CSN Login
Members Online: 6

Share a happy memory

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2018
Joined: Oct 2011

Hi gang!

It's been a sad time for all of us on the forum.  A lot of losses, of people who meant a great deal to us, even if we knew them only in the virtual world.  I lost a FB cancer friend this week as well...dead of breast cancer at the age of 41.

Sometimes I just want to turn back the clock, and think of happier things.  Sometimes I want to really turn that sucker back, to the days when I was young and still more or less free of pain and grief (I say "more or less" because I didn't have a perfect childhood, by any means, but I was a kid, so what did I know?  I thought life was ok.).

There are certain memories from childhood that provide me with comfort, even though they are small, and not really very meaningful.

One came to mind yesterday as I walked with my son through a meadow in a local park.

One year, when I was 13, I took part in a local tradition in the rural town where I grew up.

Kids would head out to Carlson's Farm to pick strawberries every summer.  We met at the school, he piled us into a school bus, and off we went, into the countryside...labor so cheap it was practically free!  But there were, of course, drawbacks to enticing the local adolescent hoards with rumors of fortunes to be made in a few, easy weeks.  Many of us were "townies", unused to actual, physical labor.  Add in the hormones and general goofiness of the age, and you didn't get the most reliable workforce in the history of labor.

I lasted approximately 3 hours, until the lunch break.   I had no idea that picking strawberries involved groveling on my hands and knees in the dirt.  And it was so hot!  My carefully-coiffed, Dorothy Hamill hair style was a mess.  I had only just recently discovered the concept of a "hair style" (along with the concepts of a hair brush, and regular bathing), and I wasn't about to regress for the sake of a few bucks (talking to other, more experienced kids in the field had quickly put to bed my plans to get rich by mid-July).

So I split.  Me, and a couple of others (whose gender shall remain secret...you have a 50-50 chance of guessing anyway) who had also decided the whole thing was for the birds.  We left the fields, and wandered off down a country road, looking to kill a few hours before the bus came back to pick us up.

Now I'm sure you're thinking something incredible or shocking is going to happen here, but...nope!  Sorry to disappoint, but the sweetness of this memory has nothing to do with anything I (or my partners in crime) did.  It was just the surroundings, and the experience of being in that moment that keeps this memory alive for me.

The heat on my back, the golden glow of the sun on the tall grass growing in the fields alongside the road (the grass itself a blend of green and gold that looked almost luminescent), the buzz of crickets and the calling of the field birds...it was nothing special, but for some reason, that is one room in my house of memory that I can enter when I feel down, and be uplifted.  I walk along that road in memory, and it takes me away for a bit from some of the pain of the present.

Of course, I got canned by Mr. Carlson when I came back from my little adventure, and I never picked berries again.  I just wasn't cut out to be a field hand, I guess.

What about you all?  Any memory that helps bring you comfort in difficult times?

Lots o' love from your slacker pal~AA

danker
Posts: 678
Joined: Apr 2012

As I read your adventure picking berries I recalled a pleasant bike ride in Lake county Illinois.  I lived in Chicago or one of its suburbs most of my life.  To get out to farm areas at the pace of a bicycle was indeed a nice change from the megopolis of greater Chicago.  When in my 50s I used to put about 100 miles a week on my bicycle.

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2018
Joined: Oct 2011

living in a big (ish) city, as I do, I always appreciate the chance to get out in the country.  Of course, Seattle is nothing like Chicago...you're a real big city kid!

Maxiecat's picture
Maxiecat
Posts: 524
Joined: Jul 2012

I remember going camping one summer weekend...somewhere along the Long Island sound.  We dug up clams and had a feast on the beach....Hot dogs, hamburgers, and steamed clams.  One of the families that went with us was of Korean origin.  I remember very vividly learning how to use chop sticks for the first time...that night...they brought some Korean dishes along.  Tthe next morning while making breakfast, Mrs Okim taught me how to pick up a whole egg with those chop sticks crack it on the edge of the pan and then make scrambled eggs!  That is a memory that will stick with me all of my days.  I not only learned how to use chopsticks that day...but it opened up a world of different foods to me.  Ever since then I have been a "foodie"... I love to try new foods and I enjoy cooking.  I think I have passed that along to my own kids (especially my daughter) who will pretty much eat anything.

 

alex

wolfen's picture
wolfen
Posts: 1127
Joined: Apr 2009

I will share a couple of my happy memories.

As a dauntless eleven year old, nothing scared me. My folks spent some years each summer working for the Grand Teton Lodge Company in beautiful Wyoming. Bored to death and loving Roy Rogers sent me to the local stables to become a first class shoveler. Now, I didn't want to let on that I'd never been close to a horse before, so when I was asked to take some of them a mile down the road to the water trough, I said "Sure". I was a little, short kid(still am) wearing only thongs on my feet. A wrangler sat me on a big white horse, and handed me a lead rope with six horses behind me and pointed the way. At that point, I was probably a little nervous. I made it to the trough and dismounted to unhook the other horses, and the dang big white horse stepped right on my foot, in those thongs. Fortunately, it was real muddy, so no damage done. Then I thought "How the heck am I going to get back up on this thing?' I solved that one by climbing up on the fence and over onto the horse. The very next day, my mom drove me into Jackson for a pair of boots. From that day forward, I was accepted as one of the wranglers and for the next three summers led the group trail rides of the tourists. Thus my love of horses and all things Western.

