The Magic of Childhood Memories

A lake in New Hampshire.

1970 something.

On a boat.

The Idiot was nowhere near us, but I borrowed a few lines of his style since his post about Jaws and the discussion following made me flash on this particular memory.

Dad and Deb at the lake, I wonder if they were searching for mermaids? (Note: there are not many pictures of my adventures, mostly my brother and sister's.)

Dad and Deb again. Maybe Debbie is pointing at a lake monster in the distance.

We had a couple of lovable idiots on the boat. One of them, I called Daddy. The other was an old family friend named Hank. They had taken us out on a boat and I remember floating on the middle of the lake when both of them went overboard.

I’m not sure it was by choice. In later discussions my older sister (by five years) said that there was beer involved, and some sort of horseplay.

They were under water for a long time, and came back up covered in black gunk.

“What happened?!” I asked.

“We were attacked by a giant octopus.” Daddy said. And Hank reinforced his story.

Of course, I believed them. I mean, isn’t every New England lake inhabited by giant man-eating octopi?

Now, despite the fact that The Idiot said,

“Lisa – There is nothing I take more pride in….than dredging up old, deep, psychological wounds and memories……. So glad I could help :) “

I’m not really wounded by the gullible naiveté of that little girl, instead I am saddened that I can no longer give into that complete and utter belief of childhood.

I can no longer lie in my bed at night on Christmas wishing that, since Santa wouldn’t come to my house and bring me presents, he would at least let Rudolph knock on my window and take me for a magical ride.

Forgive my early Christmas reference.

I can no longer wander through a Halloween night, wondering if some of the creatures wandering the streets are real. [OK, I can, but I’m not supposed to admit it ;)] I cannot sit in a pumpkin patch and wait for the appearance of the Great Pumpkin. I never did that, but I always empathize with Linus when watching the special, I want so much to believe.

I can no longer wish upon a star, bursting out into song of course, and expect my wish will come true with a simple spark of fairy magic.

I can no longer run through the streets on a cool spring evening searching for Elijah in hopes that he might appear.

I can’t wander through a house that I am not familiar with looking at closet doors and wardrobes wondering if I can find an opening to a world like Narnia through one of them, and hoping I will.

More often than not, I’m driving the car, so I can’t give into the traveling fantasies of my childhood days, where I am riding a horse along the side of the road or conversing with a person just like me who lives among the stars.

I’m not supposed to believe in fairies and leprechauns, ghosts and goblins, or anything else truly magical. But that is a true loss. I wrote recently how much I would like to think like an eight year old, and I mean it.

The other day Nathan found our old video tape of Hook (1991) starring Dustin Hoffman,  Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, and Maggie Smith (love her) and directed by Steven Spielberg. Now, some people called this movie a flop, but I always loved it. Why? Because it reminds all adults, and even kids, of the value of imagination and believing in magic. How can you not love the following scene where a meal of nothing turns into a feast of fabulosity (and I know I made up that word)?

I want to get back on the boat and believe in the octopus, because believing in the impossible makes this world and this life a place full of possibility.

Don’t you think?


32 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tori Nelson
    Nov 02, 2011 @ 09:03:26

    I call this catching the “freebie jeebies”. I am SO in 🙂


  2. LittleMissVix
    Nov 02, 2011 @ 09:20:42

    We need to try to keep some of the magic!


  3. Taochild
    Nov 02, 2011 @ 09:38:51

    What do you mean there wasn’t an octopus! And I still distinctly remember seeing the Easter Bunny walking at the end of Coventry Circle once. Either that or it was Harvey (and we all know he is invisible) or Alice’s white rabbit!

    Sure you can still believe! Belief is the foundation of creation! By the same token loss of belief destroys. Continue to believe and that makes it real. Isn’t that the foundation of religious belief after all? Faith is your to bestow. Believe lil sis! Otherwise the world is a dreary place!


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Nov 02, 2011 @ 09:42:42

      I am choosing to believe. I don’t remember the giant rabbit, but I am sure if you saw it he was there in some form. I forgot to write about my belief that stuffed animals and dolls have parties whenever we are not there or are asleep. I have evidence now, since Marvin the Moose travels around the house to be found in unexpected locations.


  4. TheIdiotSpeaketh
    Nov 02, 2011 @ 10:49:57

    Wonderful post……. though now I’m gonna have to worry about a dang octopus the next time I jump in the lake! 🙂


  5. Arlee Bird
    Nov 02, 2011 @ 11:56:53

    Enjoyed this and I remember. Now I have new fantasies that are more rooted in the realms of reality and possiblity.

