Oh, to be a kid again

Robert Roe

Sometimes being an adult sucks. While the perks are really cool (for the most part), there are some aspects of my youth I would like to revisit. Such as:

The Magic 8 Ball I got for two dollars in the third grade at Orangeburg Elementary School. It was a lot easier making life decisions when, after a couple of shakes, the mystic sphere would advise me “Reply Hazy, Try Again,” or “Signs Point To Yes.”

Gorging myself on sugar-soaked cereal in order to collect the requisite box tops to mail in for the wondrous prize of the time, like the Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper cockpit replica (for only five box tops of Frankenberry Cereal!). Some were included in the box, like the Pink Panther five-in-one spy kit.

Poring over the Fall Television Preview issue of TV Guide. Pages of wonder waiting to be seen on the small screen. From Saturday morning programming (Lance Link, Secret Chimp) to Prime Time fare (The Six Million Dollar Man), the Guide was a map to all the promise and amazement the new season would bring avid viewers like me.

Washing my hair with vinegar, because Mom said it would turn my thick, brown hair a nice shade of red. For those glorious years my follicles flowed freely and, occasionally, sporting a crimson hue.

The Wish Books. J.C. Penney and Sears were as welcome in the Fall as the first days of school (shopping for school supplies was the best). I studied those catalogues as closely as I did my text books (closer, actually). When Mom (who did the Christmas shopping) perused their pages, she would be aided by helpful folds in the toy section, or clever circles or Xs bringing her attention to items of interest for a certain boy in the household.

Camping outdoors. By which I mean spending time in my tent close enough to the house that if I got scared I could run inside to the safety of my bed. I mean, crickets and frogs make sounds that are relaxing while camping. That is, until they decide they want to share your sleeping bag. Creeping, crawling, screeching invaders in the mood to spoon was not my idea of a good time.

Seeing the movie “Star Wars” for the first time. I saw it over thirty times at the Russell Theatre, but the thrill of being introduced to that universe…wow! Of course, that was before the franchise became a series of two-hour toy commercials, starting with The Empire Strikes Back.

Water beds. Mine was a free flow mattress, undulating like a bowlful of jelly as you settled in, thermostat cranked to 105, air conditioner down to 70. Comfort personified.

That’s not to mention neighborhood games of hide and seek, sleeping in on snow days, three-month summer vacations, Clyde’s Days at the Russell Theatre, eating White Light Hamburgers, and visits to Moore’s Toy store.

Yeah, there were a lot of fun things to experience being a kid. Then again, as an adult I get control of the TV remote, so I guess it all balanced out.


Robert Roe