Fond Memories Julia E. Billick

Funnily enough, my earliest memory is my first pet. After begging my dad for weeks, he took me to the pet store and we picked him out together, a jet black rat whose name is quite fuzzy, but I remember the look of him distinctly. I was frightened to death of his tail for some odd reason, but we bought him anyway, and afterwards, carrying him tucked away in a cardboard box under my arm, we sneaked him inside a Chinese restaurant and I fed him noodles and boiled chicken. Afterward, we brought him to my elderly neighbor's house, and introduced him to her and my family. She screamed and jumped on her couch, my mom glared at my dad, and my sister was shaking her head in exasperation. My brother refused to come anywhere near him for weeks.
I still remember my first book series more than anything else. Back when I was younger, I was well known for stealing my sister's books, stuffing them inside my bag or desk drawers to avoid her wrath. I became fascinated with literature even more when I read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, a book I snagged from my brother's messy closet. When my dad noticed my love for reading, he went into a Googling frenzy to find the perfect, most acclaimed children's novels, and he found the Junie B. Jones series. The very next day, we drove to Lubbock and he bought me each and every single book available, and I read through them all in the span of weeks.
Speaking of my love for literature, the Harry Potter series was the stepping stone for it. Harry Potter was real to me, as a child, and my very best friend. Reading of his adventures, I was taken to a whole other world, far away from the dreary, boring town of Lamesa. My mom encouraged my (and my sibling's) Harry Potter addiction, buying us all the novels from the nearest book store in glossy, new packaging, and movie tickets to every movie that came out. As odd as it may sound, I distinctly remember the smell of my new novels, as if they were fresh off the press, ink and paper blending together to create such a comforting scent. Today, I've reread the series about five or six times, and each time it brings back fond memories.
Some of my warmest memories are of my grandma, Marjorie. She was a short, frail-looking woman with white curls and a smile that never seemed to fade. As cliche as it may sound, she was a master chef, and no matter what she made, no matter how much I hated that particular dish, she always changed my mind. Her cookies, though - they were the best. She always had warm, gooey cookies waiting for us when we arrived at her house, and after eating a cookie with cold milk, we went to her backyard and picked strawberries to make strawberry jam.
As you scroll down, you'll find that many of my memories have to do with animals. In this case, my sister's cat, a boy named Frisco. My mom got him from a friend when we still lived in Washington, as he was eating all her plants and just being a generally mischievous kitten. He was mostly black with white patches on his belly, paws, and around his face and ears, and he was the coolest cat ever. He grew up with all of us, and he was around far before I was born. Unlike some cats, he loved everyone in the family, and would come sit on your lap and lick your hand with his sandpaper tongue. He loved baths, which was pretty unusual for a cat, and spent his days sunning himself and cuddling up to us on rainy days when the source of his warmth wasn't around. When he passed away, it was an awful day. All of us called in to school and cried all day. I still remember the large wooden cross our neighbor made for us for his burial site.
Yet another animal, I know, but it wouldn't be right if I didn't honor his memory. Buddy was my first dog; we'd had dogs in the past, but they were usually the family's, and they usually didn't stay long due to behavioral issues or running away. My parents were weary of dogs, but after weeks of begging and promising responsibility, my mom drove me to PetSmart on adoption weekend. When I saw him, as silly as it may sound, my eyes lit up, because he was absolutely perfect. Floppy ears, a long, bony body, and the cutest doe eyes I had ever seen in my life. The foster took him out of the cage and when I held him, I immediately knew I wanted him. While my mom was signing the adoption papers, I walked around the building with him, watching him sniff at the ground and bark at nearby dogs. I had him for five years, and he was my best friend, helping my through very dark and depressing times, especially during my middle school years. When he passed away due to back issues, my whole world fell apart, because he was my very best friend. I still think about him a lot to this day, and I can't help but thank him for the years of happiness he provided me with.
In my early high school years, I got involved in the video gaming community. The first few games I ever really took the time to play got me hooked - the games in the Batman series. From there, I borrowed my brother's PS3 when he wasn't using it and made my way through his extensive video game collection. Throughout the years, I owned a DS, a Wii, a GameCube, a PS2, and eventually a PS4 before moving on to the Xbox. I also began to PC game. Gaming was and still is a huge hobby of mine, and it's brought me a lot of entertainment.

Credits:

Created with images by Pexels - "black table book books" • Sasha the Okay Photographer - "Rat" • Shardayyy - "015:365 - 05/15/2012 - Junie B. Jones" • KitAy - "Harry Potter" • David Leggett - "Cookies" • kaibara87 - "Black and White" • missss - "dog dachshund animal" • Unsplash - "video controller video game controller"

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