Childhood memories: part one

Kristine Gill

I couldn’t tell you how I used to spend my days back in the fourth grade. I don’t remember what I did on the weekends or what my bedtime was. There are, however, a few moments that stand out in my mind as some of the most ridiculous of my childhood. I’ve successfully blocked the most mortifying from my memory, but these remain. I’d like to share some with you now.

There was a time when my father only knew how to cook two things: pasta and what he called gruel. Gruel was pretty much a combination of several meals he sort of knew how to cook, all mixed together in one pot. Gruel included such combinations as hot dogs and Ramen noodles; or eggs and hot sauce; or eggs, hot sauce, Ramen noodles and hot dogs. I did not like gruel. That’s probably why I was eating pasta on this particular day.

I was sitting in the living room of my father’s house with a huge metal pot on my lap. I was probably nine or ten. The pot was full of pasta in the shape of little shells, and I sat there watching TV while I threw shell after shell into my mouth. I ate those shells with such ferocity, you would have thought my father had recently announced that the world was out of pasta and he would be cooking nothing but gruel from now on.

When I had my fill of the world’s last pot of pasta, I went upstairs to talk to my dad. We were chitchatting when I felt a peculiar sensation overtake me. My nose tingled and my eyes burned. When I blew my nose, pasta shells came out and it hurt. I did not even get to enjoy the last few pasta shells on planet Earth. I had to blow them all out before they even reached my stomach.

When I was in second grade or so, my sister and I decided to have a water drinking contest. We sat at the kitchen table, each with a two-quart pitcher of water, while my mom cooked dinner. Katie and I plopped straws into our respective pitchers and drank away. We sipped and sipped, laughed and paused frequently to check our progress.

I don’t remember feeling sick, I just remember realizing that I was full. There was nowhere else to store that water in my body. I turned from my half-full pitcher and threw up water onto the kitchen floor. Do you remember that scene in “Titanic,” when Jack and Rose are barreling down a hall of the ship, trying to outrun the water rushing after them? I do. A half quart of water rushed against the corner of our kitchen and tidal waved off the wall. It was awesome.

When I was in junior high, my sister and I were getting into a little tiff in the basement. I have no idea what we were arguing about, but it was intense. My mom stood by as Katie and I exchanged heated words. Then, out of nowhere and most likely because I had won the fight with my verbal prowess, my sister punched me, full in the mouth, right in front of my mother. My lip split easily over my braces, and I went to Easter Mass the next day looking like a rookie boxer with a bad attitude.

I was learning how to ride my bike without training wheels one sunny afternoon. My mom put one hand on my bike seat and used the other to help me steer. We were cruising down our street alongside a grassy median which had 4-foot ditches on each side. I was wobbling as I rode and I was worried my mom would let me fall. I said, “Mom, Mom, hold on tighter! You don’t have me!” and she said, “Relax, Kristine. I have you!”

It took a few minutes for my mother and I to untangle ourselves from each other and my bike before we crawled out of that ditch.

To be continued next week …

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