Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Purple Plums Dripping With Memories

Oh, yum! As I passed through the produce section at Walmart the other day, I inhaled a whiff of purple plums. Not only did the scent of the sweet fruit engage my senses, but the childhood memory of the plum trees in our backyard also flashed in my mind.

There were two mature trees smack dab in the back of our yard, big enough to climb and hide in, and prolific in the amount of plums they bore each summer. Mom would make plum jam, which would last through the winter, and we never ran short of fresh fruit to eat. With a family of six, that's saying something.

Looking back at all the fun I had with my brothers and the neighbor kids, I realized the incredible importance child's play has on the development of the imagination. For instance, we'd overturn the Adirondack furniture on the lawn, scooting the  pieces together to make a fort, or even better, we'd make a pretend airplane which we would fly all over the place, taking off and landing in exotic places. Of course, we'd be munching on plums while we played, climbing up the trees for supply as needed. 

During other times of play, our bikes became horses which we'd water in little red wagon troughs, then take on a cattle drive around the block, setting up camp in a vacant lot around the corner. Yes, we morphed into Spin and Marty from the Micky Mouse Club.

Sadly, we moved from that fun existence when I was in the 6th grade. By the time I was in the 8th grade, though, I had determined to be a yacht designer, an architect, or a foreign diplomat. I spent hours drawing boats, buildings, or reading about foreign lands, believing I could become anything I wanted to be.

It turns out after taking piano lessons, I wound up in music, playing the organ in church, and eventually leading a choir. But I never forgot the childhood ambitions. Now, I write murder mysteries where I can incorporate all the dreams of my youth, as well as experiences we've shared as a family. "Murder at the Empress Hotel" is a good example. The story is based on a summer vacation our family took, along with both sets of grandparents. 

What about you? Did you have ambitions as a child that turned into reality? Or do you sometimes bite into some delicious food that reminds you of your past? It would be fun to hear about your experiences.

Until next time,

~Nancy Jill

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