange; I only remember the emotions sometimes, not even their causes.
Not everyday though did I get to enjoy the simple pleasures of the outdoors, sometimes I was just forced to play with toys. Excellent, old German toys, handcrafted and made of wood, painted vibrantly in reds and whites- trains, I loved trains, and blocks, puzzles…I remember each of these, hours spent playing with my brother in our two room condo, and I don’t think I ever appreciated anything I experienced half as much as I should have. We went to some old town, the streets were laid with beautifully carved stones, light grey and greyer, and it was wet and overcast and foggy and cold, and I think there were some pigeons or something. I was probably miserable. We went into this old shop full of wooden masterpieces, fans that spin when the candles beneath them are lit, dolls, nutcrackers, and I must have asked my parents to buy everything in the store. We did get a few things, but my cheapskate parents weren’t willing to break the bank for a bunch of excess stuff. I was pleased anyway with the things we got (I think we still have them somewhere).
I remember the food, somewhat, the milk tasted different, but not unpleasant after you got used to it, and I remember the Hanshin Man, selling rotisserie chickens in the street. I loved the smell of it; I could hear him crying his indiscernible (it was in German) appeals to buyers, and my mom would get a chicken and it was always delicious. Also, the chocolate, German chocolate was a favorite of everyone’s. I had to spell ‘yes’ to get a piece once after dinner, and was dismayed to find that spelling ‘yes’ didn’t automatically get me what I wanted after that.
Like good tourists, we went sightseeing in the country, and unfortunately, the thing I remember most of these trips was my own boredom and distress. Thinking back, I am envious of my younger self, the chance to experience so much of the world but without having the appreciation for what its worth is hardly worth it. But being so young, I have to forgive myself, and simply look back on my memories like the regretful remains of a paper carelessly tossed in the shredder. Only bits and pieces are discernible. Something that remains, and I hope will always remain, vivid in my mind, is the castles. We saw quite a few of them, and I remember some of them from postcards, but others I remember up close and personal. The stones of the castles stood out to me, their worn and wet grey against an overcast sky, almost blending in with the horizon, others under a blue sky, surrounded by trees exploding with green. I remember taking tours of some of these castles, and while being bored by the German explanation and slow trips through limited spaces, I was simultaneously awed by their magnitude and power. Arches and statues and stonework and so many ancient memories all lay within and around each castle. I don’t think I understood it anything like how I described it, but obviously it has left a lasting impression on me.
I think that, although being long ago, my foreign adventures provided me with some insight into the world, and the pieces of my tattered memory are beautiful for the most part, and there is something I can appreciate in each and every scene. Some so vivid that if I was an artist I could paint it right now, flowing from my head straight onto paper. Also, these experiences have left me with a captivation for foreign places, I want to see it again, experience it again, something new and different, exciting and romantic. I look back with so much longing, but I appreciate that I was there. I want to go back. See it again, and then, see more.





Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

me.me.me said...
Mar. 11, 2014 at 10:36 am
Beautifully written :)
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback