I learned so many things from screaming teenagers and other factoids from my youth

Published August 8, 2014 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

It’s funny how seeing someone you used to know well can make a bunch of thoughts come flooding back. (Thoughts here are a euphemism for repressed memories.)  I think one of the reasons I insist on talking to students like they are people is because I have such a vivid recollection of my own education.

When I was in elementary school, my mother worked. This is not something new but it was a bit out of place in our small school. My brother and I went to a day care center after school. Several other students went there as well, so we weren’t totally on our own. I remember the Howell brothers beating the crap out of each other every single day after school. I remember playing on very unsafe playground equipment, such as empty oil drums which had been painted festive colors and welded together so children could tunnel and frolic. I recall moving this apparatus by myself and having it bash me in the face. I know I had a bloody nose, but I’m a bit unclear of how bad it actually was.

It was the 70’s when apparently it was ok for kids to dance with danger (World’s worst Lifetime movie.) In addition to elementary school children there was a handful of teens who were counselors in training.  I vividly remember one of these mini-adults being particularly grouchy almost all of the time. The time I’m thinking about is when there was debate about which end of the thermostat was which. It’s hard to phrase, but someone was trying to figure out if 0 degrees meant it was hot or cold.   The Grouchella turned and barked “IF IT WAS ZERO DEGREES IT WOULD BE SO COLD YOU COULDN’T EVEN BREATHE!!!!!!”

That has stuck with me for a good 38 years.  She also verbally sliced someone for chewing gum too loudly.

I have this and the memory of the Slave Girl Sock Puppet Theater to haunt me.

What truly disturbs me is that there are a few things that I have absolutely no memory of. Like seeing Willow. At least 4 people have said that they were with me when they saw it. At the most recent family event there was one cousin that I had absolutely had no memory of. I knew the name, but there was no face to go along with it. I  have a large family, so this isn’t uncommon. Well, not uncommon for anyone else.

I know that my long term memory is exceptional and I try not to correct people when I know they are selectively not remembering something, because I remember things that I probably shouldn’t blurt out like when Pablo and Jerry (Not their real names) used as screw gun to lock someone into the bathroom.  Pablo was not happy that I remembered it and says it never happened.  I know it did. It wouldn’t do any good to pull out my facts to prove them wrong, so I just let it go.

But what do I do about the things totally don’t remember? Are they hiding in my head waiting to jump out at a totally uncalled for time, like a wedding or a funeral?

And I don’t think I’ve ever seen Willow. (It was my cousin Lydia that I couldn’t place.)

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