BEB #15: A Childhood

by Jocelyn Ortiz

My first vivid childhood memory is of standing in a sunflower field with the sun’s rays reflecting down on my little head as I clutch my brown teddy bear by his blue ribbon.

I find myself reflecting more on my childhood and the things that have formed me since being in college. I often think about that moment in the sunflower field and how the sun felt on my skin. It was a moment of pure happiness. Unadulterated by any kind of responsibility, stress, or any of the things I find my 20-year-old self struggling through.

In college, I’m constantly surrounded by people who grew up so differently than me, and I often find myself comparing our childhoods and relationships to each other. I wonder what the sunflower field moment in their life is and how it has affected them. I find myself not wanting to know about their majors or internships or classes, but about what quirks and moments in their childhoods have defined them.

My Southern Californian suburban childhood was shaped by my mom indoctrinating us into 80s jams at 7 a.m. while driving us to school, sleepover lip syncing to R&B slow songs, Christmas Eve’s spent spreading masa on tamales, and scootering along our cul-de-sac for hours every evening as the sunset. I remember the extreme peace my life had, I remember the way the way our lawn grass felt on my face, I remember feeling invincible.

Here’s to a childhood where Pat Benatar & Alicia Keys played on a CD mix my dad made for me, to days in sunflower fields, and to nights watching cartoons while eating cereal in my pajamas.

Here’s a playlist of songs that remind me of my parents, of some of the best car drives of my early life, and of a childhood where 80s songs defined me.

Illustration by Layla Gorgoni

Michele Dale