childhood


We were sitting in Fuddrucker’s the other day and Joelle asked who sang a song that was playing. Most of the songs they play are from the 1960’s. I knew most of them and I started thinking – how did I learn these songs? My parents didn’t play music from the 1960’s all the time. Growing up without the internet (“dark ages”), we had to either listen to the music on the radio or play it in the house/in the car….and we didn’t do either.

Then I realized at least a piece of the equation. The 1980’s TV commercials selling music compilations. Those of you who watched a lot of TV during the 80’s will remember them. They usually a loose “theme” with cheesy actors in the background while the names/artists scroll on the screen with a medley of the “hits” playing. I guess that turned out to be an effective way to cram a couple of decades of music into kids’ heads. Think about it – you get the tune and the artist for about 20 popular songs within a couple of minutes. And you see the same commercials over and over and over again. I watched the CCR example and it was as if I had just seen it yesterday.

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about. I know I’m not the only one who remembers these, right?

1. “Heartbeat” – too bad I couldn’t find a good quality video of this one.

2. “CCR” – this one is the most memorable to me for some reason. I could only find it with another commercial (for “Lamar Savings”…a symbol of the S&L Crisis in the 80’s) in front of it, which is humorous in its own right.

3. “Freedom Rock” – I always assumed that they were trying to be over the top on cheesiness here, but I could be wrong. Embedding is disabled on this one so you’ll have to click HERE to view it.

Petie bought Joelle a great set of books today that help kids who are learning how to read. It’s a great set of 10 small books that Joelle loves so far. True to form, Joelle isn’t one to put down an activity that she enjoys. When at my parents’ house, Honey (my mom), would give her an activity book with stickers and they would go through the activities one by one until they were all done. Then Joelle would ask if Honey had another activity book for them to conquer. It took some negotiating to get her to agree to hold off until next time.

So it is with anything – you can tell if she likes the activity whether it be a game, reading, riding her bike, etc. If you don’t have a good reason to stop, it’s not happening. These books have proved no different. When given the opportunity to keep one in her bed to read she jumped at the opportunity and picked one that she hadn’t looked at (she and Petie went through 3 of the 10 before bed) yet and said she would “stay up all night reading it” so she would get a sticker. (You get a sticker when you read one of the books on your own). We countered saying if she stayed up all night she wouldn’t be getting a sticker anyway….

Forty-five minutes after bedtime I walk by her room from our study and she is sitting in the hallway reading the book. I tell her to get back into bed and she gives me a sad “o….k…..good night” with a discouraged look on her face. No one likes a frowning four-year-old. “Good night, I love you,” I say. She looks up, seeing a chink in the armor of the sleep patrol. “I only got THIS far (about one-third of the way) in the book,” she says. “It says THE FISH SITS and then what?” She was stuck on a new word. She’s still at the point of memorizing common words and being able to figure out some similar ones. I continued the sentence in the book, “…WITH…”. Her face lost its tension–happy to be past this obstacle and processing a new word which she knew she would see again.

Besides enjoying watching this process of Joelle learning to read it reminded me of when I was seven or eight years old. I, too, chose reading over sleep on many occasions. My brother Danny did it, too. There is photographic evidence of me asleep with a book on the rug next to the sinks in our bathroom and Danny asleep sitting in his laundry basket in his closet. When I saw Joelle sitting in the hallway reading, it brought back a memory from twenty-five or so years ago. The memory wasn’t new, but the vividness of it was magnified tremendously. I remember going out into the hallway after everyone was asleep, laying on my stomach in the shaggy carpet and reading by the hall light; a small light bulb that was about ankle level. An uncommon but useful place for a hall night light. Even better as a child’s reading lamp.

I couldn’t figure out how to fit this into the last post on opening the door to strangers and writing about the police helicopter reminded me of one of the scariest moments of my life.

Sarah, my best friend, and I were playing in our treehouse in my backyard. Suddenly, a police helicopter started circling what seemed like directly over us. We were petrified with fear because we thought at any moment, some guy would come jumping over the fence and climb into our house (it had a roof) to hide. Although we wanted to run to the big house and lock ourselves inside, we were too scared to expose ourselves in the yard. We were paralyzed with fear and felt very helpless.

So, now anytime a police helicopter is circling my area with their spotlight shining through the house and surrounding lawn, I really panic. This last time, we had left the garage door open and I was certain that the criminal would find their way into the garage and hide under our cars. Perfect hiding spot, right? So, against our better judgement, Chris went out to close the door and lock it. He even did a sweep of the garage before closing it. I pleaded with him to take a knife. I think he thought I was crazy. When he came back in, I could tell he was a tiny bit rattled though. It is scary!