Today my oldest son, Q, was writing about his memories regarding a beach cruiser, cruising it at the beach, and people watching at the beach. He said he doesn't remember too much about his childhood without the help of photographs. Thank goodness we took alot over the years, and some video too. My sister Lynette texted this morning asking about addresses of the very first house we lived in, in Aurora, CO., and my grandparents address there in Denver. These two conversations led me down through a nostalgic walk down my own memory lane, and also through my children's childhood.
My kids tease me to death about my very distinctive childhood memories. I took them on a little drive through Denver sites in 1984 on our way to South Dakota to see my Grandmother. When we were in Denver again in 1997 for a Bliss Family Reunion they did not want to retrace my childhood again, and were lucky this time because they were too old for me to force them. They remember me showing them where my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Brown, lived and that we made chocolate chip cookies there. And they still tease me about it!
Today when Lyn asked me what our address was in Aurora I started looking up addresses. I wrote back to Lyn that my elementary school was Montview and it was at 5505 Molina. She couldn't believe I knew THAT address. I didn't of course I just knew the name and googled the address. But then I was able to find our neighborhood, our house, and some of our friends houses. I was quite surprised to see how small that house was square footage wise, especially as houses are getting bigger and bigger these days. We moved into the house when I was around one...although I don't REMEMBER that. I was the oldest, and we lived there until late summer when I was going into 3rd grade. So there were 6 of us living in less than 1000 square feet. I don't think my parents were poor, or rich, that's just what people had at that time. I remember so many memories in that house, like going across the alley to our friends, the Meads. Rusty Mead was my very first boyfriend when I was 4 or 5, and my very last boyfriend when we left Colorado when I was 15 1/2. There was the time I was sent to the Meads to borrow some ice and got my tongue stuck on it on my way home. Also I learned to "pump" on a swing from my next door neighbor Jill Pinkerton. All the neighborhood kids went to the Meads house to watch their new television because no one else had one. We would watch the big sign that told what the network was with a long tone until actual TV programs started. My favorite was Howdy Doody I think. I wanted so much to be in the Peanut Gallery. I had a kindergarten teacher named Mrs. Gold, I remember her daughter was an airline stewardess so I wanted to be one too. She was killed by a bomb that was put on a plane...way back then there were some kind of terrorists I guess. Mrs. Scofield was my 1st grade teacher, but I loved Mrs Brown my 2nd grade teacher because she shared her home...and her chocolate chip cookies. I remember walking to Goodies Store to buy penny candy. Can you imagine parents letting their kids walk by themselves to a store that was maybe 4 blocks away? There were so many fun friends and experiences on Jamaica street in Aurora.
When we moved out of the Aurora house we moved into my grandmothers house at 1230 Magnolia in Denver. My grandfather had just passed away at 55 years old, and my grandmother was having a hard time living alone. We were waiting for our 2nd house to be built in Southeast Denver. I started 3rd grade at Montclair Elementary and my sister, Lynette, started Kindergarten. It was so amazing because her kindergarten teacher Mrs. Lyon was my Dad's kindergarten teacher too, and she remembered him! Lynette walked home once by herself and got lost, I can't remember if that was my fault in some way....see I don't remember EVERYTHING. But I do remember she crossed Colfax which was one of the busiest streets ever. A lady found her and rescued her. Grandma's house had a double hump hill that we would roll down and the neighbor next door had just one really high hump in her yard. We would just have to be careful not to run into the beautiful weeping willow trees. Isn't it funny what kinds of things stay in your memory? Sometimes the tiniest things clasp on, like: the milkbox and the milkman coming every day to put milk in it...especially when it was chocolate; buying new clothes for school and hanging them on the pipes down in the basement room where we slept, and exactly what they looked like; grandma making sugar bread for an after school snack; playing piano on the same piano Daddy did when he was little; grandma's goldeyn mirror over the fireplace. Oh my 3rd grade teacher was Mrs. Haner. Guess my kids are right, I do remember alot!
