Blast From The Past


As I was digging through thousands of photos for my grandmother’s memorial service, I came across these gems. Wow. That can’t be me…that little girl in the photo. My kids were that small last week.


I chose these for the blog because I’ve rambled and meandered around some topics here that I found proof of in these pics. Proof that you, dear reader, may not have needed, but now I can say, “See, I really was a unicorn freak and nerd!” And evidently my family enabled me, their only child, in my pursuit of nerd/geek status.


(They evidently stuck with the mixing-bowl-on-top-of-the-head haircuts for quite some time as well…)


Let’s unpack these shots bit by bit. This will be fun. At least for me.


Top photo, far left. By the lamp. A Smurf alarm clock. That sucker would wake up Rip Van Winkle from even his deepest dreams, wishing him a Smurfy Day. From the Smurfs I learned that if you wanted to cuss and get away with it, all you had to do was replace any offensive words with the appropriate form of “Smurf.” Smurfing. Smurfy. Smurfed. Smurfedy-Smurf-Smurf-all-to-Smurf.


I had the cadence down pat for this—a talent modeled by my father, who Smurfed and Smurfed all the time.


I stopped doing this when I stopped talking out loud to my imaginary friends. Don’t know that anyone ever caught me, but boy does it feel good to get that off my chest. Confession is good for the Smurfiest of souls.

Next, the pink-maned unicorn, a My Little Pony Moondancer. I only cared for that brand of toy if they sported horns in the middle of their heads. In my other arm is an unbranded (I believe) random plush unicorn. Not in the photo? Many other unbranded plush unicorns.


In my armpit is Rainbow Brite and her pony Starlite. Miss Brite succumbed to an awful fate. I’d stored her in a dresser drawer and found later that a mother mouse had used her hair and chewed off part of her face to make a nest for her babies. The mother, if you could call her that, must’ve absconded with some weasely rat. We found the stone-stiff babies, hairless and abandoned, still nestled in the yellow yarn strands and plastic nose bits. We tossed out Rainbow and Starlite along with everything else in the drawer because, well, Smurf it!


What you can’t tell from the photo is that the paneling in my bedroom was bird-egg blue. And behind the clock were two bookcases, three shelves each painted pink and mounted to the wall. They housed my unicorn collection. Hundreds of figurines all neatly arranged. I’ll leave this topic alone, since I’ve already bemoaned the selling off of this collection, and lest I start Smurfing all over again.


The bottom photo showcases my Strawberry Shortcake Baby. “Squeeze her tummy and she blows you a strawberry-scented kiss,” is what the box said. I know because the geek in me looked it up on eBay. This must-have ‘80s item, new in box, would bring $140. And until I looked it up, I’d forgotten all about the kiss-blowing. Now that my memory’s refreshed, I can smell that sweet, artificial berry breeze. Nothing like it in the world (unless you count the scratch-n-sniff stickers the teachers gave out for A+ papers in grade school. Grape was pretty good…).


I looked up the going rates for all the other items in these photos. If I had left them untouched I could’ve traded them in for some spiffy fountain pens—ones with platinum nibs and golden ink.


Not in the photo? The Cabbage Patch Kid—homemade with black yarn hair and red apron and the strangest cloth face. I don’t remember who made it for me. I do remember that my grandmother, may she rest in peace, told me that Cabbage Patch Kids were being possessed by satanic demons all over the United States and I’d better cover her face up before I went to bed. I never liked that doll… I did like the branded ones, a preemie with a yellow nightgown and a “regular” one in a white outfit with tiny blue flowers. And I remember visiting Babyland General Hospital on a vacation to Georgia. Babies growing right out of cabbage heads all over the place. It really was magnificent.


Next, we have Wicket the Ewok. I’d frequently remove his hood and dress up my Boston Terriers as Star Wars pooches. (I’d also put Strawberry’s bloomers and bonnet on my girl dog. She seemed to enjoy it very much.) I think I had wanted Princess Kneesaa, but I didn’t specify this and, turns out, Santa isn’t a mind reader.


And last but not least, (and I almost missed this bit until I scanned the photo in…) An E.T. Extra Terrestrial T-shirt. I had several E.T. items, but my favorite was a ceramic statue. I remember it being a few inches taller than a water bottle, a full-body likeness of the little alien mounted on a wooden base. I don’t remember what happened to it. I do remember crying during the movie when the government agents showed up in their hazmat suits.


I also remember dropping candy trails in the woods, hoping something exciting would happen.


Nothing exciting happened.

At least not that anyone else could see.


Lots of exciting things happened in my mind’s eye, though, where Ewoks and unicorns trotted gleefully through the forest with me and my Boston pups.


And we’d all meet up with Wonder Woman down by the creek bed…


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