Looking back at 42 memories from childhood, it really comes down to family and friends. Remember that moving forward. 4 years ago
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After 41 entries, I’m surprised I haven’t dedicated one to my brother yet. Simply stated, he’s always been there for me. He was a great older brother growing up and now is my best friend.
-He was a good buffer of guidance as opposed to strict parents.
-He let me play bass guitar in his HS garage band.
-He was always generous with his possessions.
-He always has provides sound advice, though many times I don’t realize it until years later.
-I followed him to the same college, 178 miles away from my parents.
-I followed him into Business School.
-I followed him to his fraternity.
-I followed him out of Missouri…although the opposite navigational direction to start a new independent life elsewhere.
-He gave me my first fake ID, his old ID, twice, actually after the first one was taken. Luckily we look very much alike, though 3.5 years apart.
-He taught me that you can learn alot about yourself and your surroundings by traveling the world.
-He lives in NYC…so a free place to stay in Manhattan!
-He continues to show me that loyalty and hard work pay off, professionally speaking.
-We share the same tastes in music, television, books, beer, coffee, movies, politics, religion, sports…it’s so easy to talk to him for hours on end.
I could go on forever, but you get the point. I’m lucky to have someone like him in my life. Without him…I would be lost. 4 years ago
George was a good friend of mine for a few formative years of my teens. Not to say he was the best role model I could have had, but needless to say, I lived to tell about it.
For better or for worse, George introduced me to a lot of new things in my sheltered little childhood. The only time I ever skipped school was with George in 8th Grade. We tried calling into the school and pretending to be our parents…”Yes hello, this is Mike, Jeff’s father. I just wanted to say that Jeff will not make it into school today because he’s sick…” click. Guess they didn’t buy it. My Mom immediately drove over to George’s house, which we hid out until she left. At that point, I knew I was in a world of hurt, so I just ran home fast. Very fast. George also introduced me to skateboarding, heavy metal and pot. What a guy!
We grew apart in the later years of high school and eventually lost touch. As they say, time flies, and I don’t think I’ve seen him for ~8 years now. 4 years ago
We were fortunate to live pretty close to an excellent Amusement Park… Worlds of Fun. I used to be so scared of the real roller coasters. But my older brother loved them and eventually made me ride them. The scariest one was The Omegatron, The Mamba, The Timber Wolf, Fury of the Nile, Zambei Zee Zinger, The Monsoon, Orient Express. I miss a good coaster park. Any suggestions? 4 years ago
I’m proud to say my very first concert was TOOL. Memorial Hall, KCK. 1996, 8th Grade. MJK was painted half blue and half white. 13 years later, I still think they’re the most creative band out there. 4 years ago
The Kids Aren’t Alright, give me chills now. All those lives…
“When we were young the future was so bright
The old neighborhood was so alive
And every kid on the whole damn street
was gonna make it big in every beat.
Now the neighborhood’s cracked and torn
The kids are grown up but their lives are worn
How can one little street
Swallow so many lives?” 4 years ago
My first trip on an airplane was to Phoenix, visiting my Grandma. I remember being so excited to fly. For that matter, whether for business or pleasure, I still LOVE airplane take-offs. Anyway, Phoenix was heaven for me. Being from Missouri, there were several foreign characteristics: Palm Trees. Cactus. People raking rock lawns. Endless amounts of flat roads. 60 degree weather on Christmas. My brother and I wreaked havoc upon that little retirement community. Rollerblading, golf carting, riding bikes, swimming, billiards, tennis. Makes me want to retire now :-)
Once my Grandma moved there, I became a Suns fan too – KJ, Thunder Dan, Barkley, Ainge…what a team. Unfortunately there was a guy named Jordan that stole all the rings in the Nineties. We were there during the 93 Finals, I still remember watching the game with my Barkley jersey, Suns hat, and “Go Suns” sign. That’s intense!
So my Grandma turns 80 this coming week. Wish I could spend time with her right now in Phoenix. 4 years ago
This one is really hard to explain, but was such the fabric of my being in High School. When you take German class, you’re automatically invited to join the “Deutsch Klub.” All that exists in Deutsch Klub is a few people get together every month to eat at a pizza buffet for $3.00. It was very unassuming to say the least. But one day, my friends and I decided to take the organization to next level. We campaigned and successfully won the entire Executive Branch of the club. I was actually President. What does that mean? Well, it really has no bearing on any authority whatsoever. I think I was responsible for setting the date of the pizza buffet.
