I do indeed have a sharp childhood memory. As a matter of fact, I can recall events that occurred even in my infancy.
I don’t know if my memory is so sharp and vivid because of the mental conditions of which I am afflicted or if it is because my Mom took lots of pictures during those days and frequently showed them to me. Most likely it is a combination of these two factors.
My powerful memory is both a blessing and a curse as I can vividly recall both the pleasant as well at the abhorrent memories throughout my life. I get flashbacks from all points of my life at least several times a week and many times much more frequently than that.
In my very early childhood, my parents would bring me to visit my Maternal Grandmother weekly. She resided in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie. Many times we would go into the City of New Orleans itself because of the many attractions it has to offer. One of my earliest memories is riding in the car with my parents on Magazine Street where it transitions between Uptown and Downtown. It was a sunny day in the mid to late afternoon when both the sun and the moon were up. I didn’t know it was Magazine Street until over twenty years later when I was riding on there with my now ex-wife and her sister. The amazing thing is the sky conditions were almost identical to that day in my infancy and the flashback happened. I, however, had that flashback several times in my childhood while playing on the playground in grade school. This happened the first time in Pre Kindergarten but occurred again in Third Grade. Again, it was always on sunny days in the mid to late afternoon when both the sun and moon were up.
For whatever reason, Blue Jays would frequent my Maternal Grandmother’s neighborhood in Metairie, Louisiana. Those particular avians make a distinctive sound when they call. I didn’t realize it was a Blue Jay that made that particular sound until my early thirties. I was in the neighborhood of which I grew up, visiting family, and I heard that ever so familiar bird sound, so I hurried outside to see if I could find out what type of bird made that sound. I then saw a Blue Jay perched in a Sweet Olive tree making that sound and I finally knew what type of bird made that sound. Currently, I have a crow call as the sound effect of which I use when I get a text or email. However, now I think I will search for a Blue Jay sound effect to use for my text alert since I associate it with that neighborhood. But right now I need to focus on getting this into text. Anyway, I heard that Blue Jay sound throughout my childhood and I always associated that sound with my Maternal Grandmother’s neighborhood. You, the reader, can just about guess how tickled pink I was when I found out about the “City Bird” ringtone that was featured on most Nokia phones in my teens and very early twenties. That ringtone indeed triggered the memory and was quite fitting!
Both my Maternal Grandmother’s house and the school I attended in childhood were within earshot of a mainline railroad line. In the case of my Grandmother’s house, it was Illinois Central then later Candian National DBA Illinois Central. As for the school, it was Southern Pacific, but then later Burlington Northern Santa Fe` after the Union Pacific-Southern Pacific merger. Because trains run every day and night, I was frequently woken up by trains when sleeping at my grandma’s house. At school, we would hear the trains going through Raceland on days when it was neither too hot nor cold to run the climate controls and therefore the teacher would open the windows. One day in either 1996 or 1997, my teacher pointed out the sound of the train whistle and I commented about my Grandmother’s house in Metairie. I had been highly interested in trains as a very young child, but the interest went away at some point. It briefly came back at the age of 16 but didn’t come back fully until I was 24. Talking about all of this makes me want to go on a foaming trip and I indeed would if I had a more reliable vehicle and money for gasoline. I haven’t gone foaming to say foaming at all in all of 2020 as of March 16, though I do listen to railroad traffic on my scanners a couple of times out of the week.
In sixth and seventh grade I and a few other students would do enrichment while most of the other students would go to band class. One of the activities we did was play educational games on the computer. There was one game, in particular, Math for the Real World. It was about a traveling band that would raise money by the player solving math problems. There was a diner in that game which the band would always stop at and the waitress spoke in a heavy Brooklyn/New Orleans Y’at accent. The waitress would always say, “Park it there, doll!” Of course, I think it would have been much funnier if the waitress would have said, “Park is there, dahlin!” It always reminded me of how the white people from New Orleans talked and I got a kick out of it. By the way, the reason why the white people from New Orleans sound like the white people from Brooklyn, according to a former neighbor of mine is that the overwhelming majority of the white children in New Orleans attended Catholic schools and spoke no English natively. Well, a detachment of nuns from Brooklyn went down to New Orleans to teach in those Catholic schools and they taught them how to speak English but in the Brooklyn dialect. So, that is the theory I accept as to why white people from New Orleans sound like white people from Brooklyn. This also is a factor in my very unique accent. I only know of one other young man who sounds like me and he grew up in a similar linguistic environment. My Mom is from the New Orleans area of Louisiana but my Dad is from Cajun/Bayou Country. I grew up in Cajun/Bayou Country but in my Mom’s younger days, she still sounded much like a Y’at. I grew up hearing both of my parents talk and I sound like a combination of both of them. In grade school, I was told a time or two that I don’t sound Cajun like the rest of the students. Another time I was at a grocer in Mississippi and I was asked if I was from up north. Another time I was at a KFC in Northeast Texas and two black gentlemen said they could tell I was from Louisiana by how I spoke but they assumed I was Creole, which to my knowledge I am not. I get it, I don’t sound like the rest of those around me. I’m self-conscious of my voice and therefore I blog instead of getting on YouTube. I think I have a better command of the written word than the spoken word though, so it works out for the best. Anyway, there was a song in that computer game known as “Are We There Yet?” and it describes the electrical, chemical and mechanical processes of how an automobile functions. That was my favorite song track on that game when I played it because, at the time, I was highly fascinated by how cars worked but came from a very non-mechanical family. So I never got to work on them growing up and at this point in my life, I am extremely nervous with cars. Electricity doesn’t phase me, but I am careful. HVAC doesn’t phase me (that’s my only formal training.) And computers do not phase me because I taught myself how to work on them. But I won’t attempt to work on a car except for very minor repairs. I also went to schools, at least until I got to trade school, where blue-collar trade work was looked down upon.
I wish I could continue to write, but my head is pounding at the moment. I want to seek medical attention for these headaches because they are getting more and more frequent. However, I am afraid that seeking medical attention will result in more harm than good at this point, because of this gosh durn Coronavirus going around. I’ll just ask my brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for me and hopefully, soon I can revisit this subject and if I do, I will post it.
I guess this, therefore, concludes my piece on childhood memories though I wish I could have gone into more details than I did.
I still thank you for reading and hope you, the reader, have been informed and entertained.
May God richly bless you!