Thursday, August 11, 2022

Me and Darren, 1972

It was great being a kid fifty years ago, especially if you had a best friend like Darren to eat Cheerios and get strong with.

This picture shows me and Darren on the driveway of the house I lived in then in Clarkston. (I'm the one on the left, wearing shoes and socks.) If there's a story about that overturned kid-sized wheelbarrow beside us, I don't know what it is; I have no memory of that wheelbarrow. Or of the green plastic ridey-toy visible on the left side of the picture.

I don't remember those things, but this is one of the things I do remember from back then:

Probably around the time this picture was taken, about 1971 or 1972, Cheerios (the breakfast cereal) was running a TV commercial intended to convince kids like me and Darren that eating Cheerios would give you energy and make you strong. It worked. The commercial worked, I mean; I doubt the cereal actually gave you energy and made you strong, at least not nearly as dramatically as the commercial showed it doing to the run-down stick figure character, but Darren and I sure believed it did.

One Saturday afternoon we confirmed this belief by first trying to lift the sofa (whether in my house or Darren's, I don't remember). We couldn't do it – look at us in the picture; we were scrawny little kids! But then we ate a couple of handfuls of Cheerios (whether from my kitchen or Darren's, I don't remember), and then, Shazam!, we could lift the sofa! Cheerios made us strong, just like in the commercial!

The sofa probably wasn't really that heavy to start with, and it took both of us to lift it anyway, but we were convinced that the Cheerios had given us strength we hadn't had before. We didn't talk about whether we had been giving it our all on the pre-Cheerios lift attempt. (I suspect we hadn't, but admitting that–even discussing it–would have been heresy.)

Why two five-year-old kids decided that being able to lift a living room sofa meant they were strong, I can't tell you. Also, why two five-year-old kids who also watched Popeye cartoons were eating Cheerios instead of spinach…well, that one is kind of obvious, isn't it?

I have no idea where Darren is today; after my family moved to Maryland, not too long after this picture was taken, Darren and I stopped being friends. We didn't have a falling out or anything – five-year-old kids don't – we just lived several hundred miles apart, which made it hard to get together and play, you know? And way back then we didn't have e-mail or texting or social media, so when somebody moved away, they were just gone. I wonder if that happens to kids these days: do they lose touch with people when they move, or if you know someone, does technology make that forever? In any case, I would like to know what became of Darren, and I'd love to be able to ask him if he remembers the Cheerios event–and if he remembers it the same way I do.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Christmas in July

This morning Anna and Elyse and I went to the Grayson "Christmas in July" market (J. went to Granny and Pa's house to make cards.) Here are three of the pictures I took there:

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Vines Park Critters

This morning J. and I went for a walk at Vines Park. Here are some pictures of the critters we saw:

Monday, July 25, 2022

Minnesota Summer 2022

Anna and the kids have been home from their week-and-a-half long visit to Minnesota for two weeks now; it's taken that long to sift through the pictures, over 200 of them, that they texted to me and select a few to include on this blog. Here are 20 pictures, I think in chronological order, from their trip:

When this picture was taken, Claes Oldenburg, who was responsible for the Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture seen in the background, was still alive; he passed away at the age of 93 just a couple of weeks later.

Downtown Faribault

July 4th lunch at Tim and Peg's house on the lake

Denny emerging from the camper at the campground

Elyse made s'mores!

Friday, July 15, 2022

Helen Tubing 2022

Today we went on our annual summer-time trip up to Helen, so Anna and Elyse (or Anna and whomever she can convince to go with her) can go tubing on the Chattahoochee. Here are some pictures from today's outing:

I think I've written before about my indefensible fondness for Brach's Chocolate Stars, which they have at Betty's Country Store (where J. and I went to get a snack after dropping Anna and Elyse off at the Helen Tubing start point):

I'm also very fond of attraction brochure racks, which they also have one of at Betty's:

After about an hour and ten minutes, we went to the bridge by the Chattahoochee to watch for Anna and Elyse. The fence underneath the bridge is festooned with "love locks," including many interestingly shaped locks, such as the fish, camel, and owl shown below:

Finally, after about an hour and a half, Anna and Elyse floated into view:

J. and I spent the next half hour or so looking around in various stores, then went and picked up Anna and Elyse at the end point. We then all went and had funnel cake or ice cream; I don't have any pictures of that, but here's a picture of downtown Helen:

Monday, July 11, 2022

Lenox with Margarette and Kristin

Today I met my friends Pearl and Kristin at the mall for lunch. Here are a few of the pictures I took while we were there:

The mall wasn't as empty as these pictures make it look. It wasn't exactly bustling, but we didn't have it all to ourselves, either. Lenox is far from the "dead mall" status that Gwinnett Place and Northlake have earned. It's doing okay; it might even be accurate to describe it as thriving.