Although we moved every four years while I was growing up, my mom always prepared a place for us in the basement--a playroom where our toys got unpacked and our vivid imaginations unleashed. Among the prized possessions that played with throughout childhood were a wooden toy box filled with old dresses, capes and floppy bridesmaids' hats (yes, it was the 70's--we liked our formal wear floppy and in pastel shades--what of it?). We had stuffed animals, dolls, building blocks and a set of toy dishes. What else could a girl want?
From Sears, a portable Mickey Mouse record player. Our playtime soundtrack included Disney songs from Cinderella, Mary Poppins, Pete's Dragon and Lady and the Tramp. We belted out the Muppet Movie songs and Bible verses to cheery tunes with our friend Psalty-- to this day I can't read more than a couple chapters in the Good Book without finding familiar words and then I start to hum. Records were wonderous, you could listen to any song you wanted simply by putting a new album on the turntable and moving Mickey's arm to the right space. A little staticky crackle and then the room would fill with music.
My favorite records to play as a child were from my mother's stash of 45's from her youth--Paul Revere and the Raiders, Herman's Hermits, The Happenings, and a stack of Motown hits. These half-sized lps had a sort of sophisticated appeal because they weren't kid records, these were grown up songs with a down beat and serious lyrics. Every time I hear Diana Ross and the Supremes on the oldies station, I am wearing an old bridesmaid dress with a gauzy white shawl and a pale yellow hat with matching ribbons draping down my back. I'm on top of the wooden toybox (my stage) pouring out my heartbreak into an old wooden spoon (my microphone).
Set me free, why don't cha babe
Get out my life, why don't cha babe
cause you don't really love me
You just keep me hangin on
You don't really need me
But you keep me hangin on
Nostalgia has nearly prompted me to shell out $99.99 on ebay for my old mouse friend with the blue striped arm. Those old records are in my basement just waiting to be played--and I'm sure I still remember all the words--now if can find myself a pale blue chiffon bridesmaid dress.
Midwest Moms and Tx Poppet knew my literary allusion--the quote in question yesterday was from Charlotte Perkins Gilman's brilliant short story The Yellow Wallpaper. Read it if you haven't--it's short and quite perfect for this time of year. Here's the link again!