Tag Archives: childhood memories


I am a big fan of home renovation and decorating programs. One of the trends I find particularly intriguing is that of minimalism. In its simplest terms it is where you get rid of your junk. Now I like the concept but the reality is untenable, at least for me. I like my stuff.

I recently had a friend over to my place and we were talking about decorating and I was explaining the history behind, well, everything. Perhaps it is my nature but everything I own seems to have a story. There are the very heavy bookends that my father bought before I was born. They are horse heads and I’ve always loved them. Or the China horses I collected when I was small child. Of the many I did have only a few have survived the 50 odd years they’ve been around.

Then there are my paintings. I have a lot of them. I actually change them seasonally because I get bored easily. There are the chairs that used to belong to my grandmother or the one chair at my front door that I used for my first attempt at camping. It is a beautiful, hand carved wooden chair that I put a blanket over top of and pretended I was camping. That’s my history.

Of course, the other problem is, I like things. I like pretty things. I like wooden bowls and metal bowls and handmade . . . bowls? Oh my good heavens! I collect bowls! See, pretty creeps up on me. Most of these bowls are bought from a company that engages in Fair Trade. They’re not out to make a big profit for themselves. The artisan that makes the item is paid a portion upfront and then when the item is sold, they get more. I feel good about shopping there. I feel less guilty about buying a unique item that is handmade and, well, pretty.

Would my life be better if I had less stuff? The proponents of minimalism believe so. I’m afraid I don’t. Yes, there is the concept of having too much stuff. Look at any program on hoarding and you will understand. I’m not a hoarder. But I do keep my stuff. I put things into boxes and now and then I pulled them out to exchange them with what is on display now. I like being reminded of my past, of the people that were important to me and that helped to mold me into the person I am today. And, I like my stuff.

A Blast From the Past

Punishments. It is a part of the growing process when it is done correctly. I was punished as a child. I was given the strap. No wait a minute. My brother and sister hid the strap when we moved one year and I never got it. They say that accounts for the deficiency in my character. Ok, I had a wooden spoon whacked across my backside. I think. I remember the wooden spoon and I remember (sometimes) what I did to deserve it but I’m not sure where I got it. I do remember getting my mouth washed out with soap. Talk about a punishment! It was for spitting and I tell you, it was fifty some odd years ago, and I can still taste the soap and I have never spit again. Period. End of story. Prison wardens have nothing on my mother when it came to punishments. Wait a minute. That wasn’t the best punishment she ever dished out. There is an episode that my sister and I both remember. It was that severe. The anguish that it caused at the time and the pain it can still bring to mind…. My mother was an expert at inflicting just the right punishment. Read on.

My sister and I fought. This is no surprise to anyone with two daughters I am sure. She is older than I am and I always admired her. No wait a minute, I was a kid. I was jealous. As an adult it is admiration, as a kid it is jealousy. I don’t remember what we were fighting about. It was just something we did. We fought. But my mom didn’t care for it. I guess we must have been pretty loud because my mother opened the front door and left. She just left. Her own house. Our fighting had driven our mother away! Talk about a guilt trip! I followed mom down the street to a dead end. She was just sitting on the curb crying. Wow. Powerful imagery for a child. We had made our mom cry. Fifty some years later I can still remember the feel of that curb. Now I am sure my sister and I still fought in those days but we never again drove our mother out of the house. At least I don’t remember. (My sister and I are now adults and we don’t fight – but that is for another book).


A Simple Wooden Spoon


I decided that I was in the mood for some homemade soup. One of my favourites is potato and bacon. Usually the kind of thing you want on a cold snowy day but I had a hankering for it.

As usual I got out my soup pot as well as the ingredients and utensils I would need. And then I stopped. In my hand was a wooden spoon. It wasn’t just any wooden spoon. This particular utensil had been a part of my life for close to 50 years. That was amazing!

When I was a child I was wilful and disobedient. I had one hell of a childhood! The corporal punishment usually inflicted was a few whacks of the wooden spoon across my buttocks. I’m afraid my backside and that piece of wood got together way too often. But I grew into a responsible adult so maybe it wasn’t all bad.

It often amazes me how we constantly reminisce about a time in our lives that is long past. There’re those who say the past should stay in the past. I don’t think that’s possible. We are the people we are today because of the actions that were taken before. The people that we met, the activities we engaged in, the failures we had. All of these things contributed to the person we have become.

