Day 4 – Best Childhood Memory

When it comes to memories, especially of my childhood, I don’t particularly like to pick an absolute “Best” because I have so many good ones. But the memories that stand out most in my mind are from summer days spent at my grandparent’s house on the St. Joe River in Elkhart, Indiana.

Elkhart House RiversideThis is a picture of the house from the river. As a child, it was my favorite place to be. I still find myself longing to go there at times, and it breaks my heart when I think that I most likely will never step foot in it again, nor did I know when I stepped out of it nearly 22 years ago, it would be the last time. I never got to say a proper goodbye. But maybe it’s better that way. I can still see every room, every detail of it in my mind’s eye, and sometimes when I’m having trouble falling asleep, I walk myself through those rooms  — in through the screened-in porch (I can still hear the wooden screen door slam behind me) into the dutch door leading to the kitchen and then into the dining room where everyone always gathered. There were dozens of nooks and crannies for a small child to hide and explore. I would spend hours in the basement, dressing up in my grandma’s and mom’s old clothes, or in the attic above the garage reading books or going through old photographs &  Life Magazines. I even miss the laundry room, with the ancient, white, well-stocked refrigerator that kept bottles of pepsi (and beer for the adults) at the perfect temperature.

ElkartRiverPontoonBoat

As kids, my brother, cousins and I would have a grand old time playing in the river. I loved swimming out into the middle of the river and looking down the water as far as I could see. Even at a young age, I can remember thinking that treading water in the middle of the river all by myself was the “Perfect Peace”. It’s also probably why I became such a strong swimmer, as the current was often very strong and it could be a struggle swimming against it to get back to the dock. On weekends, all my aunts and uncles would come over and we’d all go out on the pontoon boat and ride along the river all afternoon. Sometimes my Grampy Ben would let me steer the boat. Afterwards, we’d all sit down together for a delicious Sunday feast prepared by my grandma, who I just called “Mom”, but my brother and cousins called “Donna”. Sunday dinner would always end with Grampy Ben patting his tummy and announcing he was ready for Lemon Meringue Pie. Not that we always had it, but he was sure to ask, just in case we might. If not, it was off to Dairy Queen for Dilly Bars.

ElkhartRiverQueen

Before I’d go to bed at night, I’d hope to catch a glimpse of the River Queen passing by. It was an old river boat that people could spend the evening riding up the river. You could hear the music from the live band on board from my bedroom window.

I’ve promised myself that someday I will go back to visit. My grandparents are long since passed and the house sold, but I still have family in Elkhart. Even though I know it could never be the same — I won’t be able to get a perfectly cold bottle of Pepsi from the old refrigerator in the laundry room or sit on my Grampy Ben’s lap and steer the pontoon boat — I will be able to ride on the River Queen. And maybe, just maybe, I might be able to swim out to the middle of the river and once again find my “Perfect Peace”.

You know what?  That really is my very best memory.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Laura Greene
    Mar 04, 2013 @ 12:09:57

    Absolutely gorgeous post! It was so detailed that I could smell the river water! You are a fabulous writer. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful memory!

  2. benbidder
    Mar 04, 2013 @ 17:16:08

    This is so great… I want to hear more. 🙂

  3. cristys18
    Mar 04, 2013 @ 20:04:07

    Thank you for taking me through your memory. I could almost hear the screen door slamming too. Wonderful memory.

  4. Tom Williams
    Mar 04, 2013 @ 21:32:20

    Beautiful

  5. kimberlyfoley
    Mar 05, 2013 @ 07:25:21

    Wow! Thanks Laura! I’ve been enjoying your posts as well!

  6. kimberlyfoley
    Mar 05, 2013 @ 07:26:45

    I’m glad you liked it, Uncle Tom. You were on my mind while I was writing it. ❤

  7. kimberlyfoley
    Mar 05, 2013 @ 07:30:19

    Thanks to everyone for all your lovely comments and for visiting my blog.

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