The things families do together can become hallmarks of their years together. No toy to be played with alone can ever compare with the enjoyment of such moments. And they will be remembered for a lifetime.
The toys I remember from my childhood can be noted on a fairly short list.
- Simon, which I played with my brother and cousins.
- Cabbage Patch dolls.
- There was a Lite Brite!
- I really loved playing Candyland and then later, The Game of Life.
- Age-appropriate bikes…I think I had a Skip-It at one point, and probably a hula hoop.
And when I got a bit older, I can remember two other items I wanted badly.
- A boom box (about 5th/6th grade)
- A pair of 8-hole Dr. Martins (and 7th/8th grade)
And that’s the total list of “things” I remember loving from my childhood.
But you know what I remember and loved the most:
Eating pizza and going on walks with my dad, brother, and whatever friend I had in tow on Friday nights. Usually to the Brea Mall or around the loop of railroad tracks, and then hanging out afterward to watch TGIF together.
Yosemite (twice), Yellowstone, Hawaii, the Colorado Springs Air Force Academy, the Budweiser tour, Hershey Pennsylvania, and the godforsaken swampland that is the Disney World Resort in the middle of July. The countless greener-than-green trees that lined the highway driving northward on the eastern not-quite-coast and lots of signs about peaches, and a Mexican restaurant so pathetic that it made us Californians literally L-O-L before there even was such a term.
There was learning how to drive a car when I was 12 years old in a closed-down-K-Mart parking lot and and the practically frozen-in-time experience of playing in a thunderstorm at a campground in New Mexico with these four kids about my age from Massachusetts named Caleb, Cedar, Kai, and Max who were brothers except for Cedar who was Caleb’s best friend but may as well have been family. Sometimes I come across Degree brand deodorant in the scent of “spring breeze” and stand there sniffing it forever because that’s the smell that was in the air that night and it makes me so nostalgic and happy to inhale it.
Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Every single year, at my grandma’s house with the entire family. The olive-fingers I mentioned a couple weeks ago. Or the time that two of my great uncles were pouring themselves some whiskey and my curious little self asked what they were drinking when (because in hindsight, they were probably on their 2nd or 3rd one) they suggested that I have a taste so I could see for myself!
[And I then never ever ever wanted to taste whiskey again after that.]
I’ve written about what I think is my earliest memory, when I was a toddler playing with my dad and assumed for some inexplicable reason that his shirt pocket operated the same way that a rope swing would. And learning via a very hard fall and the sight of my dad’s shredded shirt that that is not actually how it works.
I have very few memories of toys, though I’m sure I had plenty of them…barbies and dolls, games and books. I just don’t remember them much. My memories, the movies that I can play in my mind over and over and over again – as if it all happened just yesterday – are all of things we did together.
I read once about how possessions will never make us as happy as experiences do. It was some essay reflecting on how we spend our money, the point being that we should spend it on doing rather than having.
My own life has shown me just how true that is…that time and money are best spent on shared adventures, both big and small…
© Danielle Hewitt (of Loving A Fit Life) and DanielleHewitt.com (including LovingAFitLife.com) 2011 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Danielle Hewitt and DanielleHewitt.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.