This Fantastic Friday post is a trip down memory lane. First stop is seven years ago, when Mom broke up housekeeping. Second stop is almost fifty years ago. Third stop is the present, with the pictures framed and on the wall, as the new photo above shows.
I’m a sucker for old stuff. And a whole bunch of old stuff found its way to our place after Mom sold her house last March. My original plan was to immediately do some creative decorating with the treasures. But with weddings, one niece graduating from high school and another from college, and a new book contract the original plan got sidetracked.
But in this brief respite, I hope to find time to play with my favorite goodies – three brightly colored, cardboard Disney puzzles. They’re relics from the late 1950s which somehow survived our childhoods in almost perfect condition. How a miracle like that happened, I don’t know, unless Mom stored them on a high shelf and allowed us to play with them under her watchful eye only after washing our hands thoroughly. If that’s how she did it, we kids must have thought she was the meanest mom in the whole world. However she managed to preserve the puzzles, fifty years later, I am thankful.
Every time I see the puzzles, it’s Sunday night in Le Mars again. Mom and Dad are playing cards with my aunt and uncle in the dining room. My sister, brother, and our three girl cousins are in the living room, watching Walt Disney, eating popcorn, and shooing the dogs away when they get too close to the popcorn bowls.
Walt Disney, the most creative man in the universe, is talking directly to me. He’s dropping hints about a new movie called Mary Poppins, inviting my family to visit a theme park named Disneyland in California. While his attention turns to Mickey and Donald, who are up to their usual hijinks, I daydream about visiting Disneyland and meeting Walt at the gage. Then, I remember that my dad’s in a wheelchair, so even if we could afford to drive across the country, he couldn’t ride the rides.
For a little while, I’m sad and jealous of my sister who got to go on a camping trip to California with my aunt and uncle a few years ago. But I break out of my funk during the commercial. My brother and I go to the kitchen to get more popcorn from a huge Tupperware bowl.
Our uncle stops us. “Hey, Jo-Bo. Hey, Johnny. How would you like to go with us to the Black Hills and Colorado this summer? You girls can break in the new TeePee pop-up camper.” He turned to my brother. “And you and me, we’ll sleep in the trunk of the car every night. Whaddya think?”
My brother and I look at each other. We grin and nod furiously, then run to the living room to spread the good news. Before long, the popcorn is gone. The dogs are scavenging for crumbs. We’re wrestling on the floor with our cousins. Walt Disney’s voice mingles with my parents’ voices and my aunt and uncle’s as they say good-bye and push our protesting cousins out the door.
Every time I see those Walt Disney puzzles, I smell the popcorn and hear Walt Disney saying good night and asking us to come back next week. I remember our trip to the Black Hills and Colorado and see the morning light glowing outside the canvas sides of the Tee-Pee camper. I am jealous of my brother who is sleeping in the trunk with my uncle. I am wading in a mountain stream, building a dam across it with my cousins.
It’s time to frame the puzzles and put them on the wall. They should be where I can see them.