Since I write for children, I often think about childhood and how children think, partly from my own recollections and partly from observing children as an adult. I'm working on a series of stories right now that feature a toddler and some of the first things he goes through, like a first sled ride, a first hair cut, etc. A lot of what I am writing is based on what I have observed as a mom, but I also find it helpful to think back to my own childhood to try to capture what it felt like to experience things.
The earliest thing I can remember from childhood is sitting in the grass in my yard with my friend and next-door neighbor, watching the garbage truck come up our street and pick up trash. I was probably 3 or 4 years old. That seems like a weird thing to remember, but in a way, I think it characterizes childhood. What seem like non-events to adults are often new and different for children. Children work hard at trying to figure out the world, understanding routine and why things happen.
If I think about it for very long, I can remember that feeling of being completely happy-go-lucky, having that whatever-comes-next-is-fine attitude, glad that I get to play kick the can with my friends on my street or stay home and play by myself. I remember getting hurt and running home to my parents for help--that vulnerability of crying and running home, but also the comfort of being taken care of.
I remember little things like my dad bringing me a new book home on days when I was sick. And things I couldn't explain, like the time my brother and I heard this huge crash upstairs when we were home alone. When we went to investigate, we found the glass shower door had shattered inexplicably. I remember lying in front of the Christmas tree staring at the bubble lights, using my dog as a pillow, just lying there enjoying the tree. I remember all the best places in the neighborhood to hide when we played green ghost or hide and seek and the way I would stop to let roly poly bugs cross the sidewalk in front of me as I walked to school. I remember making weird drink combinations, like Dr. Pepper and orange juice or grape juice and milk (which we called a purple cow). I loved tater tots, hated salmon loaf, and loved fruit cocktail--mostly the cherries.
Anyway, if you care to comment, I'd love to hear about some of your childhood memories are.