A slice of grape bubblegum memories

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teacher


I took H to the doctor and it happened to be an office in the same building as my very own pediatrician from decades ago. (Decades!)

There’s a pharmacy at the entrance of this medical building, and I remember when I went to the doctor as a child, my mom would let me stop at the pharmacy and get a pack of grape bubblegum. It was the kind with juice in the center.  Do they even make that anymore? I can see the rounded rectangle package, and how each rounded square of gum was wrapped. If I concentrate, I can remember the taste of that gum, and the surprising squirt of grape liquid!

Childhood feels like it must have been a different lifetime, where grape bubblegum was the specialist of treats. This thought, standing in front of the pharmacy invades the back of my mind: How many lifetimes have I had? Childhood, middle school, adolescence, the college years, beginning teacher, mom of babies, mom of little kids, mom of preteens and teenagers…

H says, “Maybe I should get a treat now, just like you used to!”

I almost say, “No! We gotta go!” But, come on.

As we look at the treats, I tell the young clerk about my grape bubblegum memories, and she smiles and seems to actually remember that kind of gum. Their current gum selection is boring though, so we buy tic tacs and a bag of skittles to share.

I don’t think H will always remember that pharmacy like I always remember it. We’ve only been to this doctor twice, it’s not our regular office. I’m not sure skittles and tic tacs are really that memorable.

I don’t know what makes a memory stick. But, I want to always remember driving him to his appointment, and laughing together. I want to remember how I got him with a funny trick, and how we both cracked up at how unusually gullible he was. I want to remember how he was worried a car was going to start pulling away from the curb, so he said “Careful! He’s going to turn on us!” and I said, “After all these years?”

I don’t know what makes a memory stick. But, I want to remember the ease of chatting as we got back in the car, and how H’s 13-year-old self generously poured skittles into my hand.

I just wish I knew what makes a memory stick.


2 thoughts on “A slice of grape bubblegum memories

  1. “What makes a memory stick” — what a poignant question. I love how you write your memory, then use it to connect to your son, and then muse on memory itself. From the very specific, to another specific, to an abstraction, yet making that abstraction really real. Well done.

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