Childhood memories: part 2

Kristine Gill

Last week I told you all about a few of the outstanding childhood memories I can recall. The list was too long for a single column, and so, I made it a wonderful two-part series. Enjoy this second half.

My grandfather on my father’s side used to baby-sit us and had an unfortunate habit of falling asleep on the job. On one such occasion, my then 3- or 4-year-old sister decided to teach him a lesson. She dumped the dirt out of a potted plant onto his head while he sat slumped on the couch, all while I screamed, “No, Katie, no!” When my mom came home that night, Grandpa was unwrapping the vacuum cleaner and she had to help him vacuum soil off his head.

We were eating McDonald’s on our way home from our yearly visit to Litchfield Beach, S.C., when I was about 6 or 7. My cousin was about 3 or 4 at the time and he was chowing down on some french fries. We had to pull over when Michael shoved a fry too far down his throat and threw up all over the car. I think I had an out-of-body experience that day because the only image I have is this aerial view of 10 or so members of my family standing on the side of a dusty highway airing out the car.

I was minding my own business, kneeling in the living room at my father’s house when my sister appeared. She came out of nowhere, assessed the situation and swooped down behind me. She plunged her hands deep into my pants and pulled my underwear up high. I screamed bloody murder. It was the most painful wedgie of my life, but it wasn’t your typical wedgie. When Katie had finished her evil deed, she looked at her fingernails and pulled a coiled piece of my precious skin out from under her nail. I have a scar to this day from that wedgie.

At the beach one year, all 12 of us cousins were posing for the yearly pictures. I was kneeling in the sand on one knee with my cousin Cecilia on the other knee. I lost my balance during all the commotion and flash photography and fell forward. My shoulder, along with the weight of my entire body, made contact with the back of Cecilia’s head as she face-planted into the sand.

My aunt’s dog, Hope, had a strange habit of latching onto blankets and rocking her pelvis back and forth on them. My sister and I thought this was all very cute. “Look Aunt Ann! Look at Hope!” Aunt Ann would yank the blanket away from Hope, tell us she was just “hugging” the blanket and then proclaim that this was Uncle Howard’s favorite blanket and that Hope wasn’t allowed to hug it. Hope wasn’t allowed to hug strangers either.

Raccoons had an affinity for our garbage can at home. We’d open the big black can up to chuck something in, and two bright green eyes would stare back up at us. Rather than tip the can and get out of dodge while the furry monster escaped, my father would usually transport the entire can, raccoon included, to another location. He invited my sister and I to accompany him one day.

My dad tied the garbage can shut with bungee ties and put it in the back of his van. I sat with my sister Katie on the middle row of seats. Halfway to the park, or wherever we were headed, Katie and I looked back at a pair of bright green eyes. Ricky Raccoon, as we called every raccoon, had escaped and was in the van with us. He crawled over the seat, buckled up, and asked that we change the radio station.

My dad pulled the van over to the side of the road, ordered that Katie and I run down the street and wait along the fence, and Ricky took off across someone’s backyard, no doubt in search of a garbage can.

I’m not sure what the point of these past two columns has been, except to give someone a laugh and to chronicle my childhood. If you’d like to see that scar from my wedgie or if you’re interested in hearing the story about the time Ricky and his raccoon cronies invaded our home, let me know.

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