7 Quick Takes: When I Was Little

Just for fun, let’s go way, way back to early childhood– say, age five and under.  For reference, I was born in 1974.  Here’s what I remember:

1.  My favorite outfit

I had a dress that was white on the top and knit plaid on the bottom.  It had a breast pocket that was clear plastic so you could see a picture of a lion inside.  It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life.  Actually, I’m sure it was hideous and unbearably tacky, but I remember wearing it to Mass, which means my mother must have understood how much I loved it.

I also had not one, but two pairs of corduroy pants that were lined with plaid flannel.  My mother got that at Marsen’s Army Navy Department Store.  I made sure my cuffs were turned up so everyone knew what wonderful pants they were.


2.  Favorite disgusting kid food

On Saturdays, we had grinders at our house; which meant that there were leftover grinder rolls on Sundays.  And that meant that we could come home after Mass and sit at the table reading Archie comics and dipping hunks of rolls in orange juice or Coke.  Exquisite!

PIC Pop Tate does not approve.

3.  Earliest memory

I was walking down the front steps, and my big sister, Abby, said, “Way to go, Simmy!”  So I must have been walking with one foot on each step, instead of carefully setting both feet on a step before proceeding down.  I remember thinking something like, “Can’t stop to listen, gotta concentrate” and the zooming away, feeling powerful and brave.

I also remember getting my head stuck under the couch.  Normally, my head would fit under the couch, but I was wearing two pony tails with those plastic ball elastics.

PIC Goody beaded ponytail holders


Why don’t they sell those anymore? Those were great.  Unless you are trying to get your head out from under the couch.


4.  Biggest fear

Nothing original here. The idea of my parents dying was the worst thing I could imagine.  I remember sitting with my three older sisters, trying to come up with a loving sentiment to put in the newspaper for one of those special Mother’s Day pages.  My contribution was, “Happy Mother’s Day. I hope you don’t die too soon.”


5.  Favorite book

Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever

I liked the cartoony stories full of dumb crooks, Lowly Worm, and crazy detailed diagrams of every possible item of clothing a rabbit could own, and such, but I was completely captivated by the more realistic illustrations — the ones of the baby bear who rode on his father’s shoulders, the bunny who shopped in a candy store, the hedgehog who found a perfect apple in the snow and brought it home for his wife.  Gorgeous, and a paradise of warmth and security.

Plus, this book is long.  I felt like I could keep reading it forever and never run out of nice things.


6.  Secret desire  

The living room, I thought, would be an earthly paradise if only the floor slanted down from the walls toward the center, and the bottom were covered with pillows and toys, so you could just slide and play, slide and play all day.  (Now that I am an adult, our living room is strangely like this, except it only slants one way, there are apple cores, rolls of toilet paper that the dogs chewed up, broken Christmas ornaments, and missing cell phone chargers mixed in with the pillows and toys.  It does not feel like paradise, per se.)


7.  Earliest dream I can remember

I was eating a banana, when he suddenly got mad, became enormous, and ate me.

PIC banana biting man


First one to say “Calling Doctor Freud” is out.  (More banana art here.)
Now your turn!

Favorite Outfit
Favorite Disgusting Kid Food
Earliest Memory
Biggest Fear
Favorite Book
Secret Desire
Earliest Dream you can remember 

And don’t forget to check out Conversion Diary for the other Seven Quick Takes.  Happy Friday, everyone!

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  • Lisa Cook

    I remember that Richard Scarry book! I didn’t until I clicked through to the link and looked at the pages in the preview. We had it too! It was so good! I would never have remembered it if you hadn’t pointed it out. I think I will order it for my kids, who are currently enjoying the entire series of Busytown Mysteries, so they are sure to love it!

  • one of my earliest memories- my big sis calling me in to “watch The Muppets”- I said “What’s a muppet?” (I checked- I must have been 4 1 /2….so I don’t have a lot of early memories)

  • Lydia

    Favorite outfit-I had a beautiful blue sweater with an L embroidered on it, just like Laverne, but it was for Lydia.
    Favorite disgusting kid food-I really liked slurping up the salad dressing at the bottom of the salad bowl and eating the crispy crumbs out of the baked chicken pan.
    Earliest memory-A slumber party with my godfather’s daughter. She was around 13 and I was around 2. I remember having to go to bed and making my way up the floral wallpapered hallway, feeling very proud I had such important friends.
    Biggest fear-that, since I was a Christian, I would be crucified like Jesus. Thanks, Pat Robertson Holy Land Special.
    Favorite book-the Noah’s Ark with the really beautiful watercolor illustrations
    Secret desire-Every night while I was falling asleep I pictured a field full of wildflowers, with blue hills and a waterfall at one end. There were unicorns, too. I desperately wanted it to become real.
    Earliest dream I can remember: The broken, Victorian lighting fixture in my mom and dad’s room turning into a great, black spider and attacking me. :Most of my nightmares have Victorian settings still.