We started making TV commercials for our school news broadcast and created a fake rivalry with the Drama Club. Our commercials were just odd. They included stunts, explosions, comedy, teacher cameos, soundtracks, throwing things off of building, costumes…think Sabotage but worse.
After our commercials gained interest through the school, so did the club. This little known club and its pizza party became an event for a solid 50 people every month. I guess the only real winner was the pizza place.
I still have a VHS tape of all the commercials. Now if I could only find a tape player… 4 years ago
The only time I have ever seen my Dad cry was at his own Dad’s funeral. Years later, it has made that moment that much more powerful for me to remember. 4 years ago
I remember Friday nights as a kid used to be spent with my parents, just hanging out together at home. I loved popcorn, so my Mom would make it from this stovetop popper she had. I would take a nice chunk of butter, melt it all over the place and salt it up nicely (OK I’m drooling). My Mom and I would share an afghan and would watch 20/20 with Barbara Walters and Hugh Downs or Colombo (an old cop show). My Dad just play guitar or work on his laptop. Simple memories that just make me smile. 4 years ago
The only fight I got into as a kid. Pat. It was after a backyard football (not soccer) game. For some reason we started wrestling around. Then apparently it escalated. He punched me in the lip. I cried and went home with my brother. Horrible story, I know. 4 years ago
The single person that ruined the sport of soccer for me was a horrible coach in 8th grade. We were the worst team in the league because our lack of talent compared to the other teams that had been together for years. But that gave him no reason to constantly yell at us. I don’t think we won a game all season.
I should have stuck with playing soccer.
It sounds fun again. 4 years ago
I broke my collarbone in 5th grade playing backyard football. I remember the moment it happened. Feeling the crunch of the tackle, then my shoulder feeling really loose. It didn’t particularly hurt, I knew it just didn’t feel right. Luckily the kids Mom was a nurse, so she checked me out immediately and knew I had broken it. Only that point I started crying! I had to wear this horrid brace around my shoulder for months. It couldn’t get wet either, so I was reduced to essentially sponge baths. Even now, I have a slight bump where the bone regenerated. Sometimes if I sleep on it wrong, it will still hurt.
The chin stitches story next time… 4 years ago
I had some rad Puma basketball shoes with huge tounges. Kinda like these. Man, I used to have style. 4 years ago
More tibute to my German-Russian heritage, my Mom used to make Runzas.
Of course I loved them. Must be in my blood. 4 years ago
I can’t believe that was 1994. Watching O.J. flee the cops (though he was innocent) on the Los Angeles Highway. I remember watching that on TV with my brother in the living room, just mesmerized.
Then…”The Trial of the Century.” Shapiro. Cochran.
When the verdict finally came in, I remember sitting in Math class. Our school actually made an announcement over the intercom to turn on the classroom televisions and watch the verdict play out. Before that happened, our Math teacher Mrs Russell did a (not PC!) vote whether he was going to be found guilty or not. NOT GUILTY. Did that moment start my cynicism of the judicial system? 4 years ago
I played the trombone from 6th – 12th Grade. Just like tennis, it was a family tradition. My dad played trombone, his dad played trombone, so I played trombone.
My middle school band teacher was Mr. Clark, a portly old guy who lived and died band. Plus he was a brass player himself, so I really learned alot from him.
My high school band teacher was Ms. Setser. She was passionate as well, just in a more fierce and intimidating way. She demanded perfection and often times got it from us. We played in Chicago, D.C. and St. Louis in the three years I was there.
Band taught me discipline. I was in Marching Band, which met every morning in the Midwestern Autumn at some ungodly hour (7:00?). We would march around on some frozen dew-soaked field for an hour while all of my classmates slept in. The Pom-Pom squad was there too, so it wasn’t all bad :-)
I can’t finish writing about band unless I mention Kevin. We played trombone together the entire time, 6th – 12th grade. The only way I could describe our relationship is like brothers. We fought over “first chair”, fought over Pommies, we drove each other to be better, but most of all had built a very strong bond having gone through all the practices, trips, performances we had done those six years. We were both class clowns (as seen above in our annual T-Bone Beater picture), but played well enough to get away with it.
