A post I read on the weekend from The Stiletto Mum made me think. It appears to have been in response to a blog challenge which I clearly don’t know about, as I am ignorant with such things.
I was teetering on the brink of leaving a comment, but couldn’t get my mind around what I wanted to say, so decided against it.
But my mind was on a run, and I started wondering. The call was to list three most significant childhood memories. And the idea was to illustrate how these childhood memories have shaped you.
Of course I also have many childhood memories that come flooding in when a question like that is raised. My problem was that I immediately started to think of all the sad childhood memories, and how indeed these memories have shaped me. The thing is, that I firmly believe that things that happen to us, do not make us who we are. Yes, of course it influences who we are, and we can often draw a link between who we are and what we’ve experienced, but I have very little sympathy with people who throw their hands up in the air and declare that it was their fate to be who they are because of something that happened or didn’t happen in their past. I am sorry if I am offending anyone, but I simply don’t buy it.
The first question, I guess, is who am I and what makes me who I am. I am many things but I think an underlying theme in my life has been that I believe I am a survivor. Not a survivor like in the television series who can live on snails and roasted bugs for weeks on end, with no proper place to sleep or shower. Not THAT type of a survivor. No, I mean in the figurative sense. I don’t think there is a lot that can bring me down indefinitely. And that’s not ALWAYS a good thing. I think sometimes I run the risk of getting myself into hurtful situations, thinking that I can get through it no matter what.
So I decided to set aside the sad memories or hurtful memories and come up with some good ones. Sadly, I cannot remember a lot of carefree things from my childhood, as I have felt like a mini grown up for almost as long as I can remember, but I was bloody well gonna try!
I can remember the day my dad taught us kids (strictly speaking it was only me and my sister, as my brother was still a toddler) to eat prawns! I was barely 10 years old and in those days it was a real luxury. Unlike today where lots of kids virtually grow up in restaurants, eating out for us was reserved for ‘special occasions’. Having a Kentucky Fried Chicken take out once in a while was a HUGE treat. But this was not in a restaurant, and my dad made the prawns at home.
He slowly and carefully explained how to hold the prawn with its legs downwards, snap off the head and remove the legs, and finally prise off the skin. He then proceeded to explain to us how my mom, at their engagement dinner did not know how to peel prawns and halfway through the meal looked up and saw that my dad’s plate was filled with shells. Her plate was empty. Yes, she ate the prawns shell and all, not knowing any better and I am sure not wanting to offend my dad.
I am hugely thankful to my dad for making us try different food when we were young. Today, there is virtually nothing that I don’t eat, although he would not have ever believed that this fussy child who hated her veggies would one day munch down broccoli and cauliflower.
My dad was a wannabe magician and knew almost all the card tricks in the book. And he loved playing cards and games. I remember many happy evenings playing cards, Monopoly, Snakes and Ladders, Ludo, Chinese Checkers. We even used to play 21 with matches, trying to (unsuccessfully) outbid my dad.
Today, I wish I could remember the card tricks he used to teach us. It would come very handy at a party! He was a very patient teacher and would show us how to ‘knock a card through the table’ which was not very effective as our hands were too small to hide a card and he would show us the tricks of ‘three in a row’, which was played with matches. I can still remember glimpses of some of the tricks, probably just enough to make a stuff-up of them, but every now and then someone would do a trick and it will bring an instant smile to my face.
I still enjoy playing games with my kids, and whenever we go on holiday, we always take a game or two or a pack of cards with us. We love playing Yahtzee and can spend hours throwing dice or building Jenga towers. We definitely don’t play as much as we did when I was a child and that is sad, and probably something I should aim to rectify.
For a bit more than a year when I was seven years old, my dad was the manager of a motel in Phalaborwa. This was when my brother was born and we lived in a staff house at the motel, which was some distance out of town. Both my dad and my mom worked there, and they loved it. My dad had a very creative streak and would teach us how to fold napkins, how to set a table with fish knives, forks and of course, how to use cutlery properly from the outside, and how to indicate to a waiter that you are ‘done’ eating by placing the knife and fork together.
Being the boss’ kids, we used to have a ball. Since I normally only got home from school after lunch every day, my mom would order lunch for me, which would normally include lots of healthy vegetables, which I rarely ate. For dinner, we were allowed to order whatever we wanted from the menu, which invariably was either Viennas and chips or Sandwiches with Cheese and Syrup. With Milkshakes. Yeah, I know, a very sophisticated palate for such a small child.
I have very fond memories of playing in the sand, swimming in the pool, eating Pap and Marog with the workers and just being a carefree kid. South Africa was way behind with television, and in those days television broadcasts only started at 6pm in the evening, with only an hour of kids programming, so this was one of the highlights of our day. At one stage a film crew came to stay over for the filming of “Siel van die Mier“, which was a local Afrikaans production. One of our hero’s of the day, Schalk Jacobz, who we knew as Knersus from another childrens’ TV series “Oscar” was part of the crew and he would entertain us for hours with his evil Knersus voice.
Of course there were many other fond memories, but these are the first three that comes to mind. And what a nice trip down memory lane this was!
To good memories and making good memories!
What are your most memorable childhood memories?