When I was mashing up avocados with lime juice and salt the other day to satisfy my craving for guacamole, my kids asked if they could keep the pits. I suggested we sprout them and showed them how to poke toothpicks into the pits and balance them in a glass of water with the pointed end up and the round end sitting in the water. I had no idea that our little experiment would send me on a trip down memory lane.
As a kid, I spent my summers living in California while my dad did research at a physics laboratory in the Bay Area. Around 1976, we spent an entire year there when my dad took a sabbatical. We rode the ferry to Sausalito, feasted on hot fudge sundaes at Ghiradelli square and sat on the Berkeley pier eating clam chowder from Spanger’s. Every summer, we took backpacking trips along the coast of Point Reyes, fished in the Truckee river near Lake Tahoe and explored the High Sierras. I was a lucky kid.
The funny thing is, what I remember as clearly as all those adventures is that we almost always had an avocado seed sitting in our kitchen window and now, every time I look at our science experiment, I think about my mom and the summers of my youth. Maybe I’ll try to keep an avocado pit growing in my kitchen from May to August so that some day, one of my kids will show their own children how to sprout an avocado pit and remember our summers together.