  • Rebecca Lamb Mlinek

    My earliest memory is being cajoled into jumping off a dock into the ocean where my aunts and uncles were swimming. I finally jumped and chaos erupted – somebody had stepped on a nest of crabs or something, and everyone was getting attacked. I wasn’t afraid at all because I knew I was surrounded by people who loved me and would take care of me, and sure enough my uncle threw me back onto the dock before pulling the crab off his foot. I actually think this memory has influenced the way I think in a very fundamental way. Man, I love my aunts and uncles!

  • Andy, Bad Person

    FYI for non- New Englanders:

    A “grinder” is a sub/hoagie/hero.

    I grew up in MA and now live in Indy; no one knows what I’m talking about when I say grinders.

  • Jo

    I used to wait till my parents weren’t looking, then dip my fat little fingers into the tub of “whipped spread” that my mom bought instead of butter. Then I would lick the salty, oily goodness off my fingers. Mmmm.

  • Karen Dickerson Kuplack

    Those ponytail holders were nasty weapons in the hair of the wrong girl. I remember a certain schoolmate with braids down to her waist that would whip her hair around to try and hit you with those glass balls. They hurt!! My favorite outfit was this “satin” (nylon) frilly nightgown and peignoir set. I thought I was a princess and would go up and down the stairs just to watch it flow out behind me.

  • Josh

    Of course that banana artist is Japanese. Too bad there isn’t an export market for time to put on your hands. Wouldn’t need any Abenomics or suicidal monetization to get that youngster-starved economy back on its feet.

  • Josh

    My secret desire was similar–a big bedroom with an wave-form mattress floor. Sort of like moguls on a ski hill. You could jump, trip, fall down one and up another, bring a light into a crevice by the wall to read a book, and sleep in a different valley each night.

    And I wonder why my 8 year-old son is so floppy sometimes. Wow, I think I just had a parenting epiphany.

  • They still have those ponytail holders. My mother-in-law gave us a package recently. Lucy loves to open the bag where I keep the comb, brush, elastics, and barrettes, and stick them in her mouth. I’m terrified they might break and choke her. I think they will end up in the trash soon– unless you want them? Only used a few times but saturated with baby drool.

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    When I was about 11, I wanted to be black. I was convinced that all black people (I had never met one) had beautiful singing voices, and I desperately wanted to be able to sing well, and I thought black people were much more attractive than white people. I was also badly teased and ostracized at school, and I had heard just enough about how awful racism was that I thought, if I was black, people would get in trouble for teasing and bullying me, because it would be racism. It didn’t really cross my mind that the bullies would just find other things to tease me about and would be just as sneaky about it, no matter my color.

    • Margaret

      I was heart-broken when I came home from kindergarten and found out my mom would not be able to put my long, straight, Caucasian hair into rows and rows of teeny tiny braids WITH AWESOME COLORFUL BEADS ON THE END! Damn, I wanted those beads on my braids.

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        I still kind of want all the tiny braids–with or without beads.

    • LiveOaksandSpanishMoss

      I felt the same way because I grew up as a white girl in a majority black neighborhood. And unfortunately it seems that kids don’t “get in trouble” for racism in many communities because the adults are where they learned it from. It’s very sad that you were bullied so much that you felt that way.

  • That is fun! I was also born in 1974. I’ve been epic-failing on 7 Quick Takes lately. I think I’ll steal this idea for next week. Although I have to say I NEVER understood how to use those rubber bands with the balls on the end!

    • Peggy Bowes

      You make a ponytail with one loop, then you wrap the other loop over the ball on the ponytail loop.

  • Karen

    My boys love that Richard Scarry book, too. It’s one of the only books kids truly need–so great!

    Favorite Outfit – I had an awesome, airbrushed, Native American-style, mustang head shirt that I wore out. I also had light-colored jeans that had all kinds of colors of paint splattered all over them. (I’m a 1984 baby.)

    Favorite Disgusting Kid Food – My brother and I would each roll a single slice of cheese into a ball in our hands. Then we would take a small bite and re-roll it into a ball, over and over. it was literally more grey than yellow/orange by the end and practically melted. We thought it was delicious. So gross.

    Earliest Memory – Learning to tie my shoes at age 3. I was very focused and thought my mom’s shoe (that I learned on) was frickin’ huge. This is really the only thing that I learned relatively early.

    Biggest Fear – That an angel was under my bed. I was terrified that God would call me like Samuel and I felt like I would have a heart attack if he did.

