Category Archives: Memories

Kindergarten Memories

My kindergarten teacher was a young woman named Miss Rixford. She was in her early 20’s, and  had long dark hair with bangs. She was pretty, but not gorgeous.  I was just four years old when I arrived in her classroom, something unheard of today.  Other than the brief physical description, I don’t remember much about Miss Rixford, except that she really wasn’t warm and friendly. She was nice, but there was something cool and reserved about her. Whenever I think about her, I always see her in a particular dress that she used to wear. It was green and blue plaid, with overall type straps and she wore a long white sleeved blouse underneath. In hind sight I don’t think she liked kids much or teaching.  Nevertheless, I loved going to school and playing with all the neat stuff, especially, the faux grocery store items and cash register. That was probably the beginning of my serial entrepreneurship. Class was only three or four hours long but we packed a lot of activities into that class time.

My first experience with graham crackers was in kindergarten. Every day, we would get milk and graham crackers as a snack. I always looked forward to snack time because  I liked to eat in class, but I also dreaded it because after snack time it was required that we take a nap. I don’t know how long the naps were but each kid had a towel they would lie down on and sleep. I never slept. I hated naps. I would keep my eyes open and look around at all the other kids who apparently, were napping. Every day it was the same.  Today,  I can’t imagine going through life without a nap every now and then.

I still remember most of the kids names. I was boy crazy even way back then. I had a crush on a boy named Tim. He had dark hair and long eyelashes. I was way too shy back then to be myself. I was also way behind most of the other kids in coordination skills. I could barely hold a pair of scissors to cut paper, let alone draw something decent. But still, I loved all the crafty things I learned. One time we each had a long piece of butcher paper that was bigger than we were and we had to partner up with another kid and trace each other on the paper and then draw in the details of the face, etc. It was fun but very difficult for me.  Another time we had to draw a train and I remember looking at Janine Smith’s drawing and thinking how beautiful and pretty it was. It looked like a real train with gorgeous details of the caboose. Mine, on the other hand barely looked like rectangles and I was embarrassed. How come I couldn’t draw what I was seeing?

Even though I was behind the other kids physically,  I’m pretty sure I was ahead of them mentally. I thought and acted more like a little adult than a kid, but in school, I was too shy and insecure to express my thoughts openly. I rode the bus home everyday. It was bus no. 2 and the bus driver’s name was Mr. Johnson.  He was an older man probably in his late 50’s. He had gray hair, wrinkles, and he wore eye glasses over the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen. He was a very sweet man. I just loved him. He knew all the kids names and he made sure that we didn’t get rowdy or disrespectful during the ride to or from school. Every day, I would get dropped off in front of my house at exactly noon. I know the exact time because Perry Mason came on at noon and it was my favorite show.  My mom and I would have lunch and watch Perry Mason together. It was the perfect way to end my school day and begin my day at home with my mom.

Oh. “J” your memories are so clear and crisp.  You were so young to be in school and away from you mother.  My kindergarten memories are very limited and I was nearly a year older when I started.  My birthday is in March so I turned five then started school the next September.  I think my memories really start the next year, from first grade I have many fragmented memories, but kindergarten let me see.  There is a big blank where the teacher should be.  She didn’t make much of an impression on me.  The kindergarten room in Cottonwood Arizona, though, was on the main highway as it wound through downtown.  The road took a sharp turn to the right before entering the one block long central shopping area.  I know this because I have been back to see,  and on that turn was what seemed to me to be a large Baptist church, and back behind the church was a small building that housed the kindergarten.

I wonder now if the kindergarten class was offered as part of the church.  My brothers and sisters and I walked to that church nearly every Sunday morning for Sunday School and church, then walked home for lunch.  Well dinner because it was the only meal we ate on Sundays.  My trip to the kindergarten class, possibly in the afternoon, was by tricycle.  Yes, I rode my tricycle to school when I was five.  We lived on 6th street so I suspect my peddling took me at least 6 blocks.  I would have had to cross at least 5 side streets and I went through the drive through of a gas station.  This is very clear to me.  I may have only done it once and is possible that my mother walked me to school but the memory is only of the tricycle ride through the gas station, across a pedestrian crossing on a bridge, down a ramp and parking in front of the school, and feeling very grown up and full of adventure.

Pulling the memories from my older brain, the only other thing I can remember is putting on blue smocks and finger painting.  Oh what fun, I could get as dirty as I wanted and it was called art.  The memories may be limited but I can still feel the happiness, the feeling of fun.  I even remember lying on my mat and ‘napping’.  As an adult I still love my nap, a quiet time to dream and think and in this case remember.   “GVS”


the shaping of memories…..

