Monday, January 9, 2012

Blog Chain: Household Memories

It's blog chain time again. I have to say, every time I think I'm just not organized enough to be a part of this thing anymore, someone comes up with such a compelling topic, I simply can't bow out.

This month, it's Jon. Yes, Jon Arntson, a good friend of mine, a great Words with Friends player, and my favorite Michigan writer. He gifted us with the dopest prompt:

Imagine the home(s) where you grew up, and start drawing a floor plan. As you draw, memories will surface. Grab onto one of those memories and tell us a story.

It's a little hard for me to talk about how much this brings up for me, because my childhood, and my childhood home ... let's just say I have all the ghosts in my pasts we all have. But Jon's presentation intrigued me especially, because while I'm not architect, I've always been fascinated by blueprints, and when I pretended to write comic books as a kid, I drew way more scenes from a birds-eye view than any comic book publisher would have accepted, I assume.

I don't have one specific memory that could be stretched into a whole post, at least not one I'm comfortable sharing, but I love what Abby did, when she shared a bunch of snippets, as her mind flitted from room to room.

This is my maddened version of her (and Jon's) genius.
  • The swingset in our front yard, which more often than not became the setting for one of my games of fantasy. Like the Sail Barge from the beginning of Return of the Jedi.
  • Our front porch. Where one of my favorite childhood photos ended up being taken - my sister and I, our faces stained with purple juice after collecting bucketfuls of blackberries from the backyard.
  • Our living room, where the fireplace was, and where my dad would blast his Steppenwolf records at full volume.
  • Our kitchen, where my mom and dad allowed a family friend to remodel in the 80s. It's still the same kind of ugly.
  • Our family room. Where my dad and I would watch Seahawk games. He recorded every one on Betamax in the beginning, and we had a remote contol - one that had a cord.


  • Our deck, where we did our barbecueing, and could see all the way to the Olympic Mountains, on a clear day.
  • The basement. Where the furnace was, and where I got so jealous when we furnished a room and mom let my big sister move her bedroom down there.
  • The upstairs bathroom. Where I would perform in front of the mirror - when I was supposed to be taking a bath - pretending I was the host of a variety show, for sometimes as long as 15 minutes.
  • My room, where Legos, and GI Joes, and Star Wars men dominated the floor space, and where the closet had a window out through which I could climb onto the roof, and escape from everything.
There are probably hundreds more memories I could share, but this is a blog chain, so you should check Sandra's post, who came before me, and Kate's post, who will actually go up today, because mine was supposed to be yesterday. Someday I'll get it right.

39 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

This is a great topic, and that picture is priceless.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think you did good with the prompt! We lived in so many houses, I'd be hard pressed to remember any of them in detail.
I do remember Betamax though!

Em-Musing said...

This is an interesting topic. Ah...would that all rooms brought back happy childhood memories. Outside, yes far away from the house is where my happy memories are.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Love the picture. Glad you have so many memories of your childhood. I know there were some really hard parts of it.

Jemi Fraser said...

Just reading your list brought up tons of my own memories - I was one of the lucky ones and almost all of my memories are golden.

farawayeyes said...

Interesting insight into you. Thanks for sharing.

Sarah said...

You're right--that is an awesome prompt. Definitely got me thinking, and I enjoyed reading about your memories. Did you ever record yourself hosting your imaginary variety show? My sister and I used to tape record ourselves. Of course, those tapes are long-since lost. I kind of wish I'd saved them. Kind of.

farawayeyes said...

Look at you all published online. Just came back from the 'Vine Leaves Journal". Very nice.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I grew up in the same house, an old farmhouse, and I could tell some stories about it! Including the fact it was haunted.

Laurita said...

Playing some scene from Star Wars should count in every kid's memories.

Suzie F. said...

Thank you for the glimpse into your childhood. Like others, my own memories flooded back as I read yours.

My 4-year-old carefree self, would dance in the living room to my dad's Magical Mystery Tour album :)

T.D. McFrost said...

If I were in the mood to write today I'd join. But I liked this, anyway, and you were such a fun-loving kid!

salarsenッ said...

