Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

Fondest Memories

Elvis Presley once sang a song called Memories. Whenever I hear it, I quickly return to when I was a child growing up in Little Italy where I’d be sitting with my nose to the window watching the snow accumulate on the path leading to our home.

Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley

I also remember being no older than five years old, sitting on the floor playing with my toys while my mother cooked the Sunday family meal. I can still smell the delicious aroma of her Italian gravy (sauce).

I remember being ten and coming home from school for lunch. I spent my time in the kitchen wolfing down what she had taken all morning to prepare, so that I could watch The Flintstones before going back to school.

I remember spending summer nights running around my cousins’ street, chasing them in a game of Hide-and-Seek. My father and uncles would be playing cards in the kitchen while my mother and aunts would be cleaning up. I can’t forget having all the freedom in the world, with no responsibilities or worries.

The Universe
The Universe

I remember driving back home from a long trip in the country. My parents were chatting in the front seat of the car while I watched the stars twinkling through the rear window. It was then that my love for astronomy developed.

I remember the first time I felt absolute fear. I was eight and I was exploring my aunt’s garden in Italy. The next thing I remember was staring at a huge web spun across my path with the largest spider I’ve ever seen sitting in the center. It was also the first time I felt a lump in my throat.

I remember riding in the backseat of my uncle’s car. He smoked and the smell of the cheap polyester that covered everything had churned my stomach to the point where I threw my head out the passenger window and decorated the side of his vehicle with my partially digested lunch. I’ll never forget how patient and kind he was toward me, despite what I had done.

I remember the smell of fresh cut grass in the mornings when my dad would do the lawn.

I remember the smell of burning wood while I waited for my aunt to make popcorn the old fashion way. The memory of the sunset hitting the Italian Alps still hasn’t left me, even after all these years.

I remember spending time with my parents Sunday afternoons watching Godzilla movies on a small twenty-four-inch black and white TV.

I remember sitting in the living room watching my Saturday morning cartoons and remembering how my mom would bring me a bowl of carrots to keep me filled until lunch.

I remember the rain, the smell of it and the sound while I sat watching from my veranda.

I miss my childhood. I love the memories.

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What do you remember from your childhood?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

My Childhood

When I was twelve, I looked forward to Friday nights. I lived in Toronto’s Little Italy where our neighborhood featured markets, shops and cafés specializing in Italian goods and cuisine. Our neighborhood also had a theater featuring movies shipped directly from the old country. It was there my dad would take me every Friday night to enjoy some one on one time away from the family. I believe it is also there my fondness for films emerged.

Movie theater
Movie theater

For today’s Freedom Friday, allow me the liberty to tell you about this part of my life.

Before the age of ten, I grew up in some of the roughest neighborhoods in the city. The school I went to was once voted the worst school in all of Toronto by a group of concerned citizens. My family eventually moved out of there and took up residence in Little Italy. It was a great place to live, school nearby, lots of places to play, and I had plenty of friends.

My dad made it a habit to build traditions in our family as a means to bond us to certain times of the year. Saturday nights were big at our house. It was Hockey Night in Canada night and should there have been a game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens, God forbid, it would have been the most epic night of the week.

The other big night was Friday night. My favorite. My mom would make something quick for us to eat—typically a soup, a plate of sandwich meats and bread, or simply a bowl of pasta—so that we could leave as soon as we finished eating. The theater was down the street from us and it took about fifteen minutes to walk there.

My mom always made sure I brought a sweater; even if it was during the hot summer months. She always said it would get cold in the theater. She was right. I still remember that to this day where I sometimes bring a sweater with me to the theater—yes, even in the sweltering months of summer.

I loved the walk there with my dad. We talked about silly things a nosey kid like me liked talking about. A thing like where we would sit when we got there was a hot topic. I wanted to sit to the side and he wanted to sit in the middle. So imagine where we sat. Nowadays, I love the middle. It’s the best seat in the theater.

The Spaghetti Western
The Spaghetti Western

Once we arrived, we’d check the movie posters. If any of them were a spaghetti western, I’d be jumping on the spot with excitement. It wasn’t hard for him to figure out which one we’d see.

From there, the other events are a blur. I remember the popcorn he’d buy me, the seats we sat in and the waiting in anticipation. Sometimes the theater would have a cartoon showing before the movie, which made the evening even more exciting.

After the film, and having found our way outside, the fresh air that hit my face was incredible. I can never forget the sensation of walking back home with gunslingers on my mind. My dad always got a kick from seeing me excited talking about the best parts of the film. How can I forget such a memorable evening?

I suppose I should have given this article a title like, “My Dad,” or “Movie Night,” but in actuality, calling it anything else other than “My Childhood” wouldn’t have made sense to me. Although it’s a snippet in time, I think you get a good idea of what my early life was like reading this.

I was an ordinary kid with my whole life ahead of me. Isn’t that the way childhood should be?


Do you have fond memories of your childhood you’d like to share?