This past weekend, I hooked up my old VCR to play this tape we have that some old friends made for us years ago: Ferris Family and Friends. It chronicles our family’s life from October to December 1991 and the spring of 1992. My baby sister was 3 (turning 4), my younger brother was 7, and I was 9. It’s really the only video footage I have of my childhood, and I cherish it. In it, we see Halloween, my First Reconciliation, my sister’s 4th birthday party, and my brother’s First Communion.
I’m a very nostalgic person, and as I watched my parents (who were younger then than I am now), family friends, and church community, I realize that although we definitely had our share of struggles, we had a pretty good life, and I miss it.
I just miss it. I miss Ashland, this tiny little woolen mill town in nowhere central New Hampshire where everyone was related to someone…everyone except for us. I miss beach days, swimming to the raft, and stopping at Dairy Joy on the way home for giant hamburgers. I miss my dad taking us to Friendly’s now and then for a conehead ice cream. I miss playing because I wanted to, not because I had to.
I miss being able to walk everywhere, including cutting through that mill to get into town. It probably wasn’t the safest thing to do, trudging up the incredibly steep hill from Mill Street, but we did it anyway. I miss my church. I miss the music, the community, being an altar server, and Fr. Jean.
I miss my school, Ashland Elementary that maybe had 250 kids K-8. I miss my teachers…Mrs. S, Mrs. W, Mr. A, Mrs. S, Mrs. K, Mrs. O, the list goes on…and some of whom I’m friends with on social media now…who would have thought?
I miss band. I really miss band. I miss being the only 5th grader in Advanced Band. I miss that Mr. A could literally play every instrument, who was crazy and eccentric and had a major temper but taught me to love the clarinet (and flute, and oboe). He always pushed me to be a better musician. He was honest with me when he told me he had nothing left to teach me, sending me off to high school into another town with an even better music program. I wouldn’t be who I am today without music.
I miss my friends, especially L. Friends since the age of 4 when we moved to Ashland, and even if it’s been years since we last talked, we pick right back up like no time has passed.
I miss scrounging for loose change around the house (sorry mom and dad!) so my brother, sister, and I could stop by Bailey’s, the penny candy store, on the way home from school. I miss skiing during the school day every Thursday all winter. I miss hiking up Rattlesnake Mountain and going to Santa’s Village and StoryLand on school field trips. I miss looking up to see the Old Man on the Mountain whenever we visited Franconia Notch.
I miss living too close to school (about a mile) to qualify to take the bus. I miss the day my mom argued with the mail carrier to get mail delivered to our home. Apparently, we lived too close to the post office to be considered for a mail route.
I miss my friend A, who left us way too young. Who I called my big sister, who gave me a noogie every time we passed each other going opposite ways on the hill leading to the music room. I don’t even remember what she looked like anymore, but I still miss her every day.
I miss being innocent and naive. I miss knowing nothing about the world, not in an ignorant way, but in a way that let me just be a kid.
I just miss it. I miss these things, and so much more.
I miss my childhood.
What do you miss most about your childhood?