Today's Cookie Monster theme on Google (it's the 30th anniversary of Sesame Street), along with reminding me that I'm getting older, brings to mind a childhood sweatshirt. It was white and worn. Memory makes it brighter than it probably was, donned so often by the grimy frame of me as a four year old. It had a blue band around the neckline and the wrists. It had Cookie Monster on the front.
That was my summer sweatshirt. I'd wear it at bedtime when there was no bed in sight. Staying up late enough to necessitate layers in mid-July was always a treat. The amusement park; the cottage on Lake George; the back yard, watching puppies being born. Darkness would fall and the sun-fade would herald the first phase of night, the one that plucked goosebumps from my unprotected skin as wind blew my parents' cares into gentle eddies that I couldn't see, even if I knew where to look.
Mom pulled the sweatshirt over my head. The cotton was pilled on the inside. The fabric was strange to touch, and even stranger to taste, grating against my teeth when I pulled the collar over my mouth. But the outside was smooth, and that's the part I enjoy remembering. Bright and white and blue.
One evening daddy came home and said "Let's go to the amusement park." I wore the sweatshirt then. One ride at the park featured several brightly colored motorcycles that thunk-thunked where each wooden plank connected to the next on a circular track. There were buzzers on all the bikes that blended into a cacophony of childish zealotry. There were lights in long lines--some blinking, some glaring--wrapping around canopies and climbing poles. I felt light. Riding on a stationary motorcycle at children's speed, I carried away those cares of my parents just like the wind. I hugged myself and rubbed two tiny forearms, content in Cookie Monster, ensconced in a lit summer night.