5. Camp Vandevander, summer of 1977
My dad was the camp counselor of a local Boy Scout camp, so we lived in a cabin all summer long. We had the run of the place, and we spent hours catching frogs in the creek.
4. My grandparent's house.
Both my grandparents died in 2002, and their deaths turned a new chapter in my life, i.e. "The Chapter Without My Grandparents." I remember entering their house, and the smell of my grandma's White Diamonds and my grandpa's aftershave hit me immediately. They had knick-knacks from everywhere they'd been, and each time was a new story they could tell.
3. Southside Park, early 1980s
I lived a block away from this park, and at the time it was at its peak. Every night there were softball games on the field, and the bleachers were PACKED. We could go inside the concession building and get sno-cones and Charleston Chews until our teeth rotted out. Our parents were nowhere to be found, and it was OK. Even the creeps down there I'm still nostalgic for. My best friend lived directly across the street, and I remember one night some drunk guy got on top of the announcer's box screaming and hollering and staggering. It was my introduction to intoxication as neither of my parents drank, and it totally intrigued me.
2. Six Flags, late 70s/early 80s
I can't smell hot asphalt without thinking of the Tom's Twister. At the time, the parachute ride was still operational, and it was just the greatest thing ever. Six Flags was so innocent back then, without the Loony Tunes merchandising EVERYWHERE you look and the people in the plaid yellow and brown uniforms. That my friends was heaven on earth. Give me some fudge and then stick me on a roller coaster.
1. Pantera's Pizza circa 1984
Pantera's was THE place to be. It had all the cool arcade games, even the new ones, like Burger Time. Plus it always upgraded the Pac Man--Ms. Pac Man, Super Pac Man, Pac Man Junior, it had them all. And the pizza was delicious!! They had the biggest screen television I'd ever seen, and a jukebox to pick from Madonna or Stray Cats or Ray Parker, Jr. Plus they had the coolest teenagers working there, you wished you could be old enough so you could make minimum wage in such an awesome establishment.
We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it. ~George Eliot