As we move further into autumn, I find myself thinking of things that I haven’t for a while. Memories of being in marching band in high school, and how cold it was in the stands, especially when it was raining. Somehow, we didn’t really care. We were having fun with our friends; we had hot chocolate and hot dogs, blankets, mittens, and hats. We all went home hoarse from cheering the football team on, and chilled to the bone. The next week we were ready to do it all again. We had a game on Thanksgiving Day and it was usually snowing or sleeting as we gathered in the morning for the last game of the season. How wonderful to get back home tired and cold and be enveloped in the warmth and smell of a house where turkey and all the trimmings were soon to be served!
Halloween was a time much anticipated by me, not so much for my mother. I don’t remember many of my costumes, but I remember the feel of the plastic mask, the elastic thread that held it on, and the nylon “dress” that tied in the back at the top. When I was 16, I was in the hospital for Halloween recovering from gallbladder surgery. (Yes, quite young for such a surgery!) My friend Cathy walked to the hospital the night after my surgery, told the staff she was my sister so they’d let her up, and gave me a flower in a beautiful glass bud vase. I still have that vase, one of my most treasured possessions. On Halloween she and my friend Joan went out trick or treating and brought me some candy in a bag they took off an out of service parking meter which was placed there by the police department in preparation for the Halloween parade downtown. How bold that seemed at the time!
Other memories I have are of standing outside the middle school in a dress and tights freezing in the early morning chill waiting for the doors to open, and watching the boys all racing each other from one side of the blacktopped playground to the other. I recall walking to that same school through the cemetery with acorns falling on our heads while we rustled through the leaves collected on the path. We used to walk that same route with my mother when we were younger collecting colored leaves to take home, dip in paraffin wax, and display in a bowl as a centerpiece. The smell of the crisp air and decaying leaves never fail to remind me of days gone by.