Readers’ Memories: Week 1

I’m very excited to share the first of my favorite memory posts from reader submissions, which I’ll be posting every Friday this month. The first 2 come from my 2 best friends from college: Jocelyn, my Italy buddy from Memory #2, and Amanda, my partner in karaoke crime. I love these 2 ladies to pieces and am so happy to still be close with them, and to have them share their favorite memories with me. I have to say too, I absolutely LOVED reading these stories (even the one that wasn’t about me, I swear), and it’s been amazing to have people share their favorite life memories with me. Keep ’em comin’ everyone!

Favorite Memory from Jocelyn Gomes, Boston, MA: Oliver

Growing up, my family (along with much of our extended family) spent our summers at Camp Dennen, on Hedges Pond in Plymouth, Massachusetts. I have so many wonderful memories of summers spent swimming in the pond, hiking and collecting blueberries for pancakes, 4th of July field games, going to the Snack Bar at the “Rec” Center, camp-wide Pig Roasts, and rainbow campfires—my Ti Pat would throw a copper pipe covered with a piece of garden hose into the fire, and the flames would change color as the hose-covered pipe burned.

Two of the people that you would see every summer at Camp Dennen were Rick and Penny, along with their dog, Muffy. She was a white Shih Tzu, and one summer, when I was about 11, I found out that Muffy was expecting puppies. Unbeknownst to my parents, and being the precocious child I was, I asked Penny point-blank if I could have one of Muffy’s puppies. I remember being told that Shih Tzu litters are usually very small, maybe 2 or 3 puppies at most, and that Muffy’s puppies had already been promised to other people. But, if Muffy had more than 3 puppies, I could have one! As summer wound to a close, my family packed up, and headed back home. A new school year began, months went by, and my dream of having a dog began to fade.

I was not privy to what happened next; but, as my parents tell it, they received an out-of-the-blue phone call from Penny. Apparently, Muffy had a litter of 6 puppies (!) and she was calling to let my parents know that we could come pick one out! My parents were surprised (no doubt, as I had not told them of my previous conversation with Penny) but decided that maybe the time was right for us to get a dog. After all, I had gone to an awful lot of trouble to arrange this. However, what they told my brother and sisters and I was that we were only driving to Rick and Penny’s to visit Muffy and her puppies. One of my favorite memories, and probably one of the Top 5 Greatest Moments of My Life, is the moment my Dad turned to us, as we sat in Rick and Penny’s living room, each cuddling or playing with a puppy, and casually asked, “Which one are we going to take home?” I distinctly remember burrowing my face into the fur of the puppy that had cuddled itself around my neck, and bursting into tears. Not dainty childlike tears of joy. Sobs. I am tearing up now, just thinking about it! It was a completely perfect moment of childhood wish fulfillment.

The puppy I had been cuddling (and using to mop up my tears) came home with us that day. We named him Oliver, and we had 6 wonderful years with him.

This memory, in particular, is one of my favorites, because it’s not only the (awesome) story of the day my family got a dog. It is one example, among many, of how incredibly loving my parents were and are, every single day, and what a lucky kid I was.

Oliver

Favorite Memory from Amanda Eckhardt, Providence, RI: Karaoke at Flann O’Briens

There are so many incredible memories that we’ve shared together—so many that it’s really, truly, incredibly difficult for me to choose just one! After all, we did spend our college years together…In the dorms we first lived down the hall from one another, then next door to each other, and then later, when we moved off campus we lived practically across the street from each other. Everyone knows that your friends during your college years become like your family away from home. Through mixed feelings of intense stress from school, maybe a little homesickness, and excitement you end up cementing really strong bonds with this new little family. With that said, not everyone goes to art school. You’d think that with the crazy mixed bag of friendly, awkward, art kid weirdos, that surely there would be plenty of potential kindred spirits hidden in the mix. And believe me, I love eccentricity. Truth be told, I’ve been magnetically drawn to characters my entire life. But after finding the twelfth Polaroid self portrait of your roommate with a fake bloody nose taped to your bathroom mirror after excusing yourself from yet another viewing of Hedwig and the Angry Inch next door, you find yourself nearly knocking that kid off his unicycle in the hallway as you run…Cue Danne Dzenawagis.

I think I probably knew from the moment I accidentally barged into your room that first semester, finding you blasting “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin and drinking tea on your couch at midnight on a Friday. If not then, I DEFINITELY knew by the time we were begging our way into DDD’s under age just to watch karaoke (OK and maybe sneak a beer or two in the bathroom)…We both shared an appreciation for cheesy, simple, comforting, and nostalgic hits from our parents’ youth. By the time we found ourselves at Flann O’Brien’s together for karaoke for the first time, you were already a pro. I, on the other hand, was terrified. I had never sung in front of people that way before. Lets be clear. I LOVE to sing. But. I’m paralyzingly shy.

That night we decided to sing a favorite: “Silver Springs” by Fleetwood Mac. We chose to do it as a duet and switch off parts. All of our friends were there in the crowd (and tending bar) plus tons of people we didn’t know. Maybe it was the high we were feeling from performing, or maybe it was the gin and tonics, whatever it was, in that moment it was like we were magic and we sounded so incredible together! When we reached the chorus I chose the harmony and something crazy happened. The whole room lost control. It was like an out of body experience. I think at one point both of us dropped to our knees. When we finished people we didn’t know we’re coming up to us and congratulating us. It was truly a moment out of a movie and something I’ll always remember. Only maybe in my memory there is confetti raining down on us as we’re lifted onto shoulders and paraded down Tremont Street. We felt invincible.

Damanda livin it up
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