Brady F. Anderson

Untitled Senior Speech

For context: I delivered this speech in my senior year of high school to a 400-person audience. It was my first public speaking experience. I am still proud that I was able to put together something somewhat coherent about the way I process memories and find the confidence to share them.


Hello everyone! This is kind of weird, I’ve been here since Pre-k and have been watching people perform and talk up here for the past 13 years of my life but never quite imagined myself doing it. What feels most bizarre about attending Colorado Academy since then isn’t how long I have been here or that it’s about to end so soon, but when I see the same buildings and classrooms I grew up in I can’t help but remember some of the various moments that were happened in my life when I was 6 years old as a kindergartner. When I look back on my life from thirteen, fourteen years ago I find that those moments are some of the most important, formative ones in my life. I find it odd because they aren’t profound, they didn’t seem essential when they happened, rather some of the most memorable experiences were like the time I moonlighted as a hoarder in my bedroom.

You see I was a devious little guy, and I usually knew how to finesse my parents into letting me do what I wanted to. But back then I was typically expected to ask for snacks, particularly candy, my parents would say, “alright you can have one,” and not matter what pitch I gave them they didn’t budge from that one candy standard. So I’m sitting in my room munching on my single fun-sized snickers and I’m thinking, you know what I can do… I can just sneak into the pantry and steal all the candy I could possibly want. I’m pretty scared at this point because this is the most risky enterprise I’ve ever considered, this was a big-league heist for a toddler. I make a game plan on how I would sneak into the pantry while my mom was working in her office, not to steal too much at any one time, and take an Almond Joy or Three Musketeers every now and then so there wasn’t a suspicious amount of any one leftover candy. I had one last problem: what do I do with all the wrappers? I knew my mom would definitely notice a sudden influx of candy wrappers in the trash cans; I had to find some alternative way of getting rid of them. I started looking around my room for places where I can hide the wrappers and found a little gap between a cabinet and a desk in my room. It looks like they are almost flush with each other, but there’s just enough room to stuff a wrapper in with a tiny pair of hands. I shoved my snickers wrapper and was pretty satisfied that the wrapper had now disappeared and I wouldn’t have to worry about it ever again. 

I put my plan into motion and this process goes on for months and months, just stealing candy and shoving it into the crack. I even started to believe that when I put a wrapper in there it would magically teleport somewhere because I never saw it again. Jump ahead in time and it’s been about a year since I’ve been doing this, and some toy falls behind the cabinet. I grab my brother who’s about 18 at the time to help me get the toy, and when he shifts the cabinet to get it, the gap opens up between the desk and an absurd deluge of candy wrappers comes spilling out all over my floor. 

I’m just petrified before saying, “Please don’t tell mom.” He reaches in to help clean it out he’s just raking more and more candy wrappers all over the floor until there are several square feet of wrappers several inches high. He calls my other siblings, all six of them, to look at just how much there is and they’re all stunned the sheer amount and asking me some questions. “Why is there so much Brady?!?” I put on my best innocent look and say, “Oh I don’t know kids gotta eat I guess.” “How long have you been doing this?” “Oh a little while I just wanted a snack every now and then.” Then my brother asks, “Are you hiding anything else in this room?” 

And I’m a little terrified because I absolutely was. There were these blue plastic bowls we had at breakfast, and they were the most incredible thing because they had a straw built into the bowl so when finished your cereal you could drink all the leftover milk easily. I decided, in all six long years of my life this is the most genius thing I have ever seen. So genius in fact, that I could be the only one who should be able to use it. My youngest sister, Bridget, who is a year and a half older than myself, and I got to use these bowls in the morning, and I knew I just had to sabotage her breakfast experience and ensure that I was the sole straw bowl recipient. The next you know one of those bowls has gone missing after a dishwasher cycle, weird. Mornings became absolute chaos and crying as fought over the single bowl, but I got it. I got that freaking bowl all to myself. I thought I was king of breakfast for all time. My parents had different ideas and didn’t want another meltdown, they replaced the supposedly lost bowl and peace was restored, but I still wasn’t satisfied with this outcome. Naturally I stole that new bowl too, and that whole process repeated itself until I had about five of these blue bowls hidden in a different place behind the same desk the candy was. 

I come clean about all this to brother and he is confused to no end but helps me get rid of all the candy wrappers and bowls I had accumulated in my room in a sufficiently sneaky way to assure myself that my mom would never found out. I suppose the most surprising part of the whole story is that she never did find out until we told her years later. 