You have done yourself a great service here, my friend. I know what looking back can do, both good and, well, not so good. But in time, all can be used for good purposes. Jon came up with a great idea. :)

LTM said...

LOVE this. The swing set made me think of our old metal swing set that would slide up (out of the ground) if we got to going too high... that always made my stomach fly to my throat... :p

But undies picture? Performing upstairs in front of the mirror for 15 mins when you're supposed to be showering? Methinks you + my youngest daughter = same person... :D <3

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

wow! what an interesting prompt! and how cool to have an escape window hidden in your closet! i would have totally played narnia with the thing.

Slamdunk said...

Wonderful Matthew. It is imporant for all of us to know where we came from (the good and the bad) so that we can move forward.

Sounds like a fun exercise--I'll have to think about what direction I'd go with.

Sarah Ahiers said...

this was really great. I smiled at a lot of them. I particularly liked the remembered detail of the remote with the cord.

Jeffrey Beesler said...

My great grandmother used to make blackberry jam. Even though she's been gone for 25 year come this November, I still miss her to no end.

Colene Murphy said...

Well this was beautiful. Priceless picture! Ha!

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

What a lot of great memories!

Old Kitty said...

Thanks for sharing these very poignant memories! I love this pic of you - your smile is just great!

Take care
x

Johanna Garth said...

Those were great. We have a little cousin who pretends to be a game show host. I wonder if he'll someday spend lots of time acting that out in front of the mirror too ;)

Johanna Garth said...

Those were great. We have a little cousin who pretends to be a game show host. I wonder if he'll someday spend lots of time acting that out in front of the mirror too ;)

Brinda said...

I especially like the picture of a remote control with a cord. :)

Jay Noel said...

That was fun!

My boys' rooms are dominated by Legos, still, so it's nice to have a little of my own childhood around me.

Your dad had great taste in music.

Cynthia Lee said...

I have a vivid memory of the day in 1977 when I learned Battlestar Galactica had been cancelled after only 1 season.

I hopped on my bike and rode it furiously around the neighborhood, crying. I wanted to do the same thing when Firefly was cancelled some 20 years later. :)

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Love the photograph and then all the pictures you created with your words too. I can totally see that remote control with a cord:)

Angela Brown said...

This was so spell binding. I felt as if I were taking a tour into your past, gracing the presence of each room and home location, viewing a flash of memory with you before floating off to the next room.

Thank you so much for sharing. Very nice traveling with you :-)

RachelMaryBean said...

What a great picture, and what an interesting prompt. Thanks for sharing your memories. :)

C D Meetens said...

Those are lovely memories, and what a fantastic idea! I think I'd like to do something like that now and see what memories the floor plan could jog - just for my own personal reminiscences.

maine character said...

My swingsets were always X-wing fighters.

Cool deck, and that window in the closet should definitely be in a book.

Kristen Pelfrey said...

Matthew. You make me happy.

Casey McCormick said...

What wonderful memories, Matt. I'm a sucker for some good nostalgia. Love the picture, too!

Michelle H. said...

Love the picture and the collage of memories brought up by the topic. (Roof climbing was a favorite activity of mine too.

Kelly Polark said...

Love the photo and all of your descriptions.
I love that you had a pretend Revenge of the Jedi barge. I've been a huge Star Wars fan since I was little. And I had a huge crush on Han Solo.
I also love that you pretended to be a variety host in the mirror! So cute!

Barbara Kloss said...

I absolutely love this prompt, and I think what I loved more is that you turned your swingset into the Sail Barge from Return of the Jedi.

It's so good to remember those kinds of things, and keep them close.

Thanks for sharing!

Katrina L. Lantz said...

Your closet had a window that led to the ROOF?! That is so beyond cool! I hope you write that into a story someday. This was a good exercise for that. I feel inspired. :)

Jonathon Arntson said...

Matt-

All of this was very touching. My room was also a landfill of Legos.

I challenged Abby to grab onto one of those memories and take us further. I should do the same to you, but you're so busy. Instead, I'll grant you a temporary reprieve and look for a story later.

Christine Fonseca said...

Landfill of legos - best phrase ever!