Saturday, July 9, 2011

Childhood Memories

I love when you come across something completely random on the internet. But unlike the Human Calendar, The 50 Things That Remind Us of Childhood, got my brain motors working. This list was clearly not aimed at my generation, considering I didn't know more than half of the stuff on any of the three lists. (Seriously, what the heck is this thing.)

I was trying to come up with a list of things that all generations could reminisce about, but then I realized that would be really hard, considering much of the world's history hasn't been discovered yet. This is my short list, that I hope will cover multiple generations.


Yo-yos actually trace back to 500 B.C. where they were made of wood, metal or terra cotta. In 1866, James L. Haven and Charles Hettrick of Cincinnati, Ohio, recieved a U.S. patent for a toy called the "bandelore" In 1928, Pedro Flores, a Filipino American opened the Yo-Yo manufacturing company in Santa Barbara, California. A year later, Donald Duncan purchased the Flores Yo-Yo Company, and later opened the yo-yo factory in Luck, Wisconsin. I bought a green yo-yo at a drug-store about 5 years ago (still have it!) and it came with a DVD of how to do Yo-Yo-tricks. I'm thinking that the woman above didn't get a how to DVD.


Dr. Seuss had a lot to say, even though his books had very few words. How the Grinch Stole Christmas criticizes people's obsession with material items during the holiday season. Horton Hears a Who! argues that people should work together despite personal differences. What I remember most about Dr. Seuss is the illustrations. The colors and cutesy shapes appeal to children, and maybe even adults. I remember having a big book of many Dr. Seuss stories and I remember loving the illustrations in If I Ran The Circus.

"It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?"

Mr. Roger's Neighborhood was the most innocent show ever. Could you really be offended by a guy in a cardigan with puppets? 

My Memories:

Dress-up and Barbies (sometimes together) = I had still have some of a plastic bin of clothes, mostly hand-me-downs but also some costumes. And Barbies...a lot of them...and a house...and a convertible...and many outfits ranging from veterinarian to gymnast to supermodel. I think Barbie's full name might be something like Mrs. Dr. Princess Barbie *unknown last name* M.D.
Legos and K'nex = Hand-me-downs from Angelo. I remember, he and I (mostly he) tried to build the roller coaster, but after much use of those sticks and connectors during his childhood, many pieces were gone. Legos were fun, but I was disappointed because we only owned one "Lady Lego".

Winnie the Pooh...on VHS = This is critical because in 70 decades or so, I want to be able to tell my grand-children fascinating stories about the "tough days" of not just being able to click to start your movie. I also remember (and found!) the series I had. I don't remember the specific ones, but I did have at least ten. They may have been Angelo's; I'm not sure.


Teddy Grahams, Fruit Roll-ups, Gold-Fish: Basically, when trading food at lunchtime, the three things you want. Nutrition is not a concern of an eight-year-old.

Nostalgia is fun!


Linda said...

I looked at the first list, and it's not my generation either. There were only a few things on it that were even around when I was a kid, I recognized a few more from when Angelo was little. (And smiled at Number Munchers -- Angelo used to play that a lot.In fact, I smiled at several things on the list. I just discovered that there is such a thing as nostalgia for your children's childhood.) But I drew a complete blank on half of them.

I think Dr. Seuss comes as close to being a non-age-specific marker of childhood as you can get. I liked that you picked up on the way Dr. Seuss often worked bits of social commentary into his work. I never thought about it, but even though I think he published his first book in the thirties, he became popular in the fifties, so people born in the late forties were the first to grow up on Dr. Seuss books. I wonder if both the critiques of materialism, and the wonderful anarchy of The Cat In The Hat had any influence on the hippies that followed a decade or so after his first success.

Horton has always been my favorite.

The only thing I can think of that is truly timeless is crayons. (At least in this country. I don't know how many people in, say, Nigeria, have memories of using crayons.) There's a famous French novel, Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past,which I've never read (and don't intend to -- it's seven volumes long!), but it's most famous for a scene of "involuntary memory" in which the narrator smells a madeleine and something about the smell takes him back to a very specific memory of childhood. I've read that people often have the same reaction to the smell of crayons. Smell a crayon, and a lot of people can remember not just something that happened when they were kids with a crayons, but where they were, how they felt, what the weather was like, etc.

Domenico Maceri said...

I have a number of "Mr. Roger's sweaters" which I wear in cooler weather. Some fashion items are timeless! I think reminiscing is good. It helps you remember and also guides you to where you want to go.