Tag Archives: childhood

Book memories.

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Retrieving our two boxes from the husband’s uncle’s attic last week resulted in a few tears from yours truly. Bittersweet memories overwhelmed me as I unpacked a few of my favorite childhood books.

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I’m not sure how I managed to hold on to these over the years, but flipping through Moldy Warp the Mole immediately transported me back to my father’s lap, listening to that story being read in his marvelously deep and melodic Scottish voice … and I admit my eyes started to leak. No matter how old I am, I’ll always be a daddy’s girl at heart.

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The other books in the box were all over the place subject wise. Civil War buff? Yup. Sap for everything James Herriot wrote? Most definitely.

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As evidenced by another childhood book…Man, Myth and Magic…. I was a strange child. This was a 24 volume series of the supernatural that came out in the ‘70’s. My mother refused to let me have it, so naturally I found book #1 and hid it under my bed.

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Judging from the current listing on eBay, I should have smuggled in the whole set.

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Let’s play.

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It’s time to dive into all those slightly disturbing repressed memories and remember….

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I know most people will pick a horror film like the Exorcist…. and granted, Linda Blair’s spinning head and projectile vomit was enough to keep anyone up at night… but for me there’s only one answer.

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Yes, the heartwarming true story of Elsa the adopted lioness cub that became a beloved pet but had to be released back into the wild when grown damn near wrecked me.

I’m an animal lover to the N’th degree. I rescue the ones I can and weep for the ones I can’t. I come by it naturally as my mother and father were also animal crazy. We always had a houseful of stray pets and wounded birds when I was a child. My father was Scottish, but raised in England. Stiff upper lip et al. He wasn’t a man to give in to his emotions in public, but I saw him weep like a baby at the vet when his beloved dog died. What can I say? We’re animal people.

I can’t watch the commercials about abused pets, I have nightmares and wake up screaming. As a kid I refused to watch Sounder, the Yearling and most of the Lassie tv series. I was a tender hearted young soul.

But when Born Free finally came to television my mother decided it was a good family film and we would all watch it. What the hell was she thinking! I saw elephants and antelopes shot. I saw a woman being eaten by a man eating lion. My mother’s innocent family film turned out to be pretty bloody.

I, like everyone else, fell in love with Elsa the adorable frolicking cub. I loved her even more as she grew to become a proud lioness… and wanted her to live happily with the Adamsons forever. And ever, amen.

Seeing George and Joy forced to set her free had me weeping, openly gasping for breath. I couldn’t shake the sadness. Not that night, or the next. I kid you not… I was one depressed little girl for weeks on end after watching that damn film. And the song? Wow. To this day I can’t hear it without choking up.

So there you have it. Jaws didn’t scare me. Texas Chain Saw Massacre had me chuckling. The Omen? Come on…

But Born Free? That was pure unadulterated trauma.

So how about you? What childhood movie permanently scarred your psyche…

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Let’s play.

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Stop groaning, this one is easy.

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I’m sure I must have seen other movies before this one… we had a lovely old fashioned theater in my hometown complete with velvet covered balcony seating… and I’m sure my mother took me to all the Disney classics, but the first film I have full actual memories of seeing is The Poseidon Adventure.

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It was 1972 and Irwin Allen’s gigantic blockbuster disaster movies were all the rage.

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The premise was simple. Assemble a huge cast and blow them up. Or burn them down. Or in this case, sink them.

I’ve seen the film many times since then ( not by choice, because the husband is always tuned to the old turkey channel ) but my first time will always be special… because I was with my dad.

My late father was not a movie person. Hell, we didn’t even have a television in the house when I was young and when we finally did get one …. it was banished to a small rarely used room.

But on that day my mother was busy and my father offered to take me to the movies. I was an only child, a total daddy’s girl and the mere idea of it was heaven.

We picked the perfect seats and had the perfect snacks. (Hot buttered popcorn and Milk Duds in case you’re wondering) The lights dimmed, the music swelled and I settled in for a wonderful afternoon. I chattered like a magpie in the beginning and my father patiently and quietly answered all my inane questions.

Then it was happening. The actors were in place, the music changed to something ominous and then… the wave. The huge wave was about to sink the ship! It was loud! It was thrilling! People were screaming! Oh, the horror! I glanced over to gauge my father’s reaction to the cinematic magnificence before us….. and saw that he was sound asleep.

I didn’t have the heart to wake him… he worked long stress filled hours as the Vice President of a stock brokerage firm…. so I sat silently and watched the rest of the movie by myself.

