I’m working on stories for my StoryWorth book and decided to post some of them here. Some are long, some are short. But what they have in common are memories, not impressions. I wanted to have a collection of MY memories in case I lose them as I get older. No one travelled with me from place to place so no one else shares those memories with me now. I don’t want them to be completely gone.
I remember three field trips from my childhood years in New Jersey, all possible because everything was close enough to reach by bus in a single day.
First was a class trip to Pennsylvania, visiting Valley Forge and Philadelphia. We were studying American history that year, so there was a great immediacy to what we saw and heard. I don’t remember much about Valley Forge, but Philadelphia was fascinating. We saw the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, and were entertained by an actor playing Benjamin Franklin on a walking tour.
Best of all was the Giant Heart at the Franklin Institute. I remember it as a huge walk-through exhibit that followed the path of blood through the human heart. We heard the “woosh-woosh” sound of blood flowing through the veins and the walls pulsed as we walked through the exhibit. It was amazing and all of us went through it more than once.
In sixth grade we made a trip to the United Nations in New York City. I wore stockings for the first time and felt very grown up. Our teacher, Mr. Holbrook, had us write letters to ourselves about what we thought the world would be like in 10 years, which we mailed from the U.N. We were to have our parents hold on to them for us and give them to us in 10 years. I’m not sure what other parents did, but mine put my letter in the safe deposit box and gave it back to me when I graduated from college ten years later. I bought Mexican jumping beans in the U.N. gift shop and don’t remember much else about what we saw.
When I was a sophomore in high school, we went to Stratford, Connecticut, to see Shakespeare’s “Othello” at the American Shakespeare Theatre. We were studying Shakespeare in English class and I’d seen plays before, but never adults performing right in front of me. The theater was full of giggling high school students from the tri-state area, all there to see live theater. We had fabulous close-up seats and great views of the stage. When one of the actors started speaking, we all looked at each other in surprise because we recognized her voice. In costume, it took us a while to figure out that she was Madge the Manicurist from a popular Palmolive detergent commercial on TV. I’d never really thought about actors playing different roles before. I guess I remember that more than anything else about the play.