Childhood Memories

When you were five, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I used to love thumbing through the stack of National Geographic magazines we had in our house when I was little. My love of nature was influenced by how much time we spent exploring the outdoors and also by the likes of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, David Bellamy and Sir David Attenborough. I loved the Life On Earth television series and Attenborough’s captivating passion for conservation. Bellamy was always fun to watch as he got right in there with plants and insects. I was mesmerized by Goodall’s interactions with Chimpanzees and Fossey’s work humanizing Silverback Gorillas. I often dreamed of visiting the far off regions explored in the shows and on the vibrant pages of those magazines. I dreamed of being a traveler, exploring and loving nature the same way my idols did. I wanted to be a photographer, I wanted to be the person who brought these places, people, animals and art to life on those pages I poured over in the magazines. I had one hell of an imagination when I was young, a fearless spirit and a love for learning. Sometimes I wish I could tap back into that kid and capture just an ounce of her unshakable confidence and her unwavering trust in humanity.

Bit and Pieces Of Me

It bothers me that my memories come and go much like the scattered pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  Occasionally my mind will stumble across a new piece, usually incomplete and maybe that’s how they’re supposed to be?  Maybe some of these memories are pivotal moments in my life that’ve changed me in some way, shape or form and others not so much?  What is it that makes you remember one event over another? How do those events shape and mold you? I’ve been told writing them down helps, not sure how, but I’ll give it a go…

I was on my way home for dinner after a day of playing at the park with the neighborhood kids, when I spotted Liza, an older girl who lived just up the road from us coming down the path, waving her arms at me, she seemed desperate to tell me something.  My skipping slowed to a walk as Liza yelled out to me

“Your dad’s at your house!”

I looked at her a little puzzled.

“I know that silly he always is!”

Now Liza had caught up to where I was standing and after catching her breath said

“No no I mean your REAL dad!”

A weird feeling swelled inside my stomach, but  I didn’t want to let on to Liza who looked happy and seemed to take pride in the fact that she was the first to break this news to me.

 What did she mean my real dad? I pretended to play it off

“yeah right!  I bet you 10,000 pounds he’s not!”

“You’re on!”

 Liza said confidently and then with a toss of her hair she was off down the path towards the playground I’d just come from. 

I was confused! If she was playing a joke it wasn’t a funny one.  The feeling in my stomach was getting bigger and I was feeling more uncomfortable, so with a confused and almost excited curiousity I rushed home.

I arrived at the house and could feel my stomach churning. A million thoughts must have run through my mind as I took a deep breath, turned the handle and stepped inside.   Everything happened so fast I don’t even remember if there were formalities, I just remember my suitcase was packed and my step father told me I was going on a trip with a man I was told was my dad? I didn’t get to see my mum as she was in the hospital at the time and I don’t even remember if I saw my brothers and sister before I left.  I just remember my step father shaking my dad’s hand and then we were gone. 

I don’t remember much about the trip I took to Scotland with my dad?  I remember he was tall with dark almost black hair, a beard and tinted glasses. He smiled at me and seemed happy I was with him.  I remember windy roads, getting car sick, playing bouncy ball with a boy named Dean and then the next thing I remember is what was supposed to be a short, two-week vacation to Scotland became a two-year trip to Italy.