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A Trip Down Memory Lane
by Maria Franco
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Childhood days are the best days of one’s life. The happy, carefree days filled with fun, play and laughter. In my childhood, I have basked in the warmth and love of my parents, teachers, siblings and friends. Whatever, I am today, I owe it all to them for guiding me along the way.

As I take a trip down memory lane, these are the most vivid childhood events that come to mind:-

1) I remember how at the age of three, I was so eager to join my older siblings in school that one fine day, I walked out of home with a school bag and lunch box without my mother’s knowledge. However, on seeing a neighbor nearby, I hid behind a tree and soon, my mother spotted me and took me back home.

2) At the age of seven, I used to avoid taking my medications by throwing the pills out of the window and then, as if I had super- sonic eyes, I would peer out of the window to see where the pill had landed on the grass. Though I only did this then, somehow, today it is retribution time and I have to more than make up for this act of mine.
In fact, when I had to undergo a tonsillectomy at the age of ten, as I was being wheeled into the operation theatre, I sat up and told the nurse that I had changed my mind and wanted to go home. It was only the promise of the ‘ice-cream’ after the surgery that pacified me to go through it.

3) I used to love reading books on the life of Saints which were greatly inspirational. I learnt my first night prayer from these books. The 'Bible' still remains my favorite book.
The Christmas season had a special charm and the cold winter accentuated the Christmassy feeling. I would love to pray in front of the crib which took precedence over everything else.

The most special day was when I received Jesus for the first time, the days of preparation for this great event and the celebration that followed thereafter. The day I was confirmed was another significant day; to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Sadly, regret that I cannot remember my Baptism day:)

4) I can never forget all the laughs and giggles that my sister & I shared, how being the youngest in my family, I was everyone’s pet. My siblings were always a pillar of strength and I looked up to them for guidance and support. I still cherish their love and care till date.

My favorite childhood companion was the doll I possessed. I would eagerly wait to return home after school just to cuddle my doll. I also treasured my Fairy Tales Book in which the stories always had a happy ending. My first movie on the big screen was “The Sound of Music” which was a masterpiece. Another great movie was “The Ten Commandments.”

5) I recall standing with my brother on the railway platform of our native place on cold winter mornings to board the train back home. We used to enjoy blowing into the cold air just to see the foggy pattern that it created.

6) Who can forget the school days? I always gave top priority to my studies and with God’s grace and blessings, achieved my dream of standing first in class throughout. My merit certificates are still treasures that I cherish. Also, since I was the Class monitor ever year, I had to maintain a healthy balance between being strict and soft.
The urge to learn never fades and I feel that every day there is something new to learn. It is always a continuous learning experience for me on any new topic or subject. We also learn a lot from the people around us.

When I sang “On Top of the World” for the class singing competition, it was the last thing that I felt at that moment since I was so nervous.
My most memorable time in school was receiving the Best Student Award and the farewell party at the end when it was time to leave school, not forgetting the Alma Mater song. My teachers were great mentors as well.

Friends are that spice in life with which we cannot do without. The secrets, long walks and talks will remain an integral part of my childhood. Those were also the days of novels and suspense thrillers. Even today, I still enjoy reading an Agatha Christie or Jeffery Archer book occasionally.

7) Joy and pain go hand in hand. I held on to all the times that I spent with my father in hospital as he struggled through his sufferings. These experiences built an inner courage and strength within me.

8) I was bitten by the ‘writing bug’ at the age of twelve and used to conjure up stories in my mind which never materialized on paper. My poems, however found its way into a book which I have still preserved just to maintain the original paper with my thoughts and handwriting on it.
I used to love admiring nature which I still do. The Sunset in particular, used to always fascinate me. I watched it without fail every evening and the colors in the sky used to enthrall me.

9) I was always a sensitive child and it did not take long for the tears to roll down. Today, it is the reverse. I cry more on the inside rather than on the outside. Somehow, life makes us more sober as we grow up and all the childhood laughter becomes a distant thing of the past.

I remember all my birthdays shared with family and friends. In special, the early morning mass that I used to attend along with my mother when it was all dark and wet, being the rainy season. I used to enjoy the rains.
It was also essential to listen, either to a Jim Reeves, Engelbert Humperdinck or Cliff Richard song at the start of the day to lift our spirits and keep us in a good mood.

10) An unforgettable incident was on a return trip with our entire extended family.
Whilst we were crossing the railway tracks, a train seemed to come out of nowhere towards us. But, I wasn’t scared at all only because my father was holding my hand. The train did eventually stop and allowed us to cross.

As I ponder and reflect, it is the same with God. He is holding our hand in a tight clasp and there is no reason for us to be frightened at all.
We can cross over all the pains and disappointments in life and safely reach the Station of eternal joy.

Maria Franco.

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