Tag Archives: childhood

where hobbies, hijinks, and capers go bad = my childhood #2

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another day, another hobby.

in the late 60s

this was a book that i longed to own

i loved to get mail and loved to get free things

what could go wrong?

i used my saved-up coins to send in for the book

and could not wait to begin using it

i read it from cover to cover

marking pages, checking off favorites

 began writing notes, stuffing envelopes, and ordering things

using stamps that i found in a junk drawer

before i knew it i had a small collection of

weird government brochures, lists of tips, tables, charts, and recipes

none of which were really of any use to me

but i didn’t care what any of it was

as long as it came in the mail and it was free

my pile grew and grew

until it didn’t

when once again

i realized that i had no income

had used all of my money to buy the book

and had no way

to buy any more of the stamps

that i needed

to send in my requests

to get free things.

what i really needed were unlimited free books of stamps

and it was on to the next ill-fated hobby for me…

“sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.” 

-albert einstein

 

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where hobbies, hijinks, and capers go bad = my childhood #1

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it began with the arrival of a letter when i was seven years old

with stamp on it that looked different from any i had ever seen

so beautiful and very exotic

and it came from my nana

who lived far away from michigan, in the exotic land of florida.

i thought that it was beautiful

and i decided then and there to become a stamp collector.

i cut that stamp from the envelope and glued it into a notebook.

not long after

i saw an offer to join a monthly stamp collecting club

in my archie comic book

and i noticed, as  i went to send in the offer

 that a parent had to sign it

so i asked my dad to give me his autograph on a piece of scrap paper

cut it out and glued it onto the form

(an early foray into my ill-fated attempts at a criminal career)

added in 99 cents from my piggy bank

and i was off to the races.

i eagerly awaited the day my first stamps would arrive

i had chosen some beauties and i ran home every day

hoping to find them in the mail

and on one glorious day – they were waiting for me!

i tore open the envelope

excitedly looked through them

licked them and placed them in my book

already looking forward to the next month’s arrival.

no one in my family was a collector

so i was taken by surprise when i showed them off to my friend’s older sister

who told me that real collectors only put them in cases

never touch them, and would never, ever lick them

– or they would instantly be made worthless!

i was quite taken aback

as it had never occurred to me that

this would be the reason people collected them

i had thought of them more as a collection of tiny beautiful pictures,

pieces of art, from places far away –

new guinea, finland, new zealand and even the legendary land of  canada

i had chosen flowers, and children, and animals, and pretty designs

with no interest at all in old president’s heads, history, nor with any regard for value.

my version of ‘stamp collecting’ was simply collecting my favorites

and keeping them all in one place, in my special notebook.

i have always loved a mix of patterns and colors and collages of things.

the other thing i had not considered at all

was that i had no income

and would have to continue to pay in order to continue to receive stamps

the next month, when my new set arrived

i gathered more change together, put it in an envelope,

and of course it was never received.

they sent a new batch of stamps along with a due bill and i was panicked

still without any source of income

always waiting for them to show up at the door to tell my parents and to collect.

by the third month,

i simply collected envelopes that came from them

affixed with boring american stamps,

filled with letters, asking me to pay up

and my stamp collecting hobby fell by the wayside.

though i still have a great appreciation for beautiful stamps

and love licking them to put on handwritten letters that i send to places all over the world.

“synonyms for collectable postage stamps: “sticky treasures,”

“collection of paper heads,” “pretty bits of paper,” and “colorful scraps.”

-alan brandley – The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

 

crushed.

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i will never forget that day in the 70s

my brother was going to windsor

to sit in the studio audience

of the bozo the clown show

 watching it filmed live

 the whole neighborhood

had a vested interest in his visit

besides it being so cool to see him on tv

we assumed and expected that

he would be chosen from the audience

for a chance to toss the beanbags into the buckets

and win the bozo grand prize game

this was going to be the best day ever

we knew he was going to win the jungle gym

and our backyard would be

the new official headquarters of endless fun

we ran home from the bus after school

and gathered around the tv

in our family room

to watch it all play out

we could hardly contain ourselves

 it began just as we planned

he was chosen for the big game

 then 

he lost on the final toss

that never made it into the bucket

bozo gave a quick chuckle

a wink, a pat on the back

 he had won the second prize

a 6-pack of orange crush 

the family room went silent for a minute

as we realized that

our yard would not be undergoing any major change

and we’d have to find a way to share the pop.