This morning I read a blog post by a woman whose childhood memory returns to haunt her in her dreams.  It’s kind of ironic really.  Ironic in the sense that this first blog that you are reading now is in collaboration with another creative mind. Together, we decided that we would each write on the same topic within the same post, alternating paragraphs until we decide that the topic is complete and coherent.  It was determined that I would begin the first paragraph and she would choose the topic. She came up with two options, one of which is playing with childhood memories. So, it’s either ironic or it’s synchronicity playing out in my life so that I can feel inspired to write.

Actually this could be both ironic and synchronicity.   Ironic being, “Happening in the opposite way to what is expected, thus typically causing wry amusement.” and synchronicity being, “The simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.”.  In this case the synchronicity causing the irony perhaps.  Writing about this topic could go several direction; playing with memory using a childhood memory as the catalyst to make sense of today or  just playing around to have fun with a series of memories.  I have a feeling that no matter which direction we start out we will end up in the same place.  Possibly our memories of the past are what makes us who we are today.

I’ve always prided myself on having an excellent long-term memory, so it amazes me when I hear someone say that they can’t remember “that far back”.  My earliest childhood memory is around the age of one and a half years old.  How do I know I am this age?  Well, because my sister and I were born eighteen months apart and in the memory, I am the only child in the house.  I can vividly recall the layout of the livingroom. Mom and Dad were sitting on the ugly, avocado green couch made of vinyl and I am on the floor playing with a Mickey Mouse phone.  When the phone was dialed or a string pulled, (cannot remember which one  for sure) the voice of Mickey Mouse or Mickey Mouse friends such as Pluto, Donald duck, etc would speak.  I can see across the livingroom into the hallway which seems very scary to me. There is also a gas wall heater built into the wall.  I recall dad pretending that a call was coming in by making a fake ringing sound.  “Hello?  Oh, you want to speak to JarieLyn. Hold on.” Dad handed me the phone and put the earpiece up to my ear and I heard one of the characters talking. I’m not yet two years old so I can’t speak and I don’t know why I remember this, but I recall being really scared when I heard that voice coming through that toy.   My mind couldn’t grasp the concept that I was hearing a voice coming through this machine. I thought it was evil and when I looked across the room into that dark hallway, I felt an evil presence lingering there, waiting. Waiting for what, I do not know, but that is my earliest childhood memory or is it really a memory? Maybe it’s just a trick of the mind and I’ve carried that around with me for forty-seven years. Whether it’s a memory or not it is a part of me now. My mother used to tell me that I had a Herman Munster doll that I was terribly afraid of and I would start bawling anytime I heard it talk.

I wonder that what we think is memory of a time is actually a memory of being told about it when we are older.  I also can remember being around a year old.  I am in my bed which is in the kitchen, there is a curtain hanging down in front of the bed but I can see a person at the sink, in front of them is a bright window.  I clearly remember color and light and sound but I don’t know what age I am or who is at the sink.  I tell my mother about this memory when I am in my twenties and she says, ” well that must be Kingman, and you were around one.  How could you remember that?”  Now many years, nearly forty years later is it a memory of the time or just memory of an adult conversation?  I now put my grandmother at the sink.  Is this something my mother told or do I really remember?  If I think about the awareness of the world of a one year old; they are aware of hunger, have feelings of safety or security, and certainly have fear or in the least feelings of uncertainty when confronted with the unknown.   By one year old, if a stranger comes in close to kiss our cheek, we will cry knowing this is a stranger.  When would the awareness of fear or evil or an unknown presence actually occur?  I can definitely remember one of my brothers or sister being brought home from the hospital, but by then I am nearly 5 or six.  I remember riding a tricycle to school, this must have been kindergarten.  As I pass the age of five, I have many very clear memories and mostly happy ones.   Even if in the telling of them I realize they must not be happy times, I still feel myself as being happy within the memory. Do we tend to remember happy feelings for a longer time than unhappy ones?

For most people, I believe that the happy memories and the unhappy ones are equally balanced in shaping who we become.  There are exceptions of course, such as someone who is sexually and physically abused consistently.  In that scenario I think one would grow up dealing with many issues; trust, being prevalent amongst them.  Memories definitely play a major role in our attitudes and our likes and dislikes. For instance, every year I get so excited when it’s nearing Christmas time. I think the reason I welcome the holiday  is because I had so much fun as a child. My Christmases were always full of love and warmth and it meant I could spend some time with my grandparents, whom I loved more than anything.  Now, as an adult, even though I get excited, I am always disappointed because it just isn’t the same as when my grandparents were still alive.  But those are memories that live on in the heart and continue to guide me.

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