The second one is about my Ron. He had to be the biggest John Wayne fan ever. Our family room is a tribute. Although we'd lived in Arizona for decades, he'd never been to Monument Valley where a lot of the movies were filmed. In 2007, I believe, I made reservations for us and he was beyond thrilled. He'd say "I can't believe you brought me here, where John Wayne actually has been". It probably sounds small to some of you, but he actually talked about that trip more than our trip to Yellowstone. That's a happy memory for me just to see him so happy.

Love You Guys,

Wolfen

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2018
Joined: Oct 2011

that's a wonderful story!  I was a horse nut at that age, and talked my mom into vacationing at a dude ranch near Jackson.  Most beautiful place ever, and a great place to meet cowboys.  Both my aunt and mom ended up with crushes on a guy named Bud.  Any "Buds" at your ranch??  And I'm glad you shared a memory of Ron, I hoped you would.  I hope you get lots of chances to talk about him and relive special memories.  I'm also glad you decided to stick around the forum since losing him...you're an important part of what makes us special!

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2018
Joined: Oct 2011

oops

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3328
Joined: Apr 2010

You brought wonderful memories up for me with your horse story! I had the care of six horses (in Alaska we had a ranch/farm and I rode the rodeos as did my brothers and father every summer) I have been stepped on I don't know how many times, getting in trouble for going out to the pasture to feed them in my bare feet (mama couldn't keep shoes on me even in the winter, I finally figured out how she knew when I did it in the winter, I never thought about my bare feet tracks in the snow) I still have a scar from the day I was late feeding them one night, old Paint reached over before I could get on the other side of the fence and took a bite out of my hand as well as the hay, I look at that scar with fondness now.

I'm so glad Ron got to go where John Wayne had been, what a wonderful surprise for him and a beautiful memory for you! I'm so Happy you did that! That's why we love you so much, you're always thinking of others and how to make them happy.

Winter Marie

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2018
Joined: Oct 2011

I love how a "rustic" activity like camping led you to become a gourmet!  Many of my happiest memories as an adult have come from camping, but I have to admit the few times we went camping as a kid were not all that awesome.  Too poor for a tent, and throwing down a WW II surplus sleeping bag on the ground was...interesting.  We did dig clams sometimes, tho, which I remember vividly because someone once came up with our local monster, the gooey duck clam.  You can google that for some disturbing images!  

ETA that this is in the wrong place, as usual.  This is for Alex!

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 971
Joined: Jan 2013

Mine is a recent memory, May of 2012, just before all this cancer stuff started.

Oblivious of what was growing inside me, I headed home (England) for a well deserved, six week visit.  I went to several friends and relatives in England and Wales, but my last vist was home (Oxforshire), where I stayed with a frend from my youth.  She spoiled me rotten! Knowing that my heart lay in the beauty of the English countryside, we walked the lanes and crossed the fields. We boated down the Thames past meadows filled with flowers and wildlife. We delighted in the Bluebells growing in the woods.

Best of all was a five hour camera trip to a beauty spot high on a hill, where Red Kites (I am an avid bird watcher) were known to hang out. We spent five wonderful, wind blown hours taking over a thousand pictures, laughing, reminising, leaving not a moment untouched by love and joy.  Very few people passed, so we felt like we had the whole world to ourselves. 

I don't believe in trying to recreate a happy moment (or day), but by next May, I should be well tested and healed from the chemo and radiation, and I will be heading back home to endulge in the beauty that is the English countryside. 

 

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2018
Joined: Oct 2011

I can't wait to hear your stories when you get back.  And I wish I could stow away in your back pack!

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3328
Joined: Apr 2010

Someday my husband promises to take me to England, he used to travel there for work and talks about it with fondness.  From your story of the English countryside I can see why. Especially loved the mention of bluebells, how pretty.

Winter Marie

lp1964's picture
lp1964
Posts: 739
Joined: Jun 2013

I grew up in a tiny Easten European village during communism and because of my dad's alcoholism my family could not shelter me from the suffocating grip of the village community, schools with communist propaganda and the whole society, so ever since I remember I wanted to escape and live in a country with palm trees and no winter. We were not poor as far as starving, but we had to work very hard in the garden, on a small piece of land and vineyard, because we grew everything ourselves and no, not in the ideallic sense. It was back breaking work. 

My mom cooking was very simple which I hated back then, but guess what I cook now. The same recepies.

