So-called memories from childhood are usually one part memory and two parts the stuff of retold family stories. Colored by fear, longing and delight, they can become landmarks on the map of that place called childhood which we unexpectedly revisit throughout our lives.
I used to scare myself silly with this one.
At a certain time each summer, our small yard in tropical Miami Springs would be invaded by enormous, ugly, multicolored grasshoppers. In my 3-5 year old mind, their huge eyes, green and yellow bodies, and the rasping sounds made by their hairy legs were the penultimate in horror. My older brother was the agent of terror in this jihad. He took great delight in throwing the hideous creatures on me when I ventured into the yard.
Worse, he would sneak up on me, stuffing them down the back of my shirt, where they would writhe and hiss. My pulse quickens even now. I would shriek and run, panic-stricken.
This past summer I saw some of these critters again, my old nemeses. There were innocuous and, dare I say it? Beautiful.