I dreamt about my grandmother last night. This is the second time that's happened in as many weeks. Both dreams left me thinking, in the morning, not just about her but about my childhood.

I spent a lot of time with Mema (that's my grandmother) growing up - saw her every week. A luxury that I enjoyed simply back then and that I can appreciate more fully now. She lived in the same house from long before I was born until just a few years before she died. I spent a lot of time with her there. That house that was home to such a giant chunk of my childhood. 

I was going to say something about how the past was simpler. But I'm not entirely convinced it was. Childhood was simpler, if for no other reason than because I was a kid and was free of the burdens of adulthood. However, as long as I can think of Mema's house just the way I remember it, I think I can keep pretending that some components of my childhood are still available to me.

I'm starting to wonder if that's part of why children's picture books appeal to me. A simplicity that reminds me (in a comforting way, not a painful way) of childhood. When I read good children's books, I enter a world that is clear and straightforward. But still artful and imaginative. That's a wonderful space to be in. Maybe when I feel nostalgic, clarity or simplicity is what I'm aching for as much as I'm aching for that time or that place of my childhood. 

In the last several years, Fred Rogers has been in the news so much - first after his appeal to Congress and his encouraging "look to the helpers" advice went viral - and now the documentary "Won't You Be My Neighbor," which I canNOT wait to see. Today I watched one of those old clips from his show: his voice over - the jazzy, playful music - and some factory where they make crayons. I was instantly transported to that feeling from my childhood. That time and that place. Clear and straightforward. Artful and imaginative.

It was - as Mr Rogers would say - "such a good feeling." 

Emily Akins2 Comments