    Favorite Book – I cannot remember a favorite book, but every time my mom brings a “new to them” book out for my kids, I won’t recognize the title, but I remember EVERY SINGLE PICTURE in it.

    Secret Desire – I desperately wanted a secret room under the lower level stairs of our tri-level house, but, with 6 steps above it, it wasn’t even big enough to be a crawl space and I couldn’t fit in there with some wood work around it. I proudly showed “the secret room” to a friend once and her disappointment ended my fantasies about it.

    Earliest Dream you can remember – My Dad was like Indiana Jones and had to swing our entire family over a pit of lava and out of the volcano to safety. And, he did!

  • Sue Murphy Umezaki

    Your plaid bottomed dress sounds so wonderfully 70s! I may be able to beat that with my aqua colored, bell-bottomed, short sleeved pant suit. It zipped up the front, and, naturally, I wore a white turtle neck under it, because it was a birthday present (and my birthday is today, US time, actually).and even down south it’s pretty cold in Jan. It was simply groovy, I tell you.

  • silicasandra

    One of my earliest memories – I was right around 4: I answered the phone at my house (which I was not supposed to do), and someone asked for [Dad’s name]. I said, feeling very grown up, “I’m sorry, you must have the wrong number. Bye bye!” and hung up. My mom thought it was funny, but my dad was pretty mad because it was his boss that called. And that’s how I learned that my parents had other names besides “Mommy” and “Daddy.”

  • margaret1910

    Favorite outfit – I had a pink dress, plain cotton with a nice full skirt. My mother embroidered a deer on the skirt done entirely in french knots. I loved that dress. I was so sad when I outgrew it.
    Favorite disgusting kid food – I used to eat jello straight from the package. 🙂
    Earliest memory – tough one..I remember an Easter Sunday when I was probably about three. Back in those days (early 60’s) I got a new hat every Easter. I remember that it was really itchy and uncomfortable.
    Biggest fear – I was always afraid that my parents would get divorced. Which, looking back, was really stupid.
    Favorite book – The Danny Dunn series. I loved science..still do.
    Secret desire – I wanted my mom to be younger. (she was 44 when I was born)
    Earliest dream – There was a mud monster. He would chase a group of kids, throwing huge chunks of mud..burying us one by one. I generally woke up when the mud was just about to cover me. Scary!

  • Favorite outfit: I don’t remember, but there are lots of photographs of interesting clothes. I had a cowgirl outfit with a tan shirt, denim skirt, and red boots, for example. Or the picture of my brother and me in lederhosen and a dirndl, which is interesting because ethnically we are a lot of things, but Bavarian isn’t one of them

    Favorite disgusting food: salchichas eaten straight from the can. Blech. https://www.google.com/search?q=canned+vienna+sausage&client=firefox-a&hs=baB&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=WvHRUtXEMMXisAS4h4KQDA&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1280&bih=557

    Earliest memory: I’m not sure which came first, my dad waking me up from a nap on my second birthday by saying “Two! Dos!” and holding up two fingers on each hand, or my mom waking me up in the early morning to give me a cup of juice and telling me not to drink it lying down (advice I ignored).

    Biggest fear: I don’t remember!

    Favorite book: The Rainbow Goblins. So pretty, so creepy!

    Secret desire: also don’t remember.

    Earliest dream: It’s night, we are driving over a hill and I can see the lights of San Juan ahead. I’m jumping in the back seat of the station wagon, and I jump so hard I break through the roof and go sailing up into the sky hundreds of yards. Then I start to fall back to earth…. I still have a variant of that dream occasionally.

  • ErikasPowerMinute

    I remember sneakily pouring the brine from a can of olives into a little glass Charlie Brown mug and sipping it.

  • Karyn

    Richard Scarry — loved, loved, loved those books. I have a kid who loves them now; he pours over all the little details. My favorite outfit was my Wonder Woman underoos (born in 1975 here) and my secret desire was for my stuffed animals and pet cats to have the power of speech. Thanks for the flashback.

  • ThereseZ

    Favorite Outfit- I had a velour top, pale yellow, with appliques of strawberries on it, which competed with a navy blue dropped-waist dress with cream cuffs at the neck and sleeves. I wore that with fishnets and the first “high heels” (probably 1/2 inch) I ever owned. I felt BEAUTFUL in that.

    Favorite Disgusting Kid Food – My brother and I would make “everything but the hot dog” sandwiches – mustard, ketchup, pickle relish.

    Earliest Memory – Beyond images of rooms and houses, my first detailed memory was when I was about 3 and 1/2 years old – I was staying with my aunt and uncle while my mother had my brother, and they bought me Kix Cereal just because I asked for it, and took me to Woolworth’s for a grilled cheese sandwich and I got to buy whatever I wanted (a little brass bell).
    Biggest Fear – that my parents would die. I still remember the actual gut pain that caused.

