When I was a kid my favorite movie was Winnie The Pooh and the Honey Tree, however it was the pre VCR era so the only time you got to see Disney movies was either during their theatrical release or when they came on The Wonderful World of Disney. However you could buy the soundtrack.
So, one year for my birthday I got a copy of the sound track and I played the record all the time. My parents probably got sick of hearing it but I would sing along and think about my favorite movie. It’s old and scratched up, the jacket is worn and it probably isn’t worth a lot to collectors. But it was my first record and I still have it. I should find a record player and see if it still works.
I don’t know what will happen to it, perhaps some lover of old records and Disney stuff will get it and add it to their collection.
My brother got a job with a drilling company and eventually wound up working in the middle of the Saudi Arabian desert. He was gone for five weeks and home for five weeks. He would bring back gifts for people like marble carved and polished into the shape of eggs or camel figures made from camel hide. For me he brought a rock.
It wasn’t just any rock, it was an ancient chunk of petrified wood. It seems that thousand and thousands of years ago the Arabian Peninsula was covered in forest but now it is a barren desert. All over there are the remains of the ancient trees. I don’t know if it’s illegal to have one but he brought it for me anyhow. Considering we grew up with an on going sibling rivalry it was a very special gift, because he didn’t bring one for anyone else and it wasn’t just something he bought at the local market, he had found it just for me.
When I am near the end of life I’ll have to ask if one of his daughters wants it and if not I’m sure I can find a rock collector who would love it.
My brother’s job requires him to travel, a lot. The company pays his for plane tickets but their in his name so he gets the frequent flier miles however once he gets home all he wants to do is sit on the couch and hang out with his family. Getting back on a plane and going somewhere isn’t his idea of a good time.
So one day I was hanging out with him and he suddenly asked me, “How would you like a ticket to Europe?” Well yeah, but unfortunately when he asked I was trying to clean up a personal financial mess and I didn’t have the time or the money for a hotel or food. I hated saying no but I didn’t have a choice.
A few years later when he asked me again I said “Oh yeah!” I had to make a decision, if you have what you consider to be a “once in a lifetime” opportunity where do you go? I weighed all the factors, money, language and what I really wanted to see. I finally decided that the one place I wanted to visit was the Louvre so I chose Paris.
In an earlier blog I noted that I have a bit of Social Anxiety so getting on a plane and flying to a foreign nation did make me a bit nervous. I had nightmares of being stuck in a small village and nobody could understand a word I was saying. In another I dreamed I was at the airport and forgot my passport, it’s a three hour drive from my stinky little town, I would wake up and have to check to make sure I had put it in my suitcase, which I did every day for a month.
Finally, after an airplane repair delay in Memphis and stuck in Amsterdam for half a day I arrived in Paris. I saw as much of the city as I could including going to the top of the Eiffel Tower and the Arch. I saw the majority of the Louvre in a one day marathon and visited the Musee de O’rasy. And I climbed the stairs to the top of Notre Dame. I even took a side trip to see Disneyland Paris, gotta stay true to my Disney roots.
In the end I had a great time and I’m glad I said yes. I got a miniature of Notre Dame to remember the time I saw Paris from the gargoyle’s viewpoint. BTW I didn’t see the hunchback, instead there was just a guy who spent the day telling tourists to not touch the bell.
This will probably be another one of those items that will end up with someone who likes miniature buildings.
My parents use to pack us into the old Vista Cruiser and make the three hour drive to go visit my grandparents. We would spend a long weekend seeing my parent’s families and generally having a good time. On the road there was the usual sibling rivalry, “I’m not touching you, I’m not touching you”, and games “Slug Bug!”, my brother would ask if we were there yet and my sister would get car sick, the usual family stuff. One of my favorite parts was stopping at the A&W drive in.
There was a time when the only place you could get A&W Root Beer was at one of their drive in restaurants. They also had the Burger Family, Papa Burger which was a double cheeseburger, Mama which was single cheeseburger, Teen which was a bacon cheeseburger and the Baby which was the kid’s meal. One of the happiest days of my life was when my parents let me order the Teen meal, it was my first bacon cheeseburger (the bacon was really just bacon bits). Instead of paper cups they also had the famous A&W Root Beer in frozen glass mugs. Eating at the drive in was a special treat.
However, in the 1970’s Snapple bought the root beer line and started bottling it for sale at grocery stores, the treat of going to the drive in was over. Also the rising cost of gas plus the creation of the interstate highway changed the great family road trip, roadside stops were abandoned and places like A&W began to close up. There are a few restaurants still left but the ones along the route my family took closed up decades ago. Today you’d have to search one out that still had the original Burger Family menu.
While digging through some old boxes I came across an A&W mug, it’s the smaller one off the kids meal but it has the pre 1970’s logo. I asked my mother but she didn’t remember where it came from. I checked with my siblings but none of them claimed it so I kept it. The mug brings back happy memories of car trips and the days when going out for a root beer was an event. It’s not worth a lot but I figure some day I’ll give it to a glass collector or someone who restores classic cars and wants it for the carhop tray they use during shows.
