Sea Monkeys

By: Peggy Willms


(3 min. read)

I woke up thinking about all of those things long gone. All those puzzle pieces create many memories and, in some cases, mold who we are today and who we might be tomorrow. My reminiscing kicked off with my high school shorthand class. Some of you may not even know what I am talking about. I took three years of Gregg Shorthand. It came easy, and I won State Championships in reading and writing shorthand. In 1888, John Robert Gregg a phonetic writing system based on a series of long swirls and loopy loos assigned to different letters of the alphabet as well as representing smaller words such as conjunctions (and, but, and or will get you very far…). I have my grandmother’s Gregg dictionary in my office. It is nearly 80 years old.

I received business scholarships to a few colleges for courtroom stenography. Can you imagine me — ME — sitting in a courtroom, banging on a set of keys, keeping my mouth shut, and not chiming in? Don’t answer that. But I never slept in a dorm in my life. Sometimes, God, the Universe, or our Higher Self throws a massive spanner in the works. I married my high school sweetheart and followed him through a four-year military stint at Fort Ord in California and Heidelberg, Germany. Someone knew that career wasn’t for me. And sometimes, though you are really good at something, it is not your destiny.

So that is how I woke up. Before coffee and before the sun peeked its pretty little head over the horizon, I began thinking of things past. And it hasn’t stopped.

Cassette tapes of me recording my voice, 8-track Donna Summer tapes, ghetto boxes, rotary wall-hanging phones and phonebooks, gaucho pants, Dorothy Hammill haircuts, payphones, a map – I hated those never-fold-them-correctly again-five-foot-squared pieces of paper, a CB radio (my two handles: Bubble Gum and Island Girl), teen magazines (Oh boy, the number of Scott Baio and Leif Garrett pages I ripped out of Tiger Beat.), and all of those puke-green and mustard-yellow kitchen appliances.

With each of the items I recalled, dozens of memories were attached to each of them. I could hear the Go Go’s singing, We Got the Beat, on our school bus trip. I could see my fingers spinning circles, trying to reel back in the tape caught in my recorder. My mood ring popped into my head, and I could see myself looking for changing colors just before getting up and walking over to the TV to flip on the Young and the Restless. Tab shampoo and Body on Tap shampoos were my favorites. I recall my first pair of roller skates and going to the library to check out more Nancy Drew’s mystery books for the week. How did we all survive laying on the floor of our green station wagon—no seatbelts and our parents smoking their Marlboro guts out in the front seat? 

It has been a busy morning spent in the 70s and 80s. Once I started to unravel all my memories, my senses joined me: the scent of my mother’s Patchouli perfume and her Noxema face cream. The sounds of the table-top hair blower whistling in my ears, the popping sound when opening a Tab soda, and rhythmic tunes from Shawn Cassidy’s Do Do Run Run 78 on my record player.

Here I sit on my lanai, decades later, 1600 miles from my childhood home, itching the red-ant bites on my ankles, and feeling the joy of camping with my family when I was a teenager, the snapping of the wood fire, chasing fireflies, and learning to waterski.

Perhaps everything I do today will remind me of the good ole days. All those memories reside within us, and sitting in them quickly stirs all sorts of emotions, with most delivering smiles and laughter.

Now, I must get my next cup of coffee, and no, I will not be switching on my percolator nor having to move my parent’s sand-bottom ashtray from the counter. Oh, and I won’t be checking on my Sea Monkeys.

Peggy Willms
                                                                     All Things Wellness, LLC

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