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Childhood Memories and Imagination: Driving Forces in the Fight Against Alzheimer's

Updated: Jun 10

As a child, I remember spending summer days using my imagination and pretending to be a school bus driver while riding my bike with the white basket in the front and the tassels on each handlebar. After riding for extended periods, I would stop and use the right tassel as a makeshift door opener to let kids on and off the bus. Even though I was the last grandchild my grandmother would nurture, I never felt alone or lonely as a little girl. She challenged me to use my imagination, and so I did. 



When my little brother would come for visits during the summer, I was the head chef, and he was the architect. We would play outside for hours in the heat and never seem to be bothered by the summer temperatures. As my brother constructed our home with no roof or siding, he would gather different sizes of sticks and straw and lay out each room. The front yard was adorned with wildflowers and dandelions that we pulled from the grass and replanted in our make-believe front yard. For dinner, I would mix red clay dirt with water and sit it in the sun to bake for use as cornbread. I would rip green tree leaves to use as collard greens and add small broken sticks for meat. A similar mixture of dirt and water was used to make layered cakes. You can’t tell me that my brother and I weren’t the original HGTV designer and Top Chef!


Childhood Oak Tree
Childhood Oak Tree

We would sit on the grounds for hours and talk about our future and what we would be when we grew up until our grandmother would call us to eat lunch. There were days we ran throughout the field facing the main highway counting the cars and big trucks taking turns telling one another which car belonged to the other. What great memories!


Summer days were long and filled with sunshine, great memories, and love. On rainy days, we would sit under the big oak tree in the front yard until the rain got heavy, and then we would run to the front porch that extended the entire length of the wood-framed house. We loved to tilt our heads backward and let the rain droplets fall on our faces and into our mouths, hold out our hands, and feel the raindrops glide through our fingers.


Today, as the start of summer approaches, we recognize another long day whose memories may not seem as pleasant: Alzheimer’s disease. On June 20, many of us will participate in different activities to fight against the darkness of the disease. With nearly seven million Americans (6.7 million to be exact) living with Alzheimer’s disease and the number continuing to increase, we must keep fighting.


Reflecting on my childhood, I appreciate my grandmother encouraging me to use my imagination. Imagination keeps me focused and fighting to educate others about the disease, promote awareness, and make every month a great month for Alzheimer’s awareness!

Sandra Kiser
Sandra Kiser





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