The following is a list of memories put together by my Rhetoric students, inspired by artist Joe Brainard’s book I Remember.
I remember losing a baby tooth because my dad punched me in the face with a Hulkhand.
I remember riding the baby roller-coaster at the carnival and thinking it was the best thing ever.
I remember renaming myself many times when I was little, and making my parents call me by that name. One was Starmoon.
I remember going the mall on weekends in junior high and it was WILD.
I remember when I asked a group of people in Japan what “ano” meant, because I kept hearing it over and over again. They laughed and explained it just means “uh.”
I remember Danny from Rhetoric took two cookies on the first day when everyone else took one.
I remember when the seniors released chickens into my school, spray painted all the walls, and glued the doors shut. They ruined homecoming.
I remember when my mom thought my sister might have lice, so made she made me cover my head in mayo to try to prevent me from getting it.
I remember dating the first girl that liked me because I didn’t know any better. She was crazy.
I remember being shocked by an electric fence. I put my shoe on it thinking it couldn’t shock me through the shoe. It felt like someone punched me; I looked around trying to find the person I had thought punched me. I was so confused and it wasn’t until later that day when I told my dad did he say that I had gotten shocked.
I remember in 5th grade my classmate called the teacher a bitch and I laughed so we both got a week of detention.
I remember falling a lot, down hills, attempting sports, off my bike…
I remember it was a sin to have a Zune when everyone else had an iPod.
I remember when I was in kindergarten my grandmother told me I would be the first black president, but all that went out the window when Obama was elected. Thanks for ruining my grandmother’s dream Obama.
I remember being the coolest kid in my first and second grade classes because my teachers let me bring in my pet gecko.
I remember going on the Ripcord with my dad at Worlds of Fun and the extreme terror and adrenaline was I experiencing.
I remember the smell of a bonfire as I sat with my parents and laughed until I cried.
I remember when I was in kindergarten a boy put a lizard on my shoulder. Now I hate lizards.
I remember believing my grandpa when he told me I was adopted. He still says he found me on his doorstep.
I remember when I was seven, and I walked in to find my sister stuffing my brother’s mouth completely full of tissues. When I went to take the tissues out of his mouth, my parents walked in and thought that I had done it.
I remember in elementary school on my “sick days” pushing the recliner directly in front of the TV and PBS Kids all day, and eating popcorn until I “felt” better.
I remember when I found out that a boy who graduated from high school with me had died in Daum Residence Hall.
I remember when my friend and I almost drowned in a swimming pool.
I remember not learning how to ride a bike.
I remember when I was “straight.”
I remember my little brother selling off my baseball cards at school.
I remember waking up at two in morning to a loud thud, and my dad saying in an angry voice that he was NOT happy, and then finding out later that my older brother had come home from a party with a full grown dog.
I remember when I was tossing bread off a dock to ducks in Wisconsin and my little brother came up from behind and kicked me into the lake.
I remember when my friends and I took bubble baths in our swimsuits together. We called my parents’ bathtub the Jacuzzi.
I remember when I cut my own bangs, and accidentally gave myself a buzz cut on my forehead.
I remember play-dates and hiding so I wouldn’t have to leave when my mom came.
I remember catching three legged frogs with my brother in Michigan — multiple three legged frogs.
I remember looking out the front window on a winter morning and realizing with dread that I was going to have to scrape the ice off of my car so that I could get to school.
I remember when I was in the village school and my student came into my office and put all the exam papers in fire.
I remember wanting a candy bar so bad that I walked all the way across the gymnastics floor in a handstand.
I remember having a baseball cap with a pocket in it and my uncle stuffed it with bread, which I later ate in the middle of the night.
I remember hearing my sister’s name announced and being able to walk on the stage to place the crown on her head with happy tears running down both of our faces.
I remember the sickening, wet sound of the bones in my ankle breaking.
I remember when Carrie Underwood won American Idol.
I remember when I learned how to drive ghetto, stick the leg out the window, lean back in the seat, put the shades on, blast the music, and drive.
I remember going to the Riviera Maya in Mexico, and getting black out drunk for the first time in my life. I was wet from the pool, and fell in dirt. I didn’t know it until the next day, but Jack and my mom took me back to the hotel room and showered me off. I remember waking up a few hours later and drinking again. I remember going on the excursion to see above ground and below ground cenotes, and how dangerous the area was. The best part was ATV-ing through the rain forest, until I popped my tire.