Last I heard, Kevin was a Marine. Wishing you the best, old buddy. 4 years ago
I was in Student Council in High School. I don’t remember really running against anyone, but I still put up these huge banners that proclaimed “Yo Quiero Jeff M- for StuCo Rep.” That was during the height of that Spanish speaking Taco Bell Dog on TV all the time. At any rate, StuCo consisted of organizing Prom Dance…which I don’t even remember going to. Good Times. 4 years ago
I have a lifetime of memories in this neighborhood park:
Playing down by the creek when it froze over.
Countless trips to the pool with Trent and John.
Taking Katie there in college to lay-out.
Tennis with my brother. Mornings with my Dad.
My first kiss with Analisa by the swingsets.
Basketball with Erica Walley in middle school.
That crazy German Shepherd dog next door.
Waxing the parking blocks, skateboarding with George. 4 years ago
Grandpa Z was a first generation American. Though the story is a bit fuzzy, his family was from Germany but had migrated to Russia during the period of Catherine the Great. He is really the link to my heritage, as my other side has some confusing past adoptions.
The story that defines his life was working hard for a family he loved. He worked at the same auto shop for 35 years and apparently never missed a single day of work (as the story picked up in the local paper). He had two daughters and a wife of 50 years, which meant everything to him. His daughters we both able to attend college and later become teachers thanks to his dedication at work.
Though I was only able to spend & appreciate a few good years with him, I always could see on his face that he loved me. I remember him most playing pool, enjoying conversation, listening to music or sipping on some whiskey.
He passed on in 2003, living 97 years in good health.
This is life, leaving it better for your children than you had it. 4 years ago
We invented a pool game called Gutterball.
Instead of a big ball, we had a little hand ball.
Instead of goals, the walls of our pool had gutters.
That was fun. 4 years ago
I remember sitting on my bike in my driveway. I was probably in second grade. I thought to myself, “Remember this moment.” And I just sat there, looked across the street, up at the trees, down at my bike. I just sat there and soaked in the moment. And I still remember this moment ~20 years later.
This may have been my first moment of what the Buddhists call “Mindfulness”, or I may have just made this memory up some time down the road, but it feels right at this moment. This is a good reminder to “soak in the moment”, no matter how insignificant it seems at the time. 4 years ago
Malls. Remember the places where people used to go on the weekends to spend money? Yeah it’s been awhile. Our local mall was Antioch Mall. When I was home for Christmas we drove past it…and it was no longer a mall. It was an empty shell of a building. The thing closed down! I had alot of great memories from that place.
My brother used to take guitar lessons there in the evenings of high school, which put me in 7th or 8th grade. I would go just for something to do, bang around on the drum sets, go to the music t-shirt place, look at black light posters at Spencer’s Gifts, get an Orange Julius, play whatever video game Egghead had demoed. Man, life used to be simple.
In my skater phase, we used to skate up there and eat at the Taco House. These tacos were deep fried, then sprinkled with some sort of powdery cheese and salsa. So bad…but so good!
Later in High School, an all-you-can eat Chinese buffet called Foo-Kee came in. It was something ridiculous like $5.00. I’m pretty sure it was shut down for health violations. Again, So bad…but so good!
When I left KC, my Mom would tell me that her & friends used to “Mall Walk” in the winter and how nobody would be there and all the stores were closing. It’s amazing how something so popular in the 90s could be erased from the globe less than 10 years later. Guess you can’t take anything for granted! 4 years ago
I saw my Uncle Larry over Christmas. He’s always been one of my mentors and now that I’m getting a little older, I find myself walking in his footsteps more and more.
Books – The guy has an amazing personal library. Shelves upon shelves of classics, history, architecture, comedy, law, science. He’s easy to shop for too, just buy him a book!
Travel – My Aunt & Uncle are world travelers. England, Ireland, Germany, Greece, Belgium, Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, Egypt, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France…I’m sure I’m missing alot. Having a few countries under my belt myself, I see it’s quite an addicting and fulfilling hobby.
Career – He’s worked at the same architecture firm for 40 years. 40 years. First and only job out of college. Patience and Loyalty, I’m trying to learn some of it right now.
Photography – More than anyone else, he has encouraged my passion for photography. When I started shooting and sharing pictures online, he is always the first to compliment and discuss. He is always the one with the camera at family gatherings. During the past Christmas, he actually handed me his camera and trusted me with some of the duty! It might seem like small potatoes, but it was a vote of confidence and an expression of love.
Community – He is active in his community and industry, serving on several boards, Rotary Club, president of the local architecture club, season ticket holder to Huskers football. Being well balanced is definitely something I strive for.
