Wednesday, March 19, 2008

You Asked For It - Part 4 - Memories

There's a new American Idol recap up at Cafe Karina today. I also finally posted some poetry over at Creative Karina, stop by if you'd like.

Here at Candid Karina this week I've been catching up a bit on memes I've been tagged for, and since I still have some outstanding questions lingering out there that you, my dear readers asked of me WAY back, I thought I'd keep with the catching up theme. So, here's a few more of my answers:

Frigga asked: What are some of your earliest memories of shoe shopping / shoes?

Wow, that’s quite the question…I had to give this one some serious thought, because being a serious shoe-aholic as myself, I’ve actually not ever given much thought as to what it was that triggered my shoe addiction.

Your question forced me to go back and analyze at what point in my life shoes went from being a necessity to an obsession. I blame my mother. I don’t have specific memories of obsessing over shoes as a young child, but I do know that my mother always had me in the most coordinated outfits growing up. Therefore, I always had several pairs of shoes, to wear with matching outfits. If I rack my brain for my earliest memory of shoes, I come up with a pair of turquoise blue jellies I owned when I was about 8 or 9. I loved those things, and can envision the blue outfit I wore them with.

Fast forward a few years, and I remember the “punky Brewster” sneakers I had to have in junior high. Those shoes, and I wish I had a photo of them to share with you, earned me the nickname Punky back then. Once I entered high school, I stopped wearing sneakers completely. In fact, I owned ONE pair of sneakers all through highschool, and they were reserved solely for gym class. I never owned a pair of sneakers again until my 24th birthday, when a boyfriend bought me a pair of Nike’s (which, believe it or not, I still own). I love those things.

But back to high school. I remember a pair of lace-up ankle boots, that I practically lived in. I’m sure I had other shoes as well, but I can’t remember any of them. Right before I started college, I bought my first pair of “open toed” shoes. They were platform wedges, with a peeptoe. It was also in college that I discovered platform sneakers, and shit-kicker boots. It was the late 90’s and shoes with substance were in fashion. I remember that I had serious boots then. And I had them in several colors. So, I’d say it was in college that I truly began my love affair with shoes.

It was after college, however, once I started working in corporate America, in law firms, that I really discovered my obsession with footwear. Working in downtown Boston, with shoe stores galore, and lunch hours to kill window shopping, my shoe collection grew exponentially. I haven’t looked back since. I’ve changed styles with the times, and I’ve also changed my tastes. Where comfort was key while working in the city, now that I have a suburban commute (house to car, car to office, office to car and back), comfort is no longer so much an issue. From stack heels to stilettos I’ve gone. From comfortable to sexy. Give me pointy, and spiky, and I’m hooked.
I just reread what I wrote and see that as always happens when I begin speaking of shoes, I’ve gone off on a tangent and haven’t really answered the original question. My earliest memory of shoes and shoe shopping. The earliest shoes which bring back memories are definitely the blue jellies. I don’t really have an early memory of shoe shopping, however.

But I do have a shoe memory you might like, that doesn’t have much to do with my shoe obsession as it does with Portuguese customs.

I must have been 5 or 6 years old at the time. As far as I knew then, Santa, or “Father Christmas” as he was known in Portugal, was as real as my father. That particular Christmas was spent at my uncle’s family home. The details are vague, but I remember there were a few kids there, among them my two cousins Gangsta and Black Sheep. The family was around, and we were waiting for Father Christmas to show. We had put out our shoes, for that was where Santa left your gifts (sort of like stockings, only we used shoes).

The thing is, I don’t remember ever leaving out a shoe any other Christmas. This may not have been the first, it may not have been the last, but it is the ONLY Christmas I remember the shoe being involved. Anyway, suddenly, we heard it, Santa’s footsteps on the roof. He was there! But he couldn’t see us! So, my father took all the kids into one of the bathrooms to hide. (yeah, I really don’t know why the bathroom was chosen over one of the bedrooms, don’t ask). So we hid in the bathroom for a while, and then the other adults called us out, Santa was gone. And where our shoes used to be, were our gifts. I remember that my shoe was lost in the process, but don’t know if it was ever recovered…like I said the memory is vague on details.

The only thing I remember clearly as if it were yesterday, was the excitement of hearing the footsteps on the roof (my uncle in the attic, I learned later), and the nerves and giggling while we were in the bathroom hiding away.

From Sognatrice: What's your favorite childhood memory?

I had a great childhood, so it’s extremely tough to pick just one favorite. I have many memories that make me smile. A lot of my greatest childhood memories involve my brother. I was almost 9 years old when he entered my life, and I had always wanted a sibling. He became the love of my life instantly. He was my little toy, and I couldn’t get enough of playing with him.