Despite my fear of getting in trouble by her, which I still haven’t grown out of, my mom was and is one of the most wonderful people in my life. The thing I remember about her most when I was little though wasn’t all the times she took care of me, or the bumps and bruises she made feel better, but our daily morning ritual. I was terrified to walk down the stairs, I had this perpetual feeling that I would fall and tumble down on the hard tiled floor below, even though I could walk down any other flight of stairs out there. Every morning my mom would sit next to me on the top stair and we would slide down each step together, one by one, until we got to the bottom. This event came to be known in the house as the butt scoot, and even when I knew I could walk down I would still do it from time to time. 

Anyways one day I get this brilliant idea, I’m thinking, “you know what would be really cool? If you did the butt scoot backwards!” It was a pretty predictable disaster. After about the second step I start somersaulting backwards down the stairs, bang bang bang. At the end of this I’m looking up at the ceiling on that marble floor, and my first thought was, “that didn’t hurt nearly as bad as I always imagined it would.” My second thought was, “wow that was a really stupid thing I just did there,” and I can remember that vividly because it was the first of many times I would say that to myself. I lay there mind-blown for while before the dog came around started furiously licking me which meant it was time to go play tug of war with her. 

My dog Cassy was definitely my best friend, but my parents and older siblings were always surprised about that because she would constantly terrorize me to no end. Cassy loved socks, and more than that she loved my socks, in fact she loved them so much that she developed a technique to rip right off my feet while I was wearing them. Even though Cassy was a shorty jack-russell, she had absurd strength despite her small size and I swear she started plotting when her next sock strike would be. 

There were a few very predictable times when Cassy would start her attack, namely when there was music playing in the house. It would usually be one of two circumstances: either Bridget would high-jack my brother’s CD player for Jackson 5 songs or my other sister Liz would start playing the Charlie Brown Christmas theme on piano. Whatever the case I would drop whatever I was doing and bolt towards the music because I just knew there was a potential dance party I just had to kick off. This made it pretty easy for Cassy, all she had to do was follow the music. What would usually happen is I show up on the scene and start inventing some goofy dance moves and about two seconds later Cassy would fly in for the kill. She would go for the very tip of the sock to make sure she didn’t bite my feet, and then once Cassy got a grip she would yank and pull my feet out from under me. Then this 30 pound dog proceeded to pull me across the floor until she had put a whole in in the sock or stretched it out to a point where she was able to rip it off my feet. For some reason no matter how aggressive she got with it I would just giggle like a madman the entire time, and I remember those music filled free-for-alls as some of the most silly, ridiculous, funny times that happened back then. 

As much as I love these moments and many others, I suppose all I can do with them now is share the kind of delightful feelings hold for me with others. Beyond that what feels odd about them is that they hold no real life lessons, there is no traditional moral to the story. I am a stranger to the person I was then, but thirteen years later I can only look back on that time in my life and identify such goofy, seemingly inconsequential experiences to be the definitive points in my childhood despite lacking inherent meaning. I believe my nostalgia for childhood is imbedded in those moments because they are simply joyful and hilarious, and it is the thread of those characteristics that make them essential. 

Although those moments are locked away in the past, I can say ones like them never stop coming. Another thirteen-ish years from now, when I will be the same distance away from this time in my life as I am from my kindergarten years, I know that I will be able to look back on the life I lead now and find such similar memories. They come about in the most bizarre way: it’s the times when you walk into advisory and find yourself in a heel-clicking competition, and when Cole Smith sends you an unsolicited meme that makes you day that much better. It’s seeing just how much you can heckle Mr. Hammer in Calc without getting in trouble, dressing up as the Wiggles for Halloween with your cross country teammates, and practicing an intricate handshake with Evan Rumsfeld every day. It ranges from the simple connection of a hello and a smile in the hallway to finding yourself 30 minutes deep into a conversation with Mr. T and missing the start of a practice. Those moments are ones that I can’t dissect and analyze as to why I find them important, rather, I can only hold them in awareness and conclude that my sense of happiness is some way derived in their essence. 

Those memories from my childhood will always hold a special place in my mind and heart, but the moments you people make possible everyday are the ones I know when I look back on this part of my life, as I have looked back on my past, will define these years. I guess I’m just trying to say that I love you guys, you are the mentors, friends, teammates, classmates, advisees, and second family who make my day everyday and create all that is awkward, wonderful, funny, and delightful in my life. Thank you, thank you for all that you do to make my life joyful, and all that you continue to be.