What are the childhood memories our children will carry in to adulthood? Will it be the year they finally got that game system for Christmas that they had been longing for? That super awesome robotic "thing", that was all the rage and everyone had to have and that could do Everything on it's own? The special doll and her accessories that express
I was pretty strict about what the kids were exposed to when they were small. I have to say that when they were little we kept TV to a minimum and we didn't have video games until Littlest was around 10. I tried to be very careful about them being exposed to "mind rot". So of course they craved it like chocolate and in middle school became addicted to Anime and Manga which is a plot to drive me in to a straight jacket holding my hands over my ears and screaming, Beatrix Potter, Louisa May Alcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder over and over again in terror. Anyway..... We did have computer games like Zoo Tycoon. Which I thought would be very educational until I heard hysterical laughter and came to find my darlings feeding the zoo guest's to the lions. When it came to TV and movies I had very set ideas about quality content. The really good Disney stuff, Free Willy and classics like Little Women and The Little Princess were favorites and when they got a little older I did allow them to watch Lord of the Rings, I figured if they were capable of reading it they were mature enough to watch it, so that said, I am a big advocate for Play. Whether this has any bearing on my children's resistance to living in reality I have no clue.
We were lucky in living with neighbors to the left of us, wilderness to the right and I would look out in the yard and find all 3 of my girls adorned with flowers and foliage. Armed with bamboo and carrying buckets of "food" (clover, bamboo shoots, air potatoes). Acting out pirate productions, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or most often, their own brand of adventure which could be anywhere and usually involved sticks (swords or spears) and taking people prisoner. The neighborhood children were afraid to come in our yard but sometimes I would see them peering through the fence, watching one daughter splash in the pool during the phase when she preferred speaking in ‘Orca’, while another prowled about bellowing like a T Rex and the oldest calmly cooked up a bucket of clover and coerced her sisters into eating it. We had a black flag hanging from the big oak tree in the yard alongside the rope swing for years to strike fear in the hearts of cowering neighbors. It pretty much looked like Peter and The Lost Boys had gone co-ed.
Now the fact is that I loved having girls and mine are flexible so we also absolutely lived in a Barbie World. I am still finding Barbie's shoes around my house. American Girl had a hot line number just for me and the dress up box was chock full of Princess fashions. Being my girls though we also had a ready supply of trucks, Lego's, some swords and well, action figures. Hence Aragorn and Legolas which I figured would be alright seeing as they were literary. They were getting older and these came in the last couple years of really playing with toys.
Aragorn was for Middlest. Littlest actually had a crush on Legolas which I understood because who wouldn't have a crush on Orlando Bloom... but then I realized she actually had a crush.... on Legolas. She was born with very pointed ears and the way I figured it, thought she had found her people. I had dithered that Christmas and suddenly found...there was not a Legolas to be found. I dug through every character at the closest Kmart. In the end I went to a total of 8 stores. I devoted a whole week and realized I was screwed. It was ALL she wanted. She kept saying , "you found one right"? "Um can't tell," I'd answer all the while thinking, I am So Screwed. Anyway a week before Christmas I was at the Kmart where I had started to begin with and out of desperation decided to look again. I Knew it wasn't there. But beneath a full peg of other characters, there he was. I had looked through every action character at this store multiple times.
That absolutely was a Christmas miracle, there is no doubt in my mind. Anyway, Aragorn and Legolas are part of the family and this has nothing to do with the story I'm telling. So...
While their rooms were a little girls dream come true the majority of the indoor games the two younger girls played revolved around two 6 inch stuffed characters. A dog and cat named Rusty and Scat. These were convoluted Saga's that actually never ended. They played this for Years. Littlest even began writing down stories about them. They looked divine in Kens t'shirts and Barbies skirts. Sometimes the American Girls; Molly and Felicity and if they felt daring their older sisters Samantha came out to reign at a tea party but they were from too vast a time distance to make it really work. They tended to take these out when quietly playing by themselves.
One time we had ordered a sample selection of colored plastic lanyard string that we used in our business.
We had a good amount of it that wouldn't be used and I brought it in to the girls and thought I'd show them how to make a lanyard key chain, which enthralled them for about 10 seconds and then they just asked if they could have the string.
They found 1001 uses for that string. It came in handy for hostage taking situations in stuffed animal land, lassoing Rusty and Scats arch enemies, fishing from the top bunk of the indoor pirate ship, or racing around the house at top speed with a cat in close pursuit. You never knew when you would find Barbie bungee jumping by her ankles from a ceiling fan and endless toyland ne'er do well's were hung from the gallows of the stairwell. It lasted for years and supported more games than any toy of any price they ever received. Littlest even created a song for it sang to the tune of I'm proud to be an American that involved lyrics like, "If tomorrow all the strings were gone" and "at least I know there's string." Which may have been some kind of blaspheme but she meant every word of it.
So one day as we were sitting on the porch Littlest began the Remember game. They were thinking back on all of their favorite toys. They started with what they remembered from being very small. FisherPrice houses, Winnie the Pooh and Barney. Then on to Middlests' toy Orca whale collection (another obsession for another story) Littlests' Lego's and Magnet builders. The endless stream of Barbies were mentioned but in the context of Barbie's espionage episodes and the fights they would get in over outfits. Then they were on to the subject of Rusty and Scat. Rusty and Scat are still here safe, but they have retired. Sometimes they meet for coffee and talk about their rheumatism and the good old days but anyway...The girls talked long of the adventures of these two rascals, including the time period when Scat turned evil and Rusty had to take him on. Which reminded them of taking prisoners and all of the games that involved ........String.
There is a trunk. It is carefully packed with uber expensive American Girls and their paraphernalia as well as Angelia Ballerina and all of her furniture and the books for these characters. There are Special Edition Barbies, China tea sets and porcelain beauties wearing lace and velvet. Carefully packed away Treasured examples of memories of Happy Childhood games that maybe one day we will take out and show the Grandchildren and tell them about their moms and pass them down as heirlooms for the young women who sat on my porch reminiscing ..........
Middlest kind of scrunched up her face thinking hard.
"Oh wow, I remember we had that box full and we used it for everything? Whatever happened to all that string?And Littlest, her eyes far away, answered in a voice low and full of reverence,
"Yeah, that String...... was Awesome....."
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