On winter afternoons my mind often wanders to the warmth of treasured memories, to places and things my kids never knew and for that I feel sad.
I feel sad they never had a Popeye doll. In my early years, I developed an intense crush on my spinach-eating hero. I watched Popeye cartoons constantly, over and over and over again. I had a Popeye jack-in-the-box and I would coerce my dear friend Patty to being Olive Oil to my Popeye in pretend games. Sad but true, in their childhood, my children never had a cartoon hero that they actually wanted to marry when they grew up.
Hot summer days, sitting under the elm tree in our front yard, cutting out the latest fashions to dress my paper dolls in: I can almost smell the grass and hear the cicadas as I dreamily float through this memory. Similar were Color-forms! I loved Color-forms. They entered my life as a sickbed diversion and exited my childhood as a dear diversion filled with imagined tales and stories.
Ah – Barbie! I adored my Barbie and her case-full of clothes. I was meticulous about hanging them using little plastic Barbie hangers and keeping track of all accompanying shoes and accessories. I had Barbie’s friends Ken, Midge and Skipper as well as the Barbie Dream House and pink Barbie sports car. I spent hours coming up with stories and dramas involving all the Barbie characters. It was a wonderful world to escape into. My daughter had a Barbie doll, but she never appreciated it like I did. In fact, she never really played with it and certainly never made up all the stories that I did when I lost myself in play. I feel sad for her.
Horses – my passion, my dream, my obsession even to this day. In my simple childhood world, everything was a horse: my bicycle, snowbanks where I so carefully crafted saddle with stirrups, and the best of all: gym horses with their leather coverings so like a saddle. I drew horses all over my school notebook. But I was a lousy artist, so I mostly traced from one of my bookcase full of treasured horse books. I never could understand why my parents wouldn’t give me a horse that we could keep in our little city backyard and garage. I now have a horse and I do not keep him in my little city backyard and garage.
There were so many magical things in my childhood filled with dreams and simple things. Perhaps my children feel they have also had childhoods filled with magical things, and I hope so, but I bet I have them beat .. and that makes me feel sad.