Overall, he’s just a well informed, polite and witty character. Can’t really ask for much more. Thanks UL~ 4 years ago
With today being my very first snow day from work ever, it’s very fitting to write about childhood snow days!
My Mom was a teacher. She would get the call at 5:30 am that school was canceled. There is no greater feeling as a kid (maybe other than watching your school burn down, see earlier post) than to hear there is no school because there is too much snow on the ground.
This would turn our neighborhood into an suburban snowpark. There was “the hill” that everyone went to go sledding at. If you went down it fast enough, there was a creek and the end you might fall into. I don’t care how old you are – sledding is awesome. Snowboarding is just grown up sledding. My childhood sled was turquoise with an e-brake in the middle (that made you wipe out more than safely stop).
Anyway, if we weren’t sledding, we were having snowball fights. We would split up into two teams, each building a home base fortress 30 yards apart from each other and plummet snowballs at each other. We had the snow-brick maker, which was essentially a plastic mold that you could pack snow into and make snow-brick-walls.
In High School, we played some crazy fun snow football games on snowdays. Of all the things from childhood, it’s the backyard games of basketball and football I miss the most.
In college, we had so much snow one December that they canceled finals. When word got out about this, the common area between all the dorms turned into a 2am snowball fight / celebration. Of course by then, nothing is fun without punishment…and they called the cops! It was still a once in a lifetime moment that I will always cherish.
Now, today’s snow day is just OK. I’d rather be at work to be honest. I like work. Now I’m just stuck at home writing about the glory days. Maybe I should go outside and frolic in the snow! Done. Bye~ 4 years ago
There were a few parks we used to play at when I was young, but hands down, Happy Rock Park was the grand-daddy of them all. So many memories came from this park:
Soccer was the first love. Though I never remember being extremely good at the sport, I think that’s the sport that all non-talented kids ended up playing.
Then came basketball. In the late 90s, they totally refurbished the park and put in a full court with chain nets. My brother, Trent and I used to play pickup basketball in the summer with all the guys we worked with at the grocery store. Afterwards, we’d stop off a QT and get 64 ounces of fountain drink for .99 cents. Ahh, the simple pleasures in life. Some of my favorite memories come from these nights with my basketball/grocery friends.
In high school, I was somehow nominated and elected to serve as the High School representative for the City of Gladstone Parks and Recreation Board. I don’t really remember much aside from carrying a giant binder into a small room once a week for a year. We were working on developing Happy Rock Park II, which is now across the street.
Also in high school, I was participated in a city-wide tennis tournament at Happy Rock Park. I thought I was tough shit being a HS tennis player and all. But I faced a guy who was probably 80 years old, and he whupped me all over the court that day. It wasn’t the strength but the accuracy. He would place drop shots in every corner and have me running the entire time. What a good lesson I learned that day.
Finally, in a fuzzy memory, I remember this girl Meredith. She dated my brother first. But then somehow I got tangled up in the weave and we once drove out to Happy Rock Park to smoke. We ended up making out before she dropped me off back home. Years later, she would date a friend of mine in college, Scott C. Strange…this life is. 4 years ago
As a kid, our family vacations sucked. We never flew anywhere, always drove. We never went to California or Florida. Never went to Disneyland. We never went anywhere cool, just some boring nature (aka: Yellowstone)
How I wish I appreciated that trip at the time. The main thing I remember is the nasty smell of the sulfer and the burnt down forest. If I had read and absorbed “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson, I may have appreciated all that Yellowstone is:
-The entire park sits on the largest supervolcano on the continent.Some say it’s previous explosion / creation of the park killed the dinosaurs.
-The active geysers (Old Faithful) sulfer ponds and other geothermal features are essentially Mother Nature at its rawest form.
-Grizzlies, wolves, and free-ranging herds of bison and elk that live in the park…oh mercy.
Once again, here I am thanking my parents for taking me to somewhere I went 15 years ago. I’m glad I was able to experience it, I’m sad I didn’t appreciate it at the time.
(I’m guilty of this too, but we have an amazingly diverse continent. I don’t know why we (proverbial we) always want to travel abroad when there’s sooo much here, even in your own state. Maybe this current recession will have people exploring their own backyard a little more. I still need to check out Crater Lake in my own state of Oregon! Just driving through Utah blew my mind in its natural beauty. Yeah there’s alot of Mormons, but they’re harmless. Check it out!) 4 years ago