My Retirement Stories

Childhood Christmas

Childhood Memories

Before the iPhone

Since the iPhone, we have had more photos than we need of every little thing. Finding one image can be like a needle in a haystack, but still, we have documented our lives. But, before the iPhone, it was hit or miss when searching the memory bank. I have very few photos of my childhood. The movers lost one box with all the family photo albums on one of my mother’s moves! The only photos I have are the ones that never made it into the album; they were mostly rejects. So, today I went through them, and I lost several hours reminiscing about the memories they hold.


Yes, I was a natural blonde child, and here’s proof I was walking at nine months! Of all the Christmas presents, I remember those blow-up balloon dolls the most. We would knock them down and laugh as they popped right back up. As I recall, we did that over and over and laughed every time. With all the electronics and technology in toys today, I wonder if the sheer joy and fun are missing.

New Orleans

For one year, when I was in second grade, we lived in New Orleans. My father was on a short-term assignment, so we packed up and moved into an apartment a few miles from Lake Ponchartrain. The first thing I always remember is the rain and the flooding. Our classroom flooded regularly, so we just pulled our feet onto the seat, and class continued.

I also remember the cockroaches, or what they call palmetto bugs. I know I was small, but these bugs were huge. My mother would go into the kitchen every morning, turn on the light, open a cabinet and scream! These palmetto bugs jumped out every time, no matter how many times we sprayed. Then there were the red ants. Of course, the biggest pile of red ants was right under the swingset in the common area. You know I fell off the swing, right into that pile, and I remember how much that hurt! Then there were the dragonflies or darning needles at Lake Ponchartrain; we would swim underwater as long as possible while they dive-bombed us!

I also remember the Mardi Gras parades and the beignets at Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter. I was too young for most activities, but I remember the parades and beads tossed from the colorful floats! When Bill and I visited New Orleans a few years ago, it was fun to visit places in the French Quarter and reminisce.


My fondest childhood memories are of the summer camping vacations, mostly in Maine or New Hampshire. Camping was inexpensive then, especially in the state parks, so we camped for two weeks each summer. My father and brothers slept in the WWII army-issue tent; my mother and I put our air mattresses in the back of our Nash Rambler station wagon. I loved camping because I could play softball and other games with the boys. I never forgave the Little League for not allowing me to play back home; after all, I was the oldest!

In the early years, we bathed in the lake with a bar of ivory soap. Eventually, the parks added bathhouses with hot water; what a luxury. When we travel in our Airstream these days, we search out RV Parks with full hookups. We’re too old for roughing it or “boondocking,” as RVers call it.

Every summer, we went to the docks in Portland to buy Maine lobster and a large bucket of steamers. Back in the campground, we would steam them over the fire. To this day, there is no better way to enjoy a lobster dinner, and I have only had steamers in Maine. Now that I live in the Florida Keys, we enjoy the local lobster, but it is not the same.

Isn’t it interesting what memories surface? By the time I entered fourth grade, we had moved to Pompton Plains, NJ. The new grammar school I attended only had grades one through four, so my class was senior through eighth grade! We had a rude awakening when we entered high school, but that’s another story.

Please share:

1 thought on “Childhood Memories”

  1. Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories, Kathy. Thank heavens the box of photo rejects was at least saved. Rick lived in New Orleans for a while as well and also has great stories to tell from that time.
    Looking forward to the next read,

Comments are closed.