Eight years old. 1996, second grade. I would have been fully ensconced in worlds of make believe, of staying outside during the summer until it was sunset and the fireflies were out, blinking away, and playing in the snow until our noses and cheeks were pink and our hands were numb.
I remember liking school, though I didn't really like teacher very much (she seemed like she gave off more of a frightening vibe than a nurturing one). Still, I enjoyed learning. The movie Twister came out that year--I loved and still love that movie--and I had a classmate, an elementary school friend who loved the weather and who also loved the movie Twister. In fact, we wrote our own script to Twister 2, complete with local landmarks and special appearances by our friends. (Sidenote: this elementary school friend went on to become a research meteorologist, so cool!)
1996 also brought the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia and needless to say, I was obsessed with the Olympics. For the two weeks of the games I was riveted. I loved the gymnastics events, and I specifically remember begging my parents to buy me the gymnast Barbie for the 1996 games; her arms and legs were bendy and she had a beautiful leotard (and much to my delight, they let me take her home). I can remember replicating the swimming events in our swimming pool with my brother and my daytime siblings, and pretending that my bicycle was a horse to emulate the equestrian events. I was inspired and delighted by the Games and in retrospect, it's a very fond memory for me.
At eight, I still had so much innocence. I also know I lived within my imagination, already starting to write (however elementary it was) and read, creating worlds for myself. It's crazy to me to think that eight years old was 21 years ago, but here we are. In looking back at eight years old, at being a kid, I know I am so fortunate and so lucky to have had the childhood that I did. Man, did I love growing up "out in the middle of nowhere," a five minute's drive from town, underneath big skies filled with stars and planes on the flight path to O'Hare, the quiet of crickets and the low hum of the interstate in the distance. To be eight again!