Something’s been eating at me lately.
For years actually. It’s about memory.
Memories of my childhood are blurred; nonexistent in many instances. Some stand out in sharp contrast while most are entirely lost. It’s not that time as colored or altered them. They’ve seemingly been replaced by Jay-Z lyrics and recounting times I’ve replied, “You, too” to a waiter when he’s invited me to “Enjoy your meal.”
Thanks to the wide-eyed, infamously useless late-night Google sessions about health and brain function, I’ve narrowed it down to childhood amnesia or mad cow disease. You never can be sure, right?
Don’t psychoanalyze me just yet. That’s not the point today. Today, we’re asking you to take a trip with us.
Did you hear that?
We know the senses bring some of these out-of-focus or forgotten moments back to front-of-mind. Scents and sights hold the lion’s share for most folks. For me, it’s always been an audible trigger.
The whirring whistle of a Wiffle curve.
The twanging vibration electric tape makes when wrapping properly around a bat handle.
“Hey-batter-batter. Hey-batter. Hey-batter Swiiiing-batter.”
Most of mine are Wiffle Ball related, but that defines my childhood. 2-on-2. Brothers and Dad. A back lawn. Homeruns are over the shed. Electric box backstop. The baselines aren’t painted on, they’re well-worn. Game ends when you can’t see the ball or the mosquitos get too aggressive.
Ghost runner on third.
Those sounds crack open a kernel of familiarity wedged somewhere in a recess of my brain, behind the theme song to Family Matters and under the instructions for tying a Palomar knot.
The backyard. This was the place that shaped me and I remember every square inch of it.
Since the house has been sold and changed hands, I haven’t been back. These sunset sounds and memories of the home field are not just my connection to childhood, but a bridge to the wood and grass and gravel and sheet metal that defined who I’ve become.
It’s just one place along the journey. But it’s my place.
We know a series of events and decisions and circumstances brought you to this moment. To this rambling blog post about Hova and waiters and Urkle. But we’re talking about place today.
Since the holidays are just around the corner and many of us will be returning to the ol’ family homestead or hometown for a day or weekend, we want to know: What is that place that shaped you? The one that connects little you to current you.
Your mission, should you accept it:
Go a step further. Go back to that place, stand in front of it and have someone snap a picture.
It’s going to look different. The paint has changed. The front door is repaired. The basketball goal is gone, the driveway is cracked and why is there an RV parked in the side yard? They’ve cut down the maple. They’ve planted fescue over the baselines your adolescent feet worked years to etch.
It’s going to look different and that’s okay. You do too.
It doesn’t have to be pretty. It doesn’t even have to be a house (Mine is the worn corner of a quarter-acre lot). It just has to be real. Take some time to reconnect with that space and yourself. Introduce yourself to the new owners if that’s the case. And if you want to play along, send us the pic and the story or post it to your social media o’ choice and tag us.
Maybe it will help bring some of my memories back. Maybe it will remind you of some of yours.