Friday, September 02, 2005

Childhood Memories

or, With Friends Like These..., Kamikaze Rodents, and Kiddie Pop

I allow Alex a set block of TV time during the week; Monday through Friday he can watch a few shows (Blue's Clues, Dora the Explorer, Backyardigans, Lazytown). I'm more or less immune to them; fortunately, some are better than others (Dora, stop shouting or I'll come through the set and beat that mouth-shaped head of yours). But the commercials drive me crazy.
Of course, it's the same ones, over and over.
I think what bothers me more than anything is when the songs or jingles get stuck in my head. Most recently, it's been an ad for a CD of Christian pop songs sung by kids.

It drives me insane, mostly because the seven second snippets bounce around my head for days.
I don't even know the tunes, but there they are, playing on Brain Radio.

And that got me on a remembering jag...

When I was eight or nine years old, we lived in an apartment; one of at least 13 homes I've been in.
It was an 'ok' neighborhood. There were other kids to play with, including two sets of siblings I got to know during those years.
Oddly enough, their families lived above businesses they owned; one a pub, they other a family-style restaurant/bar. Both were no more than three or four minutes walking distance from our apartment.

Amy and Brian's family owned the pub, and in the opposite direction was Brian and Michelle's family restaurant.

We hung out a lot; we were still pretty young, so there was still room for make-believe.
I think I preferred Michelle to Amy, and had a crush on Michelle's brother, Brian.

But when I look back on those times, I realize those kids weren't very nice to me.

I was the one who knocked on their doors, asking them to come out and play. They never asked after me.
I knew of plenty of times when they'd all get together, and not invite me to join in.

In particular, I remember playing with Amy and Michelle at Amy's house. I can't recall what we were doing, or how it came up, but...

Let me say that I, uh, developed a few years earlier than most of my classmates. I was wearing a bra long before any of my friends, that much is certain.

The girls started teasing me about it, and suggested I was faking (trust me, as someone who's always been well-endowed, there was never a thought of augmentation, of any kind!). After a round of accusations and denials, they finally convinced me to lift my shirt and prove to them I was really wearing a bra. So, I did.

Next thing I know, both Brian's come out of hiding...laughing.

Naturally, I left. I don't think I played with them after that...

Our apartment was the upstairs of a rather old and rickety house. The stairs to the apartment were inside, rather than out. I can still remember the lay-out of the place...come up the steps, living room to the left, my bedroom to the right. Continue past my room, and find kitchen (which I think I quite liked), bathroom, and finally my mom and step-dad's bedroom.
Our bathroom contained a large, claw-footed tub. And no shower! I also remember that it was my job to rinse out my baby sister's cloth diapers in the tub...ewww.

Around this time, I had a hamster. Can't recall it's name.

The hamster cage lived at the bottom of the stairs. I could hear the little guy running on his wheel at night.

One day, I went down to feed him, and he wasn't there. He'd managed to climb out. I had no idea where he was, if he was even in the house.

Days, possibly even a week, later, I was in my closet and noticed a small pile of dog food next to a box. Which had a clearly-chewed through hole. My hamster was living in my closet! Resourceful little guy, considering we had a pretty big dog in the house.

I was thrilled he was ok, and took him back to his cage.

Not long after, Mom told me the hamster was dead.

Attempting another escape, the poor thing had fallen and impaled himself on something in the cage.

But what brought this all up: for Christmas one of those years, my parents gifted me with their old stereo, as they'd upgraded.
This was actually pretty cool...it was still a good stereo, with a most excellent turntable. I was also given some of their albums...I remember having getting quite a few KISS records in my collection (and I'm not ashamed to admit I had a KISS backpack in the fifth grade). I was quite proud of a 'hits' collection, purchased at (the late) G.C. Murphy's; it had Genesis' "Abacab"! (I have a friend, a music writer, who hates these albums...most likely it was K-Tel...because they always truncated the songs).

But one of my favorite albums during those years was Mini Pops; a bunch of pop tunes covered by a group of kids.

I know, I know...labels are still putting out things like this today. The difference between the ones I see advertised on Nick, Jr. and Mini Pops? Mini Pops were actually talented.

I particularly remember liking their version of "Video Killed the Radio Star" and their Blondie medley, not to mention the snippet of "My Boy Lollipop".

Sounds stupid now, but wow...I thought they were the greatest. I wonder where those kids are today?

Here endeth today's musings...

Idle Chatter:
Awww. That makes me sad.

I agree, though. Stupid Dora is a yeller. We set the TV as our alarm clock and on Saturday mornings I have an instant headache.
Sorry to wreck your weekend!

I get really annoyed with these shows..."will you help us" they'll ask.

And I mutter something about them needing our help, as they're clearly too stupid to figure it out themselves...
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