Friday, March 19, 2010

legacy of the junky place

As my kids get older, I am beginning to notice certain parallels between their childhood experiences and my own. Of course, they will never have the chance to experience the pure goofy joy that only a child of the 70s can understand, but they have their own spirit of weirdness that will surely serve to someday make them superior to their own offspring.

It will be interesting to see if the parallels I see between my youth and theirs will carry on to the next generation. I’d also like to know if any of this nonsense was employed by the generation that bore us, although I suspect that they were much too sensible for such folly, what with the depressing depression and all.

We had this thing about naming things in a somewhat… shall we say… uninspired manner. There was a corner of our backyard that had no purpose other than to put stuff. It wasn’t like Sanford and Sons stuff, there were no old broken Ford pick ups or dilapidated toilet seats, but it was a place for junk and was thus called… The Junky Place. The other side of our backyard was where you could find The Path. If ever you were lost on a desperate quest to get from Bettswood to Morgan, you needn’t have feared, for there was A Path.

My kids have names for certain areas of our yard and neighborhood as well. There’s The Poo Patch, which needs no further explanation. And there’s Bunny Corner, also no mystery there but you’d better hold tight to the reins when you walk the dog around that bend.

As kids, we once found a dead squirrel still clutching the wee branch that had been unable to save it from the death drop to our front yard. We had a very elaborate funeral service for this poor critter, whom we named “Squirrely Taylor”.

My kids name their stuffed animals. Let’s see, there’s Big. And Little. There’s Yellowey. There’s Brownie. There’s Big Bunny. And of course there’s Art-Art. Say that one out loud, from your diaphragm. Art-Art is a seal.

Tonight when my girl set the table (she remembered everything except silverware), she commented that we always sit in the same spots. I was all: “yeah, those are our SPOTS.” Duh. I had to draw them a diagram of the spots we had around our table of eight growing up. Dad-Ann-Me-Ellie-Mom-Julie-Jane-MB (Counter-clockwise from dad). I only griped briefly about the injustice that forced Jane and me onto the lowly stools. We were too young and insignificant to be worthy of seats with backs. Ageists!

Coreys: my girl offered me the perfect set-up by asking “What shape was your table?” all together now: NICE OVAL!

The most striking evidence of our parallel experiences has got to be the faces. Julie was the master, dedicating countless hours to the perfection of her face contortions in front of the bathroom mirror, but all of us had an unusual tendency to punctuate most sentences with a ligering and inexplicably gooberific face. And God help me, my kids do it too.

But the best one is the singing. Singing along, singing out, and singing things that might more traditionally be said. Tonight, someone sang: “I have fraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaactions in my hoooooooooooooooooooooomework!” Complete with operatic inflections and dramatic arm choreography.

Top that, children of 2030.


Pat Wahlen said...

It is good to know that some childhood things are timeless, but Jackie PLEASE...I was born in 1944 loooong after the depression which was just a phase MY parents used to explain why I had to clean my plate.
Ours was the truly crazy generation of the 60's...groovy man!

Me, You, or Ellie said...

I love it Jacquie. I loved my seat at the dinner table (no stool for *my* ass, thank you very much) and I loved the path and I love your kids' stuff animals (and remember so many tragic moments, trying to get in the car to go somewhere: "Where's Liiittttllllle????") and I *love* them singing out. In opera. I've really got to start doing more of that.

"Now excuuuuuuse me while I take a showwwwwwwwerrrrrrr. Ta-da-da-daaahhhhhhhhhh."


MB said...

What a fun blast of Friday morning nostalgia, Jacq. And it was indeed SUCH a Nice Oval!

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Oh I love this, J!

I've spent all morning trying to remember what my brother and I called various areas of our yard, to no avail. But I do vividly remember towling off super quick after baths, and attempting to run and jump onto our parent's bed before the "bomb" went off. The bomb bing the very loud noise the tub made when the very last of the water drained out.

Regarding stuffed animals, Merrell currently has a bear that she carries with her from home to shchool to other home to school that she calls HeartT, because it has red polkadot hearts alloever and was given to her by T, but this is new for her -- every other stuffed animal, and doll, for the past few years have been named Rosie. Without exception.

Anneke is the singer in our family, she should really get together with your offspring and they could belt some out.