Artifacts From My Childhood: Part One

What started as cleaning out my parent’s storage room last year turned into a full-blown excavation of my peculiar childhood.

Join me, won’t you, for a stroll through the past?

Just don’t touch anything. Everything in this post is worth a million dollars in Monopoly Money.

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“Your DS Wishes It Were This Hardcore,” Age 6

I thought I was destined for the life of wealth and leisure as a Gaming Genius thanks to this device; I won EVERY TIME. Imagine my disappointment when I later discovered that it was rigged. It was all rigged.

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“Colorforms: For The Easily Amused Child of the 80’s,” Age 5-7

For a notoriously messy child, I sure was obsessive about making sure each colorform piece was returned to its proper place.

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“Tracing? I Don’t Know What That Means. I Totally Drew This Myself,” Age 9

In which the artist exhausted herself from a hardcore tracing session and could not be bothered to finish coloring the thing.

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“Fairy Prince (Sans Hands) Checks Out The Cutie On Page 1 While The Princess Feels Insecure,” Age 6

Worst. Date. Ever.

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“Barbie With The Good Hair,” Age 10-11

Purchased when I was really growing too old for dolls, but this Barbie came with overalls. AND THAT AMAZING HAIR. African-American women have spoken out about white people’s presumptuous comments about/demeaning attempts to touch their hair, a habit which I had not thought about prior to hearing this complaint, but which I now notice constantly. That’s totally not okay, but let it be known that this is the root (pun intended) of that offensive behavior (for uncultured white kids who saw more Barbies than they did real people).

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“Chronicles Of A Cross-Country Move,” Age 8

This depiction takes wild liberties: our table did NOT have lace (green or any other kind– incidentally, WHY GREEN? You just wanted to use your colored pencils, didn’t you? What scared you so much about the truth of a bare table, kid?), my locket was DEFINITELY not the size of a couch leg, and I have no recollection of “sweezy balls,” whatever those are.

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“The Face Of God,” Age 5

So God is basically the sun with a beard, fish live on the underside of cliffs, and Joseph wore a baseball cap.

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“Girl With Sock On Head Receives Flower From Bespectacled Johnny Appleseed,” Age 5

I’ve always loved super tall men (with toupees), apparently. Because they can reach stuff.

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“Tree Lunges At Girl With Giant Rake,” Age 7

I once designed my own calendar, in which all twelve months featured some kind of attack staged by Mother Nature. October was my favorite, because fall colors are so nice. And also the heroine has a Jamie Lee Curtis thing goin’ on– I like to think she could defend herself against that tree with the sizable rake I gave her.

 

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“Violent Illustration From Cinderella: a Tale of Abuse And Planking,” Age 6

I went through an obsessive “book-making” phase in which I would create remarkable tales inspired by Disney movies or just re-tell Disney movies. My Cinderella had a particularly nasty Stepmother, which my own sensitive mother took far too much to heart. Guilt haunts her still, despite the fact that I don’t think I ever had long hair/was beaten with a wooden spoon.

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“President Clinton’s Response To Drawing of A Barnyard In Which He Was Featured As A Farm Animal Caricature,” Age 8

I had a political commentary phase in which I depicted Bob Dole as an old cow, Bill Clinton as a pig, and Ross Perot as a “little lost lamb.” Perhaps my calling as a Daily Show regular went unnoticed (THANKS, parents).

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“First Draft Of A Letter To Friend, In Which The Author Appreciates The Sublime Beauty of Death,” Age 11

Reminiscent of Flannery O’Connor’s early work.

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“Afternoon Tennis Match With Shirley Temple” Age 7

AKA the cleverest mixed media piece you have ever seen in your life.

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“Star Cats: A Feline Reimagining of George Lucas’s Space Opera,” Age 10

I’d love to see the REAL Darth Vader give the side eye like that.

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“Star Cats Notes: In Which the Author Expresses Copyright Concerns,” Age 10

I was mainly concerned about the toy/amusement park rights.

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“What Nightmares Are Made Of: The Boy That Turned Into A Hardboiled Egg,” Age ???

