December 16, 2011 § 1 Comment

Guest post by Andrea Westaby.

Recently a friend and I were discussing our childhoods and some of the things we missed about them. The conversation prompted me not only to reminisce about the things that I had or experienced, but also to ponder some of the childhood joys that I wish I could still indulge in. I’m sure everyone has a few. Here are some of mine:

Book-It. In case you don’t know what Book-It is, let me enlighten you. Pizza Hut has a reading program for kids where they set reading goals, and when those goals are met each month, the happy student gets a free one-topping personal pan pizza. For me, who was already being called a “bookworm” by third grade or so, reading came easily – almost as easily as eating free pizza which I did not have to share with my brothers or sister. I only wish they had Book-It for adults.

The Root Beer Stand. I’m sure many of you have some childhood haunt, some “place” that you loved, and has become only a memory. One such place was the Root Beer Stand in my hometown. It had root beer floats, of course, and cheese curds, and fudge-dipped ice cream cones. It was a real, old-fashioned stand, where you had to order from – and eat – outside. There were no comfy booths, just a few rickety picnic tables, if that. At least that’s how I remember it. Unfortunately, the place was torn down to make room for – you guessed it – a parking lot.

Books with art. I can’t help but wish publishers and authors included illustrations in more books than they do. Unfortunately, book illustrations geared toward anyone over the age of 7 are usually met with a sneer, as if liking pictures in your books means that you can’t read properly. I couldn’t disagree more. I always loved to read, and I always liked the pictures. I would love to see more books – modern and classic – with accompanying art on some page other than the cover.

I’m sure I could go on for hours, just reminiscing. I’m equally sure that all who read this have some fond memories to indulge in as well. Some of my memories are more personal than root beer and free pizza, and that makes them all the more dear. Memories of familial closeness and good times with friends. Memories like my dad singing old country-western or folk songs to me or my brothers. Favorites were “The Green, Green Grass of Home” and “my” song, “Just Walk Away, Renee.”

But, come to think of it, I’m not sure that I want any of those things back. I don’t think a 6-inch pizza would be as filling to me now as it was when I was eight. A rickety root beer stand might not be as magical anymore. I would hate to have my memories spoiled by realizing that the cheese curds I thought were the best in the world were really actually just plain old cheese curds all along. With the possible exceptions of illustrations in books and hearing my dad sing, I think I can be content to leave the past where it is – in a beautifully-wrapped, somewhat mysterious cloud of memories and dreams that comfort and assure me in the quiet moments of life.


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