The Experiment: Day 5 ~ There Will Be Melancholy In Autumn & Happy Childhood Memories…

I think it would be best if you would click the arrow above so you can listen to the music while you read this. I am listening to it as I write. I know the album is called “December” but this is perfect autumn music. It is one of my all time favorite albums by George Winston. This first piece is my favorite and I usually listen to this one piece over and over and over. It makes me feel melancholy like autumn days. All of the music is beautiful, but this one piece…

I have been thinking about this experiment a lot. It is a very good thing for me to be doing but as it already has, today, it will be shape-shifting along the way throughout the year. It is a search for happiness, not happiness found. Some days I will have to stretch to find these moments, each day I will record golden moments and sweet memories, or a spark of light in a sometimes otherwise dark day, but I will continue to reach toward the light. Sometimes there will be poignant moments as I have a dip in mood — not necessarily a bad thing, but reality — and that is fine. I said in the first post in this series that I would not mention mental illness, and no, I will certainly not be focusing on that at all, but it was foolish to think I wouldn’t have to talk about it along the way. I am a woman who was very recently living in such darkness for months on end that I didn’t think I could ever find my way out. This project has already made me feel more hopeful about my future, and I will continue to search for happiness each and every day. This experiment also hopes to help others who are suffering or struggling to find joy and healing even in small moments. But it must be a realistic search.

Autumn has always been my favorite time of year. Cool, crisp “sweater weather” is coming, and wine sweet apples. I miss so many things I grew up with in the midwest, the changing of the leaves, the cooler weather sooner. Here on the coast of North Carolina we don’t have that. I am a woman prone to melancholy and it just fits with this season. Yesterday on Facebook I had a lovely time asking people to share their childhood memories about things they had that made them happy, toys, playthings, especially of the period now called retro, the 1950’s, when I was born. I am going to devote a whole post to this subject because it was so sweet, it made me smile, and laugh. I started out, in a wistful mood, searching on Google for playground equipment from the 50’s because I remembered, with such joy, the things they used to call merry-go-rounds. Today you wouldn’t find them on a playground anywhere! They were not deemed safe somewhere along the line, but they are one of my happy memories. The things that stick in your mind. And the funny thing is that one memory that makes me nearly squee with delight was for a thing called Creepy Crawlers. (The link will take you to a 1960’s commercial for the toy!) More than one person wrote in to say both that they had had Creepy Crawlers and loved them but that they wouldn’t be considered safe today! Gracious, how did we ever make it through childhood? I was about 10 when I had mine. It was such an innocent time. Today there are 10 year olds with cell phones! It’s hard to wrap my mind around. (Of course I grew up using an abacus to learn math! There weren’t even calculators then!)

What happened for me in that Facebook thread was something wonderful. As people mentioned more things that I had completely forgotten about it sparked such moments of joy for me. You see because of abuse that went on for many years there are black holes all over my childhood, I don’t remember most of my gradeschool years at all. But there were good times too and I want to be able to recover those. I have lived in fear of childhood memories for so long, those years were like a field full of landmines, better not to go back there at all. But as people shared their memories it was like a switchboard lighting up, a memory here, a memory there. I laughed outloud. What joy it brought me to remember so many things, from memories of my dear little grandma, short, roly-poly, wild wirey hair, and the most beautiful blue eyes I’ve ever seen. I flashed on a memory of when she used to make donuts in her little 1930’s kitchen. My cousins and I would stand on chairs to watch her drop the donuts in the big pot of grease, and she would let us eat “the holes” while she made the rest of the donuts. Oh my it makes me happy to remember that. And I remember my grandfather, who died when I was 6, putting me up on a stool next to him so I could watch him shave. He had one of those big white mugs and mixed up that thick, rich lather with one of those big brushes! And do you remember the original Colorforms? Before they made them all cartoony? There were pages of shapes and you had to build things yourself. And paper dolls, and hula hoops, and playdoh — oh the smell — and so many more things.

I think I’m having kind of a childhood memory hangover today. Lovely, sweet memories I am so glad to have, but they don’t fit comfortably in the landscape of my memories of that time overall. I have heard so often that the best thing you can give a child is a happy childhood full of wonderful childhood memories. Mine was mixed, and often dark and scary. But I am determined to unearth more happy memories and try to focus on them. I have surely done enough therapy over several decades to deal with the other. Now I want to remember merry-go-rounds, and Creepy Crawlers, and playdoh, and all the rest.

Would you help me? Would you share some of your happy childhood memories here? I would love to hear them. I think they would help us all enormously. This time of year can be very hard for many people with the changing of the seasons and the dark coming early. Let’s share and celebrate our happy memories. You can help me call in more memories to light up the switch board in my brain. When I ask you for a happy childhood memory what’s the first thing that comes to mind? And when I ask you to tell me about your favorite toys or playthings when you were little, what are they? And you can come back again and again and leave more notes here if you remember more things later. No matter what our childhood looked like, let’s dig for the gold that are that happy times that surely were there too. Those are the things I want to drift through my days with this autumn. How about you?