He roused near the end, and pretended to have seen the whole thing. I pretended to believe him. And after all these years, it’s still one of the silly little memories of him that makes me cry.

So how about you?

What was the first movie you remember seeing.

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Who remembers these?

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I admit I’m old enough to remember a penny candy store in my hometown. It was pure heaven for a child and the experience went something like this:

1. Your mother gave you a dollar.

2. You jumped on your banana seat Schwinn (with glittered streamers hanging off the handlebars because yeah, girlfriend… you rocked!) and pedaled like mad until you reached a hole in the wall shop by the railroad station.

( It was next to the Wo Lee Laundry run by your friend Wanda’s family. They lived upstairs and her mother didn’t speak a word of English. Poor Wanda missed a lot of childhood events helping her family clean rich people’s clothes. But it’s okay, don’t feel badly. Wanda was one smart cookie and graduated Harvard Med with honors. Somebody’s probably washing her clothes now. 😊)

3. You breathlessly entered the tiny store and the bell over the rickety old door clanged loudly enough to raise the dead. An elderly man hobbled out from the back room and took up position behind a miraculous display case filled with nothing but large jars of candy. He whipped out a small paper bag and said… go!

4. You spent a tense 10-15 minutes getting the mix just right. A dollars worth of penny candy was 100 pieces! 10 Bottle Caps or 15? 5 Pixie Sticks or 5 Razzles? Malted milk balls or Bit O Honey? Chuckles or Necco wafers? These were important decisions.

Most of the candies from my youth are gone, for which my teeth and hips are probably thankful…. but I saw this ad on Facebook last week and damned if it didn’t take me back to the mouth watering anticipation of having a bag filled with 100 pieces of customized candy.

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The original gummy candy. Why fish? Why not….

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If you’ve ever sucked on a root beer barrel? You know the exquisite combination of pleasure and pain. To hell with S&M kinky sex, slicing your tongue open on a razor sharp sliver of this sugar filled deliciousness is the very definition of ‘so bad, it’s good’.

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Nope. Those putrid pillowy abominations never made it into my bag. Uh uh.

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Lots of kids loved these, but I’m anti nut and always took a hard pass.

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Melt in your mouth little pockets of goodness right there. If I’m ever lucky enough to see them on the hostess stand as I exit a restaurant? I make everyone grab a handful and fill my purse with the bounty. Some opportunities can not be overlooked.

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Can I get an awww?

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Our farming neighbors across the street are awesome people. Honest, hard working, nature loving, alternative lifestyle vegetarians who raise their kids the old fashioned way… no tv, no cell phones, just plenty of love and imagination. As witnessed by this letter and treasure map they mailed to the two little boys who live down the road.

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Now how fun is that?

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Pandemic humor.

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Because I’m still here and still trying to find the humor in it.

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I remember climbing over seats into the back of our station wagon and sticking my feet out the rear window while my parents barreled down the Jersey Turnpike to the shore. How the hell did any of us survive to adulthood?

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This is why we’re not traveling. People be morons.

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Now if someone could just tell me how I can apply Dizzy Izzy…. my life will be complete.

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Good grief, I hope not. That will seriously impede my martini consumption.

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A Merry Christmas to all.

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Wherever you are and however you choose to celebrate, I hope it brings you joy. There’s been a decided lack of that this year… and I doubt I’m alone when I say I’m ready to kiss 2020 goodbye.

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Our holiday will be small and quiet, and in true 2020 fashion the only thing Santa saw fit to bring me this year was a torrential rain storm with 65 mph winds that will melt the snow, cause a power outage, and make our ceiling spout water like the Bellagio’s fountain. Good times!

But my husband and I have our health… and each other. I can’t ask for more.

So instead of boring you with some sappy Christmas post, I’ll leave you with two pictures.

1. Is it any wonder this was one of the Christmas cards I sent out this year?

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I think not.

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2. A little blast from the past…. yours truly on Santa’s lap.

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It’s the only such photo I have, as my mother told me I ditched St. Nick at a very early age and refused visits after this one. To those who know me well, this shouldn’t come as any surprise.

Ho! Ho! Hmm….

Pass the eggnog.

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Oddly enough….

 

When I think of lawn ornaments?

Mr. Potato Head is not the first thing that comes to mind.

 

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And while I love a good spud with my steak as much as the next person…

 

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I can’t say I’d want this bigger than life fellow greeting me at my door every night.

 

 

 

Maybe so.

But I’m old enough to remember this creepy vintage playground Potato Head.

 

 

And stand by my statement.

No thank you!