Want to feel like a kid again? Use your imagination
Updated: March 21, 2012 3:38PM
An aunt of mine is in the hospital with pneumonia, and I pray she’ll make a quick recovery.
I think of her with utmost fondness. Certainly as she is today, a teacher, mom and wife. But I also remember our Musketeer days as kids.
Every summer, Mom, Dad and we five siblings would cram into our Ford station wagon and chug southward to Kentucky, where my maternal grandmother resided.
She and her youngest children lived in an old Civil War-era farmhouse. About a third of the house was walled-off because the floors had rotted and it was uninhabitable. This never stopped us ornery kids. We burrowed a path to the forbidden and marveled at the decay. We half expected Boo Radley to be back there.
There were eight of us, all around the same age. We played softball for hours. Fished where there were snakes. We pretended to be the Pony Express, riding around on tobacco sticks. Our mail pouches were my mom’s old purses. We even tried to herd the poor chickens.
We laughed and fought with each other. At night, we’d stare into the clear sky, count the stars and listen to the crickets.
We girls created thousands of paper dolls, played dress-up and got yelled at when we got into our older aunt’s make-up.
None of us had money, so we didn’t have a lot of Barbies. Plus, my sister shaved her Barbie’s head, resulting in a goth-punk look. Or maybe her Barbie looked a little mentally unstable.
Anyway, we didn’t have a Ken doll, so we commandeered my brother’s G.I. Joe. Joe was happy, because he had a small harem.
We concocted nefarious schemes in which our Barbies would be kidnapped and had to be rescued by Joe. We searched around for evil male characters. Desperate, we used a 3-inch-high Paul McCartney plastic doll — he had a Napoleon complex — and (I wish I were making this up) a Right Guard aerosol can. The Right Guard can was Paul’s evil twin brother.
Problems erupted when my aunt got ready for a date and couldn’t find her deodorant.