A Childhood Memory

An Essay By marienicole // 10/31/2007

It is amazing how our memories are so vivid when triggered by the sight of a forgotten treasure from our past. A long time has passed since I thought of my old bin of blocks. The sight of them jolts my mind; I am overwhelmed. As I pick up the toys strewn across my nephew’s bedroom, I find myself looking back……
I see a different bedroom, this one painted pink, with ballerinas dancing across the walls. On the floor, in front of the window are the same blocks. Big, plastic blocks, the kind you give to very young children, colored in primary shades of red, blue, green, and yellow. Two boys, obviously brothers, with the same tousled hair and bright eyes, sift through the pieces, rattling them and waking me. Rubbing sleep from my eyes, I join them. Little Monica, looking like an angel in her nightgown with a halo of sunshine, came to play, too.
We clattered and fumbled through the pieces sorting them out. Each grabbed their person or two, little block figurines, and built their house. People were named, and sometimes renamed several times. We were each a character, a person, in the town of make-believe. I can still remember the name I gave my girl, Susan.
The town was quickly set up and the game began. We had a school with a teacher. There were stores and restaurants. A police officer kept the peace and protected the citizens. Our town was run by a mayor. Trading and bartering were a major part of the play. It was simple, but we spent hours playing it.
Our early morning ritual was interrupted by the smell of pancakes cooking downstairs. Hurriedly we’d clean-up the pieces, knowing we’d continue next Saturday.
The allure of the game for me, and perhaps for Nicholas as well, lay in its childishness. At 9, I was trapped in the middle, to old for many pastimes, yet too young to join the older boys. Our games on Saturday morning were an escape, my tie to childhood. Perhaps that is why arguments were so few. Surprising as that was the way Nicholas and I fought at the time. But this childish game was something we enjoyed and wanted to keep.
I don’t know exactly why we stopped playing. Maybe we wanted to sleep in. Maybe we were tired of the game. Maybe we had outgrown its childish enticement. Whatever the reason, we stopped. We never played with the blocks after we moved from that house. They were passed down to the next generation, our nephews and niece. They don’t seem to find them as enticing yet, but just maybe, one day they too, will find them to be their tie to childhood.