One of my friends of over 20 years will tell you that our childhood began with a roadside truck that served hot and fresh donuts so crunchy and pillowy sweet that the balls of dough melted in our mouths, only for us to close our eyes in sheer enjoyment. She will also tell you about the childhood memory of her birthday party at the bowling alley where I dropped a bowling ball on my foot and cried and screamed so hard and loud that my father was called to pick me up. She will tell you about how we blew pink wads of bubblegum into massive bubbles bigger than our small faces when we were little girls.
It is interesting and intriguing about memories and what we remember, particularly of our childhoods. Sometimes, I feel like I am watching my memories as a movie in film strips and segments.
One of my film strip movie segments starts with a bookstore. “Borders” bookstore, to be specific. I spent my high school days with my childhood friends roaming the endless aisles of convictions and ideations in written words etched on the scent of earthy papery pages. We would almost always close our times together clustered at the small rounded tables over what we felt like were the adult drinks of lattes over hot chocolate while flipping through glossy magazine. The bookstore closed more than 5 years ago. The “For Lease” sign still hangs there like a bad reminder that what was will never be again.
More movie segments continue on with the restaurants “Friendly’s” and “Pizza Hut.” In the child-like colorful kaleidoscope and almost circus-like arena of “Friendly’s”, my friends and I gorged on personally served ice cream treats—one friend with her mint chocolate chip ice cream with ONLY the sprinkle of crunchy M & Ms and me with my Reeses Pieces Sundae, extra on the peanut butter river sauce spilling over the mounds of silken vanilla ice cream. On Sundays, I remember my parents and I went there to eat sunny side eggs and stacks of pancakes drowned in maple syrup and topped with pats of butter. At the “Pizza Hut,” my friends and I greedily inhaled deep dish personalized pizza pans and fried breadsticks dipped in tangy marinara sauce. Both the “Friendly’s” and “Pizza Hut” are closed. A corporate chain bank replaced the “Friendly’s.” The “Pizza Hut” stands lonely on the outside with only darkness inside.
Now, the movie theater that I gallivanted to escape reality since I was a little girl has shut down. As a little girl, going to that movie theater was like a world of its own where I took intimate photo booth shots with my friends and would inhale in intoxication the scented buttery popcorn with either them or my family while the massive screen played the movie and I melted inside the seats with my feet propped up against the seat in front of me. The movie theater will be replaced by a car dealership.
One by one, all my childhood places have fallen to the hands of money and corporations, and here I am an adult questioning and contemplating the beauty of innocence having to come to an end. When did money and corporations become so powerful to take over all the places that hold fragments of my childhood? Has the power of money always been this way or is it just getting worse because of the fast-paced times that I can barely keep up with?
When we were young, everything was simpler. We ran outside in the fresh air to play tag or pump our legs to see how high we could fly on the swings. We caught snowflakes on our tongues and dropped in the pure white snowy blanket to make snow angels rather than fret and grumble about how we were going to have to shovel the snow and fight to get to work. We did not have cell phones, iPads, Facebook, text messaging and NetFlix. We held books in our hands to read, we had imaginations to run wild, phones we picked up to speak/listen to someone, letters to read/write, coloring books, hula hoops, and jump ropes. When we were young, times were not so fast-paced and hurry and rush as it is now. Everything goes so fast that I cannot keep up or stop to really digest what is happening. When we were young, we had so much innocent fun.
I only have my memories as movie segments and strips to play on in my mind, and I see that I NEVER want to lose my sense of fun-loving and carefree innocence and zest for life and living no matter how much I grow up and eventually grow old. I always want to find the magical in the simple, the wonder and wondrous in the wonderful, and the awesome in the awe-inspiring.
Do you feel like innocence comes to an end? What places hold your childhood memories that have now shut down due to corporations and money? Do you think that it is when you are an adult that innocence and the sweetness of simplicity must come to a standstill? Or is it just the times we are living in now that change as such rapid speed?
The decisions were made for the banks and car dealerships to take over my childhood spots. The bulldozers have come, gone, and are still plowing through the places that I never wanted to be robbed away from my friends, family, and me. But, they have been stolen. But, they are gone. Yet, they and the memories live on in my mind to never take for granted and are never really gone as the memories play on.
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,