Much love to you all. You are all stars in the firmament of my life and I appreciate you more than I can say…



The Experiment ~A 365 Day Search For Truth, Beauty &
Day 1 ~ Introduction To The Project

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

If you enjoy this blog a donation would be deeply appreciated to help me continue to bring “Maitri’s Heart” to you. Thank you, and many deep blessings to one and all…


  1. Favorite childhood “toys”

    Jacks, jump-rope, hopskotch, pick up sticks, “go fish” card game, parchesi board game, riding my bike, roller skating, playing with my parakeet (“Keeto”), reading, of course, (Black Beauty, for example), dancing around the living room to my father’s classical records, dressing up my black and white cat “White Tar” and wheeling him in an old baby buggy(!)

    the list goes on and on. we didn’t even own a TV until i was in high school!


    • Ah Katya, what fun memories!

      And when you said Go Fish! — which I also loved — it made me remember the Old Maid cards! And how wonderful, your love for parakeets, lasted your whole life, oh, and Black Beauty, and I laughed about White Tar! I am highly allergic to cats though I love them and when I was little I was always bringing home a stray cat from somewhere and begging to keep it, meanwhile my eyes were red and runny and I had welts all over me, AND I would always try to “baptize” it! White Tar was lucky you weren’t Catholic!!! 😀 Thanks for sharing honey, that was fun!

  2. I loved my dollhouse. Even today I like to look at dollhouses. I so loved getting books for Christmas. I remember being so excited to be able to go to bed and read Christmas night. I loved riding my bicycle freely with the wind blowing my hair. One of my favorite things was getting my dolls in seats and playing teacher, or choir. I often baptised them too. And my all time favorite thing was to go down to the Jersey shore as a child. Oh smelling the salt air and swimming in the ocean, this is what I would like heaven to be. What fun this is, thank you <3

    • Ah Jean, dollhouses! How wonderful. Have you ever read about Tasha Tudor’s dollhouse. There’s a whole book about that dollhouse, she loved it dearly even as an old lady and made all kinds of things for it, it was just enchanting! And I remember having a dollhouse when I was little and I just loved it. And yes, something so special about tucking in for the night on Christmas when you were little and had had a wonderful Christmas full of delights and you were all aglow, and a new book was a fabulous treat. And gracious, how I loved my bike. I always pretended I was riding a horse. And the sea… What lovely memories Jean, thank you so much for sharing and I’m so glad you enjoyed it… 🙂

  3. Victoria SkyDancer says:

    Tiddlywinks! I learned to play it at school, in the second or third grade.

    I had a toy stove set and a toy refrigerator in my bedroom. I played House with them for years! 🙂

    • Victoria!!! Tiddlywinks! I forgot all about those! What a delight. I was never very good at them but I loved them. And oh! Wasn’t that a little girl’s dream, the stove and refrigerator! Your very own “house” right there in your bedroom. I can just see you playing there as a little girl. So sweet. Thanks for writing in, I loved your memories… 🙂

  4. I remember being about 7 years old and waiting to see my dad come home from work. Pretty soon, I could see his head bobbing above the other dads returning from their jobs. I was soooo happy to see him. When I was little, I looooved my Daddy so much. If he was still alive, he would be so proud of all the genealogical work I have done on our ancestors!

    • Oh Marge how wonderful, what sweet memories of your Daddy. And my, isn’t it a shame that so often our parents don’t live long enough to see our achievements in life, especially if you knew how proud they’d be. This was a lovely thing to read, thank you for sharing… 🙂

  5. My favorite childhood memories are from camping in the Colorado Mts with my family, hiking in national parks, and trooping out into the (then) natural places near our house in Austin, TX.

    I also remember fondly swimming in the natural spring-fed pool Deep Eddy as a young adolescent — Deep Eddy is an Austin icon (I hope it’s still there as a swimming pool!)

    • Lisa honey, what wonderful memories, and to have gone camping with your family. I didn’t do that as a child and as an adult have always been intrigued (and afraid too) about the whole notion of camping, but I love hearing from other people who did it and loved it! And Deep Eddy, what an enchanting picture you paint. Was there one of those ropes hanging from a tree that you swung on out over the water and dropped in? That always looks like so much fun. Thank you for sharing these lovely memories, I loved reading them… 🙂

  6. I don’t even know where to start Maitri! This post (and this MUSIC!!!) is beautiful. I remember slinky’s and feeling like I was so talented when I could get it to walk down the whole set of stairs. I remember Spirograph… you put the pencil in a hole and spun it around and it made kaleidoscope designs…there were always Barbies and stuff, but they were boring. My brother had Stretch Armstrong and I loved when I got to play with that… and the game “Operation”. And then there were jumpsies (elastics tied together, different levels and jumps…) and “ball on the wall”…. I still drive by my childhood home and that’s what I remember about that house wall along the driveway… and rolling down the sloped front yard, and being swung around by my older neighbours holding one hand and one foot…. and no, nothing got dislocated! and spinning! until I was dizzy and fell down laughing…
    I have been going through such difficult times lately, and I have said more than once to more than one therapist that “I don’t remember ever being happy”. You have made me remember….THANK YOU. Thank you for helping me remember that there WERE good times! (Oh, and I also LOVE the smell of Play-Doh!!!)
    You are awesome Maitri, and thank you for what you put out into the universe… I don’t think you realize how much you help people…. you are a gift, and I am grateful for you. <3

    • Oh Deana, I’m so glad that you enjoyed it, and I’m really happy that you love the music too! I have been listening to this album since it came out in the early 80’s and I still think it’s one of the most beautiful, soothing c.d.’s around. And yes! Slinkys! And all the other things.

