What was your childhood like? Was it normal? Why or why not?
This question pops up a lot on prompts for bloggers to do for when they get stuck, but it’s one that I’ve wanted to write about for years now… I just haven’t gotten around to it until now.
My childhood was definitely a little offbeat when you compare it to other kids my age. First of all, I spent about 90-95% of it in a pizza restaurant. My mom worked at one for the majority of my childhood (aka: the years I can remember) and up through high school. But of course, once I was able to really stay home alone after school I didn’t hang out there as much. The pizza place she worked at is no longer in business; sadly, the owner passed away four years ago today (RIP Darcy) and it wasn’t able to get back up and running after that.
Fortunately for me, I wasn’t the only child growing up in this pizza place. The owner’s sister also worked at the restaurant and she had two boys near my age; one being two years older than me and the other two years younger. There was also the son of the owner, but he wasn’t there as often as his cousins, and there was the younger brother of another employee. I literally had four pseudo-brothers growing up.
So what do kids do at a pizza place while their parents are working? Let’s see…
- Play with the arcade machine game until our quarters run out.
- Play Pokemon on Game Boys for hours.
- Read Harry Potter.
- Go out back and play touch football, tag, king of the hill, or shoot hoops.
- Play/build with Legos and end up becoming known as the Lego Girl and the Lego Boy (me and the younger of the brothers I mentioned).
- Play games on Playstation One with the portable screen.
Honestly, I could keep going and going with all the things we did as kids growing up growing up in the pizza place. When I think about it, the way we grew up wasn’t completely different of that of our peers. We still had other activities that we did (karate, dance, sports, youth group) and spent days with our own cousins. I went to my dad’s often on weekends and sometimes went over to a friends’ house for the day – you know, normal kid things.
One thing I almost forgot to mention… at times when it was slow, and I was hungry, my mom would have me go in back and let me make my own pizza and grinders. As I got older I also helped out by bringing regular customers their food, clearing tables, and making pizza boxes.
The fact that I did spend a lot of time at a pizza place went over well with kids at school. They thought it was cool that I got free pizza anytime I wanted, and they loved getting free pizza on my birthday and having a class pizza party. Lucky for us there was one other girl in class whom I shared a birthday with, so there were also desserts for our class birthday parties. As time went on, I did get sick of pizza for a few years. You can imagine the shock of my friends at school because you’re probably shocked as well. But when you’re around pizza and were able to have it as much as I did growing up, then yes, you do get sick of it and don’t eat it for a few years.
Some of my favorite childhood memories took place at the pizza place. The ones that stand out the most are playing ridiculous games with Legos and reading straight through the newest Harry Potter book with the boys. Just writing this post is bringing back all different kinds of memories that aren’t as prominent as these ones. Like right now I’m remembering when I’d go in with my mom before they opened during the summer, and the smell of onions being cut would sting my eyes as I set up our Lego town.
No matter how many times my mom says she wishes I had a more normal childhood, I would never change the childhood that I had. Growing up in that pizza place is an experience that only a few people I know have, and I’m glad that I’m one of those few.
Which of your childhood experiences stand out the most?