It's kind of weird. I remembered something from my childhood that I haven't thought about for years, and it's made me think more, deeper, until I remembered other things from my past.
The thing that started this was seeing a kid the other day waving to the engineer of a train. It's slipped my mind, but I remember doing the exact same thing when I was a kid. Every time I saw a train, I waved to the engineer. He always waved back.
I also remember putting pennies on the train tracks, not to derail the trains like some of my more sadistic friends, but to flatten them. And it always worked.
I remember when my grandfather used to pick me up to bring me to elementary school. He had this weird thing that he did that I don't think he even remembers now. First he would hold up a thumbs up. Then he'd stick out his index finger like a finger gun. And then he'd open the rest of his hand. I would do the same thing back to him, and he'd smile and clap me on the shoulder.
Gramps also used to do a, I guess it's a human pyramid, with me and my cousin. He'd be on the bottom. As the oldest I'd be on his back. My cousin was the youngest at the time, so he was the top.
The time that my stepfather was dragging me to a grocery store, and we were at a street corner where we had to wait for the cars to go by. I put my thumb out like I'd seen in movies, not realizing that it was the universal sign of hitchhiking. My stepfather slapped the shit out of me for that, and I've never done it again.
My cousin and I watching the trucks go by just outside our grandparents' backyard. We were impressed by the passing of these things on the expressway. And then a wooden wall was constructed between us and the trucks, and we were depressed.
My grandmother tells me a story about the time, back in the 'Sixties, when there was no wall, and there was a horrible storm. A family abandoned their car on the expressway and eventually wandered into the backyard seeking aid and succor. They got it, too. Different times.
Behind my elementary school there were train tracks and a tiny bridge we could go under to avoid them. But there was a yellow line we had to stand behind if there was a train going through. We didn't pay much attention. It was thrilling to be in the underpass while a train thundered overhead.
The snake that attacked my one and only friend in first grade. He showed me the slashes in his elbow. There were only supposed to be garter snakes back there. Maybe not that one time, though.
Then there was the moment I met my best friend in third grade. We fell in together because he could fold his eyelids back. Everyone else found it gross, but I thought it was cool as shit.
My cousin and I used to hang out in the rec room of our grandparents' place, and when we had to take a piss we'd just do it through the screen door. We got away with it for a long time, too.
There was also a scary crawlspace there.
It's surprising all of the things I forgot when I was a kid. Back when I was let loose in the world when I was done with school, no parental supervision, just so long as I was back for the six o'clock siren. If I was late, I was fucked.
What do you remember from when you were a kid that you haven't thought about in ages?