In the middle of my 3rd grade we moved into our new house at 1569 S. Forest Street in Denver. By the way, I can even remember our telephone number was SKyline 6-7286. To me the house looked like a gingerbread house, it was so cute. The windows on the right side were diamond paned which was so popular in the 50's. We lived in a housing tract called Virginia Village and we felt rich. I was surprised again today to find that this house was only 1200 something square feet. It seemed huge to me. While we were there my brothers Bill and Brock were born, as well as my sister Becky. So eventually there were 9 of us living there. As time went on my parents did do a semi-finish on the basement and we had 1 more bedroom and 1 more bathroom. Before that time all of us were in 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. At that house I remember: the stile to climb over the fence into the Wallaces back yard, the NON-privacy fences that allowed neighbors to be neighbors; the mexican cart with the donkey in the Keeners back yard; playing kick the can with a whole gaggle of neighbor kids; my friend Nancy directly across the street who was less than a month older than me; the Bells, Bradfords, Sameks; "Neighbor Day" on Labor Day and all other patriotic holidays where we gathered to celebrate; the light in the middle of the family room that pulled down if you needed to have a closer look. My dad would walk through the room and grab it as a joke. Many people thought he was pulling the light right out of the ceiling. I remember finishing 3rd grade with Mrs. Moore at Stephen Knight Elementary while waiting for Ellis to be finished. In 4th grade I had Mrs. Woodward, In 5th grade I had Mrs. Hughes, and in 6th grade I had Mrs. Hann. They all seemed so old, but were probably in their twenties looking back. I had a great group of friends and fell in love so many times while I was in elementary school with Tommy Davis, Val Knopf, Bucky down the street. But when I got in Jr. High I was so shy. I don't know why I was shy, perhaps THAT's why. No, our Jr. High Merrill was so crowded they had to do triple sessions 7:30 - 12:30, 9:30 - 2:30 and 12:30 - 4:30. I was divided from some of my friends. One thing I remember there was helping to give out vaccinations for polio. It was a big deal that they had found a vaccination for that horrible disease. People don't even remember the problem that it was. I will never forget Salk and his discovery.
Writing this down brings so many more memories to my mind that I will definitely write for myself someday. I assume this will be more for me than anyone else anyway. Memories are a very personal thing. I did find an old friend on facebook the other day from my childhood on Forest Street. Linda was my church friend. I guess I probably knew her since Primary until I left when I was 15 and we were both in Mutual. I remember lots of fun times in those classes with her at church. Eventually we went to the same High School, George Washington, and that was fun. Mostly I remember going to her house after church on Sundays between Sunday School and Sacrament Meeting to have dinner at their house and jump on the trampoline in her back yard. I am excited because she lives just a few towns over so we will get together after 48 years to reminisce. Actually who knows how much we'll have to share after all that time. Maybe a few "do you remember?" moments, a friendly lunch, and a hug, but it will still be nice.
Little did I know how my life was really only starting with our move to California. We lived for a short time on Ridglea in Buena Park after my Dad was moved by Ford Motor Company. Well actually we started living at the Magic Star right by Disneyland for a month or two. Can you imagine a child's delight living right next to Disneyland? Can you imagine 7 children's delight? Can you imagine 2 parents delight living with 7 children in a motel for 2 months? They were happy to find anything to rent while they searched for one to buy. My dad for several months or maybe years would all the sudden say "Well here we are in California!" It was quite amazing to all of us. The house they chose to buy was 1716 Sunset Lane in Fullerton. We were kind of sad to leave the Country Club life of Los Coyotes, but Mom and Dad kept a membership there for us, for a time. I went to Buena Park High School until the end of the school year. I managed to get on the honor roll with a 4.0 gpa. Unknown before or after that time. I didn't know anyone might as well study. I did meet my friend Pam (who is my friend to this very day) and Dyan who had just moved there from Colorado too. When we moved to Sunset Lane I went to Sunny Hills High School. We had what was considered a large home at the time. It was so large that it was an embarrassment to me when my friends came to visit, but it was smaller than any of my kids homes today at 2400 square feet. You can imagine how big it was to us after the Denver home I was raised in though. Sunny Hills was considered rich man's neighborhood, but what great friends we made there and in our ward at church, Fullerton II Ward. I met my first real boyfriend there. He was our paperboy who delivered his papers from his Jaguar. He also rode a horse, Sunny, atop the hill across the street and would yell to me at my window...very romantic. I keep in touch with some of my high school friends especially Karen and Karen, great friends still. I had lots more boyfriends until I met the one I would marry when I was 18 years old. And that was the end of my childhood! But not the end of my fun. Four years later my first son was born and that began the memories that I tried to build, make golden, and store for my children.
I have always thought the reason I remembered everything about my childhood was because it was such a good childhood. I never recognized the gift of a good memory. I know that because some of my kids don't remember alot of their childhood and I know there's was equally as memorable as mine. So I thank my Heavenly Father for parents who made my childhood memorable and for the gift of memory so that I remember so well!