writing prompts

Childhood Memories: 3 Objects In My Childhood Bedroom

As an only child, I was spoiled growing up. We were not well off by any stretch of the imagination, not even close. Thinking back, we were probably living a shade above the poverty line, if that. But, for some reason, I had everything. I not only had my own bedroom, but I also had my own “toy room”. the toy room had shelving from floor to ceiling on all four walls, and I’m not proud to say it, but I was able to easily fill each and every shelf. And though toys were a huge part of what consumed my time as a youngster, the three things listed below invoke stronger (and fonder) memories than any of my old toys. These three things weren’t toys at all…

1. Return of the Jedi bed sheets
There wad nothing bigger for someone growing up in the 80s than the Star Wars movies. I loved those sheets. I wish I kept them so I could pass them along to my sons, but they probably wouldn’t be much more than the consistency of a wet Kleenex by now. I studied each character on those sheets. My bed probably didn’t see anything else on them, which makes me question how often I let my mom wash them… um, gross.

2. A horse-shaped bedside lamp
Growing up, I was uncontrollably afraid of the dark. I’m not sure why, but maybe it was because of the creaky floors and doors in the house, maybe it was the unknown of the black night that you only see in a rural setting, or maybe there really were monsters trying to get at me. For peace of mind though, I’d like to think that a monster could have gotten at me 🙂 Having that lamp on at night kept me in a safety bubble and allowed me to sleep soundly… when I eventually fell asleep. It cut through the blackness with power and authority. It also had such a beautifully detailed horse statue as the base. That horse was my protector.

3. A massive closet
The closet provided me with a gateway to an alternate universe. I could step through the door, and be anywhere or anyone. I think closets are one of the best play spaces a child can have. Today, my older son pretends his closet is an ice cream truck from which he serves us ice cream almost every night.

What were the special items in your childhood bedroom? Did you have a favorite toy, piece of furniture? Or clothing? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

The idea for this post came from a book I picked up recently called 642 Things to Write About, by the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. It’s full of wild and random topics. If you’re ever stuck for something to write about, I strongly recommend picking up a copy for yourself and thumbing through it. Many of the titles will make you laugh out loud.

Bedtime Stories

Today’s daily prompt:

What was your favorite book as a child? Did it influence the person you are now?

I remember having books, lots of books, as a child. But, I don’t actually remember reading them. My parents tell me that we read together, but I have stronger memories of drawing and copying the pictures from my books than I do from reading them. When I was in grade 2, I won first prize at the local fair for my drawing of the Cat In The Hat, that I recreated from the cover of the book by the same name.

I’ve written before about my late-blooming love of reading, and I think that has a lot to do with my love of reading with my kids today. In a roundabout way, I think my lack of reading as a child has made me hunger for reading as an adult… so ya, I guess I have been influenced by my childhood reading habits (or lack thereof).

Having said that, my current favorite childrens book is Little Blue Truck, by Alice Shertle.

courtesy of amazon.ca

courtesy of amazon.ca

This is a terrific little story that uses rich and beautiful pictures and words to subtly teaches children the value of friendship and being helpful.

Though I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Dr. Seuss classics (which we have plenty of in the house), I highly recommend Little Blue Truck for your budding little readers. It’s a great little story that I think you’ll enjoy sharing.

My Best Friend

Image

Tara and me (at about age five or six)

Though I now live in the city, my heart is still firmly planted in the countryside that I grew up in. I grew up in two small towns north of Toronto, both with heavy ties to thoroughbred racehorses, both with wide open fields, both giving me great places to explore and learn.

Today’s writing prompt from The Daily Post asked bloggers to write about our pets and what they meant to us.

I often reminisce about my youth – riding horses (I had my own beige pony), talking to the neighbours cows while I waited for the school bus, playing in the grass with my cats, playing with my pet pigeon… yes, I had a pigeon that I named Bernice (after Bert’s pigeon on Sesame Street).

But my closest friend was my dog, Tara. She was a pure-bread German Shepherd that my parents got when I was about two years old. Though my parents were often warned about the dangers of having a Shepherd near such a young child, we bonded almost immediately and were inseparable until the day she died.

Tara was like the older sister I never had, or like a second mother. We could often be found curled up together on the floor, racing each other around the yard, or playing catch with balls and sticks. She protected me fiercely. She once lunged at, and bit, my mom’s boss because he grabbed me. He was only trying to play with me and tickle me, but she saw his movement as a potential threat.

Tara lived longer than she had been expected, lasting until my early teens. We shared so many terrific times together, as did the rest of my family, and she never once caused us any trouble. She will always remain the favorite pet I’ve ever owned… and I’ve owned a LOT of pets (rabbits, rats, horses, various birds, fish, turtles, and many other dogs). It’s hard to think that I could ever love an animal as much as I loved her, and that may be part of my hesitation for owning a dog today.

It’s possible that my boys are missing out on something by not having a dog, but dogs just don’t fit into the family mold at the moment. At least, not our family mold. Maybe this’ll change, maybe one day they’ll have a four-legged best friend to run and play with – and blog about (if blogging even exists when they’ve grown up).

Dogs are fantastic animals, they’re good for the soul, they lift spirits, and they’re loyal. At least, that’s what my dog was like.

Use The Force Luke!

“Use the force Luke”

Could there be a more important line from a movie for someone who grew up in the 80s? I think not.

Today’s daily prompt: Take a quote from your favorite movie – there’s your title. Now, write!

The millennium falcon, the death star, Yoda! These were just some of the things that helped to shape my youth… and the childhoods of millions of other children around the world. Ok, maybe that’s giving Star Wars a bit too much credit, but it remains one of the greatest movie franchises to date, and the special effects are still amazing after all these years. I mean, I think it only took me two or three days to complete Angry Birds Star Wars edition… c’mon!

I remember travelling everywhere with my little backpack full of Star Wars action figures. In fact, even though my parents had to buy them, those toys probably ended up saving them thousands of dollars in babysitting fees.

I have a very vivid Christmas memory of the excitement I felt the moment I opened a gift to find Jaba The Hut inside. It was a mixture of super excitement and relief because I wanted the toy badly. I also have a cassette, yes a cassette, of my parents asking me what I got for Christmas when I was just under three – “Ton-Ton”, I replied before taking a big suck attack because my parents pressed for me to say more. If I’m able to, I’ll convert it to digital and upload it to the blog someday.

Star Wars will always remain close to my heart, and as goofy as it sounds, I’m excited to pass my Jedi knowledge on to my little Droid children while we take our pet Ewoks for walks after dinner.