I remember specifically two events. One was a game we played all the time. I would lay a blanket down on the floor, and roll my brother in it, and call him “my little sausage”, and carry him around the house, over my shoulder, wrapped in a blanket, while he would giggle in hysterics. So much did he love this game, that he would bring me the blanket at random times. Just thinking of this I can hear his hysterical giggling, and it warms my heart (and makes me a little teary eyed).

The other story my brother would probably kill me for sharing, but he doesn’t read my blog, so whatever. I’m 9 years old and we’re living in Portugal. My brother is probably 10 or 11 months old. My mother is in the kitchen, and my brother, my father and I are in my bedroom. For some odd reason, I can remember exactly what my brother was wearing that day. He had on a cute little outfit that was knitted by either my mother, or one of my grandmother’s. It was purple and brown. I can see his cheruby little face too, smiling and giggling. On one wall I have a hanging rack of sorts, and from it is dangling a little purse I owned. I think it was white. We’re trying to get my brother to walk, and for some reason, I’m not sure why, we hand him the purse. He’s fascinated with it. We drape it over his shoulder, and tell him to “go show mommy”. And he walks all the way to the kitchen, to show mommy my purse. His first real long walk. All the way down the hallway, into the kitchen. I remember we called our next door neighbors over too, so they could see him walk, but if memory serves, he promptly sat his butt down, and refused to get up once they got there. Thanks for this question Sognatrice. I’d forgotten these moments until now. Hard to imagine them now when my brother is 24 now.

From the BarnGoddess: Who was your favorite teacher and why?

This is an easy one too. My favorite teacher was Sra. Julia. She was my first through fourth grade teacher in Portugal. She was my first teacher (I never attended kindergarden), and in Portugal, your teacher moved through the grades with you, until you reached 5th grade, I think. So, I was in her class all through elementary school, before we left for the U.S. She was a good teacher, and I loved her and respected her. She and her kids would come to my birthday parties, and I would go to theirs. We corresponded via letters for years after I moved here. And when I went to Portugal (almost 10 years ago) I looked her up and visited her. I can’t really give you a more specific reason why she was my favorite, as I was so young, but she’s always held a special place in my heart.

From JoyT: Tell me about a time you got really mad. It doesn't have to be yelling at anybody, I mean it can if that's what you want to share, but it can be that someone made you so mad you stuck your head in a pillow and screamed your lungs out.

I’ll tell you a tale of a young girl with a HUGE temper. It’s been a very long time since I’ve gotten “stick my head in a pillow and scream” mad. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve really mellowed out quite a bit, and I may get mad, but overall, I’ve learned to process it, and not let it eat at me.

That said, for my most recent “mad as hell” situation, read my post about how much Comcast SUCKS (by the way, they still suck, and I have more reasons to add to why, but I'm just let it go for now).

But, instead of taking the easy way and just telling you to read that story, I’ll give you another tale. This one goes back, way back to when I was about 11 or 12 years old. When I tell you I had a short fuse, and a dangerous temper back then, I’m actually being quite kind to myself. I was a timebomb waiting to explode. There are several stories of my flipping out and completely losing it as a young girl. But one that for some reason sticks out in my mind is this one. When my parents first moved us to the U.S., we came with my aunt and uncle and my cousins, Gangsta, who was my boy cousin, and about 3 years younger than I, and his sister, Black Sheep, who was one year older than I. We spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ house, and although we played a lot, we didn’t always get along fantastically.

At this particular time, my cousin “Gangsta” was probably 9 or so. I can’t for the life of me remember what it was that we were fighting about this time. It could have been any number of things. But here’s what I do remember. My grandmother’s house was one of those that was sort of “circular” in that you could walk around the entire floorplan, in a circle, from the kitchen, to the hallway, to the living room, to the dining room, back to the kitchen. Get the picture? Perfect for kids to run in circles. Perfect for me, very angry at Gangsta for whatever reason, to chase him around and around, screaming that I was going to kill him. Loud enough that our parents, who were in the basement, came running upstairs to see what the racket was all about. By the time they reached the upstairs, I had Gangsta on the floor, hands around his neck, telling him I was going to kill him.

I was a violent little thing, huh? Thankfully, I wasn’t very strong, so doubt I would have caused any serious damage before the parents showed up. But I’ve never forgotten this particular incident, because it left one of those ugly marks on my subconscious. But for the record, he probably deserved it. Ask me about the time I bit my other boy cousin…he definitely deserved it that time. I’m just saying.

From Beckie: Tell us about your earliest memory in the USA, not in the USA.