I remember my dad asking me if I wanted a sip of apple juice, and it actually happened to be beer. That was the most awful thing my seven year old taste buds had ever tasted.
I remember when I got a big jar and caught a bunch of snails in the creek behind my house. I decided I would keep them as pets. When I went back the next day, they were all dried out and dead.
I remember egging cars as they drove past on a busy road, and getting caught because one kid didn’t know how to hop a fence.
I remember sneaking into the Elks and skinny dipping.
I remember being chased by the cops for ding-dong ditching, and running barefoot through backyards. And I got a thorn in my foot.
I remember going to my first Iowa football game, and having to leave after the first drive because my friend was too drunk to stand in the bleachers. I was pissed because it was my first game.
I remember my best friend trying to teach me how to do a flip turn in the pool. I ended up hitting the bottom, face first and chipping my front tooth. The next day at school was mortifying with half of a tooth.
I remember biting the price tag off a t-shirt and chipping my tooth on the little plastic part.
I remember getting table-topped in 8th grade and trying not cry after I broke my wrist.
I remember the whole male population in my 6th grade math class to wait for the teacher to turn around so that they could see the projector illuminate her thong through her skirt.
I remember in middle school when me and one of my friends fell off of a scooter. I was fine but she fell on her face. She had to go to the emergency room and have the skin in between her eyebrows glued together.
I remember coming home after school, getting off the bus, and seeing my Mom waiting outside with my dog. I’d give her a hug and run in the house. I’d grab a snack and watch Hannah Montana until it was time to do the little amount of homework I had.
I remember once when I was in elementary school I wanted to look skinny, so I didn’t eat breakfast.
I remember stealing old t-shirts from my Dad’s drawer for my art classes.
I remember the sunflowers, maybe one of my first memories because I found their big black eyes terrifying instead of beautiful.
I remember when there was a snow storm that was so bad that my Mom woke me up at four in the morning telling me I needed to help her shovel a path for my dog to go to the bathroom. We had to take the screen off of the back door and shovel from inside the house because the snow was four feet high.
I remember how my Mom would make me run four laps around the house before I could play Webkinz.
I remember I ate raw sugar this morning.
I remember destroying the back windshield of my family’s car by hitting a mailbox. The mailbox had less damage than the car did.
I remember my band director being mad at me for breaking my wrist, and then being mad at me again when I broke my other wrist a year later.
I remember the first day I saw a condom. It was blown up into a balloon at the State game, and the student section cheered when it cleared the stratosphere.
I remember the microwavable cheese-filled hot-dogs and thinking they were gourmet.
I remember in my middle school, I stole my teacher’s cigarettes, and put new cigarettes filled with pepper and spices in place of the old cigarettes. While he was choking on the cigarettes, I made a duplicate of his key.
I remember the Friday night Blockbuster movie rentals, and all the calls that came on the home answering machine saying they were two weeks past due.
I remember when I took my first taste of alcohol. It was in a jello shot, and I took two. My cousin’s boyfriend told me it was expired jello.
I remember being sent down to the principal’s office for calling my teacher fat.
I remember playing outside with my brother like we’d usually do almost every day of the summer. Usually he is a brat and likes to drive me crazy, like any younger sibling. But I remember a specific time when he pushed my buttons too far. I remember tackling him, pinning him to the ground, and shoving dandelions down his throat.
I remember bringing my sister her first birthday cake. I was so excited because I got to carry it over. I ended up falling and the cake went down with me.
I remember driving around and hitting mailboxes with baseball bats, which is really fun I might add. It wasn’t until later that we found out that it’s a felony, punishable by fines up to $250,000 and three years in jail per act.
I remember flushing my fish, named Boy, down the toilet.
I remember trading my brother quarters for dollar bills before he knew a dollar was worth more.
I remember smearing on the insides of red jelly-filled, bug-shaped fruit snacks on my lips pretending it was lipstick at my Fear Factor themed birthday. I was proud because I even freaked out the boys.
I remember spending all day out in the sun swimming, and how cool and crisp the cotton felt on my skin after I showered and got into bed.
