Until I was in the first grade, we used to live with my grandma in Riverside. I don’t remember the back yard much, but I remember she used to pick strawberries in the summer and give them to me to eat. I also remember my mother picking bunches of a peculiar fruit from a tree. I remember her hands. She would peel the thin skin of the fruit and plop them into my mouth. They tasted creamy, seedy, and subtly sweet. I loved this fruit, but I didn’t know what it was and the memory of it faded with its taste.
Some recent years ago, maybe in college when I did my own grocery shopping, I came across the fig at a store. I saw its odd shape and immediately had a flashback of my mom peeling the fruit. I bought a bunch and sliced one open to see its innards — a creamy border with bursting seeds, just as I had remembered; that fruit from my memory was the so-called fig. I plopped one into my mouth, and sure enough, it tasted like my childhood.
It finally made sense why I loved Fig Newtons. Never had my mind made the correlation between figs and Fig Newtons until I made the connection between the memory and the actual fruit and the fruit that made the snack so appealing. Creamy, seedy, and subtly sweet.
Every year when early fall rolls along, I remember the taste of my childhood fruit.