How I Remember It

My parents left me at EPCOT Center on my birthday.

I know, it seems like a wish come true, but for a newly minted 9-year old who was afraid of his own shadow, it wasn’t quite as cool as all that. The day before we had visited the Magic Kingdom and all the fascination that came along with it. In fact, they had given me the choice of if I wanted to spend my birthday at Disney or EPCOT, and I chose EPCOT because the 26th was closer to Christmas, and I felt that Disney would be lit up better because of the proximity of the holiday (My birthday is the 27th). I was wrong. It was just as lit up on the 27th.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20.

Anyway, my dad told me once that I didn’t remember it correctly, that I was sitting on the bench, refusing to go on whatever ride it was with them, so they let me think they were leaving me. But I recall wandering alone, crying, hoping I would see my parents again someday (my sister too, if I’m to be honest). I was also mad at them, though, because it was my birthday, and they were supposed to treat me like the king of everything (“Who died and made you king of anything?”). It seemed inherently wrong to exclude me from any of the fun, to leave me sitting there thinking I was deserted.

My sister told me that I was in a pissy mood from the start, that I wanted everything to revolve around me, and when it all didn’t I pouted and threw a tantrum. I remember no tantrums. Continue reading “How I Remember It”

Lawn. And Tennis.

“If you can keep playing tennis when somebody is shooting a gun down the street, that’s concentration.” ~Serena Williams

If the closest you’ve come to tennis is watching Wimbledon on TV every two weeks in July, then you probably think the game is akin to golf, with nattily dressed people playing a gentlemen’s or a ladies’ sport while spectators “Ooh” and “Aah” over their precise shots and acumen. Of course Wimbledon, being on NBC for so long, was accessible to the masses. Regular folk like you and I could watch it and feel like we were transformed into the strawberries and cream loving crowd that filed in and out with spectacular precision from the grounds of England’s Lawn and Tennis Club. Lawn. And Tennis. That’s what we imagine. But that’s not the only tale of tennis.

Around here there is an old tennis court. I use the term loosely, because ages ago, when the weeds began to grow through the cracks in the cement, someone decided to take the posts out and transform the area into a place to ride skateboards. They didn’t take a broad stroke to it, though, as you could still see where the posts had been, and the ghosts of the lines still show through in places. I used to stand outside the fencing and imagine what it must have been like in its heyday, probably in the ’80s when pretty much every place had a tennis court within walking distance.

Of course the ’80s were for stars like Chris Evert, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, and others. Continue reading “Lawn. And Tennis.”

Friday Top 5: ’80s Slogans

Heathcliff Huxtable

Ehmagosh! The 1980s was the era of big hair, of the Huxtables, of Bo knowing all sorts of stuff, and of Reaganomics. Ask any two people who were of age during that time period and you’ll get a million different answers about what made the ’80s so special. Now we look back and we can’t help thinking about how cheesy it all seems from a distance, but when we were in the middle of it, the ’80s were breathtaking. My earliest memories took place in 1984 when I was seven years old, and revolved around music. Some of my best memories took place in 1988 when I was eleven years old and I wrote my first short story.

But some of the shared memories were the best because if I bring them up, like the Huxtables above, others will go, “Yeah! I remember that too!” It’s that shared experience that make the ’80s so exciting to revisit (like some kind of hot tub time machine). Some of the biggest shared memories were those ’80s slogans that kept going around and around our heads. They were so catchy! So, here are my top 5 ’80s slogans:

5. “How do you spell relief? R-O-L-A-I-D-S.” Continue reading “Friday Top 5: ’80s Slogans”