When I had kids and they all had penises, I figured that Bill would have them doing sporty things. I resolved that I would dedicate myself to making sure that each of them had a hobby he adored and could turn to when his knees had been replaced and his gut was lopping over his belt.
I began early, by buying cheap musical instruments and leaving them lying around. I’d already discovered that boys screwed with anything in their path. Why not sow the path with items I wanted them to find?
Finn’s first drum was actually made out of a pancake box and some string. He wore it with pride in this picture from 2000:
(The training potty in the background demonstrates that I was using the same “leave it around and boys will use it” theory of potty training, which was a bust.)
We never listened to Barney or Disney music in the car. I started the guys on the Beatles and Elvis and worked my way up through Blondie, Steely Dan and the Ramones, the history of rap, Johnny Cash, grunge, and everything else on my iPod. When they got old enough to understand cusses, I had to cut out the Buzzcocks and Eminem and “My Humps“, but overall they got a solid foundation of a variety of musical styles.
A year later Finn progressed to a real drum.
By then he knew that he needed to enlist his brothers in his musical journey and they were happy to oblige. Drew gravitated to the guitar while Porter would happily play anything, including kazoo. I banned the kazoo after an hour.
In 2003 Finn had just turned eight. Santa brought him the coolest tiny drum set ever. He banged on it all day and begged for lessons.
He’s now gone through five years of lessons and a set of drums from the pawn shop. After his third year of lessons we decided to invest in the drums you see here. For Christmas and his birthday he asks for a new cymbal or a double bass pedal or some other addition. Apparently drums and their accessories can expand until they engulf your entire basement, leaving only enough room for your family to huddle in the corner when the tornado sirens blare.
Here’s a snippet of what I hear every afternoon.
I can sleep through gutbusting jam sessions like this. I think that makes me mom of the year.
Join in and add your Flashback! Directions are here.
Porter has been on a fanatical quest to collect the quarters representing every state. He reported that one of his friends had a coveted Hawaii quarter and used it to purchase Skittles. He was disgusted at this lack of patriotism and ticked that he hadn’t spotted the rare coin.
I haven’t heard so much about quarters since 1976, the year of the Bicentennial. All my memories of the year are draped in red, white and blue bunting and set to “Silly Love Songs.” America- 200 years old! A birthday party for the whole country! A Fourth of July celebration like no other! I was in third grade and full of patriotic fervor, and so was everyone around me. Wikipedia says that people living then regarded the Bicentennial as a major cultural event, and I’d have to agree.
It began with the Bicentennial quarters. It was a big deal to find them, and my friend Margaret remembers going to Chik-fil-a and getting Bicentennial quarters in special wrappers. Some people collected them. Others were unable to break this habit. To this day, the Voice of Reason has pillboxes full of Bicentennial quarters stashed in her safe deposit box because her husband loves his collection so dearly. I’m hoping he’ll trade Porter a Hawaii if we give him a 1976 quarter.
Well before the celebration officially started, my family got in the mood. My youngest sister Lulu had a bedroom wallpapered in the chic colors of the day. Combined with her red and white bedspread and blue shag rug, it was as if a flag had vomited all over her room. I was a teensy bit envious, even more envious than I was of my middle sister Su, who had that patchwork jumper you see here. She wore it at least twice a week. I’d have worn it more often if it was mine.
The finest attribute of Lulu’s room was her iron bed. Day after day we’d stick our toes on the slat under the mattress, grab the posts, and hang off, yelling, “Garbage men coming! Bring us your garbage!” We’d jiggle to mimic a truck in motion, then jump off the truck and pile it high with toys, books and stuffed animals. We’d make a couple of tours of the neighborhood, tossing trash on and off the truck. When we were tired of being garbage men we’d ransack the dress-up box and play Little House on the Prairie. I always got to be Mary, which meant that Lulu spent most of her time leading me around the house because i was saintly and blind.
Lulu and I were insanely jealous. The dress had gold braid criss-crossed on the front, romantic lace sleeves and a lacy cap to match. Sure, Lulu got the avocado green play stove, but cooking was work. Prissing around in Betsy Ross’s clothes was magic. She’d finished sewing the flag centuries ago, so all she had to do was show up and accept her accolades.
My third-grade picture shows that I was in the mood for celebrating, down to the hair ribbons. I had to fight my sisters to get to wear this particular set of red ponytail holders and ribbons on picture day.
Shortly before school let out we had a Bicentennial parade at school. Margaret and another girl got to pull the class float. No one remembers what was on it.
By the time the 4th of July rolled around, we were feverish with excitement. It was the only time I can remember that our neighborhood got together for any reason at all. We wore our colors, had a picnic and posed for pictures before the fireworks and sparklers got started.
Su remembers this picture fondly. It might have been a major celebration for the country, but more important, the fact that her Betsy Ross costume was a thousand times more authentic and patriotic than anything we were wearing was a victory for middle children everywhere.
The picture also provides a glimpse into the diversity of our neighborhood. Not everyone was blond and blue-eyed. The brown-haired boy and his sister in the red and blue polka dots lived across the street and down two houses. David and Joy Gilbert were from the Midwest, which might as well have been Tasmania for all we knew about it. They had exotic accents and their house had a sunken den. I didn’t mention it to my sisters, but I figured that the Bicentennial was hardly a party at all to their parents, who were mature adults from the Midwest. I knew what sunken dens with lots of throw pillows were for. The Gilberts were probably experienced swingers. Mrs. Gilbert seemed just like any other mom when she drove carpool in her Buick Skylark, though.
