Preserving memories of childhood friends goes hand-in-hand with a with a reminiscence back to those lazy days of childhood. Brainstorming about the people you spent time with, whether it was doing nothing in particular or creating absolute havoc, can bring great stories back to mind. Stories that you might want to write down. (See also Recapturing Childhood Feelings.)
The same brainstorm can help you elicit stories from loved ones too.
Let’s start with the standard questions.
Dates are wonderful. However, providing some socio-historical context can help readers understand your perspective. What else was going on at that time?
Who did you spend time with? Were your childhood friends comprised of a couple of people or a whole gang? Siblings or cousins? Neighbors? Family friends? Think back to the various stages of your childhood and adolescence. Did the cast of characters change with the passing of time or were you in a stable group through your formative years?
What types of circumstances did you and your childhood friends come? Were your backgounds similar or diverse? Did you stick with friends of your own gender? Were you members of the same cultural or religious group? What stands out in your memory about your friends’ personalities and looks?
If it was a big group, who played the role of leader, instigator, peacemaker? Who influenced the group dynamics most?
How did you end up with your group of friends? Were you drawn naturally together by personality and proximity or were you forced together by circumstances? Did your family encourage your friendships? (See also: 6 Ways to Write about Unexpected Friendships)
Describe the setting(s) of your childhood friendships. In addition to the general geographical location and climate, share the specific locations with your readers. Did you hang out in each other’s homes or did you explore nature, or even the town, together? If you grew up in an urban setting, were you more likely to congregate at the gym, in the park, or on the sports fields?
Don’t forget to include your sensory memories of these places. What did they smell like? What sounds were you likely to hear in the background?
What did you and your childhood friends do together? Catch frogs and snakes? Play pick-up or organized sports games? Did you climb trees, pretend to be super-heroes or royalty, or play dress-up or dolls? Did you make chewing gum paper chains? What’s your happiest memory of those times? The most bittersweet?
Once again, the sensory details and social context matter. What did the activities feel like? Was your gang pretty typical for the times or did you and your buddies break from the norms?
Your Turn: Write about your Childhood Friends
What adventures did you have? I’d love to hear your stories. (So would your family!)