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Like many other kids of the 70's, my first introduction to Edward Gorey came by way of PBS' Mystery! I wasn't much into mysteries at the time, but I loved the intro so much that whenever my parents were about to watch the show, my mom and dad would call me into the room so I could watch the Gorey opening sequence with them.

Good childhood memories.

My emotional connection to this is incredibly strong, and (as silly as it may seem) it's one of the Pivotal Things that helped shape the woman I am today. When I see it, when I hear the music -- it reminds me of how much my parents loved me. Memories of comfort -- of being safe, feeling loved, and being inspired -- are all inextricably entwined for me with this one little animation.

What are your strongest positive childhood memories?


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 31st, 2012 04:00 pm (UTC)
Fresh mulberries on my tongue. Getting up at 5:30 to go to the crossing with my Grandfather to watch the Amtrack go through. The smell of the stables when I took riding lessons - horse and dust and leather. It's funny that my strongest memories are distilled to a single sense: the taste of the berries, the smell of the stables, the sound of the train rushing down the tracks at 70 MPH, the way a set of stickers I had in a Christmas coloring book smelled...
Jul. 31st, 2012 06:04 pm (UTC)
Sitting on the floor in summer reading the Wolverine mini-series, listening to T-rex on my dad's record player and drinking apple juice. I remember how the rug felt, the faint smell of strawberries and rug-dust, the sweetness of the applejuice and how wonderfully golden it looked late in the evening. Just the feeling of comfort and satisfaction and excitement of reading something new (this was the Wolverine 4-shot that started the Wolverine stand-alone series, after Alpha flight but before X-men - a story about him in Japan) ... Mambo Sun playing <3

Edited at 2012-07-31 09:43 pm (UTC)
Jul. 31st, 2012 07:56 pm (UTC)
That particular intro, and the Edward Gorey books that my parents had, were instrumental in the making of me. I am pleased that my sister's kids have access to the same books, and are turning out the same as us. And she is giving them better memories than the two of us had. Good memories with treehouses and chickens and silly dogs.

Almost all my positive memories are of things I created or imagined or did with friends. My parents loved me, but home life was . . . nothing to write home about. Most of my happy memories are of playing by myself, or drawing, or painting. And a lot of it is tied up with my favorite toys, and the little worlds I built with them. I came back to My Little Ponies recently, and I wrote this in my journal about the custom ponies I've been doing to keep myself sane during this current time of suck:

It is super-silly on the face of it, but doing this has made a little part of me happy in a way I have not been in a very long time. Like, since I was twelve.

There's this corner of my mind where the sweet smell of new pony vinyl means that everything will be okay, that there are still new and beautiful things in the world, that you have friends who will never leave you no matter how many times you pull their heads off and transplant them onto other bodies.

The days are endless there, and sunny, and smell like dusty window screens and cut grass, and there is nothing at all to be afraid of, anywhere. It's the one part of my childhood that was as promised, like it said on the box, like they made it look on TV.

That's why I have been so adamant about not doing this for money. I will sell some of the ones I make, but I will never, ever take commissions, because I don't want the pressure and the stress to turn this one stupidly magical thing into something else that's a commodity, another part of me that I have to hack into and use for work, not pleasure. And that's why I hope, when this financial crisis is over, I will be able to put all that pony money into my travel fund, because I can think of no better way to get to some distant, beautiful land than on the backs of magical, sparkly horses. I will take a list of their names with me and turn them all loose in the wind. Free, you bastards. Free.

Jul. 31st, 2012 09:20 pm (UTC)
(fyi, i've been admiring your ponys via Ashbet's journal - you do really beautiful work ... and this made me smile a lot)

Aug. 1st, 2012 03:08 am (UTC)
Thank you! :D
Siobhan Smith
Jul. 31st, 2012 09:26 pm (UTC)
Childhood Memories
I've loved hearing about your own childhood memories - those feelings of being so safe and loved are wonderful. I have special memories of Saturday mornings, eating Pop Tarts, drinking chocolate milk and watching Casper the Friendly Ghost, The Jetsons, The Addams Family, The Munsters, Bewitched... I loved all the strange and spooky stuff and it is exactly what I love now, *many* years later. Thanks for the reminder to walk down memory lane Beth.
Aug. 1st, 2012 12:37 pm (UTC)
Going to my aunt Linda's pool! My mother babysat to supplement my father's income, and those kids were good friends to me when I was a kid. We went all in a big pack, with my mother, to my aunt's house to swim as many weekdays as possible in the summer for most of my childhood. There was a ritual to it, from trying to stay as hot as possible all the way there so we would want to jump in that much more, to checking the pool filter for dead creatures before jumping in, deciding what kind of jump to try off of the diving board, the fudgesicles she kept in the poolhouse freezer, laying out on the blacktop driveway on our towels to get warm enough again to go back in. :) She had a mulberry tree right next to the pool yard, too, so we always had purple feet after walking through the yard from all the berries on the ground. The sensory memories are all right there when I think about it - the texture of the pool floor and the sound of the diving board sproinging, the taste of mulberries and fudgesicles, the smell of chlorine and the quality of the sunlight. I remember changing in the tiny little pool house while my friends held up a towel over the door for privacy, and the sound of the pool filters, the warm air, the bees that liked to live in the roof. When we were young teenagers we liked to rig up a radio in there, call the station to make requests, and blast it while we swam - it was the height of cool, somehow. ;)

Now that I'm thinking about this one experience, it's surprising to me how many details leap right up and make themselves known - even just going into her house to use the bathroom, because I remember how squishy the carpet felt and how cool the house was, and how much I liked to look out the bathroom window and see everyone else still in the pool.

So yeah, that's one. Some other ones are very simple, like riding my bike and pretending it was my horse, or picking blackberries in our backyard that were hot from the sun.
Aug. 1st, 2012 01:30 pm (UTC)
Oh! Yes! The Mystery intro was my introduction to Edward Gorey, too---wasn't particularly interested in the mysteries themselves (particularly not the way my mom, Poirot fan that she is, was), but always liked watching the intro.

Honestly? The place that is my shining happy place from my childhood is Disneyland. I grew up in OC, so it was close enough to get to go every few years or so, but never so often that it lost that magical sheen. It was joyful and special and just... exactly what the creators had in mind, I think.
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