Share 10 fond memories from your childhood.Okay - know that is just not a fair number, again, only ten. One of our favorite family games was "Remember When". How do you play? You tell stories from your memories and you begin with, "remember when", that forgoes to show how many wonderful memories we have as children. So instead I will categorize the memories into groups.
1. Saturday's at the office with Dad and Natalie. My dad owns his own business of automatic doors. (like the ones for hospitals and grocery stores) His office was an old home that he converted into his office and behind the office he built a shed for assembling the doors. Every Saturday he would take us to the office to play while he finished up some odds-n-ends. Natalie and I LOVED going with him. We would play secretary at the various desks (and mess up all the paper work in an effort to tidy up), we would draw on the large dry erase board and leave notes for dad's employees to find on Monday, we would hide in the various room of the office. The shed was our favorite place to play, we loved giving and getting rides on the dollies or the wheel barrow, we played hide-n-seek among the large boxes filled with new doors waiting to be installed, we watched in fascination when dad tried to break a large piece of glass in the dumpster with a hammer and was unsuccessful until he used a special tool and a mallet which finally worked (we thought he was magic), we gathers old bricks, rocks and anything else we could find and built a "house" to play in, we filled it with flowers the business from next door was throwing away, we found snakes to play with, we found birds nest hiding in the roof of the shed, we put everything and anything in the vice and tried out all of dad's tools, we "helped" him scrap the aluminium from the doors and then take it to the dump. On the way to the dump we rode in the back of his work van, (pre seat belt laws) rolling around with garbage cans and other construction junk while listening to dad's 60's-70's music, which we loved, the dump was a fascinating place, we especially loved watching the machine that crushed and then spit out cans. After the dump dad would take us to 7-11 (next door to his office) (it is still there, I think dad keeps them in business :)) for lunch, a hot dog, Slurpee and treat of our choice (always from the bottom shelf which held the cheapest treats). We would take lunch back to the office and eat it on the porch of the office while watching the traffic go by. Dad has since made several improvements tot he office, which included tearing down our beloved shed and building a new and "better" shed. I miss the old shed. I would relive this memory over and over again if I could.
2. Sleep overs at Grandpa Osborn's house. Of my parents children Natalie and I were the only ones who got to know Grandpa Osborn before he passed away. I don't know how often, but I would guess nearly once a month, Grandpa invited us over for a sleep over at his duplex (the same duplex my parents lived in when they were first married and where I was born). His duplex was in down town SLC walking distance to Liberty Park. I was terrified of down town. I felt certain someone was going to shoot us. Grandpa had us sleep on the sofa bed in the front room and before we went to bed he would lock several locks and dead bolts all the way up and down the door, then we would try to fall asleep while watching the shadows and light from the busy street outside play across the window. The next morning we would help grandpa make corn bread and then eat it at his round folding table. We always poured warm milk over our buttered corn bread, I still insist on eating corn bread in milk, it is better that way! After breakfast we would play Pac Man, the vintage version (which wasn't vintage at the time. :)), or we would ask him to pull down the stairs so we could play in the attic. The attic was a mysterious place, full of terrifying hiding places. We loved it. We loved grandpa duplex in spite of and because of the fear it held for us little girls. :)
3. Road Trips. We always drove for all of our trips and to this day I am convinced that the best family vacations happen on the road on the way to your destination. Mom would put together fantastic activity bags to keep us entertained, complete with paper games, like tic-tac-toe, pencil box games, draw funny faces, word searches, etc. We had fluorescent cards with phrases to show to other cars like, "have a great day", "your blinker is on", "honk your horn", "smile" or "wave", we loved to see the other drivers and passengers respond to our signs, the big trucks honking their horn's was the best! She would wrap small presents like, gum, crayons, stickers, etc. and then we would have to earn the presents by finding so many red cars, or so many different licence plates. Dad always mixed a tape or later on a cd specifically for the drive, one of our favorite songs was "Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby" the whole song had one word over and over again, guess what word. :) another favorite song was "you put the lime in the coconut". :)
