Did you have a toy or game that you played as a child that influenced your path in life?
We all heard this – “When you grow up what do you want to be?”
Did any of you out there stick to your answer?
Today I read that a movie of the TV show Gilligan’s Island, is in the works. That got me strolling down memory lane.
Growing up my family did not have a lot of money. What we did have were parents who were resourceful and creative. Parents that encouraged us to use our imaginations, and play with things that were already on hand. We were not encouraged to watch much TV, but instead to play outside. We did not have many store purchased toys, our parents made many of our toys for us, blocks of wood left over from Daddy’s woodworking, and hand sewn items from Mom. I still have a baby crib my Dad made for me. It is painted a bright orange because that was the paint he had on hand, today my cats use that crib as a cat bed.
Two TV shows that I did get to see on occasion and loved included Gilligan’s Island, which directly inspired my life long desire to run away to a tropical location with beaches and palm trees. The other was the Flintstones. I loved the graphics, a purple dinosaur and pink palm trees. I was hooked for life! I always wanted to be a cartoon animator, a secret not revealed until now.
I had one Barbie that was a hand me down from a neighbor. She was, without a doubt the ugliest doll out there. She had something wrong with her hair, I think that is why she was given to me. I thought I could improve that bad hair, so I whacked it all off with a pair of scissors. It was totally uneven and looked like it had been mauled by a wild animal. I was so proud of my efforts that I turned right around and cut all my own hair off! My Mother was less than pleased, and boy did I get a whatforin!
A few store bought toys that I had were a couple of trolls and a plastic farm set which included cows, and chickens and pigs and a farmer or two. I also had this plastic case that opened up to create a cave. I put the trolls, all decked out in outfits that my sisters sewed in the cave and surrounded the outside with cows and other farm animals. I thought the trolls reminded me of the Flinstones.
My Dad grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania, it could not have been a more different childhood than mine, as I grew up in the burbs of Chesapeake. We were lucky to live in a neighborhood with large yards and lots of secret places to play and we had the beach close by. But, I thought my Dad’s childhood was close to perfect, all those farm animals and lots and lots of land to run free on.
For a couple of weeks every summer, I got a taste of my Dad’s farm life. Our vacations were always spent going to PA to visit my Dad’s family. I can tell you, I had a blast! It was pure freedom! Endless hours swinging from the Weeping Willow branches and plunging into the creek. Chickens, pigs, horses, and cows on all the farms in the area. Running through the cow pasture dodging “patty’s”, and ducking under the electric fence trying not to get shocked. As kooky as it may sound, to this day I still love the scent of cow manure.
I saw my first farm animal born in real life, a calf. Oh it was so cool. Bursting with excitement, I ran to tell Grandpop the time had come, he wanted me to stay back as she was having a difficult time, but I was there watching every single moment. There was the time Grandpop gave me a whatforin’ for going into the pasture with the bull when he told me not to, and yes, I did get chased by it.
Grandmom shared her knowledge of working the garden and putting up the produce. She grew the best corn in the world and I can close my eyes and still taste that sweet corn dripping with butter! I was thrilled beyond words when she would give me the okay to go out to the garden and pick corn for our meal, and within minutes of doing that it was on the table and we were eating.
I know it was a really hard life that my Dad had living on the farm, but all his stories are pure charm to me. His experiences have most certainly directly influenced my lifestyle. My husband grew up in the country too, and he wanted to keep that lifestyle. A little land, some privacy and freedom to do on our land as we pleased. We have grown vegetables, and fruit and herbs. I’ve canned all that I have grown too. While we don’t have “farm” animals, we do have a lot of other animals – enough to fill a pasture or two. Our simple little farm house and my studio are painted bright tropical colors, and we have plastic palm trees and of course the classic pink flamingo tucked in here and there. If you look hard enough you might find a troll. If only I could find some way to have an ocean in my back yard…
Not part of the question – but what did you want to be when you grew up?
Question #4 What job did I secretly want to have?
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