The other night, I happened to notice this Christmas
decoration in the lobby of my apartment building. It’s a very impressive
When I saw that, I instantly felt a little thrill. Something
very specific in the core of my memory caused me to get excited over this
gingerbread house. I just wanted to remain there and stare at it. (And I did.) It was an uncanny case of déjà vu.
Then, I realized why
I was responding to this gingerbread house so strongly and it made me smile.
I was four years old
and we were visiting my paternal grandparents and great-grandmother, Granny,
Poppy, and Big-Mama. Granny had fashioned this incredible castle-cake and I was
completely fascinated with it. It was made of cake, of course, but made to look
like a castle with cookies, gum drops, ice cream cones, wafers, and
peppermints. It was one of the most creative things you’d ever seen.
Here I am in
Big-Mama’s back yard, transfixed by the castle cake. My younger brother, toddling away, obviously having found something else that interested him.
Even though I was
barely four years old – if that much – I can still remember every detail of
that castle cake and the exact feeling I had that memorable day so long ago.
The other night, I
was probably standing and staring at the gingerbread house in the lobby of my
high-rise in exactly the same pose as I did forty-eight years earlier.