My three favorite trips with the family were Yellowstone - where we would earn a certain sum of money for each animal we found - $1.00 for a bear or moose, $.50 for bison, elk or eagle $.25 for squirrels, etc. Each time we visited Yellowstone we would see a bear up close and doing something interesting, like sitting on a buried carcass of an elk, chasing ducks down the river, or walking around with cubs. Second favorite was the Great North West trip. A ten day drive through California, Oregon, Washington, Canada and Idaho. Highlights of the trip include, my brother Taylor getting locked in a prepay self cleaning bathroom, having a bison, and zebra put their heads in our car at the wild animal park, meeting a movie star bear named Michelle, watching illegal immigrants quickly pack up their blankets with shirts for sell and run away from police at the Golden Gate Bridge, dad catching pigeon after pigeon at the fine arts museum near the Golden Gate Bridge, watching the lock system, playing in the fountain under the Space Needle in Seattle, riding a ferry, crossing one amazing bridge after another in Washington, and visiting parts of dad's mission in Washington. The third favorite trip was one that only my dad, Natalie and I went on, to Dinosaur Land in Vernal UT. Dad had to do some work there, so he put all his tools in the back of the van, and then covered the tools with a large piece of particle board. Mom then covered the board with blankets and pillows and that is where we rode for the whole three hour drive there. We once again had our great travel bags full of toys, activities and treats to keep us busy there. Those pre-seat belt days were wonderful! One other memorable road trip was when we packed 20+ of the Osborn family into a small motor home and drove to AZ. My Aunt doesn't like chocolate so the only snack we were offered was gummy bears; she must have purchased a ten pound bag before the trip and anytime we wanted something to eat - gummy bears, I can't eat them anymore, YUCK! :)
4. Neighborhood Gatherings. Every Sunday night, even now, all the neighbors gather on my parents driveway to visit, while the children ran around the neighborhood playing night games, princess and robbers, baseball, or having water fights. It was a bring your own chair and treat and visit till the sun sets kind of gathering. We had the best neighborhood. As a child I loved playing the great games and as a pre-teen and teen I loved ease-dropping on the adult conversations. The only neighbors we ever had problems with were the ones who for a short time lived right next door to us. They had a dump truck, limo, and several other trucks and cars parked in their driveway and on the road, which blocked our view. They also had a large storage box on their driveway that as kids we were convinced held dead bodies. They smoked ALL THE TIME and it came through our swamp cooler, and worst of all they kept several pigs in the back yard. We were mean kids and had a great time one day throwing rotten apricot bombs at the pigs, our aim was pretty good and got much better, until mom found us and made us hop the fence and clean up the whole mess. As children in the neighborhood we had a terrible habit of throwing things we shouldn't, like when some different neighbors lived in the same house and through unripened apricots into our open window (Natalie and I took the screen out), we saved the apricots in our nightstands. There was also the tradition of hiding in the trees in the front yard and throwing pine cones at Ruby the Ripoff Ice Cream Man, any time the ice cream man came to our neighborhood we learned not to ask mom for money, because he was a "rip off" so instead we hid in the trees and pelted him with pine cones when he drove by, I am not sure why he kept coming day after day or why he didn't tell our parents. We tried the same stunt with the mail man, he told on us!
5. Grandma and Grandpa Johnson's house. Natalie and I had cousins in between our age, Jennifer a year older than me and Carolyn in between Natalie and I. We would have sleep overs at Grandma's house and the next day we would play at Great-Grandma Winnie house. She had very large pine tree in her back yard that was big enough for all of us to stand under, we explored the creek out back and the other homes for "treasures" and found a few large tires, tree stumps, large pieces of heavy duty plastic, pieces of carpet and more and created a playhouse under the tree, right next to the tree was an irrigation ditch which occasionally had water running through it. we became modern day boxcar children under that tree. Grandma Winnie also had a large outdoor brick oven, a large swinging bench that would swing right over the creek, a bridge crossing the creek, a large patio of stone next to the creek and rows of hedges separating big spaces of grass, all of this did wonders for our imagination, which we had in spades. The best time to sleep over at Grandma and Grandpa's house was the night before Independence Day. We would sleep in the back yard and inevitably get in trouble, the following morning at precisely 6:00 am an Ariel bomb would go off, it would wake us up and start the day off right. Then we would walk up the street to the park where the Lions Club served a great pancake breakfast, following the breakfast we would sit on the curb and wait for the parade to start, sometimes we were even in the parade. Grandpa (being in the Lions Club) was almost always in the parade. After the parade we would visit all of the stands at the park, some had wonderful fair food, others had games like the fishing hole, or duck pond, others were just rides. Grandpa was always in charge of the swings that spun around in circles, I was so sad when I grew to big to ride in them, and now they are gone, replaced with bounce houses. I also loved when Grandpa would put one or two of us in the front basket of his bike and take us for rides around the same park. Or when we would collect acorns in the back yard. Even though things have changed, I love visiting their house, it is filled with cherished memories.