What is it about who you are today that you like, love and hate. Nothing in this world is perfect and yet our memories often show us a past that seems to have been perfect. When I remember my childhood, I remember the good bits. I remember the love. I remember the support. I remember the laughter. There was a lot of laughter. I know my life wasn’t perfect. Isn’t perfect now. But I hope I will always remember easily the love and the laughter that is and was perfect.

I don’t want to forget the bad bits nor do I want to dwell on them. I was called names and beat up for simply being different. But that taught me tolerance and understanding. We are all different in someway. We should embrace that, celebrate that. I had spectacular failures and I had outstanding successes. I learned from all of my experiences and I am a better person for it.

Oh and that recipe for the potato soup? In case you’re interested:

Potato soup

One bag frozen hashbrowns

One can Cream of mushroom soup

4-6 cups chicken stock

1 cup cheese

One cup bacon bits


Put the potatoes in the crockpot. Add in the chicken broth, cream of chicken soup and half of the bacon bits. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Cook on low for 8 hours or until potatoes are tender.

Top with cheddar cheese and some additional bacon bits.

Personal bits:


I do this on top of my stove. I use extra old white cheddar cheese. I occasionally add leftover chicken bits. The amount of chicken stock you use denotes the consistency of the soup. I like my soup rather thick so I use less stock.


I hope you enjoy!

100 Miles

Feb 22 2014 027


Reading another’s blog about his childhood made me nostalgic for my own. Here is another glimpse back to those halcyon days.

My parents and I once took a month long vacation took while we were living in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.  I was probably 9 or 10. We packed the car and started out okay until we hit a particular section of highway that is 100 miles long with nothing but trees the entire way. It was a two lane highway so some passing of vehicles was required.  It was also popular with trailers which of course drive slower then most cars.  We had successfully passed several of these vehicles when we encountered a problem just as we came alongside one of these trailers. No acceleration. Fortunately my father had just enough power to finish passing and pull over on to the shoulder. A kind soul passing by stopped and between him and my father they determined that the accelerator cable had broken.  This stranger promised to stop at the next town and send back a tow truck.   We made ourselves comfortable.  Soon another stranger going in the opposite direction stopped to say that there was no tow truck so he would stop at the previous town and try to send one back from there. Eventually the same news came back: no tow truck available. Never one to admit defeat my father was able to rig up a solution.  A trusty coat hanger attached to the accelerator was threaded under the hood of the car to the driver’s side window became a makeshift solution.  My father wrapped socks around the coat hanger and pulled on it to accelerate.  Sounds good, with a few caveats.  It was hilly terrain so the car had to go at least 100 mph downhill to get up the next hell.  My mother sat close to my father so she could jam the gear shift into neutral if necessary.  It was a very long run to the next town I must say. When we did finally make it, the local mechanic was amazed by the ingenuity but didn’t have a replacement cable.  He did however rig the coat hanger through the floor board so it was much easier the next day.  It was replaced later.

Scent Memory

March 29 2014 014


I read somewhere that the strongest memory trigger we have is our sense of smell.  I so agree with that!  Many years ago there was a man in my circle, more of an acquaintance actually.  He was attractive and well spoken and he wore the most incredible cologne.  Every time he walked into a room I knew he was there even if I couldn’t see him.  I associated that cologne with him.  You can imagine my surprise when I was in a grocery store and I smelled that particular scent!  He was here!  I turned around with a smile plastered on my face hoping my hair wasn’t sticking up and saw a woman.  She obviously noticed me looking and had a quizzical look on her face.  I was gob smacked.  I muttered something and quickly moved down another aisle.  I rarely smell that cologne anymore but when I do I immediately think it’s him.

I once used a product called tea tree oil.  I never use it anymore, I can’t.  I hear it’s a wonderful product and people have marvelous experiences with it, but I only had one experience.  I had heard that it was good to use  to clear a stuffy nose. I had a cold.  I filled a sink with hot steamy water, put some tea tree oil in and put my nose down in the steam with a towel over my head.  If you have never smelled tea tree oil I can recount to you exactly what it smelled like even though I only used it once about 20 years ago.  It had a strong mossy pine scent.  Think of being in a pine forest in the springtime.  There are lots of needles on the ground and it’s kind of squishy to walk on.  It’s damp because the snow is starting to melt and there is a light chilly breeze that wafts the scent of pine throughout the forest.  I know this because while my head was over top of that steaming water I was jolted back to a childhood memory of playing in exactly those circumstances!

