Daily Prompt: Tell us about a sensation — a taste, a smell, a piece of music — that transports you back to childhood.
The first ten years we lived at, on or near the beach. The smell of Coppertone is the essence of manliness to me. The feel of a swing seat, the one made of leather with chains to hold onto, where you push off and soar so high the poles shake, evokes Webster School. Directly across from Webster School (public) was Our Lady of Malibu, which was the Catholic school – due to family finances, I went every other year to one or the other. When I hear or sing, O Holy Night, I am back at noontime on the playground, the heat of the paving hot under my shoes, looking up into the stern eyes of a certain nun in the classic habit, my eyes focused on the cross hanging from her waist (is that possible?) and I am trying out for Chorus. I chose that song because I loved belting out “…FALL ON YOUR KNEES, OH HEAR THE ANGELS VOICES…” I was not accepted into the choir. For the first time, it occurs to me how hot she must have been in the heavy habit and tight headdress. The smell of freshly mown grass instantaneously makes me breathe deeply and I am back at Roosevelt School, 5th grade, outside with the sun at about 10:00 a.m., lined up with classmates and singing the tunes from Oliver! The smell of a steaming iron evokes images of my mother ironing. The sounds of the Beach Boys, Kingston Trio, Frank Sinatra are instant transporters for the feel of vinyl in my small hands, certain rooms in our home(s), car rides. Bean with Bacon Campbell soup and tunafish sandwiches after the sun goes down remind me of Friday nights. Because my mother worked in a bank and Friday the Bank stayed opened late, we were allowed to prepare anything we wanted for dinner so that Mom could just simply relax when she got home.
I would not have said that I had a great childhood, but time and changes over that time bring to light the good and some outright fun we had. It is lovely to visit, but I am so glad to have grown up. There was the added bonus that deep in my DNA, no matter how many doubts, insecurities, bad days – I grew up in Malibu and that was THE PLACE to be (even though at the time it had one light, one market, you could drown in a rip tide or get bitten by a snake). And you can’t take that away from me! 🙂