Was your childhood happy?

I work with this hilarious little bus boy. He is always singing me little made up songs and telling me little made up stories. Yesterday, he asked me to tell him a story. I couldn’t think of something right away, and he asked me to tell him about my childhood. Was it happy?

I thought for a minute, and replied simply, “Yes.”

I told him about how I grew up in the country, in the woods in Missouri. How my parents live in a log house that my daddy built. How I had a bunch of siblings and there were always a lot of kids around the house all the time, but my parents never minded. In fact, they loved it. How my dad hung tire swings from unbelievably high branches, and built tree houses hidden in the woods. About the rope swing that landed in a heap of leaves, and down the hill from there, there was a little creek with lots of frogs and turtles. There were dogs that weren’t fenced and never ran away, chickens and one time even ducks. There was room to roam and we had the freedom to explore and play pretend.

There were no sidewalks but gravel roads. Kids ran around barefoot and without fear. My family ate dinner together every night, and the t.v. was always off. My mom made up songs about the rocking horse and swinging (that I still remember by the way). There is a swing on the front porch, where we watched storms in the summer.

Maybe my sudden over active sense of nostalgia is due to the re-runs of The Wonder Years I’ve been watching constantly. But I’ve become exceptionally grateful for my lovely little childhood in the woods. Here, in Chicago, among thousands of people, I had a very unique experience.

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