The Road to 40…The Kid Years

The Road to 40- The Kid Years

Let’s begin this road to 40 with the kid years, shall we? I was born in Memphis, TN at 11:08pm (skee wee, my Sorors lol). That’s where both my parents were born and raised as well.

From what I’ve been told, I made my entrance a little early and arrived along with spaghetti that had been eaten earlier that day.  We moved to Little Rock within weeks after that and I’ve been an Arkansan ever since. 

The Hood…

If I had to describe my childhood, I can remember it with a smile. We grew up in apartment complexes. The one I remember the most from my early kid years was Williamsburg Apartments. 1502 Green Mountain Drive #143I and #116E, to be exact.  I made a few friends there and remember being outside all the time. Back then, kids could go outside with little to no supervision and pretty much roam the neighborhood. When the night would start to fall, I’d just have to be close enough to our building to hear Mama belt out at the top of her lungs, “Por- shaaaaa!!”.  That let me know it was time to come inside (and everyone else in our building too lol). Considering I’m not much of an outdoors person now, that just might have been the most time in my life I spent outside. 

The Church

I grew up in Longley Baptist Church. First on Avery Road and then we moved to the big fancy church at 8715 Oman Rd. Mitchell Moore, Sr was my pastor then and in some ways feels like my lifelong pastor even though I am under the leadership of the pastors of the churches I’ve attended since then. My years growing up in that church not only defined my childhood, but really drive a lot of my values to this day. When you’re a kid, you don’t really know about behind the scenes drama. All I remember was adults who loved me as if I was their own.  I remember speaking with Annette Robinson about wanting to be baptized. I remember Sharon Franklin directing the Youth Choir and teaching us in Sunday School. I remember Cathine Moore directing us in the Sunshine Choir and even babysitting me and my sister one summer. Of course there were the Easter Egg Hunts, the Easter speeches, the Christmas speeches, Vacation Bible School, and too many other things to recall.  I really did have a rich childhood with those experiences alone even though I was too young to realize it. 

The Schools…

There are two schools I remember from my kid years and that would be Sugar and Spice (a part of Southwest Christian Academy) for kindergarten and Terry Elementary for 1st through 6th grade. I loved kindergarten!  Even though that was almost 35 years ago, I can still picture the hallways. I can still remember career day. Our parents took turns either coming to school or having the class take a field trip to their job. One of my classmates’ parents was a dental supply salesman. I remember going to his job and getting free toothbrushes and toothpaste. Another parent was a baker at a bakery. Of course, that was everyone’s favorite trip. We went and baked sugar cookies with M&M’s in them. Mama decided to be my parent to participate since Daddy worked nights and slept days. She worked in electronics at J.C. Penney’s at the time and she brought a camera to school. She took everyone’s pictures with the camera and we all got to keep our picture as a souvenir (not bad, Mama).  I also remember her throwing our class a party after the graduation ceremony. She bought a cake with an owl wearing a graduation cap on it. I know y’all…your girl’s memory is on point, ain’t it?

Terry Elementary was my elementary spot. Lots of memories there and made lots of good friends although I will say I wasn’t free from a few bullying and mean girl incidents. It’s amazing how those experiences can stick with you for the rest of your life. On the brighter side though, most of my experiences there were good. I can remember the paper mache project in Mrs. Dugan’s 3rd grade class for the Little Rock Zoo. We made a giant panda bear. Each day, small groups would take turns going into the hallway and pasting more and more strips of flour and water covered newspaper onto the wire frame. I remember all the school assemblies. I remember all the book fairs and the library. My favorite books to check out from the library were cookbooks and Sweet Valley High chapter books. I also remember what a sport my mom was about the school fundraisers.  I won for my grade a few years in a row which meant parties for my class and big prizes for me. I would love to walk the halls of Terry now. I’m sure what seemed like a huge school to me back then would probably seem small now. 

Come now, take a little stroll down elementary memory lane with me…

In My Spare Time…

Mama was always good at keeping me involved in little things on the side that really fed into my little Miss Priss-ness I had going for myself. A few years after we moved to Little Rock when I was super young, she worked at a children’s clothing store in Southwest Little Rock called Youngland. Even after she no longer worked there, she was still an avid shopper there for fancy dresses for me and Brandi for Easter and other special occasions. We ended up modeling in their spring fashion show every year at Southwest Mall and even when they moved to West Little Rock we would model in their outdoor spring fashion show. 

I also managed to do some cute yet productive things on the side too when I was young that she’d heard about through shopping at Dillard’s for us. I can remember taking a little class on the weekends titled “White Gloves and Party Manners”. The cover of the book was yellow with black writing. She probably still has it at her house somewhere.

Last but not least was when I got invited to be on Dillard’s Youth Board. That was the ultimate!  We modeled in fashion shows on the center stage in the food court at Park Plaza (that was back when it was still the new and fancy mall here in Little Rock). We also did freeze modeling where we put on outfits and became mannequins for the day. My favorites to freeze model were Multiples….surely there’s someone out there that remembers Multiples!! 

Of course I absolutely cannot forget to mention taking dance- tap, jazz, and ballet to be exact. I spent 10 years taking dance at Ed’s School of Dance. You can say it was just as much a part of my childhood as school and church. Brandi I have soooo many dance pics from over the years, but my repertoire within my photo collection as I’m writing this is limited. So I guess these will just have to do…

The Birthdays…

When I was an only child, I can remember having a birthday party at the skating rink I loved to roller skate as a kid. I’ve also seen pics of birthday parties thrown at my grandmother’s place back in Memphis. However since Brandi and I had birthdays six days apart from each other, we were always given a joint birthday party once she came along. A pretty good amount of times those were given right at the house the good old fashioned way with boiled hot dogs, chips, and a birthday cake decorated by Mama.  For my 10th birthday though, that was the ultimate of the ultimate of birthdays for me. I had my OWN birthday party AND it was at Showbiz AND I got a Nintendo for that birthday. I gotta say, my 10th birthday might just be the best birthday I’ve ever had… 😂

The Holidays…

As far back as I can remember, Mama has always done as much as she could to make holidays extra special for us. We were the typical old school family that pretty much reserved receiving toys you wanted for birthdays and Christmas. So when that time came around, it was on! To this day, I make a big deal out of both for my kids even though they are new school kids who sometimes walk out of a Walmart with a toy they’ve either asked for or something I think they might like. Don’t worry…I’m getting better at curbing that these days.

Anyhoo, Christmas as a kid for me meant a few things- a trip to visit Santa Claus, being able to drink egg nog (non-alcoholic of course 🙂 , decorating the Christmas tree, leaving a note and a slice of cake for Santa, and being led to believe that if my eyes were open when Santa came that he might put coal ashes in my eyes… weren’t parents cruel back then?…lol. It worked though. We kept our eyes tightly closed even though we weren’t sleep. I try to create that same excitement for my kids. Our traditions include some of the same things but a few new things too. They are chickens enough about Santa without me taunting them with a story of him putting coal ashes in their eyes. They pretty much stay put out of fear that Santa won’t leave anything if they are awake 🙂

Heading to the teens…

Welp…I guess that’s as brief yet full a snapshot as I can give for those kid years.  You know that’s not where the story ends. Teen years…comin’ up!

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2 thoughts on “The Road to 40…The Kid Years

  1. PATRICIA WILEY

    Wow I am amazed at how well you remembered everything thing. That is absolutely awesome. I live it.

    1. P. Lo

      I guess that’s Daddy’s side of me… steel trap of facts 😂

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