    Favorite Book – I had a Richard Scarry 365 Stories book that fascinated me. Imagine, if I was good and didn’t skip around, the next time I read any particular item I would be older, and different. I felt gypped because the item for my birthday was a dumb old poem.

    Secret Desire – it probably wasn’t secret, but I wanted, no, NEEDED, a horse. I was sure we could fit him in the backyard, behind the garage. I got a guinea pig.

    Earliest Dream you can remember – the Germans were marching over the bridge in the middle of town. I’m the totally wrong age – my dad was in WWII, so heavens knows what prompted that dream, but it was very vivid.

    • Peggy Bowes

      I had that book too! The entry for my birthday was a lame poem as well.

  • Anna Yager

    FAVORITE OUTFIT: a dress with a black velvet top and bright pink satin skirt (I was 5 at the time – I think my grandmother bought it for me).
    FAVORITE DISGUSTING KID FOOD: Franco-American spaghetti with a side of pickled pig’s feet
    EARLIEST MEMORY: looking for Cheerios on the shelf (I was 2); I remember that the lighting was very dim
    BIGGEST FEAR: can’t think of one; my dad died when I was an infant so I guess it seemed like nothing worse than that could happen
    FAVORITE BOOK: the first ones I could read myself – the ORIGINAL Winnie-the-Pooh books, including the 2 books of poems (a 4 book set)
    SECRET DESIRE: to have an adult take an interest in me and be a father figure – someone who could teach me how to be a person
    EARLIEST DREAM: I think it was a flying dream, where I was being chased by bad people and I just took off into the air and escaped (whew!)
    Thanks SO MUCH Simcha for the great theme – it really stirred up some deep stuff!

  • FAVORITE OUTFIT: I had a pink cotton dress that twirled so high the skirt was literally at my shoulders when I got going. I judged all dresses in their ability to twirl and nothing after ever measured up to that dress. Sigh.
    FAVORITE DISGUSTING KID FOOD: I loved (er, love) butter. I’d slather it on any bread item I was allowed to. Once, my parents had guests over for dinner and sat in the dining room while all of us kids (7 at the time) sat in the kitchen. I slathered butter all around the outside and then made a “butter volcano” in the middle. My brothers were so grossed out that one of them retched, and of course they told on me, the little narcs.
    EARLIEST MEMORY: I remember being lifted out of the bathtub and taken outside to see a beautiful double rainbow. I was 18 months at the time. Everyone likes to tell me there’s no way I remember that. But I do.
    BIGGEST FEAR: Nuclear war. I had awful nightmares as a kid and the Cold War didn’t help things.
    FAVORITE BOOK: There’s a Sesame Street book about Grover as a farmer. Apparently I asked my godfather/uncle to read it so much, he called me Farmer Grover until I was well out of college. I, on the other hand, don’t even remember the book.
    SECRET DESIRE: To be Mary Lou Retton. I was passably good at gymnastics and thought I’d hit it big one day. But then when they told me it was time to try out for the team, I quit altogether because I was (and still am) deathly afraid of rejection.
    EARLIEST DREAM: I had lots of nightmares, as I mentioned. The way I learned to “get out” of them was to switch my nightmare to a flying dream where I would jump off the Hollywood sign and then land safely in my parents’ two-toned VW van that was conveniently driving by on the freeway below.

    • P.S. I forgot to mention that I love your list, Simcha. Thanks for the fun game.

  • Peggy Bowes

    Only you, SImcha, could find a picture of a banana biting someone! Also thanks for the Richard Scarry mention– love him!
    FAVORITE OUTFIT: White shorts with navy piping and a big ship’s wheel belt buckle and matching crop top with a blue anchor applique.
    FAVORITE DISGUSTING KID FOOD: I would make Bisquick dough and eat it raw.
    EARLIEST MEMORY: Changing my little sister’s diaper (at age 3!) on a blue rug that had a lamb on it.
    BIGGEST FEAR: That Medusa’s head was hiding under my bed. I couldn’t check to see if it was there because then I would turn to stone.
    FAVORITE BOOK: All the Nancy Drew books
    SECRET DESIRE: To be a beautiful princess
    EARLIEST DREAM: Something to do with a snake in the backyard. My mother wrote it down because it was so interesting, but I can’t recall the details.

  • Kaitlin Jean Finn

    I know I’m late to this party, but the floors thing really got me. So much yes. And, same here. Except, now in our house, it doesn’t go to one side, it’s kind of up and down all over the floor. Our first apartment, though, was epically lopsided and you could roll ANYTHING (including babies… er, something) down that hill of a floor.