Monday, June 27, 2005

Childhood Meme

The Meme: What 5 Things do you miss about your childhood?

I got tagged by Modigli. Thanks for the walk down memory lane, Mo! Perfect timing since I was just in my hometown. I also helped myself to some copying and pasting from your post for the rules. Hope you don't mind.

Rules to this meme:

Remove the blog at #1 from the following list and bump every one up one place. Add your blog's name in the #5 spot. Link to each of the other blogs for the desired cross pollination effect.

1. This is Ali
2. It's the End Of The World As We Know It
3. More Than My Luggage
4. Modigli
5. Babbling Brooke

Next: select new friends to add to the pollen count. Of course, no one is obligated to participate, but what's the fun if you don't play along? On that note, feel free to tag yourself if I didn't list you here, but you'd like to do it.

Ghost Writer
Cannot Be Trusted
Upstate Girl

So, the five things I miss about my childhood are:

1. My corner. Our basement - as I have mentioned before - was a speakeasy back during prohibition. It was huge, the entire length and width of our house, and had all the original fixtures from its less lawful days. My parents pretty much handed over the basement to my older brothers, who gave legendary parties down there that people still talk about 25 years later. In one end of the basement, my brothers took it upon themselves to make "Brooke's corner". They built shelves out of old planks and bricks and filled them with my books, toys, Barbies, and records for my record player. I had an easel, a kitchen set (interesting to note since I went on to become a chef), and a ladybug table and chairs. I would play down there for hours on end, and even if my brothers were having friends over, I was never sent away. It was my corner, and I could play when I wanted. Often their friends would join me in my corner. Usually they were stoned. I would bake them little cakes in my Easy-Bake oven while they waited patiently at my ladybug table. Good times.

2. My birthday parties. Again, legendary to this day. And again, my brothers played a major role. You must understand, I have four older brothers - and I'm the only girl - and while I wasn't spoiled, they did like to make a fuss now and then. My birthday parties were a big fuss. Eunie - our housekeeper/second mom/all around fabulous person - would make her famous fried chicken. My brothers would set up games like hide-and-go-seek and penny-on-the-shoe. I would actually wear a dress. My parents would deal with 30 screaming little girls tearing through the house. And the presents! Actually I don't remember the presents much. I was too much of a party-girl even then to care much about the presents. Hawaiian Punch for all my friends!

3. Summer vacations. Our house was half a block from the beach. Our town was a major resort area. It is actually on an island. Summer camp? We don't need no stinkin summer camp! The beach was our summer camp. I would wake up in the morning, inhale my bowl of sugar-laden cereal, put on my bathing suit, grab a towel, and yell "Moooooooooooooommmmmmm, I'm going to the beeeeeeeeeeeeeach!!!" Her reply was always the same "Sit by the lifeguards and I'll be right theeeeeeeeere!!!!!!" And then I would walk myself down to the beach. Can you imagine? An eight year old walking herself to the beach? Couldn't happen in this day and age. The lifeguards loved when I came down. They were in charge of holding my glasses while I was in the water, which they used to burn greenheads to a satisfactory crisp. When the rest of the family arrived we would all set up the chairs into a giant semi-circle, and my friends and I would spend the day playing in the water, making drip castles in the mud, and rolling around in the hot sand. Til the ice cream man came - then all hell broke loose. The bell would ring, the kids would scream - "THE ICE CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAM MAN IS HEEEEEEEEEERE!!!!!!!!!!!", and there would be this mad dash of kids running up to the bulkhead with their ice cream money. Trying to carry all the ice creams for everyone back through the hot sand was always entertaining for the adults. But that was our job, that - and making sure that the *shoobies didn't feed the flying rats.

4. Playing in the street. There was one street in our town that had about 40 kids on it. No kidding. Every family had anywhere from three to eight kids on this little tiny beachblock. All the surrounding blocks had tons of kids too, just not quite as many. We lived two blocks away and had five kids. (sad that people don't have big families like that anymore) So we would all migrate over to that block and play whatever game was going on that day. During the day it was usually street hockey. (I was the only girl who played street hockey. I had four older brothers, remember? I was practically a boy until my breasts showed up.) Usually in the evening we would play Kick the Can until it got dark. Then we played Ghost in the Graveyard. Pretty much the same game, but the ghost part made it spooky and rid of us of any annoying sissies. Back then our parents didn't worry about us walking home alone after dark. Life was sweet.

5. Snowball fights on the beach. You haven't lived until you've had a snowball fight on the beach. I still have such strong images in my mind of the forts we built, the gray of the ocean, our dogs running maniacally around in a perfect state of bliss. Coming home to hot chocolate, stripping out of our sandy snowy clothes, and sitting in front of the fire til our clothes were dry again and we could go out and do it all over again. It seemed so natural to us back then. Now I realize how lucky we were to grow up in a place where playing in the snow on the beach was a normal part of winter.

I just noticed that none of my memories have anything to do with school, but are all about partying. Interesting. I do have great memories of school - but that will have to be another blog.

