One thing I really enjoy about living on campus is the ability to experience new things. So far this semester, I've interacted with people from Saudi Arabia, Australia, India, Columbia, and somewhere in Africa (I haven't gotten to ask him which country he's from yet). I've eaten cafeteria food (yuck) and read books I wouldn't have otherwise picked up. But I wasn't expecting to have old memories pop up, too.
It's always the little things that bring you back to years gone by. I was homeschooled for ten years, and my family used the Abeka curriculum. It's an excellent curriculum, and it's also used by the school my church runs--the school I substitute teach for. One day, I was tasked with collating worksheets for the kindergarten classroom. Turns out, Abeka has a certain smell to it that I'd forgotten about.
I remember sitting on one of those too-small chairs in the library, papers stretched out before me and a small pile of paper clips half falling off the table, sniffing papers. This was my third-grade math book, my sixth-grade grammar, my high school chemistry. Heck, I'd been immersed in that smell since my own kindergarten years. It felt good to smell it again.
But somehow, being in college has stirred an even deeper memory in me: the crack of a baseball bat.
I've never been good at sports. I was the tall, gangly, scrawny kid who read too much. But, when I was probably nine or ten, I played softball with my local public school league. I lived in a small town, and we didn't even have our own school district. We shared with Kingston, a town that was somehow even smaller than we were.
The first year I played, I don't think I hit a ball once. But I was still a good player. The pitchers all sucked--except for one, a tall girl who wore a helmet with a face guard while she pitched. We all hated her and her sixty-mile-an-hour fastballs. Anyway, the pitchers all sucked, and nine times out of ten I'd get to first base on a walk.
The second year I played, the pitchers got a bit better, and my parents started paying me to literally swing the bat, even if I missed. I still got a lot of walks. And I sat on the bench a lot. I played outfield when we weren't batting which means I spent most of my time beheading dandelions with my cleats.
But still--when we practiced, our coach would pitch. And sometimes, my dad would throw a couple balls in our backyard. And so I came to love the sound an aluminum bat makes when it hits the softball.
We have a baseball diamond on campus. Apparently, we have a baseball team that's practicing right now. And so sometimes, when I'm outside at the right time, I can hear the crack of the bat. And it sends me back to my younger years, to the practices and my coach's voice and the teammates who nicknamed me "Evil Eye" because of the way I glared at a girl who accidentally spilled my water bottle once. Good memories like that. I had a kind coach, and that made everything so much more enjoyable.
What noise brings you back to your childhood? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to review us on Amazon!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.