Don’t Go too Fast: Words Every Child Avoids at Least Once in their Life

As a child growing up in New England, one of my favorite hobbies during the winter was sledding. Over the first 10 years of my life, my family, friends and I had come to scope out the best sledding hills in our town, along with learn which sleds worked best for different purposes: saucers, for example were best for a spin while tubes were the best for speed and Snow Boogies got the best air.  Sledding became more of a sport than an activity: it was all about pushing the envelope and being the best you could be; which is why, in the winter of 2001, I went for that extra run that ultimately lead to my downfall.

We were at the Hopkinton State park with our best friends the Girardi’s and some of their friends. Maddie Girardi and I, the youngest at the hill at the time, had come to master the first half of the hill and were satisfied with our runs for the day. That is until the older kids began to continue to climb up the hill and go off the second part of the hill, gaining twice the distance and speed. Now I didn’t think I was ready for this intensity but after Maddie decided she wanted to try, I realized I couldn’t be the only one to not try the big hill; I had to swallow my fear and do this. My mom told me she would prefer I not go down this hill. But because she didn’t want to make a scene, she let me make the final decision.

“Just don’t go too fast,” she said.

I grabbed an inner tube (the sled I felt most comfortable in) and braced myself for the climb to the top of the hill. After this run we were leaving so I had to make it a good one; it was the only chance I had. When I got to the top, I was already out of breath but I couldn’t show my weakness to everybody else. So I took a deep breath, looked down the steep hill one final time (noticing it looked a lot steeper from up top) and put my tube on the ground behind me. I plopped down into the tube and with a small push off the snow with my feet, I was off.

Now, what I neglected to mention is that at the bottom of the State Park hill was a ditch. They have since covered up the ditch for glaringly obvious reasons but at the time, it was very present and filled with rocks.

The first half of the ride wasn’t too fast. I felt pretty comfortable, thinking I could handle the rest of the ride. Once I jumped off the first hill onto the second, however, I realized how mistaken I was. My speed must have doubled and I found myself going faster than I ever had in the past. Upon getting to the bottom of the hill, I started to worry because I wasn’t slowing down like I usually did. I heard everybody yelling something at me but the wind rushing past my ears was too loud so I chose to neglect whatever they were saying.

Before I knew it, my sled flew out from under me and I found myself tumbling into the treacherous ditch. I don’t remember what was going through my head; all I remember is that it hurt. A LOT.

I managed to get myself up on my feet and looked up at everybody at the top of the hill, tears streaming down my face. My mom ran down the hill to help me get out as my dad yelled at my sister for laughing at the whole situation. Looking back, I don’t blame her.

The verdict was in: I had cracked my head open. While a few stitches, scratches and bruises were all I left with, my mom didn’t want me going down a hill that steep again. And I didn’t blame her.

Next time somebody tells me not to go too fast, I’ll be sure to listen.

Listen to the Mustn’ts

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We all have a quote from our childhood that always sticks with us. Specifically in children’s books and poems, there is a stand out quote from most major pieces of work. I loved Shel Siverstein. The poem “Listen to the Mustn’ts” from Where the Sidewalk Ends was my personal favorite. I loved his poetry because while it was catchy and especially appealing to the ear, it always had a message. A simple message but a significant one. This poem taught me that nothing is impossible. And I still carry that message with me today.

If you haven’t read this poem, look at it’s simplicity then think about what it’s saying. And be inspired.

Now think of your favorite quote or line from a piece of literature when you were a child. How can it apply to your life today? I think doing this will help you to realize how simple life can be.

Everywhere You Look

In West Philidelphia I was born and raised, on the playground is where I spent most of my days.

Hopefully you: 1. Knew I wasn’t talking about myself but “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” 2. Read that line in Will Smith’s raspy voice and 3. Have temporarily been brought back to the innocence of your childhood.

The infamous title image of "Full House", where the title of this blog derives from.
The infamous title image of “Full House”, where the title of this blog derives from.

Yes, television shows we grew up with are significant due to their characters, gentle comedy and story lines with a clear moral to take away. But a stand out factor of any successful, nostalgic television show is it’s theme song. And the theme song of a television show is where we harbor a lot of the memories of our past. The best way for me to elaborate on this is to use stand out examples:

“I don’t sweat, I glisten.” Unless you’re a die hard fan, you probably wouldn’t know where this quote comes from. But if I played the first two seconds of this video, you would instantly know it as the theme song from “Boy Meets World.” I won’t deny image of love came from the epic love story that is Cory and Topanga, and that Mr. Feeny taught me the most valuable lessons throughout my youth. But it’s upon hearing each of the “Boy Meets World” theme songs thatinstantly trigger our recollection of the timeless show.

The classic episode when Topanga, in trying to prove a point about looks to Cory, makes a decision she instantly regrets.
The classic episode when Topanga, in trying to prove a point about looks to Cory, makes a decision she instantly regrets.

Although the theme song for this show changed multiple times, each one is just as nostalgic. And the transformation in theme song represents the transformation in characters. We watched Cory, Topanga, Eric and Shawn grow up on screen and as we watched them mature year after year, we heard the theme song follow their maturation as well.

The ability to see into the future? Psh, that can’t be possible. At least that’s what I thought until “That’s so Raven” came to Disney Channel in 2003. Every episode, we followed Raven through vision after vision and laughed at her multiple attempts to prevent her visions from coming true. Now, the comedy of this show went a step above most Disney Channel or Nickelodeon shows of the time. But looking back, what I remember most about this show is the theme song. Unlike “Boy Meets World,” the aspect of this theme song that stands out to me is the lyrics and the visuals. The lyrics of “That’s so Raven” accurately described her situation and gave a synopsis of the show all while providing us, the viewers, with a chance for a few laughs with the video clips that accompanied the song.

Raven never got out of an episode without being punished in some sort. And as kids her age or younger than her, we related to her inevitable punishment. The lyrics hit home: “I try to save a situation then I end up misbehaving.” All kids struggle with trying to do the right thing and ultimately getting in trouble for it which is what Raven experienced in every episode. It was easy to relate to her struggles and every time that song is played, you can’t help but develop a soft spot for this teenager who’s just trying to do the right thing.

Whenever I hear the “Boy Meets World” theme song, I can’t help but smile and bob my head; I can still recite every word of “That’s so Raven”s theme song ten years later. There’s a sense of timelessness in every theme song that become an essential part of our childhood. So don’t let go of those memories that you experienced by watching some of your favorite television shows. They’re significant and hold a place in shaping who you are today.