Selling rocks

I think many of us have childhood memories that may not seem very significant upon first glance, yet are immensely special to us for one reason or another. These are moments during our youth that made us particularly joyful, and that we like to reminisce about every now and then – even if they didn’t leave that much of an impact on us. I have a couple of childhood memories that meet this description, many of which involve friends and family. One memory in particular that sticks out in my mind an awful lot is perhaps one of the most peculiar: it involves me “selling” rocks with another kid during recess.

Here is what I can remember from this experience: When I was in 4th or 5th grade, there was this boy I knew named Chris. To be honest, I didn’t really know him all that well, and I hardly spent time with him outside of recess. So anyway, I met Chris one day near one of the jungle gyms on the playground, where he was doing something a little odd with the small stones that filled the surrounding area. He was lining them up on the wooden barrier around the jungle gym, and occasionally talking to other kids, asking them if they wanted one. Instantly intrigued by what he was doing and having nothing better to do, I asked Chris if I could join him. Fortunately he was kind enough to let me partake in his little activity, which he called “selling rocks.”

So for the next couple of weeks that followed, almost every day during recess I would “sell” rocks with Chris. We pretty much collected little stones around the jungle gym area, picking out ones that we thought looked especially pretty, and placed them on the wooden slabs that surrounded the jungle gym. Afterwards, we tried to get the attention of other kids and ask them to “buy” some of the stones from us. Of course, we never actually charged them money or anything; we essentially just gave the stones away to anyone who would take them.

This “rock-selling” business went on for a while, but unfortunately, it didn’t last longer than a couple of weeks. I suppose Chris eventually got bored with the game, and I wasn’t really interested in doing anything else with him. Sadly, we didn’t do a whole lot together or hang out with each other much afterwards. I did see Chris here and there during middle and high school, but mostly because some of the friends I had at the time knew him. Essentially, that rock-selling game we played in elementary school is the only thing that connects us.

Nonetheless, that rock-selling game was more than enough for me to cherish Chris as an acquaintance, even if it was only for a brief period of time. The fact remains that, as boring or stupid as it may sound to other people, this little activity was loads of fun for me as a kid. Back then, until it was over, I looked forward to selling rocks with Chris every day. It’s hard to fully explain why I liked it so much, but I will say that it was one the only activities I genuinely enjoyed during recess. Unlike many of the other recess activities I tried out in elementary school, I was actually having a lot of fun with this game, feeling a little sad when I had to stop and go back inside. I suppose the fact that Chris and I were playing pretend, something that I loved to do as a kid, may partially explain why I was having so much fun with it.

More importantly though, this was one of the only recess activities that I could truly enjoy with another person. Indeed, most of the time when I was in recess, I was either forcing myself to play games with the other kids that I didn’t really like, or I was trying to have fun by myself. Selling rocks with Chris was one of the very few things to do in recess that was not only entertaining for me, but also involved someone else around my age. I got to interact with him in a way that I wasn’t able to achieve with the other kids in class, and I was just as engaged in this game as he was. It was as if we were doing something that, in a manner of speaking, “spoke to me”; allowing to me to be myself without having to do it entirely alone. This wasn’t something I got to do very often with other kids my age, even among my friends.

That’s why whenever I think of really positive moments from my childhood, one of the first to pop up in my head is pretending to sell rocks with Chris in elementary school. Sure it may not seem like too much at first, and I doubt that it made a big influence on my life overall, but I genuinely treasure the memory with all of my heart. Like I said, it’s one of those things that gave me so much pleasure as a kid, simply for being an activity that I got to fully immerse myself in with another kid my age. The fact that this sort of thing was rare back then might be sufficient to make it one of my fondest childhood memories. I guess all I can say for now is thank you so much, Chris. You may not be able recall our rock-selling game very well, but you ought to know how much it meant for me to be able to play it with you back then.