Tag Archives: Childhood

Signs of my Father in an Oreo Commercial

Me ( on the right) with my sister Helena, and my dad having a great laugh one night! This photo was taken in Puerto Rico when I was about 7 years old.

In October each year, I always see signs of my father.  He was born on October 25th and would have been 95 years old this year.  He’s been gone for 16 years now.

A few days ago, I was doing laundry and somewhat paying attention to the Property Brothers on HGTV in the background.  I walked back into the bathroom to return the laundry basket when I caught an Oreo commercial playing.  In it, a father asks his young daughter if she sees any stars “out there.”  They live in the city so stars would be a little hard to see – she says, “not yet.”  The dad suddenly tells her to grab her jacket and they take off to find the perfect place to view the stars.  They end up in the back of their truck in the middle of a field gazing up at the stars with a package of Oreos.

As I was watching the commercial, I had a tremendously strong flashback.  My family was living in Puerto Rico at the time and I was getting interested in astronomy.  I had a booklet, probably from school, that showed all the constellations and I would mull over it to get familiar with them.  I would walk outside sometimes and look up at the stars and was eventually able to identify the big and little dipper.  The others were a little harder…

One night, my dad surprised me and out of the blue told me we were going to look at the constellations together.  I was so excited!  He grabbed a flashlight and I grabbed my constellation book.  But instead of going outside into our front yard, he said we were going to our roof!  We climbed up the wrought iron gate next to our car port and onto the flat roof of our concrete house!  Now as an 8 or 9-year-old, I had climbed on the roof before – without permission from my parents, of course – so this was exciting to me!  We were on the roof!!! I felt so grown up!!!

This photo is of my dad after we got our new Pug puppy, Tai Tai…you can see the wrought iron gate in the background. This was the same one on the other side of the house next to our car port. This is how dad and I climbed onto the roof of the house.

Our bathrooms had skylights so we were even more elevated as we laid down on the cool concrete to look at the night sky and dad  turned the flashlight to the constellation book.  Then we slowly started identifying the constellations together… (minus the Oreos!)  Dad would point to one in the book and I would start searching.  Dad would give me clues to finding a certain constellation and I remember him using both the big and little dipper as the home base to do our searches.  I don’t know how long we stayed on the roof that night but I do remember loving the fact that it was just me and my dad and this was something that we were doing together.  It was something very special.

I hadn’t thought about this particular memory for a long time.   But there was a split second in that Oreo commercial that focused on a constellation book showing Ursa Major/The Big Dipper that had all these memories flooding back to me.  It’s funny how you can have memories for so many years and yet the actual feelings remain dormant until something triggers them.  Cue the Oreo commercial…and I’m convinced my dad had something to do with this.  He always does at this time of year.

 

 

Who Has Seen the Wind?

The Better Homes and Gardens Storybook that me and my sisters had as children living in Puerto Rico.

The Better Homes and Gardens Storybook that me and my sisters had as children living in Puerto Rico.

Today was a blustery day…it had me thinking about Winnie the Pooh and the blustery day movie that I used to watch with my kids when they were little.  I told a friend the gray sky and wind made me think of living in Chicago and the way the sky would look right before it would snow.  Of course, that’s not about to happen here right now!  It’s 69 degrees outside and we are in a drought – rain would be a welcomed sight tonight!

The wind also had me thinking about a poem I learned when I was around 8 years old and living in Puerto Rico.  My mother bought me and my sisters a Better Homes and Garden Story Book.  I always loved that book because of all the stories and poems that filled it.  I remember writing my name along with the names of my sisters in the “this book belongs to” section in the front.

I wrote our names in the book - me and my sisters - in case there was any mistake about who the book belonged to!

I wrote our names in the book – me and my sisters – in case there was any mistake about who the book belonged to!

When I was visiting my sister in North Carolina recently, I spotted the book in her bookcase and it brought so many memories back to me!  I was so happy that she had the book and as I thumbed through it a rush of memories came back to me.  In particular, I found the poem “Who Has Seen the Wind? by Christina G. Rossetti.  As I read the poem I told my sister that there was a melody that went along with it and I started to sing it to her.  She had no idea about the melody…

The poem in the book - a short little poem that apparently had quite an impact on me as a child.

The poem in the book – a short little poem that apparently had quite an impact on me as a child.

I’m not quite sure where I heard the melody to the poem.  It may have been one of the children’s records we had and played over and over in our bedroom.  I tried to find it online and but never could find the exact melody that I know and sang to my sister that nigt.  But today, I was humming that tune as I drove downtown at lunchtime.  And tonight we are finally getting that much-needed rain along with the wind…

Who has seen the wind?  Neither I nor you;

But when the leaves hang trembling, the Wind is passing thro’. 

Who has seen the wind?  Neither you nor I; 

But when the trees bow down their heads, the wind is passing by.