While I am wrangling a newborn, posting from me will be a little sparse. Thankfully! I have some amazing stand-ins who are here to share some of their most vivid childhood memories. Donna’s childhood world sounds amazing. As someone who had no cousins until she was 14 and no siblings – this whole thing is fascinating and seems like utopia!
When Lauren asked for people to write guest posts about their most vivid childhood memory, I thought “I’ll do it, I loved so many things about being a kid!” However, when I sat down to think about which memory I actually wanted to write about, I couldn’t pick one. My childhood felt like it was a jumble of memories rather than having one single memory stand out as being the most vivid.
- Going to my cousin’s house and spending hours setting up to play with her many Barbie dolls, dividing the clothes between each doll and marking areas of her bedroom to be houses, shops, the beauty salon etc only to finish setting up and be told that it was time to go home.
- Letting my cousin pull out my wobbly teeth that wouldn’t come out. Once she played dentist and did it with her hand, but I did let her tie a string around a tooth another time to pull it out – by tying the string to a door knob and slamming the door.
- Hiding in the back of the van with my cousin and secretly cutting out a clump of her hair because she’d stuck chewing gum behind her ear like Violet Beauregarde in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
- Sneaking into the formal lounge on Christmas Eve to “arrange the presents nicely under the tree” aka try to guess what we were getting for Christmas. One year, our parents used foil wrapping paper on our presents. Sticky tape comes straight off foil wrapping and no one can tell if it’s been unwrapped!
- Helping our mums to organise a surprise party for my cousin, slipping up and telling her about it and then laughing because she didn’t realise that when we saw all of her friends in a local fast food restaurant after school it was actually the surprise party.
- Ganging up on my sister with my brother (her twin) and telling her that she was adopted. From Jupiter.
When we (my cousin and I) were teenagers, our mothers decided to rent a big 7 bedroom house for our two families to live together. We lived there for about a year and it was one of the most fun years of my life. Some of the memories that stand out the most from this period include:
- Having “sleepovers” in each other’s bedrooms even though our rooms were right next door to each other.
- Inventing a game with our younger siblings (we have 2 each) that involved rolling someone up in a bed sheet, helping them to stand, spinning them around to make them dizzy and then making them chase everyone else around the room while trying to escape from the sheet. Typing that out makes us sound like we’re insane, but I promise it was heaps of fun!
The more I thought about it, the more I realised that the reason that I couldn’t pick a most vivid childhood memory is because almost all of the most vivid memories I have from childhood are all shared with my cousin, J. It’s her friendship that is the most vivid memory from my childhood, not any one day or event. J is only one month and three days older than me and our baby photos show that our mothers always treated us more like siblings than cousins. Since we were reunited at age 8 when J’s family immigrated to Australia, we’ve had an incredible friendship. There have been times over the past 22 years when we’ve drifted apart but I have always known and felt like no matter what, I could turn to her and she could turn to me for absolutely anything – whether it’s the questions that feel too stupid to ask someone else, the secrets that seem like too big to tell someone else or the insecurities that we feel we can’t share with other people. Perhaps “memory” is the wrong word to use for something that is ongoing but I can’t separate my relationship with J from my childhood memories.