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Childhood Memories of Firsts

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Firsts In My Youth

Brenda Arledge has once again given us a new prompt, which is “first”. Brenda is a good friend to al of us, and she spends a great deal of time reviewing our response to her prompts. This is much appreciated.

I have thought about this prompt for a few days, and rather than writing poetry I have thought about some of the firsts in my life when I was growing up. We didn't have computers or cell phones, so it was a different time. My family did not have much money either, so we lived a frugal lifestyle.

I am the oldest of three children, so I guess that makes me the first child and the first grandchild. I named each of my grandparents, and I loved them dearly. My grandfather bought me my first bike and the only one I ever owned.


When I was about 12 years old I took the train alone from Cleveland, OH to Cincinnati to visit my aunt and uncle. I was there for a week and then I took the train back home. This was certainly a first for me. I adored my uncle. He was a computer programmer for Procter Gamble. He took me to his office and showed me the huge computers of that era.

My uncle talked to me like I had a brain. He never talked down to me, so I valued his opinions. I wish I would have taken more of his advice. This train ride was a first for me, and I don't think many people would allow their child to ride alone on a train today, but it seemed safe enough when I was a child.


Frustrating Events in Grammar School

When I was in 5th grade my teacher, Mrs. Crawford, really upset me. I had natural curly hair, and I guess it was messy sometimes. My teacher came up to me and said, “Can’t your mother do something with your hair?” I was humiliated in front of the other children and had no response. I told my mother what she said when I got home. My mother did help me with my hair after that day. This is a first that was painful.

When I was in sixth grade I got my first autograph books. We got all our friends to sign. One boy wrote this is my book:

“Roses are red

Violets are black

You would look good

With a knife in your back”.

I was very angry with him as I thought he ruined my autograph book. Of course, all the boys laughed.

Then, he invited me to a Boy Scout party at the church about a block from my home. My friends were going, so I went too. We played various games, then, we played ‘spin the bottle’. I had my first kiss!

Another first for me was taking lessons on the clarinet. It was through a school program. While playing an instrument was a first I couldn’t continue after six months as my parents could not afford to buy me a clarinet.

I went to the Methodist Church, which was close to my home. I loved the Sunday school teachers as they were so kind. I decided I wanted to get baptized. I had to talk with the minister first. I stood with all the other children in the front of the church for the baptism without my parents. This was another first.


Life Changes

We moved just before I entered eighth grade, so I had to attend a different school. I wasn’t too happy about this, but I made friends quickly. I met one girl, Diana, who became my best friend. We had wonderful times together, learning to dance, having sleepovers, etc. I guess this was another first.

I always had chores to do when I was growing up. I guess I was a bit manipulative as I would hurry home on Fridays to clean the house. If I cleaned up the kitchen, dining and living room before my mother got home from work she would be so pleased. I could then have more freedom on the weekend. I guess my tactics were a first for me.

I had to watch my sister, who is three years younger than me and my brother, who is nine years younger than me in the summer when my mother was at work. This is a lot of responsibility for a child of my age (12 years), and people would frown on that today. I was taught to be responsible, and this worked out just fine.

I got my first job at May Company when I turned 16 in the notions department. This is another first.

My mother taught me to sew, and I even took a tailoring course one summer. I made many of my own clothes, which is another first. I was a pretty good seamstress.

I attended many dances and had a wonderful time when I was a high school student, and I got good grades. Being allowed to attend the dances was another first. I had my first date with a boy for a school dance at 16 years old.

This is a collection of some of my memories from my youth. Thinking about firsts in my young life helped me think of several memories that I had not thought about in many years. I enjoyed responding to Brenda’s prompt.

Billy Joel - My Life

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Pamela Oglesby

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