Childhood Daydreams


Steve Nauman

Did you attend Kindergarten?

I know many did, some didn’t and simply started school in the first grade. Some had half-day Kindergarten, but I remember well that I had full-day Kindergarten, starting just shortly after I turned five years old.

I also remember that most of Kindergarten was okay….. although there was one part of it I did not like at all. And that was the mandatory afternoon nap time! I was almost always wide awake and we were forced to take a mat to our “assigned spot” on the floor, and cover up with our blanket and take a nap. I remember feeling like a prisoner laying there because I was almost never sleepy and all I could think about was the things I could be doing outside if they’d only let me.

Fortunately….. I was soon assigned what I considered to be the best possible place in the whole room to be forced to take a nap….. right under the front of the piano! You might be asking yourself, ‘what is so great about that location?’ Well….. there were three foot pedals there, so….. while I was lying there wide awake, those pedals became: an accelerator….. a brake….. and a clutch. I had watched my father work those pedals in his truck, so obviously I could use them just fine and travel anywhere I wanted in my daydreams!

But!….. I had to always be on guard for the footsteps of Mrs Springer, my teacher, because she walked around the room about every ten minutes, looking at everyone-like a guard checking the inmates. When l heard her shoes slowly approaching on the tile floor, I’d lay still and close my eyes. I guess I never got caught working the pedals because she never moved me away from that piece of prime real estate!

The first thing I remember “reliving” with those pedals, was something that I would hear every morning outside our house. A man named Elmer would be driving a truck full of milk cans (a heavy load) at exactly 7:15 every morning, and he would shift that loud truck exactly the same every day. So….. in my mind-and using those pedals, I could hear the truck start off in first gear—and loudly accelerate….. vooooooorrrrRRRRRRMM(clutch in) pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-BANG (release clutch) 2nd Gear…………. vooooooorrrrRRRRRRMM(clutch in) pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-BANG (release clutch) 3rd Gear …… and he crested the hill in front of our house and was out of earshot!

I would also imagine my father driving back from Syracuse with a truck full of merchandise for the store. I knew the route from Cazenovia all the way home, so I was thinking about the hills that he would have to downshift on because I’d seen him do that a number of times before. So….. “shifting” that truck in my daydreams with those foot pedals, allowed me to enjoy many hours of “nap time”, instead of just laying there bored out of my mind!

Some things about us don’t change….. I’m still not much for taking naps during daylight! But as we grow older we start learning so many new things—exciting things….. and we look at things differently….. at least we should…..

“When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.”
1 Corinthians 13:11 (NASB)

Till Next Time…..

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Steve Nauman

These wonderful posts are written by my good friend Steve Nauman. He lives on a farm in northern Indiana with his wife, Ruth.

He owned and operated a machine shop until 2020. These stories come from the people and experiences that made lasting impressions upon him as he grew up in his father's general store in Upstate NY and later in his own business.