September 3, 2013
Flash of memory: Little White Ducks
First, there's the song: Little White Duck. It was a favorite in our household, with my parents regaling us all with the story of how my older sister, in her baby talk, would sing "itta white duck, tuttin' in da wata." Next, there was my own first-grade version of the song in the school talent show—in full costume. Michelle as the little green frog, Lauri as the little red snake, and me as the little white duck. I think we even won a prize.
And finally, there were my own little white ducks. Though we lived in town, in a house without a back yard, my parents allowed me to bring home two tiny yellow ducklings when I was 10 years old. For the first few nights, I kept Doc and Dopey in a sawdust-bottomed box by my bed. I'd sleep with my arm hanging down into the box and the ducklings would cuddle against my arm to sleep. Eventually mom made them sleep in the garage with a heat lamp over their box to keep them warm. In the daytime, they swam in the bathtub or in the kiddie pool on the front lawn. They followed me everywhere, waddling along behind me wherever I went.
By the time they grew out of their yellow downiness and started turning white, it was time for them to go. They needed more space than we had at home, so they went to live with one of my teachers at her home in the country. At first, when I'd visit they'd come running up from the pond where they'd settled in with the resident ducks. Eventually they forgot me. But I've never forgotten them and such a sweet, sentimental feeling hit me this morning when I saw that white duck.
Who knew the sight of a single white duck could flood me with such memories?
I had to stop what I was doing and capture the moment. I had to write the memories as they came to me. It's well-worth grabbing long-forgotten memories as they come to you too. Take a moment to jot down the images as they flood your mind—whether they're triggered by something you see, something you smell, something you hear, something you touch or something you taste. Catch those memories while they're fresh!