(post below found on a bozo fan club site):
Posted on Monday, November 20, 2006 – 8:32 pm:   

‘I went to see Bozo around 1972-73 also. One of the things that stands out was taking the tunnel to Canada. I also recall getting there late and having to be separated from my two cousins in the seating area. I was wedged in near the top and had to deal with some Girl Scouts kicking me in the back throughout the show. To this day when a Girl Scout asks me if I want to buy some cookies I tell them to go to hell. I don’t forget easy.’

“i’m in competition with myself and i’m losing. “

-roger waters

credits: cklw-tv, womc radio-motor city moments,

mayo playground – archives, pre-1920s, pinterest

magical fathering.

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children’s book author roald dahl and his daughter, lucy

What If Willy Wonka Was Your Dad?

Roald Dahl’s Magical Parenting With Food

“food was a huge part of our upbringing,” lucy dahl says. her father delighted his children with fanciful “midnight feasts” in the woods and often used mealtime to test out new characters from stories he was working on.

three-course dinner chewing gum.
fizzy lifting drinks.
everlasting gobstoppers.

these, of course, are the creations of willy wonka, who himself is the creation of author roald dahl.  food is a huge part of his work, and as it turns out, dahl’s creative and sometimes twisted approach to food wasn’t confined to his books.

“food was a huge part of our upbringing,” says dahl’s daughter lucy.
tn this week’s episode of the sporkful podcast, ahead of father’s day, lucy shares stories of the witch’s potions that accompanied bedtime, the cabbage her father said came straight from the queen’s garden, and being woken up in the middle of the night to eat chocolate.

“everything about our childhood was eccentric,” she says, “although we didn’t realize it at the time because it was just normal to us.” lucy dahl is 51 now, but she still bursts with childlike glee when she recalls her father’s “midnight feasts.”

he’d wake the kids up in the middle of the night and pile them into the car – which was full of hot chocolate and cookies – and drive them up the road in the english countryside where they lived.
then they’d walk in to the woods in their pajamas to look for badgers.

“you couldn’t talk, and he’d say, ‘nobody move! and if you’ve got an itch, blow on it. try and hold your breath, try not to breathe!’ ” lucy recalls. “and sure enough, mr. badger would come prowling out and walk right past us. it was incredibly exciting.”only once they had seen an animal could they tuck in to their sweet feast.”and then,” lucy says, “we’d all go home, back to bed, delighted.”

roald dahl kept his kids entertained during normal eating hours, too. he often used mealtime to test out new characters from stories he was working on.”the minpins lived in the woods beyond our house,” lucy remembers, referring to one of her father’s last books, about a tiny people who live inside trees. “the BFG – the big friendly giant – lived underneath our orchard. it all coincided with what we ate. for breakfast were minpins’ eggs and fried bread. but what they actually were were quail eggs.”

just as roald dahl used stories to bring food to life at home, he used food to bring characters to life in his books. willy wonka’s fizzy lifting drinks aren’t just a fun idea – they also tell us something about who he is. in fantastic mr. fox, the three mean farmers who are out to get mr. fox are described only by their body shapes and their diets.

so this father’s day, wake your kids up in the middle of the night, take them into the woods in their pajamas to look for badgers, load them full of chocolate, then put them back to bed.

“even though you’re growing up,

you should never stop having fun. “

– nina dobrev

 

credits: npr, the spoon, the sporkful, dan pashman, m.haircloth

shhhh….

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this is where it all began

my lifelong love and fascination

with the spy business

in this just-leaked satellite photo from the early 60’s

i was on assignment

and

my cover was

as a seven year old girl

posing casually out front

after a long day spent at the office

i feel quite sure no one suspected.

“i think I would have been a hopeless spy. i love telling stories and am almost entirely unable to keep a secret.”

-ben macintyre

a sudden reversal of fortune.

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happy-animals-12

this was lj’s response

as i broke the news

that i’d saved him

a birthday treat

  his classmate

had brought in

 the day before

when he had been absent

rabbit the penguin

i’m sure

he imagined

a

wonderful treat

such as this

giant cupcake

as big as his head

all gooey chocolate

and rainbow sprinkles

and wonderful goodness

so

he closed his eyes tight

in giddy anticipation

and waited

protein-bar

and then

i came back

with this

 beige

healthy

granola bar

treat

gluten

wheat

sugar

dairy

nut

taste

free

tumblr_static_6wm4qk7s0r8cwcg40wcw4008_1280_v2and

this was lj’s response

as soon as he saw it

and

took it all in

and

his eyes

got big

and

started

to

fill with water

and

his head

went down

and

it was

the letdown

of the century

food should be fun.
– thomas keller

all pics courtesy of google images