Maybe you’re wondering what a whole class full of students looked like in 1976.
Unfortunately, I have every one of my class pictures except the third grade, so this depicts a group of jaded fourth-graders in the fall of 1976, who have already celebrated the Bicentennial. Ho hum. We’ve been there, done that. However, we were still wearing our red, white and blue.
I’m wearing my favorite daisy shirt that my aunt gave me and some stylish glasses, and the cool kids are wearing their red-striped Adidas. My shoes are rah-rah’s, and my mom made me keep them white by applying a polish that came in a bottle with a sponge-tipped applicator that exuded a milky-white liquid. It was a lot like Liquid Papering your shoes before school, and about as attractive.
The boy in the blue shirt in the front row is demonstrating his fondness for the show “Happy Days” by imitating Fonzie’s signature move. “Happy Days” was hot during 1976. I used to recommend that parents purchase DVDs of Happy Days until I saw the one where Fonzie teaches Richie how to remove a girl’s bra. Now we’ve substituted the timeless humor of Mork & Mindy, which is great for the kids. I prefer to have the boys practice sitting in a chair upside down and attempt to communicate with outer space rather than fiddle with ladies’ undergarments. Mork & Mindy didn’t debut until 1978, though, so it wasn’t a part of our Bicentennial year.
As a final thought, please ponder Rod Stewart’s “Tonight’s The Night.” We all heard it plenty that year. Please hum quietly to yourself, even though you know Rod’s gonna be trying to get him some later on.
So that’s the Bicentennial as I remember it here in the Tiny Kingdom. If you have memories of it, leave them in the comments.
If you want to participate in Flashback Friday, add your name and a short catchy description of your topic in the first line and the URL of your post (not your blog) in the second line of the Mr. Linky, and leave a comment here letting me know your post is up. Please mention Flashback Friday in your post and link back to My Tiny Kingdom so everyone can see all the participants! Thanks! Further, more EXPLICIT directions can be found here.
Anne Glamore (Bicentennial Memories)
A while ago I was looking back at old posts, and I realized I have lots of hilarious old stories and photos back in the archives. I even have unblogged tales (horrors!) that I haven’t thought about in years. The specific post I was reading was Remembrance of Things Past, which marks the only time I’ve set our life to poetry with accompanying photographs.
Of course, when the twins were covered in blue yogurt I didn’t have the time or the technical know how to blog our adventures, which is how I hatched the idea of hosting Flashback Friday– a chance for you to look back through your pictures or old posts and post one on your blog with a short sentence or two explaining what was going on way back when. Hey, if you want to tell a whole story, go for it. You can flash back a week or a century, to the time before blogs existed – it’s up to you.
Here’s how it works– I’ll set a theme for each week, and on Thursday night I’ll post my Flashback Friday post. There will be a Mr. Linky so you can add your name and the URL of the post containing your photo and/or story, and we’ll end up with a list of Flashback Friday participants right here at My Tiny Kingdom.
Here are some things to remember:
A. Feel free to join in! No need to ask permission. Read up on blogging carnivals here if you want.
B. Put your name and a SHORT description of your photo or story in the “Name” box, and the URL of your Flashback Friday post, not the main page of your blog, in the “URL” box. Example:
Anne Glamore (Wild & Crazy Times)
C. Please mention “Flashback Friday” in your post and link back to My Tiny Kingdom in your post.
D. If there are technical things you do not know how to do, please use Google or the help forums with your blogging platform to figure them out before you email me. (Example: Google “How do I upload an image in a WordPress blog?” or “How do I link to another site?”) I am a terrible technological teacher, as I figured out these things on my own and am probably not doing half of them correctly. I’m a step ahead of John McCain, computer-wise, but that ain’t saying much. Melanie at Blogging Basics has good information. For example, “What is a permalink” is here.
I suppose if a jillion of you email me with the same question I’ll start some FAQ’s.
E. No pornographic pictures, please. I reserve the right to delete links to obscene photos, and I will use Justice Stewart’s “I know it when I see it” test. Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184 (1964). (I rarely get to cite cases on my blog.)
Here are the upcoming themes: (interpret as broadly as you wish)
January 16: Feeling Red, White & Blue
January 23: This Makes Me Giggle
January 30: Free For All
February 6: Remember It’s Inner Beauty That Counts
February 13: Love, Look at The 2 Of Us
February 20: Free For All
February 27: What I Was Doing X Years Ago, Where “X” = Any Positive Integer
March 6: Snow
March 13: Free For All
March 20: NO FLASHBACK FRIDAY!
March 27: Oops!
April 3: There Once Was…
April 10: Free For All
April 17: The Letter R
April 24: Warm Thoughts
If you have ideas for upcoming themes, email me or leave them in the comments. If you can think of a group of bloggers who’d be way into this (scrapbookers? genealogists?) let them know about the project, too. Tweet, promote on your blog, etc. I hope this is fun for everyone!
Can’t wait to see how you interpret “Feeling Red White & Blue!”
FOUR years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: Fish. Talk about a flashback – this is maybe the 4th post I ever wrote!