Childhood memories: Part 3 of 4

Kristine Gill

Last semester, I wrote a two-part column about a few childhood memories that have been seared into my mind. I now invite you to share in the joy and embarrassment of the following recollections:

&bull The fourth-grade science project at my elementary school was raising crayfish. Crayfish are like mini lobsters whose pincers are small enough that you can keep them as a pet and not get eaten.

When my fourth-grade class was done messing with the mini lobsters, I got to take one home. As it turns out, Picasso was pregnant and went on to produce millions of tiny lobsters, which quickly overtook our tiny fish tank.

While most parents would have promptly flushed Picasso and his/her spawn, my dad opened a crayfish sanctuary. We kept millions of crayfish in two 30-gallon tanks for at least three years before releasing them into the local pond, where they are currently overtaking the fish population.

&bull My mother, sister and I were scrambling to get ready for school one morning while our dog, Sheba, moseyed around getting ready for a day packed with absolutely nothing. I was headed out the door when that fat little beagle snuck out of the house.

I was the only one who had noticed and had no time to notify the others, given Sheba’s surprising speed. I bolted out of the house after her and sprinted down our driveway and onto the street.

Sheba knew she had to keep just one step ahead of me to maintain her freedom, but curiosity won her over as she approached the ditch in front of my neighbor’s driveway. When she stopped to sniff, I dove on top of her and my kid neighbor complimented my agility from his front row seat in his front window.

&bull While my sister and I hated sitting through church as kids, we loved re-enacting it at home. We’d pick songs out from our stolen misselette to play on the piano, find something in the kitchen to substitute for Jesus’ body and blood, and we topped it all off with this beautiful vase we filled with fake holy water.

But why fill that vase with tap water when you had the real thing? I found holy water from my grandparents’ trip to Europe and allotted a liberal amount for our home ceremony. When the service was over, Mom said, “That better not be real holy water,” and I knew better than to confess. Instead, I made the sign of the cross on my forehead, chest and shoulders about 30 times before pouring the rest of it down the kitchen sink.

&bull Katie was in charge of the remote during a rerun of “ER” one morning when we were kids. She changed the channel to see if “The Price is Right” had started while I was watching Dr. Green, and I flipped. I grabbed her hairbrush and delivered the only appropriate punishment I could conceive of; I walloped her knee with it and broke the brush in half.

It was one of those apologies you give automatically because you rightfully fear your sister’s wrath.

&bull I got a caramel-colored hamster for my fourth birthday, whom I affectionately named Freddie, after the Flintstones. I ate cake at the kid table with my hamster that night and remember feeling confused and happy as tears rolled down my cheeks. It was the first time I’d cried for joy.

&bull I was scared to go to bed after watching a documentary about amputees when I was in fourth or fifth grade. Katie and I stared at the TV screen long after the show had ended, and I said over and over how scared I was to have my legs cut off one day. My sister started bawling and hugged me for the first time I can remember as she consoled me. To this day, I have both of my legs.

To be continued next week.

Kristine Gill is a junior newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected] to share your childhood memories.