Saturday, April 08, 2006

Stevens Point

I met someone recently who told me she was from Stevens Point, Wisconsin and unwittingly unlocked a floodgate on my childhood memories.

As a young violinist, I used to go to Stevens Point in the summer with my mom for Suzuki Camp. We'd stay in a dorm room at the university and eat in the dining hall and go to violin lessons and practice pretty much all day and all night long.

I feel like I can remember every detail of those trips: how hard I practiced, and how desperately I wanted the approval of my teachers and to be a Violin Superstar. The time we road-tripped with my friend Jason and his mom and she was driving all crazy and tailgating and scaring my mom to death. The friends I made from Wisconsin and Georgia and Tennessee and all over, and the letters we'd exchange after camp was over. The random talent show night where some guys did a skit to either "Mr. Roboto" or "She Blinded Me With Science" and it was, like, so cool. The dance we had one year at the end of the week, and dancing crazy to "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and wistfully watching the older, 13 and 14-year-old kids slow-dancing to "Never Tear You Apart" (a song my friend Carrie-from-Atlanta and I agreed was, without question, the Best Song Ever).

I remember the recital in Quant Gym (is that the name? it seems like it is) where all the most advanced kids got to play solos and the rest of us felt cool just to be good enough to play in the Fiocco Allegro finale. The year Dr. Suzuki himself came and played and was so small and fragile-looking and funny and my mom bought me a sweatshirt with a quote of his on it that said, "When love is deep, much can be accomplished."

The first string cheese I ever had was in Stevens Point. I also got this t-shirt from my violin teacher that said, "Point Beer. It's not just for breakfast anymore." I thought it was hilarious. At, you know, age 10.

Throughout it all, I remember the time with my mom.

My mom used to always take me to this amazing doll shop in Stevens Point and get me a birthday present: at least one book of fancy paper dolls and a really nice doll. I got two Madame Alexanders and a Sasha doll over the years, and probably still have my Vivien Leigh paperdolls somewhere (I knew the costumes from all of her movies before ever seeing one of them). I loved the dolls because they were so, so beautiful, and I loved my mom for gifting me with such a special treat.

The last year I went I was actually too old for dolls, but we went and got one anyway. My new best friends (I always made friends immediately at violin camp and was quite the little ring leader) gave me such a hard time for having it, but I loved that thing defiantly. It was a big cuddly baby doll with a pink gingham dress and matching bonnet, with patent leather mary-janes and black hair and blue eyes and I named her Diana. She's still at my parents' house somewhere.


Erika said...

Aww, Dinah, I LOVED reading this. You do such a great job of conjuring up the memories...I feel like I was there. Awesome.

Jayson Jones said...

How dare you spell my name wrong! Try "Jayson" next time! Mom still drives like that - only now she scares her grandkids too!

Work is slow today before a 4 day weekend and I wanted to take a trip down memory lane. Been googling on "'fname lname'" and evansville". Found you!

Thanks for the trip!

Wendy Holmes said...

Wow that was really great story but in fact i liked one more thing is that the way that you have expressed your memories.. just awsome.. and it made me remind my son and his Angel Angel costume