My earliest memory in the USA is actually from the day I arrived in the U.S. I think the memory stands out so vividly in my mind because it comes with a really huge sense of déjà vu. Let me explain. I was 9 years old when we arrived in the U.S. My grandparents along with their best friends (who would become my brother’s godparents), came to the airport to pick us up. Because there were so many of us (my parents and I, and my brother, as well as my uncle, aunt and my two cousins), and lots of luggage, we were split into several cars. I don’t remember who else was in the car we were in, but mom and I were driven home by my brother’s godfather.

While riding away from Boston, away from Logan Airport, we were looking out the windows, taking it all in. Our first views of America, land of the free. It was dark out, but the city lights and skyline were beautiful and amazing. And then, a strange sensation filled me and I turned to my mother and said “mom, I feel like I’ve been here before, I’ve seen this”. And of course mom said “no, you couldn’t have, honey”. But the feeling was so intense, and in fact, I knew that just over that hill, would be that building…and sure enough, there it was. It only lasted a moment, but it was probably the most intense déjà vu moment I’ve experienced in my life. My first time in a brand new country, and it seemed so familiar to me; guess it was meant to be home after all.

My earliest memory not in the USA? I had to think about this one for a bit. If it is not the earliest, it is one of the earliest. It is one of those memories of an event that might have been embarrassing at the moment it happened, but, I have very fond memories of that day. I was 3 years old, and taking a ballet class. My ballet teacher was a fierce French woman. We might have been 3 year olds, but you did not mess around in her class. Wearing our little leotards we did plies and pas de deux. This particular day, me and my little friend were being a bit rambunctious. My little friend decided she would ask to go to the restroom, as an excuse to get out of class for a bit, and I jumped in, saying I too needed to go.

All too familiar with our antics, Madame said no. But the thing is, I really needed to go. So, I went. Right there. In class. On the pretty ballet floors. In my little leotard. But because class was not over yet, and I didn’t have a change of clothes, I was brought back to a room with all these beautiful ballet costumes, and was put in a pretty pink leotard with a tutu. (I’m sure this probably also had something to do with trying to get me to stop crying, and to keep me from being teased mercilessly, but I can’t confirm that).

The truth is, it worked. I felt like the prettiest girl there, the only one in a tutu, and instead of being teased, I was envied. I’m sure all the other girls were wishing they’d been the ones unable to control their bladders. I don’t remember much else from that day, but instead of it being a terrible memory, I get tender flashbacks of pink suits and tutus when I think of it.

And there you have it...that's it for this edition of Q&A's. I have one batch of questions left, and am working on those answers.


Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Well when you answer questions, you answer questions! Such lovely answers...I love reading about others memories. Gives you insight into them as well as reminds you of things you'd thought you'd forgotten.

Thanks for sharing :)

Rebecca said...

Funny, as a kid I was way into shoes. I can remember how exciting it was when I was allowed to get a new pair, and I'd always want to wear them out the door. (being the youngest I was used to getting mostly hand me downs - shopping was a real treat for me!)

I love your Christmas shoe story - it's very interesting the different traditions for the same basic holiday.

I really liked the rest of your answers, but if I comment on each of them this comment will be longer than your post ;-0

That was a fun post to read! :-)

Julia Phillips Smith said...

I'm catching up on your last couple of posts - your last story here about the 'fierce French woman' and your ballet class made me laugh and laugh!! That's completely cool about your first-day-in-Boston deja vu. My dad had the same thing, when he was over in France in a town he'd never been in. Some might's because you have in fact been there before...

Unknown said...

Wow, that's a lot of info there. Maybe we could use some of it to blackmail you with if you hadn't spilled your guts. :)

I was never into Punky or her shoes, does that mean I'm just a little old?

Joy T. said...

Great shoes! And I sure don't remember asking you a question so this must be from a long time ago LOL Glad you answered questions though, it was fun getting to know you a bit better.

Karina said...

Sognatrice, it's my knack for overtalking, over writng and over explaining Once I get started, I can't stop. lol Glad you enjoyed it.

Frigga, that is pretty funny about our shopping memories being so reversed. I dont' have any real clear memories of shopping early in life. Maybe that's why I'm so addicted now. lol

Julia, I figured you'd get the ballett teacher thing more than most. ;-) And yes, I've always wondered what deja-vu "really" means.

Lisa, see you've figured out the method to my madness. If I'm completely open about everything, then I can't be blackmailed. ;-)

Joy, it was a LONG time ago...before NaBloPoMo. ;-)

Pamela said...

I've got an additional crease in my face from sitting here grinning ear to ear through this post.