女儿昨晚寄给我她上午在College Composition的第一堂课上一小时写的一个essay。 看完，很感动。没有想到她会有那么多真真切切的儿时记忆。这是她第一次谈起这些。很显然，那些关于读书，弹钢琴，学游泳，学跳舞，的事，她都只字未提。
The Secret to a Long Life
Back in Kansas there’s an old apartment building, old enough to be built from brick and mortar. In winter, the snow would pile up several inches overnight – a hazard to walk and drive through, but good fun for a little girl whose greatest delight was chucking lightly-packed snowballs at her dad while he walked her to school （那时她刚过四岁）. When spring came and the snow finally melted, the flower petals from the Bradford Pear trees in front of the building would cover the ground almost as thoroughly as the snow did, choking the grass that was just starting to turn green again. Choke might seem an inappropriate word here, yet the stench of death and decay was hardly what someone might expect from the dainty white blossoms that fluttered down as Spring’s snowflakes.
Here I lived for a couple years or so with my parents as they attended the university. For some reason, I remember more about Lawrence, Kansas than I do about my time in any other city, even though I spent the least time there. I always thought it had something to do with how perfectly cinematic the apartment was – snowy winters, picturesque springs, sweltering summers, and autumns in which the leaves actually turned gold and fell off the trees, something that these procrastinating Californian trees have never felt the need to accomplish until the middle of “Winter”. I consider Lawrence an example of how seasons should be, because how can you honestly enjoy the weather without having experienced its many possibilities? Seasons are not meant to be experienced lukewarm, and life isn’t either.
I recall running into the battered old white Toyota one summer（四岁时刚来美）, excited to be going to the grocery store with mom, and more so to check the floor of the car for the pennies and dimes that seemed to magically appear overnight. These I religiously gathered and stuck in my piggy bank, saving up for… well, for the sake of saving. It was my first summer in Lawrence（四岁半）, and I wasn’t quite expecting the coins to be so hot from sitting in the car all day. That summer, a squirrel found its way into our apartment, refusing to leave for days and days. In the fall, I played with my neighbor – as little girls, we spent our time doing what all little girls do: brewing magic potions in the bathroom with all the shampoos and soaps we could gather between the two of us, even going out to gather the fresh mint that flourished in on the left side of the apartment. I remember learning to ride a bike that same fall with my friend Charles, who later gave me chicken pox and a scrape on my knee.
The great diversity of Lawrence is part of the reason why so many vivid memories of that dusty old apartment have imprinted themselves in my mind – even if I was only there from the age of four to six – for it’s change that we remember, not day after day of the same monotonous lifestyle that quickly drums its way into a rhythm that ticks away at our lives.