It’s not until you “grow up” (I will forever put that phrase in quotations) that you realize a few essential things about life. One, is that you owe your mother more than you will ever be able to repay her. Another, is that every single thing you played with, watched, or read had a profound affect on who you are as an adult.
As we share our own childhood building blocks with other people from our generation there’s bound to be some common denominators, the common threads we share that bind us all together as “millennials.” Things like Transformers, OJ Simpson and Game Boy.
But there’s also the other circumstantial items that happened to be around you that became fiercely integral to who you are, individually, as a person. Toys, movies or books that you might not even remember until someone else happens to identify it as one of their random memories, that suddenly surge out of your subconscious causing you to squeal with such delight that the entire pub turns around to stare at you. It’s like you’ve found a long lost sibling in this person; suddenly deeply connected to them as if they were right there in 1989, experiencing it with you.
Here’s just a few of my building blocks, feel free to squeal.
The Christmas Toy (Jim Henson Muppets, 1986)
For the longest time, my memory of this movie was nothing but an ambiguous……feeling. I remembered what it felt like to watch this movie; the warmth of its colours, the voices of the characters, as if it had a texture I could run my hand over. I brought it up constantly, to anyone who would listen, but nobody knew what I was talking about, since I had no concrete descriptions of it. But God bless the Internet and IMDb. I entered in the most abstract description and sure enough, someone knew exactly what I was talking about.
This movie is beyond a Christmas classic for me. I know there’s a legion of people who are asking for it to be released on DVD and I’m no exception. I will pay with money, gratitude, my innocence – BY ANY MEANS.
Matilda (Ronald Dahl, 1988)
This book made me convinced I also had psychokinetic powers, just like Matilda. Turns out, I was just staring at things so hard my blurry vision made it look like they moved.
The Man in the Ceiling (Jules Feiffer, 1995)
This is the only childhood book of mine that actually stays on my bookshelf, in regular rotation (see below). The rest are in a big rubber bin in the closet, waiting for my random whims of nostalgia to be brought out and flipped through. This is the book that I credit for making me a lifetime lover of writing, comics and the tantalizing and often torturous beauty of a blank piece of paper.
The Racoons (CBC Television, 1985-1992)
No lie, I JUST learned that The Racoons was a Canadian show while I was looking for this clip. Not only that but it was set in the forests of Western Canada, so it’s no wonder it stuck with me. There was something cool about a show that looked like it could be taking place in your backyard. The fact that it included aardvarks probably helped, too. Buuuuut now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure aardvarks are only in Africa. Crazy Canadians!
And don’t forget Home Improvement!
(For the record, this post was inspired by the feverish, child-like excitement seeping from my peers surrounding the upcoming film Where the Wild Things Are – a book I have never seen or even heard of in my life.)