Monday, November 5, 2012

New Month, New Memories

The picture above reminds me of what my childhood November days were often like. Bare, gloomy, and a bit depressing. Of course, living in a Chicago suburb, we didn't see the wide open spaces as the picture shows, but maybe some of you who were raised in rural areas can relate.

November 2012 is only a few days old, so you've got plenty of time to write about the things you remember from childhood, young adult days for that month to add to your Memory Book. Think of the many things that occur in November. Maybe some of these will trigger memories for you.

Election Day (some years)
Veterans Day
Family Birthdays--we have several in our family this month
Starting your Christmas shopping

Think back and ask yourself these things about November:

What kind of weather did you have where you lived?
What special things did your teacher highlight?
What preparations did your mom make for Thanksgiving?
Did you have a small gathering or big at Thanksgiving?
Did you attend Veterans Day parades or events?
Did your parents talk to you about elections?
How did your clothing change this month? Need warmer clothes or not?
What was it like when you got that first cold of the winter?

I never liked the month of November, as in Chicago, many days of this month were gloomy, damp, windy, and downright chilly. More than chilly some days. November days were the preview of winter to come. It got dark earlier so there was no more playing outside after dinner. Trees were now bare and people wore jackets, hats, scarves and gloves. Rainy days called for umbrellas and boots. But inside, my mom was creating a cozy nest with lots of baked goods that warmed our kitchen and made after-school treats something to look forward to. I remember walking the six blocks from school to home, feeling the wind and chill temps, entering our vestibule and racing up the three flights of stairs. Often, I could smell what Mother had baked that day. It felt so good to slip inside our small, warm apartment.

Our teachers created bulletin boards that represented November, mostly pilgrims and turkeys. And we learned the story of the Pilgrims first year in America over and over again. Somehow, we never tired of it. We looked forward to the feast at home or an aunt's house on Thanksgiving Day. I can still smell the turkey giblets and neck simmering to make the stock for the stuffing that would go in the turkey. Also the spicy aroma of the pumpkin pies and roasting turkey. In those days, turkey was not prepared through the year, mostly for the holidays, so it really seemed like a treat.

The retail stores revealed Christmas displays and holiday merchandise the day after Thanksgiving. Time to shop! The teachers at school had removed the pilgrims from the bulletin boards and began Christmas decorations in our classrooms. You can read more about my November memories in this essay at Our Echo.

Start writing your November memories soon. Add them to what you've already got in your Memory Book. Sooner is always better than later!

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