Matchbox Car Memory

This week, I am back to commuting to work. It’s a very short drive from my house to my school. Just five traffic lights. Just three right turns and a left. A total of 2.2 miles. But I still have the radio on as I drive and it is always tuned to my local NRP station, WAMU 88.5.

This morning, as I waited at the 2nd traffic light, the singer- songwriter, Kat Edmonson, was being interviewed by NPR Morning Edition host, Rachel Martin about her Song Project entry, “If You’re Scared”. (You can hear it HERE).”

As the light turned green, I heard her say, “this is harkening back to when I was a little kid, you know? Adults would come over to the house and I would make an announcement: ‘There will be a show in five minutes!'”

I don’t remember anything else from the interview because her childhood announcement took me back to visits to my mother-in-law’s home. My husband, the youngest of five, our two girls and a whole day playing with their six cousins while the adults sat in the living room and chatted. Day after Christimas, Easter, a Saturday in July. The go-to game was setting up the runs and loops of the circa 1950 matchbox track in the basement. Then it would happen, just like in the radio story. The grandkids would trample up the stairs and announce “There will be a car race in five minutes!”

As I made my last right hand turn and pulled into my parking space, I found myself wiping my wet eyes. I guess I miss those matchbox car performances, two dozen years ago now. I guess I miss family gatherings. Period. My mind also started thinking of my niece, the oldest girl cousin, now expecting her own baby girl. As I shifted the car into park, I vowed to myself to buy some matchbox cars for her baby shower gift!

8 thoughts on “Matchbox Car Memory

  1. Ms Victor Reads says:

    Ack, so many memories! It is amazing how sometimes just a word or two can bring you back to a time and place “Watch me, look at this!” I miss those days too and I am sure your niece will appreciate the thought.


  2. Fran McCrackin says:

    I love your set-up, with the specificity of the turns and traffic lights, and- no matter how short- including the radio. And then you took us to one of those moments where all of a sudden we’re crying and hardly know why. A sweet small moment/memory. It resonated with me, too- my kids and their cousins would announce “a fashion show in 5 minutes!”
    And of course you will get your niece matchbox cars as a shower gift- I never would have thought of that, but so dear!


  3. amyjuengst says:

    I have similar memories of my nieces and nephews preparing to perform puppet shows, costumes runway shows, plays, with my two kids while the adults gathered at my mother-in-law’s house. Such sharp memories! I miss making family memories, too. Thanks for sharing.


  4. glenda funk says:

    That matchbox car brings back so many memories of playing w/ them w/ my brother. I listened to the NPR story and Kay’s song. The song is cathartic during these Covid days. Kaur’s mom has endured quite the ordeal.


  5. Beth Sanderson says:

    Oh how I love this story. I feel like I am going back in time with you to those long ago family gatherings…when our children were young and we didn’t realize how quickly it all would pass!


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