We never had meat during the week, only on Sundays. My favorite food was fried chicken and no, we didn't have that every Sunday only a couple times a year for Christmas and Easter. But that was only for the guests though. They rarely left any on the table. Who could resist the golden brown, crispy breading that was bonded to the meat with saffron colored egg yolk and white flower. Fried chicken with whipped mashed potatoes and cucumber salad. One Easter when I was about 8 I could not resist any more, I stole a piece before the guest came. I was so afraid that I get caught that I climbed under the bed like a dog or a fox that wants to hide the bone. Just me and a thigh. No mashed potato, no salad, no plate, no fork, no napkin. I ate that fried chicken nice and slow. I felt I was like in a bubble and the entire world just disappeared. No sound, no light and that just amplyfied the flavor. When I scraped the last little fibers from the bone with my front teeth I put the bone in my pocket, climbed out, went to the garden and burried the evidence. I felt satisfied, I felt huge like if this chicken made me grew 12 inches. I also felt guilty and scared, because after all I stole the food. But now I know that it was ok in a suppressing family, village and society. It was an "nutritional crime" and at least for a few minutes it made me feel free in my tiny bubble.

Laz

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2018
Joined: Oct 2011

I love the way you struck back against an authoritarian system with a piece of fried chicken!  There's a lot of symbolism in that, really.  Food as freeedom.

lp1964's picture
lp1964
Posts: 739
Joined: Jun 2013

...love it!

if you really think about it the only time people go out on the street and start a revolution is when their food supply or their dignity is at risk. My wife is vegetarian and gets grossed out of the things I tell her we used to eat like pigs feet, liver, gizzards, cartilage, sausage in real intestines, pigs brain, kidney. I couldn't eat this now either, but back then we had no choice. You eat what you havI on your plate or you get weak and sick or can't perform the hard labor that was required to produce that little food we had. Here in America people most of the time had plenty and choices to become vegetarian, vegan or eat bloody stakes 3 times a day.

Since I meat her i eat good too, because I have the knowledge and the choice.

Laz

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 2825
Joined: Jan 2010

I grew up a "city" kid too, but was fortunate to be able to spend one month each summer on my grandparent's farm.  That was back in the day when you made your own entertainment.  That was also before you feared to let your kids out of your sight, so I would go out of the house after breakfast and spend the day enjoying the nature of things around me.

As an adult, I have two great memories of natural wonders.  I was fortunate enough to visit the Grand Canyon in Arizona and also Lake Lucerne in Switzerland.  Each of these places made me stop and stare and wonder at the majesty of the site.  Both are places I wish I could see again to soak up more of their beauty.

Marie who loves kitties

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2018
Joined: Oct 2011

at least in some ways.  I wish I could let my kids go out and roam loose.  When I was a kid, my mom used to send me out to play in the woods, telling me to "watch out for the abandoned mines" (we lived in a coal mining area).  Can you imagine anyone doing that nowdays??

I would love to make it to the Grand Canyon...have never seen it.  I imagine it's very majestic.

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3328
Joined: Apr 2010

Mine is when I took my son when he was 14 across the US from California is to West Virginia, in every state we passed through we always made sure to go for a few miles on Route 66 and stop at every tourist site we could find.  He attempted to eat the $50 dollar 64 ounce steak in Texas (it was worth every penny to see people cheering him on and every bite he took) even being stopped by the Texas State Highway patrolman for speeding was an adventure. (I kept pretending I couldn't find my license registration and insurance, pulling my license out after 10 minutes, then 10 later my registration and then started the search for the insurance,talking his head off the whole time, he finally told me Ma'am, just go on your way please , and I said, no, I'm sure the insurance papers are here somewhere, and he said Ma'am, please just go on, he let me go with NO ticket, and I had to do all that because I had just bought the car and HAD'NT gotten the insurance yet).  Then at the Grand Canyon with my fear of heights Being reigned in by me so I could walk down a path with him, the fear didn't stay reined in for long, I was overcome by it and couldn't move, he put his body around me, and as I was crying my little heart out he brought me back up, inch by slow inch protecting me with his body, talking to me the whole way. Later as the sun was setting my son sat at the edge of the canyon so very still and just soaked in the beauty of it for the longest time, I had to make him leave so we could continue on, I will always keep in my heart my son, a 14 year old being awed by the beauty of our Mother Earth, it will always be a cherished memory.

Winter Marie

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2018
Joined: Oct 2011

It sounds like you have a very special relationship with your son.  Moms and their boys have a unique bond, at least in my experience.  And now you've got that song stuck in my head, "get your kicks...on Route 66..."!

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3328
Joined: Apr 2010

This has brought so many memories flooding back with each person that writes.  You brought back to mind that in Ohio for years every summer I would take my two children to the strawberry fields (forever LOL) and we would pick strawberries to make strawberry shortcake and jam, I always loved seeing my children's faces stained with berry juice, I always thought we'd be charged extra for the many they ate but they never did.

your walk down the country lane sounds wonderful, I'm so glad you have that memory, I can imagine even the laughter that must have been there between your friends and you as you walked.

Everyone here has written something that brings back fond memories, the horses, the camping, having to raise harvest and put up your own food (only way back then to survive with 9 kids in the family for us in Alaska), that I cannot thank you enough Ann for having brought it up. I have such a large smile on my face right now, as those memories long recessed in my mind is brought forward by others memories.  GREAT post!

Winter Marie

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network