      And oh yes honey, I know what you mean, I desperately need to recover and cherish some of the happy memories, it’s like panning for gold, and when you find those bright gold nuggets amidst a pan of rubble it just shines so bright and is a treasure to remember. Let’s keep working on this. I want to recover as much “gold” as I possibly can. And oh yes playdoh! I SWEAR I’m going to buy myself some. I think it would feel so good to squeeze it and play with it on anxious days.

      And thank you for your kind words honey. If I can do anything to help others with these posts I am deeply blessed. Thank you so much for telling me how much it means to you. When I have those moments that will come when I wonder why I am doing this at all, does it really matter? I will remember your kind words, and carry on… Bless you honey.

  7. This time of year has just got me thinking about the joy of the crispy crunch of the leaves under foot I love it so much as an adult and as a child I remember running about in the autumn leaves just because it sounded so good <3

    • Ah Rachel, the autumn leaves, yes… I grew up in southern Illinois and we had the full four seasons, the changing of the leaves, the cool crisp autumn and I just loved Fall so much, it was always my favorite time of year. For me September 1 was like New Year’s Day, when the year was really supposed to begin. I suppose because as children we always went back to school in September, but oh yes, the leaves, and OH, I have such lovely memories — and people don’t do this anymore — of people burning piles of leaves and the glorious smell. I can almost smell it now, just thinking about it. Thank you so much for the lovely memory… 🙂

  8. Dear Maitri, what a beautiful, thoughtful post! Autumn is a good time to add to our storehouse of memories. When you asked for a happy childhood memory, the first thing that came to my mind is picnics in the garden. My mother would spread out a rug on the lawn and bring out sandwiches and fruit and glasses of orange juice, the same food that we would have been eating indoors but it tasted so much better out in the fresh air. I remember my grandpa patiently teaching me to tie my shoelaces. I’d sit on the lowest step of the stairs while he showed me what to do and one day I suddenly got the hang of tying a neat bow in my laces, pure magic! I crocheted clothes and blankets for our dolls, we collected acorn cups to make little dishes for them. My sister and I played “cat’s cradle” with bits of string, everyone did it in the school yard… I spent hours in the garden watching the squirrels and the birds and the insects. I collected jay feathers and watched the ants hurrying through the grass. We had a “den” in the corner among some bushes, we played in there with our cat… Happy memories! Big hugs to you and the pugs. xxx

    • Oh Jenny what lovely memories, picnics, and learning to tie shoelaces, and dolls AND ACORN CUPS! And if you had tiny dolls those cups made wonderful little hats for them, and little cups to drink from too. Do you remember those things, I think they *might* have been from maple trees but I can’t remember, that would twirl down through the air from the trees and looked like little whirly wings spinning in the air? I loved nature as a child, and I had a place I hid outside as a child that was a safe place for me so I loved hearing about your “den”. So many happy memories, thank you so much for sharing them honey! 🙂

  9. It was all about paper and pen/pencil for me. I had a pretty scary childhood, too, so my favourite moments were solitary, though I do remember PlayDoh – OH THAT SMELL! <3

    • Ah sweet Effy, paper and pens and pencils were always glorious to me too. Brand new school supplies at the beginning of the year were such a delight. Long, sleek, freshly sharpened pencils, and a new box of crayons. And yes, mine was a very solitary childhood, both scary and lonely and the only way I felt safe. But PLAY-DOH! I swear I’m going to get some to play with here at my desk! There is absolutely NOTHING like the smell of playdoh in my mind, it sings of happy moments in childhood. It’s so good to recover happy moments from childhood. They can sometimes be hard to find but as I wrote to another dear one finding the memories is like panning for gold and when a bright piece of gold glints and sparkles amidst the dark rubble you have found a real treasure and you will have it forever. I’m so glad you wrote in here today, I loved hearing from you… 🙂

  10. When we were kids, my dad built us a swing set. The frame was from actual sturdy long pipes which were anchored deeply in the ground with cement. It was a big set that had three swings, which he also made himself. Because it was very tall, we could swing really high. (That probably would not be considered safe now either.) But, it was so much fun to see how high we could swing!

    • Oh Joan how wonderful, I bet that was a fantastic swingset, and yes, I had to laugh, so many things from then were deemed unsafe down through the years, but they were good days, innocent times, oh my, we were so innocent compared to the kids of today, it makes me kind of wistful, but oh, my, I bet you DID fly high on those swings! What a wonderful memory… 🙂

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