Icons of Childhood

We all have our icons of childhood–special objects or places that epitomize what it meant to be a kid.  Here’s one of mine, and I’d like to hear about some of yours.

The flat spot between the back seat and the back window of those big sedans from the 1950s and 1960s.  

Remember being small enough to find that the perfect place to crawl into and take a nap while Pop or Mom drove at night or on a long trip?  It wasn’t perfectly comfortable, since those back windows used to curve, and the space was tiny.  It was cozy, however.  Much nicer than trying to sit between two bigger sisters who made you take the middle of the back seat where there was a big hump on the floor pushing your knees up into your chest.

19 responses to “Icons of Childhood

  1. I composed this bit of part Fact / part Fiction last evening. It might fit this prompt if you are generous with your interpretation of the criteria.

    When I was a precious, angelic child of three, I attempted to paint the coffee table in our living room with the bright red nail polish that my mother had just purchased the day before. My Mother was not pleased when she came into the room and saw me sitting next to the table holding an empty bottle of polish. Even though I was so very precious and young, I knew instantly that the situation was not going to go in my favor. My mother ask if I had painted the table as well as several splotches on the carpet and my face. Of course I said NO. What else could I do….I was literally caught Red Handed.
    Consider this same scene if my name was HILLARY.
    ” Hilary, did you paint that table leg with my red polish?”
    “NO”
    “Well who did?”
    “I don.’t know, but I believe it wasn’t me.”
    “Well then how did your face get red nail polish on it?”
    “I believe that is was a vast Right Wing Conspiracy of neighborhood kids who have had it in for me for such a long time.”
    “And where did you get that empty bottle of polish in your hand?:
    ” I got this bottle from little Colin Powell down the street. He has a bottle just like this one and so does his friend Condy Rice.”
    “Young Lady, do you really expect me to believe your story?”
    “Let me be clear with you Mom, I am trying to be as transparent as possible without casting any shadow of wrongdoing in my direction. I will admit that I might have made a mistake, but rest assured that if I ever encounter another bottle of Red Nail Polish, I will know that it is not the proper substance to apply to a coffee table. But I need you to understand that this in no way is an admission of guilt and I will need you to sign an affidavit stating that this Investigation is over and that you will love and adore me until the end of time.” .

  2. Karen Watkins

    Oh my gosh – this is hysterically funny. You have such a gift Peanut.

  3. Oh my gosh this piece is hysterically funny. You have a gift Peanut.

  4. The soft rump of my pony as I rested under the huge willow tree.

    I remember going out early on summer mornings to play and avoid the heat of mid-day. Play involved riding my pony out among the hundreds of acres of pasture, woods, and several natural ponds. Often I stopped my pony under a tree to invest in my love of daydreaming. Laying back and resting my head on my mare’s rump gave me license to become whoever I wanted to be that day. The star of Oklahoma or South Pacific, I sang as loud as I wanted; after all I knew the words and tune to every song. Some days I danced ballet with the Russian ballet and soared to new heights with each grande jete. Occasionally my pony needed to swat a fly and her tail would slide across my face. Other times she kicked at her belly to dislodge a pesky horsefly. Needless to say I was jolted back to reality with either of those movements, but I could easily resume my resting spot and vivid imaginings. Ah the love of rump – no place like it in the world.

    • KH, this is enchanting and so vivid. I had horses when I was in my 20’s and there is a gentle strength and harmony that comes with bonding with your pony/ Beautifully written .

    • I have great envy for those who got to grow up with horses. What a lovely memory and childhood icon. Perfect spot for day dreaming!

    • Makes me envy your childhood.
      Did you continue to sing the words and music through your later years? I never have a day go by that some of those aren’t running in my head, even old commercial jingles from 1940 era radio…remember Super Suds?

      • I do still sing them and attempt the dance moves but don’t quite have the groove these days. Not old enough for 40s era radio, so I don’t remember Super Suds. I do still hum Alka Seltzer and Coca Cola commercials. Music is just good for the soul.

    • oliviascarlett

      “Ah the love of rump….” I loved it!

  5. At my age, I have no use for
    Pokeman Go
    But I could use an app called
    Old Lady Bladder Go

    It would ping on my phone whenever I am within 300 feet of a
    Clean Public Restroom.

  6. We’re living with the icons our children will grow up with: bigotry, hatred, violence, spending hours in front of the TV watching the killings of innocents. Is there nothing we can do to help erase this stigma from our lives?

    Here’s a quote from one of your earlier challenges, Ann. If you exchange the word “fight” for the word “kill” it tells a story of life as we know it now.

    Polarizing: How easy it is to get angry and fight. How we love our own anger (“I feel it so strongly, it must be right!”). How soothing it is to find someone to blame for any injustice done to us (whether by family member, government, or some suspect ethnic group). How comfy and self-satisfying it feels to identify with “us” and suspect “them.” What is much more difficult is to pause and consider how much we are alike, how those people who are somehow “them” are also struggling to make it through adolescence/young adulthood, raise families, or deal with aging parents. We’re all struggling to find meaningful work, a place to have shelter, cook whatever we can find, and protect our loved ones from all problems. Coming together is hard; fighting is way too easy.

  7. This is such a strong piece, a true depiction of how we have changed. We no longer try to walk in someone else’s shoes; we take their shoes away. Entitlement has changed the nature of kindness.

  8. Thanks, K. I took Ann’s Beginning Writers Workshop several years ago, and used to participate in this site on a regular basis. I just stumbled across it again yesterday. I met many interesting folks here, and hope to rejoin the group.

    Sorry to say that I can’t agree with your last line. There are many causes of this craziness. I don’t think labeling entitlement as such does anything but get folks even more stirred up.

  9. oliviascarlett

    Summer Rain

    I sit next to the window and watch as the puddles on my street grow wider while a gentle, cool breeze pushes past the curtains and brushes against my warm flesh. The melody of the rain mixed with the harmony of my radio station delights me as I write and dream of the times when I was a young girl and danced alone in the summer rain.

  10. How interesting that you recall the part of childhood when staring out the window and dreaming, and still you’re doing it now. Perhaps we should all go out and dance in the rain. Mud be damned!

  11. Olivia, your post brought back memories of playing in the summer rain as a little kid…and chasing fireflies that came with those warm rains.

  12. Oh Olivia, brings back memories of dancing in the rain with my children. Even now I will dance in the rain with my grandchildren. Not so many fireflies here but I can remember catching them in a jar and going to sleep with them by my bed then setting them free in the morning. Ah the carefree joys of childhood. Yet kids can’t wait to be adults.

  13. Ann, I love this prompt. Brings back so many fond memories of childhood — road trips, playing in the rain, horseback riding and so many more. I had a favorite hiding place during games of hide and seek. I would climb to the top shelf of our linen closet and hide behind the sheets. I had brothers and, like most men (at least ones that I know), they had difficulty finding things, including me. I would often be on the verge of being found but my brothers usually gave up moving the sheets around before they found me. I honestly don’t know if they ever knew I hid there. Thanks for bringing back fond memories.

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