We all have days or moments that take us back in time, when a sudden and unbidden memory fills you with its imagery and emotion.

I noticed today’s date, March 15, the Ides of March.

I have never paid much attention to the meaning of that phrase (other than we should beware of ‘em…or at least Julius Caesar should have been…) – but the phrase itself is something I’d first heard when I was a little girl…

For kindergarten through 2nd grade, I attended Public School 86 in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was a K-8 two-story school just 3 blocks from my home, so I walked there every day, including home for lunch and back again for afternoon classes. Safety patrols, of which my brother Mark was one, were stationed at the busy street crossings along the way, to guide us safely to and from our neighborhood public school.

I didn’t know what “the Ides of March” meant in the least, but it somehow came up in conversations I overheard around the school in connection with – and now here’s the real heart of my memory – MARCH MARKET!


March Market was held every year on the Friday nearest March 15 (for whatever reason). And today when I noticed the date – suddenly, out of the blue, totally unbidden…and 60 years (60 years!!!) after I last experienced it – I was flooded with memories of March Market at P.S.86.

What I remember is –

  • The school was transformed! Decorations, activity booths, refreshment stations, sales booths…
  • The EXCITEMENT! – Regular classes and schedules disappeared, there was a carnival-like atmosphere, classrooms and hallways were absolutely transformed (yes, I will repeat that word – it was intoxicating!)
  • AND, we got to go to areas of the school normally either off-bounds or just not part of a kindergarten-through-second-grader’s normal school territory and experience!
  • Games to play and win prizes at.
  • The booths/tables of little glass/ceramic animal figurines for sale (and there began my childhood love of collecting and playing with them).
  • Mixing with the big kids in the hallways of the basement, going from activity to activity – it was both confusing and thrilling!
  • And best of all (mostly because my big brother Mark thought they were best of all, therefore I did, too!) were the LEMON STICKS!!

We even convinced Mom to make them at home sometimes in the summer – SCORE!

But to be honest, they were best when gotten at March Market – when they were an exciting part of the whole exciting thing.

Today I sat here at my desk, with tears of…I dunno…untold and unnamed emotions and images and memories…
What might do that for you?

For me it was March Market and Lemon Sticks. What memory might spring to mind for you right now – that could be full of images, emotions, stories?…

What are your Lemon Sticks today?!

Enjoy – enjoy the memories, and enjoy the now.

All the best,



P.S. I did a little online research (…and more on that in an upcoming post…), and I learned that apparently Lemon Sticks are a Baltimore thing – ! Maybe someone on 86’s PTA was from Baltimore?

I also found a recipe…but basically, you wash a lemon, roll it around to loosen the fibers and juices, then cut a little hole in one end and jam in a porous peppermint stick (an “old-fashioned peppermint stick”).

Some people cut the lemons in half, but my experience was always with wonderful whole lemons. Then hold the fruit, suck on the end of the peppermint stick (you might have to or want to bite off the end first). At first you’ll only taste peppermint – yum enough…But eventually the lemon juice will be drawn up through the candy, and it’s the most yum of all, and more fun than lemonade! So great for spring and summer.