The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Nostalgialistic: The sound of childhood

Transported back to the park across the street

As it gets warmer out and the birds return to their nests, walking to my 9 a.m. class now includes a symphony of different chirps. 

There is nothing I enjoy more than looking up while I’m walking and seeing different birds jump from branch to branch. As I walk around campus, I look up at the trees, trying to match the song with the artist. I love looking up at the sky and finding different birds flying around. The crows with their Poe-esque aura, the geese over the river, a woodpecker outside my dorm. 

Until I heard it. 

Four notes and suddenly, I was nine again, back in the park across the street from my childhood house. 

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A three-toned whistle finished by a lower cheep made me stop in my tracks. After listening for a while, I realized it was not a song at all: it was a call. 

The four notes were actually two being called back and forth, a conversation between birds in different trees. Toot-tu, one would call. Toot-toot, the other responds. It was a love song. 

Every time I hear it I can’t stop my mind from going back to my childhood park, the walks with my dog, the playground where my sister would swing for hours on end.

I think of that park as my favorite place. An oasis, the park is the highlight of a very chaotic childhood. As a kid, I waited eagerly for Wednesday to come, as it meant my grandma would pick me up from school, and we would play in the park until it got too dark out. 

When I was a kid, behind the swing set sat a dirt mountain, and I was small enough that climbing it felt like a huge success. I would look at my grandma from the top, triumphant, and the bird would sing. 

Later, in middle school, the park became the meeting place for most of my hangouts. My best friend and I would buy ice cream and walk around. We would spend whole afternoons looking at the vendors, and the craft jewelry. We’d observe tourists, and dog walkers, a family, a couple of lovers making out under a tree. And the birds would sing. 

During the coronavirus pandemic, all the people disappeared and the once lively and ever-buzzing park became a sort of abandoned place, with no street musicians or little kids running around to make it feel like it did in my memories. And in the silence, the birds would sing. 

The summer of my sophomore year in high school I moved to a different state. A quiet place with a new park and new birds, and I forgot all about the chirpy singer that played in the background of all my childhood memories. 

Now, every day I relive those fond memories, and I cannot help but smile to myself when I hear the melody. As cheesy as it might sound, it has brought me closer to a version of myself I have buried in my mind, a younger self I almost wanted to forget. “Too-tu,” I sing. “Toot-toot,” little me calls back. 

Orozco can be reached at [email protected]. 

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