Living today in a memory
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
For a girl who’s accustomed to a more northern climate, this past week has been really hot. Sure it would occasionally get into the 90s back home, but not until July or August. And I’ve been warned it only gets worse here. I guess it’s just something I’ll have to get used to, a price to pay for becoming a “southerner” as my sister joking called me this week.
As much as I love the winter, snow and freezing temperatures, I’m embracing this summer weather. There’s a sort of lighthearted freedom that comes with the start of summer. It makes me want to cruise down the highway with the windows rolled down, a Beach Boys song blaring out of my speakers. And I’m not even much of a Beach Boys fan.
I think the thrill of summer is a lingering effect from childhood. Summer meant freedom — months away from school, teachers and homework. While I no longer have the complete freedom provided by a summer vacation, I can’t help but get excited at this time of year.
As the school year is winding down and schools are submitting their final lunch menus for the year, I find myself thinking back on my own elementary school days. It seems a little silly to be nostalgic for my childhood, because it really wasn’t that long ago. Then again, maybe it’s farther away than I realized.
Last weekend my parents came to visit for a couple of days. They brought with them a copy of an old home movie of my great-grandma’s surprise 80th birthday party. I was about four at the time, and although I’ve seen pictures from the event over the years, I really have no memory of it.
Watching this movie was fascinating. Not to be narcissistic, but I was enthralled with my four-year-old self. I watched myself run around in a white with pink polka dots dress that I wouldn’t be caught dead in now, but I had a vague memory of loving it then.
I wonder what I was like when I was that age. Outside of asking my parents, who have a biased viewpoint, there’s no way for me to know myself from back then. I cannot step inside the movie and have a chat with my younger self, no matter how much I may want to. I’m sure it would be an enlightening conversation.
Maybe 20 years from now I’ll be looking back on the current day, remembering who I am now and wishing to have a conversation with myself. If I could only get my 43, 23 and 4-year-old selves in a room together, that would be really interesting. I’m sure my 4-year-old self would dominate the conversation. I was a bit of an attention hog back then, a trait that I have lost over the years. I wonder how many stories my younger self could remind my older two selves of that I’ve since forgotten.
It’s strange to think about how the days I’m living right now will one day be only memories. I’m reminded of a passage from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods, where a young Laura thinks about the days of auld lange syne: “She was glad that the cozy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.”
Sadly, as the adult Laura who penned those lines knew, one day they will be.