A few years ago Adam gave me an odd gift, a bright pink pillow case with a horse skull on it. It quickly became one of my favorite things and every night as it lay before me on the bed, welcoming me into the promise of slumber with a toothy grin, my spirits lift and my head finds its eager rest upon the pink casing, the skull so familiar now it's like a dreamtime friend.
Affectionate thoughts of this pink skull pillowcase eventually led way to memories of a previous favorite pillowcase from childhood, and ebay, the land where lost childhoods go to be reclaimed, assisted me once again in finding this beloved artifact, the Garfield and Odie pillowcase.
When I was a kid my cousins used to spend most of their summer vacation at my house. They were boys so the amenities at the Corp house were more appealing than anything that could be offered at their own. At my house we had the woods and the lake and the basketball hoop. At my house, we had the Nintendo. Much of our activities in the summer were things like playing Zelda, fishing, exploring the woods, and trying to gross each other out, mostly in the form of chasing me with snakes. But once in a great while I lobbied, for whatever reason, that we spend the weekend at their house, and there we played one of the greatest games of my adolescence, Flash Match. Here was a game that with its vivid photos and strange music, influenced the way I perceived my childhood for years to come.
Flash Match was a memory game that you played by using the VCR (advanced technology!). I never really knew the name of this game, I was a kid and didn't care about such details, if memory serves (ha, get it?) I used to request the game by simply (begging/demanding)asking to play that cool video tape game. My cousins and I were terrible at this game, it was a game geared toward adults so our small kid brains practically burst from the seizure-inducing flashing photos that seemed to be in the millions and going a hundred miles an hour. But I didn't care, I just wanted to see those captivating pictures and hear that strange music. And as with most things in a child's life, things that once meant the world to me slowly disappeared from my life the older I became, especially when they belonged to someone else.
When I was a kid I was obsessed with stuffed animals. While I had many of them, I was also very particular about which ones I wanted and which of them I had no interest in. The majority of them were purchased for me, as a gift of some sort, and I always loved those ones because then they were already mine and it was up to me to give them a good home. But if I was to pick them out myself, I required a connection with them, an instant bond, just any stuffed fur wouldn't do. There weren't many of my cherished stuffed animals that I'd chosen for myself, in fact I can only think of a few, but that didn't diminish my love for the ones gifted to me, and this story is about one such love.
I'll place my age at around eight, though it's really impossible to tell for sure anymore, the days before boobs and boys kind of run together in one lump of sugar-high toy-crazed time. But for the sake of storytelling, we'll say I was eight. Yay, eight! For Christmas one year my aunt gave me a Christmas themed stuffed bear. He was quite large, about 15 inches tall, was white like a polar bear, and wore a red winter hat and a red winter scarf. Nevermind the fact that he wore no other clothes, how a thin hat and scarf would protect him from the cold were beyond me. I suppose that's what my loving arms and python-death squeeze was for, so he wouldn't die of hypothermia of the stuffing. But the most remarkable feature on this bear was that his heart, a hard plastic red thing, was on the outside of his chest! It was some crazy medical condition this bear had but I was sworn to love him regardless. In place of the heart that was supposed to be inside of his chest, was a music box. From within the music box short snippets of Christmas music would play when you pressed on the bear's paws. The music was tinny and had a kind of new computer synthesized sound to it, and the songs were only short popular verses of longer well known Christmas tunes and they played one right after the other for two or three songs, a quiet 'click' of the mechanical organs sounding after each. And his heart glowed. It glowed red when the songs played.
I was going to blog about work, about how I had to spend an entire morning/afternoon interviewing people and how I found the entire process odd, unsavory, and extremely satisfying. Now I finally understand what He-Man was boasting about all those years, power is... well, intoxicating. But that's all boring compared to the news my mother told me yesterday. She said to me five magic words, "I shipped your Barbie stuff." My heart transformed into a jack rabbit and my voice was suddenly five octaves higher. "You did?!" I squealed, "You really did?! Oh thank you thank you thank you!" It was some time ago that I'd asked my mother to ship my Barbie collection to me, now that we have the space to accommodate the two large boxes worth of my childhood Mattel obsession I felt that our reunion, Barbie and mine, was long overdue.
I don't think I qualified as your average Barbie player. Rarely did she and Ken go on dates, she definitely was never married, nor did she play mother. Instead I pretty much copied the adventures that were so dear to me in cinema. She hunted treasure in the jungle like Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone. We lived on 28 acres of land, most of it being woods, so Barbie would pack up her Jeep and we'd go back to the stream where she'd ride the rapids and get separated from Michael Douglas (Ken). "You've got the stone!" she'd cry. "Well you've got the map!" he'd retort. I even made a small treasure map to fold and slip into her backpack, and the famous stone was a plastic gem I extracted from some costume jewelry.
My affair with the No Bake cookie started in Junior High. At least twice a week those wonderful magical women who served as the cooks in the school cafeteria crafted these delicious little morsels for the grubby hands of adolescence to greedily snatch and place on their plastic lunch trays next to the likes of a sloppy joe or macaroni. With little to look forward to in my Junior High career (note school bully, a tale for another time), the No Bake cookie was one of my delicious joys that even the wretched white trash douche bag Patti Lumm (yes that's her real name, die bitch!) couldn't take away from me. Imagine my delight when one day in Home Ec the assignment was to make No Bake cookies using the recipe from the school kitchen! I hurriedly copied the recipe on notebook paper and stuffed it into my Lisa Frank trapper keeper, a treasure for the summer to come.
That summer, and every summer after, my sister and I would make No Bake cookies and lay in the basement where it was cooler and watch soap operas on the small black and white TV, eating No Bake cookies until our fingers were stained brown and there was nary a piece of cocoa-covered oatmeal left on the bottom of the dish. You know, now that I think about it my entire childhood existence was punctuated by memorable and delicious deserts, like my mother's homemade chocolate fudge, rice krispy treats, hot vanilla pudding with banana slices and vanilla wafers, hot cocoa with half of the mug filled with tiny melting marshmallows, No Bake cookies, Little Debbie's oatmeal creme pies at my grandmother's house, and brown paper bags filled with drug store candy. I really dodged a childhood obesity/diabetic bullet there. Anyways. The point is the No Bake cookie was a damn fine cookie and one that gave this little girl from Michigan much joy.