My Childhood Memories Essay Example

The color that dominated my childhood was brown. The buildings blurred together in a sea of brown-beige-tan stucco. The leaves of the trees would bloom a pale green during the spring, but quickly turn a dull brown throughout summer. Eventually, they would fall, exposing the scraggly, tan branches. Every space not already claimed by concrete was dominated by tangling, beige weeds. The dirt-colored hills surrounding the town seemed to reach for miles into the sky. The air had a sepia tone, unnoticeable till one left the pollution-infested skies of Southern California.

The people seemed to always be in a brown mood. Life was monotonous, isolated, and suburban. It was always a mom, a dad, and two-point-five kids. Always white, always straight, always Christian. The houses were identical, every fourth one more repetitive than the last. In the second grade, I changed schools, and the only difference between the two was the new one was surrounded on all sides with dirt. After a gang scare in the 90’s children were only allowed to walk in one direction at school, making loops and loops and loops.

The same could be said for the traffic. The roads were always too narrow, despite constant expansions. The gas was always too expensive, the traffic was always at a crawl. The hills blocked the radio, the heat blocked the air. The land choked on the people as much as the people choked on the land.

On the good days, you could see the Sierras in the distance. They stood tall and blue against the brown earth and brown sky and brown buildings. Sometimes there would be snow on the peaks and I would wonder what it would feel like. At school, children would play in the frost left on the asphalt. Some would pretend to skate while others tried to scrape enough from the ground to make tiny, fingernail-sized snowmen. Still others would make frost-angels or scratch names into the ground.

On the frost-days, the fog would creep down from the hills and if you ran fast enough, you could feel the water in the air and on your face. Children would pretend that they were cloud creatures and clap their hands to mimic thunder. We would wave our arms in the air and wonder if we were hollowing out clouds. The moisture would collect on the slides and children would race to slide down before the water was gone, til recess was over, til the fog would break.

If we were lucky the fog would leave clouds in the sky, gray and fluffy and all-encompassing. These were the clouds that rained, the clouds that caused kids to dance and clap in circles and beg the ancient, forgotten gods to make rain. And after weeks and weeks of clouds, after you’ve forgotten about the rain, they would release and thick raindrops would fall for days.

On the best and luckiest the sky was not brown, but a dark, rich gray. The dust, which choked the roads would wash off in metallic waterfalls. Dips in the dirt would become ponds that would turn the weeds green for months afterwards. The entire school would huddle in bathrooms and under playgrounds and play special rain games and dare each other to stick a hand out, a head.

In the bathrooms, children would make bubbles with their hands and climb the toilets and barriers and walls like jungle animals. They would huddle knee to knee and eat snacks and play hand games. Every couple of minutes kids would crane their necks and wiggle against each other and remind themselves it was raining. At every thunderclap kids would giggle and whisper. Inevitably a supervisor would burst in and kids would scatter into stalls and pull their shoes up and one kid would swear they actually actually going the bathroom.

Under the play structure, kids would scatter to avoid the water dripping from the ceiling. To be hit with one meant standing in the rain til the only one person was left. They would stand tall and feel the wind on their face and taste the rain on their tongue.

After days the rain would break, leaving blinding clouds in their wake. Sometimes the sun would shine dimly through and make you squint no matter what you looked at. Other times the clouds would blend together and remind you that beside the brown there is gray. In the concrete, in the walls, in the way people hold themselves stiff like they’ve been hairsprayed, stiff like they might break. Or loose like their strings have been cut, like if you tripped them they wouldn't even notice. Life returned to being dry and dull and dusty, except now you had to squint.

Then the winds would come and blow all the gray and brown out of the air. The sky would be blue and in the distance, there was the Sierras, still with snow on the top. On these days June bugs, big as your nose and emerald as Oz, would descend upon the carefully made lines of children and leave them ducking screaming. On these days children would try and make wings out of their jackets. On these days a seagull named Cody would fly in and perch on lampposts and watch the children play. On these days I dreamed of flying away with him.

Because after the wind comes the heat. The heat that lasts for months. That leaves everything dry and stifled and brown all over again. The kind where you can’t touch anything black, where the air itself looks like it's boiling. Where the brown of the pollution seems to crush you like a weight and the brown of the buildings closes in on you like a wall. The trees turn brown and the weeds turn brown and the sweat drips down your neck and sticks to your shirt. The people themselves turn brown and their skin wrinkles. And still, the children walk in loops and loops and loops.


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