This past weekend, I visited my hometown. During my
stay, I spent some time digging through the archives of my childhood bedroom.
Among the time capsule treasures I unearthed:
My baby book with my mom’s proud chicken scratches
marking the milestones of her youngest daughter, along with a lock of soft
brown baby hair sealed in a Ziploc bag clipped to the book.
An old high school yearbook: It featured an awkward picture
of me playing Junior Varsity volleyball. I felt for that girl, self-conscious
and uncoordinated, not exactly a future recruit for the college volleyball
teams. Plus, my childhood besties’ 1,000 word cursive essay scrawled in
the yearbook, professing that we will ALWAYS stay friends. (She predicted
A photo album from my bat mitzvah, showcasing
pictures with my relatives, like my sweet late maternal grandmother. I could
feel her presence in my bedroom with me as I gazed at the photo of her
embracing me: the smell of her perfume, her dulcet laugh, the thought of her gripping
Cherry Luden’s Cough Drops in one hand, and a black comb and pink footie socks
in the other, a trifecta of odd, yet nurturing items she offered upon every
visit with her grandchildren.
A tattered loose leaf cookbook made of construction
paper, created by my preschool classmates and myself in 1982. All the recipes
were hilarious in retrospect. Mine was for corned beef. It went like this: “She
(I’m assuming my mom is the “she”) buys corned beef at the store and then she
takes it off the wax paper. Then she puts it on a plate. She gives us bread
too.” (Apparently I wasn’t so eloquent in my writing as a preschooler.)
A Whitney Houston cassette tape. I flashed back to
my sister’s bat mitzvah party. Guests could sing karaoke to their favorite
songs in an adjoining room at the hotel party. When my turn came, I made
everyone leave the room so I could sing Greatest
Love of All alone, too shy a 10-year-old was I to have an audience watching
me, but I had enough spunk to want to belt out the Houston classic.
and Jam for Frances, my all-time favorite children’s book, about
a badger named, yep, Frances who will only eat—you guessed it—bread and jam for
every meal to her parents’ dismay. During my visit home, I forced my nephews to
let me read the book to them (so I had a thinly veiled excuse to re-read the
book) even though they wanted me to read them some book about robots instead.
My cabbage patch doll, “Michelle Deena,” sat propped
against the wall immodestly wearing pants with no shirt. Bald spots peaked
through her head of brown yarn hair in disarray from years of me changing up her
The remnants of a wizard costume hang in my closet, a
black robe with a few remaining gold starts pasted to the garment that I wore
to say four lines for my fifth grade production of a play called Many Moons—many moons ago.
Next to the costume, hangs a little girl’s A-line dress,
navy with green embroidery and multi-colored tulips.
As I sat on the carpet, surrounded by 1980s and 90s
pop culture references, like The
Breakfast Club movie and Rent musical
posters taped to my wall, I wondered how I ever was small enough to fit into
that tiny dress.
Three decades flashed in front of me as I thought
about the whirlwind journeys we all take in life in a blink.
They say the days are long, but the years are short,
and I say amen to that.
As we soon enter the Jewish New Year and a season of
reflection, let’s take stock of how we want to spend our days which too quickly
melt into years—and who we want to share them with.