My Favorite Childhood Place

Tuan-Dung Nguyen


            My first home in Vietnam had a lovely rooftop which was my favorite place during my childhood.  At the front of the rooftop, there were many Thai Plumeria flowers in two flower boxes attached to the front railing.  My parents also planted an Ochna Integerrima tree in a metal barrel filled with fertilizer in the center of the rooftop.  Against the wall at the back of the rooftop, there was a water tub made of bricks and cement with a faucet attached to it so that they could get water to take care of flowers.  The rooftop was pretty large, cool and windy, so whenever there was a blackout in my house, my family would go there to get away from the heat.  I had a view of my entire neighborhood from this rooftop, for it was above the third floor.  Every afternoon, I would go to the rooftop to relax after school.  Looking down the street, I could see the neighbor kids playing soccer.  Near my house, there was a bakery.  The people working there often prepared and baked cakes in the afternoon, so I could smell the delicious aroma of the cakes wafting through the air from this rooftop.  The rooftop was so quiet and comfortable that every time my parents had an argument, or after I was punished for doing something wrong, I would go there to seek a tranquil atmosphere until things got better.  Sometimes, I would go with my neighbor friends to a neighbor’s house where we could pluck the leaves from the Vietnamese Eucalyptus trees.  Then we made a soapy liquid from  those leaves and put it in small jars.  After that, we went to the rooftop and blew our homemade bubbles over the rooftop.  It was fun to watch those colorful bubbles floating in the air.  During the summer, especially at noon, the rooftop became so hot that it would burn my feet, and I couldn’t continue standing there for more than fifteen minutes.  Now, even though I live in the United States, there is still no place comparable to that rooftop, the place where I spent precious moments during  first years of my life.