Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Walking Down Memory Lane

As I was driving in Houston today during my lunch hour I drove past a convenience store called Mr. T's. Suddenly, without notice, I was struck by a glimmer of a memory from my childhood. The memory hit me from out of nowhere and suddenly I was transported to the 2nd grade.

There was a mass of fog blocking most of the memory but I had a clear picture of a general store. It was located directly across from the high school football training field that backed up to Sam Houston Elementary, my home from kindergarten through the third grade. As long as I can remember, that convenience store was across the street from that field.

It only sold goods, no gas pumps which I found odd and thinking back on it now, it probably wasn't as ominous as I remember it to be. My memory of it consists of blacked out windows, an male Asian owner, and a feeling that I shouldn't ever go inside. But I did, I did go inside, at least at some point. As I sat at the light, trying to wipe the soot off of the memory, things started coming back.

My mind tickled with the sensation of discovering something that I had forgotten. Suddenly, I remembered that at some point, I had gone into the store, which I believe was named Mr. T's. In doing so, I found a pack of trading cards that I had never seen, nor heard of before. What were they?!? I remember the blackness of the frame around the card and throughout the entire experience, it only comes back to me through a cloud of smoke

As a child I didn't know any better and remember feeling this pack was rare, as valuable as gold. I had to have it, all of them if I could. I would be back if I didn't get them all, that much I was sure of. I had to take advantage of this opportunity. The light turned green in my lane and in my head as I remembered the image on the card. It was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trading card pack.

I became so giddy at this realization, that this is what I had once coveted. I was in my Turtles phase, hell, everyone was. It is one of which I never really have grown out of, and at the time this was something I had never seen. To find a treasure so great in a store that I feared was a sign that this place was magic. I felt a sense of wonder in the shop. Was this why the windows were blackened? Is this why when I walked by I always tensed up, prepared to run? The eeriness of it made the hairs on my arms stand up.

I don't know if I actually bought the cards. Some part of me thinks my mother stopped me and I never went in the store again. It became a sports supply store and when I gym class forced me to have a certain shirt or gym shorts, I would walk around to where I felt that I remembered that moment of my youth and my chest would tighten. I couldn't be sure that the current shoe rack was where that box of cards use to be, but somehow I don't doubt it now.

As I was looking for an image of these cards, I opened a page to view the thumbnail and my breath shortened as I saw that diamond from my past. It felt as if someone pressed on my chest, only for a moment but the pressure was there. It's amazing what can trigger a memory.

That is all,


3 Ripples in the pond:

Erin said...

I'm not sure why, but I kept expecting your story to come back to...Mr. T. And possibly a mention of chunky gold jewelry.

Trinity said...

Nope, that tidbit was not forshadowing. Just an additional fact.

Addy's Daddy said...

I don't remember that store, but I do remember the sports supplies store there. I do know that there is a Mr. T convenience store (sans gas tanks) on the east side though, so perhaps he just moved.