I have a theory about childhood memories: basically, after my parents’ generation, kids just stopped remembering. I am certain I had a lovely and loving childhood, filled with days of french fries, ballet, and imaginary play, but quite frankly, I don’t remember much.
My dad is a man of few words, but the stories he does tell are fully equipped with first and last names – like Stan Pulanowski and Frankie Kasalankovitz from his first grade class with Ms. Smith – and when they got on that fight on the playground and Stan punched Frankie over a purple crayon that little Jane wanted to color with. Yeah, exactly.
So my sister Ashley and I – we don’t remember much … Except for this, which revealed itself this past weekend while shopping with our mom:
Once every summer, Mom and Dad would pack us up in the minivan and head off to Williamsburg for an exhausting day of outlet shopping. Somewhere along the way in the early to mid 90s, Ashley and I each acquired a pack of Mentos. Do you love Mentos? I do. Have you had them within the past 10 years? Me neither. Can you eat a whole pack at a time? I can. Do you want to try? I wouldn’t recommend it. So these particular Mentos were of the fruit variety: pink, orange, and yellow, I believe. The mint ones are way better, but sometimes children make bad decisions and pick the colorful options over taste. When you have a sister, everything has to be equal. If she got a glass of milk, I got a glass of milk, if she got a stuffed cat, I got a stuffed cat, and so on.
After lunch, in the middle of a grown up clothing store - probably being loud, tired, and whiney - we decided it was time to eat our Mentos. We each tear open our tube of sweet, chewy, fruity goodness and pop a pink one (the best flavor of the three) in our mouth. When this is successfully devoured, we decide to simultaneously have another. Orange is next, and then yellow, and pink again. This carries on all day, until we are both down to the last precious Mento.
And do you know … as I carefully placed my Mento in my mouth, Ashley revealed an entire pack of Mentos, minus the first pink one. She had been lying! Pretending! Faking! Scheming! Dropping invisible candy into her mouth and chewing air, all to make her little sister terribly upset. So there I sat – pouting with a pocket full of tinfoil and paper – while she slowly savored her Mentos on the ride home to Virginia Beach.