This was from an actual book that was read to my young self upon every visit to Grandma’s house. I didn’t eat hardboiled eggs until I was 13, though, to be honest, they still give me a foreboding feeling.

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“Sparks Fly: In Which The Author Models Vintage Protestant Church Children’s Activewear/Uniform,” Age ??? (When do kids join Sparkies?)

It still fits. I promise.

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“Documents Detailing Author’s Community Theatre Ambitions and Desire to Play The Grumpy One,” Age 10

Congrats, kid, you got your wish. Well, not to be in the play– of course you missed your cue at the callbacks and got the boot for which you will forever retro-cringe, but if I had a dollar for every time someone called us “The Grumpy One” I’d buy out the local community theatre and put on my own one-woman show. Called The Grumpy One.

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“The Author’s First and Last Poem,” Age 9

In the poet’s defense, from the looks of this she started off strong and then wrapped it on up (out of guilt, most likely) a few days later.

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“Sleeping Kitty With Paints: A Folk/Cat Tail,” Age 6

I remember being puzzled about how to paint Princess Kitty’s feet/paws, so I made like it was real cold in the castle and gave her a sparkly afghan.

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“Come On Boys, Let’s Party Cat”, Age 5

Is this Party Cat big chested, or does he/she just have a questionable fourth leg? Also, is this the inspiration for┬áNicole Kidman’s performance in Moulin Rouge?

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“James Bond Pictures, Printed From The Internet And Pasted Into Fuzzy Purple Diary,” Age 12

My parents regretted bringing that color printer into the house so fast. Not pictured: Sean Connery Stationery.

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“Christmas Requires ALL CAPS,” Age 12

I wish the holidays still necessitated caps and purple pens.

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“Matthew Broderick’s Career Retrospective,” Age 14

Election was maybe not the satire to watch with my dad, in retrospect. Actually, any satire was probably not the best idea, but especially not ones with cursing and naked people.

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“TV Guide Featuring One of Many Husbands,” Age 15

As I recall, this was a gift from someone. I failed to guard my heart back then. But I’ll always love you and your mischievous baby blues, Hugh.

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“Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Velvet Suit Enthusiast,” Age 5?

The hair ribbon? The deep-V pinafore thing? Class, ladies and gentlemen. And check out that triumphant face. Enjoy it while you can, kid, in 5 more years that is NOT the face that a camera in your vicinity will conjure.

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“Clean Up On The Romance Aisle,” Age 5

More film-fueled concepts of romance which would eventually be dashed: Mickey and Minnie meet cute (and violent).

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“Sample From Collector’s Academy Awards Obsession Wing,” Age 12-16

I absolutely PORED over these, and took two separate sheets of notes: 1) What movies to see (asterisks by the ones that my parents would not allow me to see, but no worries, I’d break them down) 2) What not to wear when I got my Oscar, which would surely be soon (note to self: do not wear dress fashioned after Swan, they will make fun of you, even if you have Egg Purse to match).

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“The Hunchback of Notre Dayuuuuuuuum,” Age 9

In which a totally innocent dance session was about to happen between Esmerelda and Quasimodo, but time and the artist’s abandonment of the work before completion has warped the situation in an alarming way.

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“Existential Tomato,” Age 4-5

What’s the point of it all if you’re just going to end up sliced and tossed onto someone’s BLT? And the freckles are just insult to injury.

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“Early Mark Up Of Unmade X-files Film, Starring TY Beanie Baby Cats,” Age 10-11

Bonus points if you work in a Veggie Tales Easter egg, I guess? You can tell around this time the artist was starting to lean on quips to get by — said quips have not improved with the passage of time.

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“Guide To Being A Millennial,” age 8

If you look carefully, you can observe that the artist, perhaps due to guilt, attempted to scratch out the “birthday every day” comment, but I, much like Franz Kafka’s Max Brod, do not believe in destroying a great artist’s work.

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2 thoughts on “Artifacts From My Childhood: Part One

  1. Pingback: Artifacts From My Childhood, Part 2 | The Sidecar

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