I am not a very good blogger, or journaler for that point, but sometimes I have thoughts in my head I would like to write down. Mostly these are just for my own information, or as drafts for essays I might write about various subjects, but sometimes I think, I’ve reached the age at which thinking back to my own childhood might actually be somewhat interesting for people besides myself. On the off chance that this is the case, I am posting here some thoughts and memories that were in my head when I woke up today, possibly spurred by something I dreamed about but can no longer recall.
Today I woke up thinking about a couple of childhood memories. At some point during elementary school (between third and fourth grade, perhaps), I attended a summer camp as part of the Mt. Tabor Summer Enrichment Program that I went to every summer from after second grade through most of high school. I don’t recall the name or location of the camp, but I recall I was in a cabin with three other girls: Sheila, girl whose name I think was Shanna or Shayna, and someone else I’ve forgotten. I believe the cabin had metal bed frames with no mattresses that we simply spread our sleeping bags on top of. I remember having a good time even though the camp was pretty basic—the dining hall served pancakes for breakfast one morning, for instance, but there was no syrup. And the no mattress thing.
But another thing I remember is that though there were four beds in the cabin, we got three other girls moved in there who slept on the floor. They were Asian and didn’t speak a word of English. I don’t recall their names but I think they were recent immigrants or refugees from Viet Nam. While I recall being polite to each other, I don’t recall that any of us made an effort to really talk to them or reach out, and that makes me sad for the missed opportunity.
I also remember, though I don’t recall if it was the same summer we went to that camp, taking a field trip to a planetarium. I don’t think I had ever been to one before, and I recall assuming we were going to learn facts about the stars or solar system. Projected into the dome was a program about a rogue planet by the name of “Loki” that was on an elliptical orbit and was going to collide with earth. I recall something about church bells and people praying as the collision was going to happen. I had missed the fact or did not completely understand that this was fiction, and wondered about why I hadn’t learned about this in school, and when this planet was going to come destroy the earth. Later I believe I tried to look it up in the World Book encyclopedia and found no reference to it, and figured out that it wasn’t true, but I don’t recall if I ever asked an adult and got it straightened out for me or just worried about it on my own.
That memory made me think of another time I was worried about death—I don’t remember how old I was but it was sometime in elementary school and our family had a Chevrolet Citation. We were driving up a winding mountain road to table rock, and it was quite vertiginous. Probably my Dad was driving and maybe my Mom was nervous and that made me nervous too; I don’t remember. But I distinctly remember feeling like we were not going to make it up the road and would go off the edge of the mountain to our deaths. I thought back over my life and decided that it had been a good life, and that I had done my best to be good, and Jesus would be waiting for me, and silently made my peace with my own death. Again, I don’t recall if I ever talked to my parents or another adult about this.
When I was in third grade I recall talking to my friend Lisa about where we would go if the Russians dropped the bomb. We were looking at a map of the US and picked out Dodge City, because the name sounded like it was something you would go to to dodge out of the way, and it wasn’t close to a big city as far as we could tell.
It’s actually sort of humorous and fun to remember things I was worried about as a child that now sound a little silly. For the most part, I had a pretty easy childhood, and though there were struggles, I remember a lot of fun and a lot of wonderful, supportive adults.
I never worried about someone coming into my school and shooting us. I can only imagine how much more difficult it is for children today, and I know that for every child who expresses this to a parent or another trusted adult, there are any number who just suffer silently with their worries.