Happy Hollow is a place in San Jose that is a small zoo and little play area for children. My mom took me there when I was a little girl and I of course took my kids there when they were small. This picture to the right is of my oldest son Kent Jr. (now 26) and my daughter, Kristen (now 24).
The pig or hog or sow, whatever it is…I could swear was the same one when I was a little girl. The donkey in the background, yep…same one I remember. I first grew to love my favorite animal, the lemur at Happy Hollow. My daughter was just there recently and she swears they have new animals…hmmm not sure about that!
What are your memories that you remember from childhood? Where did your parents take you for fun times? If you raised your children in the same town you grew up in, did you also take them to some of the same places you went as a child?
Happy Hollow is one of those institutions that holds a lot of memories for me. I can remember sliding down the slides and playing at the park, feeding the goats and even going to the little exhibit where the guinea pigs have little houses on a remote island. And of course, who can forget Danny the Dragon the train ride.
One of my other great memories from childhood is Frontier Village. This was a great place, but unfortunately wasn’t around when my children were born. I went to Frontier Village many times. The place my children went to the most was Great America Amusement Park. When they were little I worked in the guest relations department which means I could bring them to the park a lot! They loved it!
Spend some time writing about your childhood memories and also the memories that you remember with your children!
This is one of my pictures that I keep in my journal. When I want to really get in touch with my inner child one of the simplest ways to do that is to just take a look at “me”. When you are writing about incidents from your childhood it is so helpful if you can pull out the pictures of that age period that you would like to record. Remember back to who you were. Look deeply into the picture, what do you see, what do you remember? I can remember taking this picture as though it were yesterday because this dress my mom picked out was not what I wanted to wear. It was blue with a built in red tie hanging down, I thought it looked like a boy. My overwhelming disappointment in my dress selection is clearly seen in my eyes.
Writing about our childhood and going back to that time can sometimes be painful. Connecting to our inner child is a great gift of writing. The things you love doing now, are they things you loved to do as a child? I still love to ride my bike all over town, much like I enjoyed as a child. I used to roller skate around the neighborhood, now I have inline skates. Reading was always a favorite of mine and still is, books could take me on a journey of discovery. I used to love to listen to the radio (KFRC and KLIV were my favorite stations). I have always loved dogs and of course still do. Remembering to be gentle with ourselves is another gift we give ourselves as we write through the episodes of our lives.
What do you love remembering about your childhood? What are the memories that you find painful to write about? How do you remember your childhood? Some of my students have the most beautiful stories of their childhood and others have horrible stories of pain and heartache. How did your childhood lead you to become the person you are today?
This is me on Day 20 of the 30 day challenge. This is me after completing a double class back to back with my friend Melanie. Pictures are a reminder of what we look like, but a picture doesn’t tell others how we feel. As I look back through the pictures of my life I see various times in my life when the picture seems to say one thing, but my true emotion was hidden. The beauty of writing a memoir and using your pictures to guide you is that you can use it as a tool to bring you back to that place and time. Some pictures are painful for me to look at because I was going through a painful time in my life. Some pictures are so wonderful to ponder over and remember the memories.
Pictures of your childhood can sometimes be painful to reflect upon if you had an unhappy childhood. Sometimes seeing those you have loved that have passed on can also bring up the tears.
As you look through the photos of the movement of your life be gentle with yourself. What do you see? What do you remember? A memoir written with the perspective of wisdom from passing through your experiences topped off with pictures of the event is wonderful. As I look at the movement of my life I can see that the woman I am today is not the woman I was 3 years ago or even 3 months ago. I am forever changing and becoming more clear on who I am. Even this picture of me taken almost 10 days ago and the picture I will take tomorrow (the end of my 30 day challenge) will look different. I am different each day as I choose to grow and be.
Today in your journal I would ask that you really “see” yourself. Who are you today? Who were you a year ago? Are you changing and growing? If not, examine why not. Take out those pictures and write about not just the event, but how you felt about the event.
I have realized through writing that I can get to know myself on a more deeper level. It is through the exploratory writing that one does, especially with memoir, that you get to explore what it is that is unique about you. I never knew the joy that writing could bring me. It is through those times of deep writing that one begins to see more clearly. If you are in the process of recording your life story you will experience many highs and lows. Many times as we explore and write, the theme of our life becomes more clear to us. Have you found your bliss? What causes you to smile? A great writing exercise to do is to map out your life in either 5 or 10 year increments. Recording your life story this way will help you see the movement of your life. Is there a 5 or 10 year period that you recall as the happiest time of your life? What about a low time in your life? How did you manage to survive? What advice would you like to leave behind for your children and grandchildren? As you look at your map of your life, you can even graph the feelings you felt at the time. Were you in a job that you loved or hated? How did you feel about your childhood? How do you feel about retirement? Write about the greatest love of your life. There are so many areas to write about, but the best way to write is to just start. Maybe you can begin just by writing whatever comes into your mind. If you still feel stuck try this one…what if you could only take one memory with you into eternity…what would it be? Start small, but by putting your words on paper you just may find that bliss you have been looking for!