    Tossing It Out


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Nov 02, 2011 @ 12:06:46

      Ah, but Lee, I would like to believe that some of the magical stuff is still within the realm of reality and possibility. Perhaps we simply need to be open to seeing the world a little differently. 🙂


  6. winsomebella
    Nov 02, 2011 @ 12:47:05

    Life seen through the eyes of a two year old can best be recaptured by spending time with a two year old. Very refreshing post.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Nov 02, 2011 @ 13:12:09

      That’s what makes spending time with children simultaneously joyous and exhausting. 😉


  7. Trackback: Do you believe? | The odd ramblings of a mind that does not quite fit
  8. Kathryn McCullough
    Nov 02, 2011 @ 16:40:15

    I actually believe in the impossible. Is that possible? Seriously, the ability to believe in magic, in miracles, in beauty, and the possibility that tomorrow will be better than today–that’s what makes life wonderful and meaningful. Great post.


  9. Crowing Crone Joss
    Nov 02, 2011 @ 19:24:03

    I lived a childhood that contained no magic until the day, in grade five, I went to the movie theatre and saw My Fair Lady! As an adult, Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss and Anne Murray’s Hippo in the Bathtub bring magic into my life. Magic, fairy tales, mystery it’s all important and blesses us in many ways.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Nov 03, 2011 @ 07:31:09

      Joss, Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss and Jim Henson’s Muppets make my life full. Thanks for pointing out that video, I’m going to include the link here


  10. Trackback: Magic « Joss Burnel – The Crowing Crone
  11. nrhatch
    Nov 02, 2011 @ 23:35:42

    Listen to the mustn’ts child. Listen to the don’ts.
    Listen to the shouldn’t haves, the impossibles, the won’ts.
    Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me.
    Anything can happen child. Anything can be.
    ~ Shel Silverstein

    If we limit our choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, we disconnect ourselves from what we truly want; all that’s left is compromise. ~ Robert Fritz


  12. Dian Wijayanti
    Nov 03, 2011 @ 00:03:50

    I came from a different part of the world where we don’t celebrate Halloween, but we do celebrate Christmas. I remember when I was a little kid, I used to write letters to Santa, telling him that I’ve behaved well, and all, then my mum would help me find some grass and filled it in my shoes (I believe we adapted this tradition from the Dutch since we used to be Dutch East Indies, hahaha) and then I would be so thrilled to find a big box of present on top of my shoes the next morning! Ahhh, I miss that moments just as much as you do, Lisa. Thanks so much for sharing this! Love it!


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Nov 03, 2011 @ 07:24:18

      Was the grass in the shoes for the reindeer? Being Jewish, Santa never came to my house, but when I lived in Japan (in my early 20s) I got my first official visit from Santa, including half eaten cookies and a glass of milk with a letter to me from Santa. I loved it!


      • Dian Wijayanti
        Nov 03, 2011 @ 16:15:12

        *gasp* I should’ve asked Santa back then! I guess it is, it’s actually a Dutch tradition. Whoooo, half eaten cookies and a letter from Santa? That is so cool! I remember drawing for Santa, and then I got a reply as well on Christmas day, telling me to behave well, hahaha.


        • Lisa Wields Words
          Nov 03, 2011 @ 17:45:05

          I guess I was kind of lucky, I didn’t have to behave any particular way since Santa wasn’t coming anyway.


  13. Trackback: Join Me in a Land of Wonder « Woman Wielding Words
  14. Barbarann Ayars
    Nov 04, 2011 @ 00:46:08

    As I’m writing my memoir, I spend hours joyously writing adventures with my brother free to roam a whole country town and miles of rolling fields discovering freedom after orphanage and found the essence of ourselves as creative kids able to pry ourselves loose from a negating mother and a stepfather with no parenting skills. I’m eight years old for hours and hours. No wonder I love writing this painful, poignant, passionate and tender story of survival in a poisonous atmosphere wherein I come at last to discover who I really am and how I got that way. And to find a little brother was the perfect foil to a chaotic life.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Nov 04, 2011 @ 07:37:57

      I realize that not every moment of childhood is positive, but the power of those moments of pure joyous childhood are powerful, aren’t they?


  15. Trackback: No to NaNoWriMo but Yes to Writing More « Woman Wielding Words
  16. Rose
    Nov 05, 2011 @ 00:29:20

    Confession: I was a magic killer as a kid. I have no insight as to why (how does a five year old come to not believe in Santa because he came to her house between 9 and 10 and her friend’s down the block in the morning?), but it’s true. Hopefully, I can one day foster this in my own kids and bolster my own rediscovery. I love “feast of fabulosity”!


  17. crittersandcrayons
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 01:05:54

    I agree with you that it would be sublime to sink back into the utter belief of childhood. 🙂


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