6. Girl Scouts. Yes I was a girls scout and I am proud of it, I hope that when or if I have girls there will be a good girl scout program in my area. My best friends mom was our troop leader and she was awesome! We had sleep overs at the old children's museum, went on many field trips, spent hour upon hour at her house learning a bit of everything, but the highlight of my girl shout experience was selling cookies. It was a challenge because our neighborhood block had 5-8 girls trying to sell cookies. I remember racing home after school trying desperately to beat the other girls home so that I could sell cookies before them. In the end we all managed to sell enough cookies to go to Trefoil Ranch Girl Scout Camp. I LOVED it there, we rode horse all week long as well as other lesser, but fun activities. I really enjoyed my time away from home and the opportunity to be with horses, brushing them, feeding them, riding them, saddling them, learning all about them, even cleaning their stalls was fun, because I got to be with horses. I also really grew to love the girls in my troop. They were my best friends.
7. Canyon View Choir. I was a choir nerd from second grade until I graduated high school and into college. I attribute my love for singing to the great grade school choir I was able to participate in. We would practice every Tues. and Thurs. morning before school started. If you were in the choir you got to have a special shirt which you wore with pride. If you were in the choir you got to go on LOTS of field trips to perform at places like malls, the capitol building, office buildings, other schools, and most memorable at the first attempt Salt Lake made for the bid of the Olympics. I loved riding the buses with so many friends and often times my mom. I really loved the songs like "It's Ruff Ruff Ruff Ruff Bein a Dog" and "Hot Cup of Coco". Choir was wonderful, all of my siblings sang in it for some or all of their grade school experience and always under the same great director, Mrs. Freestone. Yeah for Choir. :)
8. Swimming in the Kitchen. When I was 11 years old or so I began babysitting for my mom. I was for the most part a really good and responsible babysitter and I enjoyed it. One day I was baby sitting for my parents and had the brilliant idea to swim with my siblings, trouble was it was winter and we had no pool. So I improvised. I covered all the vents in the kitchen with several towels, and I made a boarder around the kitchen where there were no walls more towels. I am sure I used all the towels in the house saving just enough for us to drive off with afterwards. Now that the pool area was set, my siblings and I pour pots and pans full of water onto the floor and began swimming in our wadding pool. We probably get the water 4-6 inches deep and we had a great time splashing and playing in the water. Before my parents got home we cleaned up the water, put the wet towels in the laundry room basket, changed our clothes and I put everyone to sleep. My parents never suspected a thing, although my mom did wonder why all her towels were wet. Years latter I told her and she was able to put two and two together. Swimming in the kitchen was great, however if one of my babysitters did that while taking care of my children I would not be impressed or thrilled. :)
9. Family Play Time. You know the church's slogan "Family, Isn't it About Time". I feel like my family had play time in spades and I think that is why despite differences we all still get along really well. We would have water fights - in the house (when mom wasn't there), we would play hide-n-seek, (dad was the best at this game, hiding just outside our window, or putting Lindsey on top of the cupboard above the fridge. :)) we would have Family Home Evening on the roof, just for fun. We would ride our bikes all around town, even through the drive through. Mom always had fun things for us to do outside and participated with us, things like chalk, kite flying, sprinklers, bubbles, croquette, etc. At dinner time we played games like, 20 questions, I spy, follow the leader with dad leading us in various rhythmic pounding at the table. We often went on hikes as a family, one of our favorite places to hike was the gully, just under the mouth of Parley's canyon.
10. Dad Playing the Guitar. My dad has a beautiful singing voice and when he was young he taught himself to play the guitar. He would often pull out the guitar before bed time and play and sing while Natalie and I danced in the living room or in the guitar case. Then we were off to bed with him still playing and serenading us to sleep. I love listening to him play and wish so much that we had a good recording of him playing, but he is very modest and doesn't think he is good enough to be recorded. I would love to play a cd of him for my boys when they go to sleep. As I got older dad was so good to encourage me to learn and play songs that interested him, then we would play and sing together. I think this really helped me to improve my talents.
I didn't grow up with riches, my own room, a tv in my room, my own car, rooms full of toys, or other things that at the time I thought I needed or even deserved. But I feel like I had a rich childhood, if only every child could have such cherished memories. Thank you mom and dad for giving me everything that mattered!
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