*Shoobies is the local term for tourists. It has two meanings. It refers to the old days in Atlantic City when tourists took a day trip to the shore by train. They would bring their lunch in a shoe box and then eat on the beach. Its more modern meaning usually refers to people from out of town (Philly in particular) who wear shoes to the beach - a major no-no for locals.


gone said...

This is my first tag. Do I post these on my blog or here in the comments? Please realize I am still new to this.

Brookelina said...

I'm so glad to be your first tag! Some people post them on the comments, but if it's a long one, they post it on their blog. Only if you want. No pressure!

MoDigli said...

Hey Brooke...

Nice memories. What a fun kidhood you had! I also have great memories of spending the WHOLE DAY at the Beach in Pt. Pleasant. Back in those days my family were "bennies", but my grandparents have since become part of the "clamdigger" crowd! (BTW, is that offensive? My crazy NJ family has a knack for using offensive names in everyday conversation like it's no big whoop.)

You're right - back in those days you could wander and do stuff by yourself with no questions from the grown ups. Lots more freedom and good times. I remember staying in the ocean til my lips turned BLUE! And everybody pretty much knew everybody else, so going by yourself was never lonely.

PS. don't forget to link yourself on that "pollination" list.

PPS. I mostly copied and pasted from Dennis when he sent it to me, too!

Brookelina said...

I'm starting to think we were separated at birth! Your comment made me add a little to my post. Shoobies - that's what we called tourists. LOL I've heard of bennies, but never clamdiggers. We still use shoobies, though the island has become so overrun with them now it's hard to distinguish who is who.

MoDigli said...

Shoobies?!! hehehehe.... too funny. What the heck does that mean?

My grandpa told me once that Bennies was a nickname for people that came down the shore from northern cities like... uh, ... uhm, Bensonhurst? Does that make sense?

The clamdiggers - well, those were the Pt. Pleasant locals. heheheh.... They hated us for overrunning their place in the summer. And we all called them clamdiggers, digging in the sand!

pure silliness!

PS. did you read Judy Blume as a kid? She had a lot of stories that took place in NJ and I loved them! One in particular took place in Tarrytown. It totally reminded me of being down the shore.

MoDigli said...

ok. duh. I should have re-read the post first before asking you about the shoobies.


MoDigli said...

pps. you updated your pic! Is that you sunning yourself in that bikini?!!!! ... saucy, girl! Very, very saucy!

Brookelina said...

It is I - being saucy! LOL.

And I added a pic to this post. Me when I was a mascot for the Atlantic City Vikings football team. I was 5. And a major FLK - funny looking kid.

Anonymous said...

Four brothers??! How did you get so lucky! I would have loved to have just one. I have one sister and I realize I'm very lucky for that. But four brothers!! Whoa.

What an absolutely beautiful story. The part about walking to the beach by yourself at 8 years old almost brought tears to my eyes. How innocent things were back then. I remember things like that too. It's nice that you were able to grow up in a world that was big and safe.

Cheers, dear. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

also, what does "meme" mean?

Cincysundevil said...

Great post and great memories. I loved playing outside while it was freezing, coming inside to hot chocolate and feeling your body warm up by the fireplace. I love the part about the basement; I had an old shed in our backyard that we pretty much only stored the lawnmower in. It was sort of an unofficial clubhouse. We once found some Playboys and kept them in there 'til my mom found them. Boys will be boys ...

Nice new pic by the way. I'll go along with Mo on this ... saucy, very saucy.

yournamehere said...

I won't make a lewd comment about your bikini photo for fear you'll replace it with one of you in an arctic parka.

gone said...

You had a corner, I had a tree. But I forgot to put it on my list being that I was in a hurry.

Brookelina said...

Sunshine - I have no idea what meme means. But everyone else puts it on these posts so I follow like sheep. I always wished for a sister. If you would like 3 or 4 of my brothers, I'll sell them cheap.

Cincy - naughty boys! Guess it's better than National Geographics. lol

Todd - I actually thought about using my little cheerleader pic above for my profile. That might be next!

Jacob - I had noticed that you were getting a bit nostalgic on your blog, I look forward to reading your "meme" - whatever that means.

Brookelina said...

I can't believe nobody commented on my outrageous cuteness in my cheerleading uniform.

gone said...

I don't dig cheerleaders as a general rule...but you're pretty cool, Brooke.

Brookelina said...

You're pretty cool too, Jacob. Don't you dig the glasses and the pigtails? What a dork I was.

Racey said...

Hey.. just stumbled across your blog and wanted to say what great stories you have to tell:) I loved the one about the two tanned blokes up the mast... and this post on your childhood- excellent:)


Brookelina said...

Thank you! Sorry, I haven't been this far down on my blog board lately. I'll be sure to check out yours!

MoDigli said...

I'm going way back here to an old post so I can give you this msg in stealth mode!!!

You asked me a question on my blog, and I want to tell you about it in private.

Email me at my blog email address: