We drove through Los Angeles today. All of a sudden, many childhood memories came whizzing by. It was weird driving through the city that I was pretty much raised in. I remember the pony rides in Griffith Park, and the endless hours at the train museum (it might not have been a museum, all I remember are trains and buying little magnetic trains that spelled out “Daddy”). I remember learning about the Ice Age from the La Brea Tarpits, where I would love watching scientists piece together skeletons in a huge viewing area. One job that I would love to have is to be putting bones together in that field. I remember Rocket Ship Park that has a metal rocket ship that I along with other kids loved to climb. The awesome Mexican restaurant where I would go outside and climb the rock wall comes to the front of my mind as I write this. I even somewhat remember the house we used to live in. That hot tub where I first learned how to hold my breath underwater. My dad was so proud of me.
The smells and the sounds and tastes are much stronger for me. I remember the delectable French toast sticks at CeCe’s, the Mac and cheese at the diner next door to the ice skating rink I took lessons at. I remember the sound of my tap-dancing shoes against the terra cotta tiles. I remember so much from my life in Southern California: all of those defining moments in my early life that made me who I am today.
I forgot what I had been missing. I miss all of those Wednesday trips to Disneyland, and that mother-daughter time which I now know was so important to me. I wish I could still have those days, ignoring all responsibilities and just going somewhere for the day.
I was overwhelmed with feelings so much so that I started crying. Here I was, back in the city that I learned to hate, feeling like I had found the missing piece of my soul. It felt like a much-needed revelation of who I am and where I came from.
Those feelings and memories were a nice way to start this long trip out. It gave me the chance to see the difference between how I was raised (in privilege) and how most people are raised here, in Mexico. I feel that without that blast-from-the-past, my mind would not be as open on this journey.