I remember being wet and cold.  I was exploring.  I wanted to see what was under every leaf, every rock and behind every tree.  My curiosity was insatiable!  As a child I would often wander into the surrounding landscape.  In those days we didn’t worry about human predators.  We were kids.  My parents didn’t know half the places I played in, they never worried about me.  In those days if a child got into trouble there was always someone to lend a hand.  Neighbours took care of neighbours and strangers were only strangers as long as it took to be introduced.  I hate to say it but it was a different world.

All the horrible things that exist in today’s world, I am sure were happening 50 years ago but they were not spoken about and they were not as prevalent as they are today.  We live in a world of instant messaging.  News is as it happens and privacy is an illusion.  Maybe I should buy some tea tree oil to transport me back to that idyllic spot in my childhood.  If only…

The tradition of the coat

As we grow older, become adults, it is comforting to look back to remember.  We recall fun times, sad times and even boring times.  Those memories are a silken tether to a past era that we survived. Our history is a part of what molded us into the person we are today.

Children everywhere can relate to this one: hanging up the coat.   Kids all seem to have the same aversion to hanging their clothing. Why hang it up when you are just going to put it on later? So my mother started tossing coats outside when we left them on the chair in the hall. It didn’t help the situation that it was in the winter time in a town that was known for very cold winters.  She would do this in her quiet, easy manner, when we were not around to notice. By the time we did notice, our coats would be cold and stiff.  Not the nicest thing to put on to keep warm!  This continued as we continued to forget to hang up our coats. Until the day my father forgot.

My father was a very fastidious man.  He dressed impeccably.  However there was one day when he rushed into the house and dropped his coat on the hall chair, and I was around to notice. Kid revenge.  Now the weather that day was pretty bad.  It was very, very cold, snow, sleet, all the worst weather. But he had dropped his coat.  With a smile on my face, I tossed his warm, woolen overcoat out the door.  Felt pretty good about it too.  I believed in equality.  Oops.  Now as an adult I understand that the world moves at different speeds for different people.  I understand that what would be considered fair for one person might be considered a travesty for another. This incident happened almost fifty years ago.  It was a different time then.

That was the end of the tradition of the coat tossing, at least outside.  We still found our coats tossed somewhere, but not outside.  Ouch.


Ah, memories . . .



Here is another story from my past. I hope you enjoy it.

My mother didn’t swear.  She was the epitome of a lady.  But there was one time she let go with all she had.  She and my father had just purchased the most adorable puppy. Samantha was her name.  She was a boxer with a brindle colored coat and a black face, and the most exquisite eyes.  She was beautiful.  She was also very small. Being a puppy there is always the danger of accidents. She was very young.  So my mom left her in the kitchen when she went out for a few minutes.  Now the kitchen didn’t have a door on it, just a doorway so my enterprising mother put a board across the opening. Samantha had a bed, water, food, toys, and besides, the board was bigger than she was.  Samantha could not get out.  Wrong.  My parents had just bought their house the previous year.  It had beautiful grey carpets throughout.  I was at my office working diligently when I received a somewhat disturbing call from my mother. Her words were “that damn dog shit all over my house!!” now you can imagine my horror at hearing that particular word uttered by my mother.  This is a lady that wouldn’t use that word if she were covered in it.  And she said it again!  When I stopped laughing (hysterically?). I inquired about the circumstances.  Inquiring minds want to know.    It seems that Samantha, now being a member of the family, felt it was important that she live up to the standards set by the other women around her.  She would be independent, form her own opinions and as for enjoying life, she felt she had to explore to find that life to enjoy.  Alone in the kitchen was just not enough.  So being an enterprising young female.  She did what any self respecting woman would do.  She changed her circumstances.  Samantha climbed the board and went exploring in my parents very beautiful home. Chuckle, chuckle.  Do you know what happens to very small children when they get lost or frightened? That is why then invented diapers.  Well the same thing happens to small dogs that get lost in very beautiful homes.  Oops.  My mother came home to find little puppy poops deposited throughout the main floor, but no puppy.  Eventually the wayward miscreant was discovered at the top of the stairs, very frightened.  She had managed to climb up but the thought of climbing down was just too intimidating.  Poor little thing. Mom scooped up, cleaned up, put up, washed up, and carried down. Of course it is probably very difficult to look stern and menacing when you are trying to discipline a very small, big brown eyed, soft tongue kissing puppy.  But it is a mom thing.