18 Stories That Might Make You Wonder How We All Survived Childhood

People Are Sharing The “Childhood Mysteries” They Didn’t Figure Out Until Later In Life

Childhood is full of wonder and mystery—mostly because we lack the capacity to really comprehend what is going on around us.

Anything can seem magical or strange, even the most mundane things. Especially around the holiday season, kids find themselves confronting the concept of Santa Claus—and parents wondering when they should tell their kids the truth.

On Reddit, people are sharing their childhood mysteries and when they ended up discovering the truth.

Some are funny, some are kind of touching—like when one mom who couldn’t afford expensive birthday treats managed to make “magic castles” for her kids from a surprising source. 


“My dad used to occasionally burst out with this one line of a song: ‘…said Barnacle Bill the Sailor…’ Only ever that line. When I was 6 or so I asked him why and he said it was an old drinking song that was absolutely filthy and I was too young to hear the rest of it. This continued once or twice a year until I was 18. I told him I was an adult now and he could tell me the rest of the song. I distinctly remember him looking up from the newspaper, sighing and folding it then going, ‘The truth is I can never remember the rest of the song.’ And then went right back to reading the newspaper.” — dabbit-secondus


“The weird smell that I referred to as a “stinky cheese smell” were probably a symptom of seizures. I would happen maybe twice a year, it’s not really like cheese, it’s like a smell that isn’t a smell. Idk how to even describe it. It was so minor parents disregarded it. I can remember it starting in 2nd grade. I suddenly started having it a lot more as an adult when I hit 28 and got diagnosed two years later after symptoms became way more extreme. Makes so much sense now!” — lavish-harmonica


“The entire time I lived in my childhood home, my mom hid my Christmas presents in her ‘secret hiding place’ she made it sound mystical and mysterious a few months ago a while after I moved out, she finally told me what the secret hiding place actually was, the Christmas tree box in a cabinet in the garage she would replace the Christmas tree with my presents when she put the tree up.” — Dragonsbreath67


“One day my friend was over in my house playing video games. My mom called us over to her room to help flip the mattress over. So we did. We then went to another friend’s house. My mom calls that friend and says, ‘there was two 20 dollar bills on top of the dresser, did you get them.’ I said no, I asked my friend, he said no. Like 5 minutes later, my friend says if we want to go to the toy store because he has 40 dollars, in two 20 dollar bills. I say yes and we go and he buys me a yo-yo or something. It took me YEARS to finally realize that my friend stole the money.” — HurricaneHugo


“I remember being about 8, and in the car with my dad. I was in the front seat and we were driving somewhere, and this song came on the radio. He cranked it and said something about it being the best guitar playing ever. He really jammed out, which was really uncharacteristic because he was usually so stoic. It was the only time I heard the song, and he died before I could ever ask him what song it was. When I asked around, no one knew wtf I was talking about or what song I was thinking of. So I had this melody in my head for years, but how do you look up a song that has no lyrics? So for years and years, this song stayed on the back burner in my brain. I was afraid to forget it. Somehow this story pops up when I’m like 26 or so, chatting with my husband and we searched YouTube for ‘best guitar songs.’ After about 15 minutes, we find it. Cliffs of Dover was the song that I’d burned into my brain on repeat for 16 years. Now I jam out to it with my kids.” — 1thruZero


“When I was in elementary school, I always wondered what the teachers staff room was like. It seemed so mysterious – and I remember trying to get a peek anytime I walked by and the door would open. Later became a teacher and can fully confirm they’re dull, often toxic spaces full of cranky teachers complaining about students.” — ktemw


“When I was younger, like 4 or 5, my family had a pet turtle. One day the turtle went missing and my parents told me it climbed the wall in our backyard and went to the creek behind our house. I, being a naive toddler child, did not question this logic. Fast forward to when I was 17 and driving with my mom in the car. We saw a tortoise crossing the street and I was suddenly thrown back to my memory of us having a pet turtle. I pulled over to save the tortoise and was all, ‘OMG MOM TURTLES CAN’T CLIMB WALLS! WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR TURTLE?!’ Came to find out it had burrowed a hole in our lawn and my dad didn’t notice it until after he ran it over with a lawn mower, obviously it was easier to pick up the pieces and tell your kid it climbed the wall than admit you murdered it with a lawn mower.” — DemigodApollo


“I visited my dad when I was 6 or 7 years old at the place where he worked, or so I was told. I remember remarking at the time, and people laughed at me, because I said it looked just like a prison. The people laughing were the guards and I was indeed visiting my dad at Terminal Island federal correctional institution where he was a federal inmate.” — Grokker999


“Growing up I always insisted I liked the mashed potatoes at my grandma’s house better than the ones my mom made at home. My grandma once told me it’s because she uses a special recipe. I found out last year that my mom hand mashes her potatoes. My grandma just gets the Betty Crocker boxed s**t. Her special recipe I was gonna get what she dies is Betty f**king Crocker.” — mapleleafness09


“My Mother, who passed about in 2009, used to make a meat loaf every single year on groundhogs day. Every single year. Every single year she would tell us it was ground hog and I always thought it just tasted like ground beef, but I was kid. Im 33 now. Last year….last year I said something to my brother about it and asked if he knew where mom got the ground hog. I wanted to do that for son. My brother had no idea what I was talking about. I told him about it and he started laughing, my wife started laughing, my own son, who didn’t know why, started laughing. Mom got me good, mystery solved. It was just regular meat loaf.” — jthomas287