I remember when Jess and I went garage-hopping as we walked her dog. She ran in the house and stole a beer out of the fridge while I made sure no one was coming. We sprinted home after stealing three Coors Lights.
I remember the frogs in the window wells.
I remember when my family drove to Florida when I was little, and I made us stop and get out of the car every time we entered a new state so that I could say I’d been there.
I remember the day my Grandma died, and I only found out because my sister sent me a text saying “She gone.”
I remember lassoing the fake bull, and thinking my life peaked at that moment.
I remember when my parents bought me a teacup Chihuahua so I could carry it around in a purse like Paris Hilton. Despite it’s size, Chopper was the most difficult and feisty dog I’ve had.
I remember running cross country. I remember having a lot of fun while also wanting to die. Some of the girls would even hope that their feet would get stuck in the train tracks so that they could stop running.
I remember dumping my first girlfriend via email.
I remember working at the public library and kicking out obnoxious children.
I remember screaming and crying when the final/OT score flashed on the screen. 34 to 28.
I remember my Mom mixing sparkles in oatmeal and telling me it was magical reindeer food, then having me toss it all over the front yard so Santa would come.
I remember the chalky taste of those Valentines Day candies that say “Be mine” and “True love” and “First Kiss.”
I remember tripping and tumbling down Samantha’s stairs, resulting in her Mom yelling at her for laughing so hard because she thought I was hurt.
I remember my skirt falling straight down to my ankles in front of everyone while swing dancing with my Dad at the Daddy-Daughter dance.
I remember being called out by multiple people in my Rhetoric class for like no reason.
I remember hitting my brother with a golf cart.
I remember last night. I cut off the sleeve from my friend’s Iowa t-shirt, and made it into a tiny top for my cat.
I remember crying every Tuesday and Thursday night when I had to go to Boy Scouts because I didn’t want to wear the uniform.
I remember practicing defense with real runners when my coach was trying to show off hitting, and then smoked my friend in the head with a bat. The thud was loud and she just dropped. We all stood shocked, partly trying not to laugh and partly very concerned.
I remember meeting my adopted cousin Izaiah for the first time when he was four.
I remember buying every Pokemon game that would come out. I would go to my friend’s house down the street and we would play together. I don’t remember when I grew out of this phase.
I remember last night I forgot my key. I was blocked out of the entrance, but my roommate and I were in a cold war. She looked down upon me from the window, but didn’t want to do me a favor. I stood there for nearly two hours, and at last someone got out of the building and saved me.
I remember when I was holding my phone in one hand, and a pop tart in the other, and someone asked me for the time. Naturally I checked the pop tart to see the time.
I remember the day I met Michael Jordan. He was so tall, especially to a ten year old. But meeting a so-called celebrity was definitely something to remember.
I remember trying to do a sick drift around a corner, losing control, smashing my wheel into a curb, and spending the next month trying to fix my car.
I remember the smell of burning leaves and cold air and how the sunlight in fall always makes me slightly sad.
I remember thinking I could talk to rhinos after I called the name of one of them at the zoo and it came over to me.
I remember planning a romantic date night for my girlfriend and I, but she wanted to go see Finding Dory instead. We went to the movie.
I remember meeting my college best friend. Our first words were, “Hey, you look normal. We should be friends.” Yet our friendship is the farthest thing from normal.
I remember my driver’s ed instructor and the identity theft he committed in order to teach our class.
I remember when I was five, cutting off all my brother’s hair, and my mother came in yelling at me to stop. I then cut my own hair after she yelled at me.
I remember the first time I learned how to ride a bike. I couldn’t turn, so I ran into a bush.
I remember towels with characters on them, so you could look like Scooby-Doo when you got out of the bath.
I remember when I had breakfast next to Eric Andre at the Hamburg Inn, but I didn’t want to bug him, so nobody at our table said anything to him.
I remember when my girlfriend and I went on a date night to a bridge that lit up across this giant field with a river running through it. Just as it got dark we got eaten alive by mosquitoes.
I remember when Kevin Jonas was my favorite Jonas brother because no one else liked him.
I remember the morning after and feeling like I was worthless.
I remember my sister not hugging me goodbye when left for college. She only said I could just FaceTime her.
I remember my coach telling us, “If you cheat on your strength, your boyfriend will cheat on you.”
I remember finding a $50 bill on the floor of the restaurant my parents took me to after graduation.