Maybe this weekend I’ll head over to the store, get me a bottle of A&W, fry up a burger and some fries and go sit in my car to eat. My neighbors may think I’m weird but it’ll be like reliving the good old days.
I’m not sure when it began but a couple of my travel things became crossing bodies of water either by famous bridges or boats, in San Francisco I did both, or going to the top of high places, the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building and so forth. So, when I went on my Rome trek one of the things I did was hike to the top of St. Peter’s dome.
When you go you have your choice, climb the stairs to the top of the Basilica or take the elevator and then climb to the top of the dome. I opted for the elevator, it cost a few Euro more but yes I was being lazy. It was me and two other women and we were the first to get there.
When you get off the elevator you go down a hall and then step through a door. Here’s something I wasn’t ready for, the door leads out to the lip between the top of the Basilica and the dome, and you are looking straight down onto the Pope’s chair, with nothing between you but a net to keep people from jumping off. I never really experienced vertigo before but now, I know it feels like an invisible hand trying to push you over the edge. The worst is the next door was clear on the other side, I was going to have to walk around on this narrow little ledge while gravity was trying to kill me.
Two parts of my mind got into an argument, the one said “F**K IT! Lets head back down.” while the other side said “Are you kidding? We spent 10 Euro on this, get going.” I did something I dreaded, I put my hand on the centuries old mosaics around the dome, looked down at my feet and started walking. Luckily I was wrong, the exit door was only a quarter of the way around. It wasn’t until I got back to the U.S. that I realized I was so scared I didn’t even take any photos, maybe I’ll go back, not likely.
Anyhow after walking around the ledge you then start climbing the stairs, if you’re going to the top you need to be able to go up a lot of stairs, don’t have a fear of heights and not have claustrophobia because the closer you get to the top the narrower it gets, and since you’re going between the shells it curves a lot and you have to lean over and basically slide along the edge.
Finally I came out on the walkway around the top of the dome, there is a railing running around so I didn’t have bad vertigo there. Since I was being followed by the two older ladies from the elevator, and they were taking their time, and blocking everyone behind them, I had the place to myself. I got to walk around and enjoy the early morning view of Rome without having someone trying to push their way in front of me, and this time I took a lot of photos.
Eventually the two women made their way to the top along with everyone else. It started to get crowded so I headed back down, there is a different set of exit stairs so there isn’t a clog of people coming and going. The exit doesn’t come out in the dome, which I was dreading walking back around the ledge, instead it comes out on the roof of the Basilica. It’s another great view but interestingly enough, there is a gift shop up there. It’s run by a group of nuns and the profits go towards their charity. They mostly sell religious stuff like saint’s medals and such but I decided to buy a figurine of Michelangelo’s Pieta, the large statue at the entrance to St. Peter’s. It’s both a souvenir of my trip to Rome, my pilgrimage to the top of the Dome and a quirky thing I can say I bought in a gift shop on roof of the Vatican.
This is one of those things that someone will say they like and I’ll tell them that when I’m dead they can have it, it’s a morbid tradition in my family.
When I was a kid I wasn’t much for organized sports. I didn’t need some fat old man in gym shorts yelling at me plus no matter what happens people are going to be mad at you. Half the people will be mad because you did something really well and won and the other half will be mad because you did something wrong and lost. I didn’t need the hassle.
So, the street we lived on was a dead end dirt road just off another dead end dirt road. The school bus couldn’t turn around on the street so they would drop us off at the main road and we would walk the rest of the way, it was about three blocks. One day one of the kids came up with a game, a rock kicking race.
The rock kicking race was pretty simple, you picked a rock and you had to kick it down the street, run up to it and kick it again, no getting a new rock! I don’t know if it was luck or skill but somehow I managed to be the first to the end of the street, I was the winner! We had so much fun that we decided to do it the next day so I saved my lucky rock. However, in the world of kids something else comes along and we never raced again, but I kept the rock. I never played organized sports so I never got any awards, so the rock became my trophy.
I know that when I pass away people will find it and have no idea why I have an ordinary rock. Maybe I’ll put a stipulation in my will that I have to be buried with it, and won’t say why.
When I was a kid I had a stuffed bear. I carried it around with me everywhere. And then one day it disappeared. I figure my brother did something with it or the dog got hold of it and shredded it but either way it was gone and nobody was saying anything.
Anyhow on my next birthday someone gave me a new bear and it was the greatest present. We did everything together, we went on wild adventures battling pirates, crossing deserts or going into space. Years later when I read Calvin and Hobbes I wondered how Bill Watterson had managed to copy my childhood.
The poor thing got torn up, legs and arms had to be sewn back on and when his eyes fell off my mother sewed on buttons to replace them, I picked out some flashy ones. Eventually I grew out of carrying around a stuffed animal but I put him away carefully. Years later I dug him out and gave him a place of honor on my shelf, he is the well spring from where my childlike creativity flows, he is my Muse.
I guess, like my trophy rock, I’m going to have to put a stipulation in my will that he is buried with me. At least this one will make sense.
And so ends my 31 days of stuff project. Interestingly enough I found at least 5 more items I could have written about. I signed up for the Novel In November thing so I won’t be doing another month long project but I plan to finally finish up my Bond project. Plus I have a month to figure out what I will do for December.