I remember thinking a hundred dollars was an incredible amount of money.
I remember tubing for the first time and feeling like a dog who sticks its head out the car window.
I remember scoring on my rec basketball team, Can’t Score Won’t Score.
I remember the day that my sister was born. I honestly wasn’t too thrilled that I was getting a sibling, but I was super excited that I got to miss school for it.
I remember standing on top of a parking garage with a girl I thought I loved, and realizing I had no more feelings towards her. I still made out with her anyways.
I remember renting movies was always more exciting than just being able to watch any movie you want to on the internet.
I remember my high school government teacher talking about dolphin rape in class, and how it was actually an issue.
I remember in baking class I dropped my group’s cake on the floor right after we finished frosting it.
I remember when we instituted Tori’s rule.
I remember being the tall one.
I remember the first time I saw a guy with six fingers on his hand, I was so scared and didn’t want to see it again.
I remember I punched my cousin in the face because he frightened me by dressing as a ghost one night.
I remember stabbing Claudio in the hand with a pencil in third grade. I thought it was funny. He didn’t. I was never punished.
I remember I spent a cold birthday in Chicago last year, so I’m going to Cancun this year.
I remember feeling nervous about picking a house in Chicago with my family.
I remember Club Penguin.
I remember when my family was driving through the Smokey Mountains, near the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. It was a steep drive, and we were taken through winding roads lined with tall trees. We stopped on the side of the road where there was a little patch of gravel to park the car. We all got out and found the river, all of us taking off our shoes to dip our feet in the water. We laughed as we attempted to skip stones. We took pictures of all of us in the hidden oasis. I have no idea where those pictures have gone, and I don’t think I’ll ever see them again.
I remember the Friday of Lollapalooza. My friends were annoying my girlfriend, so she left to go meet up with one of her friends. I got caught in the middle and was frustrated, so I left everybody altogether. I met up with my older friend and indulged in some illegal activities. I got lost for about an hour and threw up in a portapotty. Eventually I found my girlfriend, and the good side of my brain started to set in. We sat in the distance and saw Radiohead, and things I can’t even begin to explain.
I remember cleaning the pocket knife my ex-girlfriend used to cut herself. I died inside when I realized it was serrated.
I remember our coach catching us buying unhealthy food from the concession stand, and making us run stairs during our meet because of it.
I remember a large intimidating man approaching me in my car at 1:30AM in a Kum-and-Go parking lot, positive that I was going to be mugged. He asked me if I wanted to listen to his Christian rock-rap group’s music.
I remember reputable presidential candidates.
I remember convincing my parents to let me get a hamster. I remember the excited feeling of going to pick out my very own pet. I also remember begging my parents to let me return it after it kept me up the first night.
I remember my mom waking me up in grade school to tell me it was a snow day.
I remember waking up to the first snow of the year and thinking… shit.. it’s here. As if it was some apocalyptic judgement day.
I remember calling my uncle Indiana Jones because every time we saw him he had a new woman.
I remember the day I got my first dog and thinking how in the world Santa fit the huge crate into his sleigh.
I remember when I fell off the swings after my dad pushed me when I said I was ready. I wasn’t even holding on.
I remember getting thrown into a laundry bin in 8th grade and having the biggest bruise on my tailbone.
I remember everyone matching the color of their braces for the holidays.
I remember when one of my friends had just moved into her apartment, I came over to check the place out and she told me she was just washing dishes for the first time. When I walked into the kitchen, there were piles of soap everywhere because she had used actual dish soap. She has a full ride here.
I remember on New Years Eve I threw snowballs at my brother and I lost the pocket watch bought my father bought me as a new years gift. I was really sad so I spent a long time looking for the watch. Finally I found it in the snow.
I remember a dream I had when I was in middle school. In the dream, my parents told me I was adopted and actually I was the princess of a fantastic kingdom.
I remember my nickname in the elementary school was “strong man” because I liked to beat up the boys who teased me. The actual nickname was from a famous 50 year old Korean comedian who was known for shouting in a low voice.
I remember being in the car with my dad when I was younger. Somebody cut him off so he screamed out the window “Hey ya dick!” I was surprised, I was like “Dad, you know that guy?” thinking that he was just saying hi to his friend Dick. The same thing happened when I was older and I realized neither of their names were Dick.