Monday, April 15, 2013
When NOT to play horse-y with a baby. (And other adventures from 1973)
Yep. I’m still stuck in the 70’s, people. So, all aboard the time machine! Today, we’re voyaging back to 1973….
(For a refresher of my 1972 discoveries, click HERE.)
I was about five months old when 1973 began. According to my baby book, that’s when I started talking. My first word was “hi”. I was about fifteen pounds and I had no teeth and virtually no hair. Oh! And I lived in a house with hip bright red shag carpet and a faux midget polar bear skin rug on the living room floor. You know you’re jealous.
My mom was still in her ridiculous wig phase. Clearly. *snicker*
Despite my mom’s frightening wigs, I was kind of a happy little thing.
Okay, fine. Make that VERY happy….
….unless I was having my passport picture taken. Then I was just freaking confused. Apparently.
(Funny, I still make that exact same face when I realize we’re out of ice cream!)
That passport picture wasn’t just for craps and giggles either. When I was about ten months old, my parents took me on a trip to to England to meet all my relatives there. The flight from Seattle to London was over nine hours long. Let’s pause and let that sink in for a moment….
A nine hour flight?
With a baby?!?!
I don’t know if that makes Mom and Dad really brave or just really stupid.
During our three week vacation in England, I was Christened. Here’s a shot of me outside the church with my parents. (Yes, I’m grinning up a storm. Again.)
And here’s one of me at the church with my Dad’s parents, my aunt, my uncle, and my newborn cousin. (Uh-huh. Still smiling.)
Here I am with my mom’s parents in their home. They had a huge chocolate Easter egg for me, which I just couldn’t wait to get my little hands on. (On a related note, I just ate half of Wednesday’s Easter M&M’s this morning while she was in school, so at least I’m consistent.)
But our England trip wasn’t all church and chocolate. No, no, no. I also got to sit on my grandpa’s motorcycle!
I noticed Grandpa is wearing his helmet and riding jacket in that picture up there. Umm…. yeeeaaaahhhhhh. That makes me somewhat suspicious that this might not have been just a posed picture on that motorbike, that maybe he might have actually given me a quick little ride down the driveway on it. Grandpa was a troublemaker and it seems like the sort of thing he and my dad would have cooked up. (Hey, it was the 70’s after all!) But if they did, I know it was totally behind my mom’s back. Grandpa lost an eye in a motorcycle accident a few years earlier and was sporting a spiffy glass eye in that shot up there, so if—IF—he gave me a ride on it, it would have been while Mom was in the shower or something so she’d be oblivious and couldn’t have relieved him of his other eye. Because she absolutely would have!!!! I’m soooooo going to ask my dad about it the next time I call him.
Speaking of Grandpa’s troublemaking, there’s also this picture.
That’s me on his shoulders in his backyard. It looks innocent enough, doesn’t it? But, no. No, it’s not. You see, I had just had breakfast five minutes before Grandpa flung me up onto his shoulders and started galloping around the yard like a horse. Both my mom and grandma told him that was a bad idea and pleaded with him not to do it, but he did it anyway…. only to end up wearing my upchucked breakfast all down his face about two seconds after this picture was taken.
Yes. Yes, I threw up on my grandpa’s head. And Grandpa learned a valuable lesson on when not to play horse-y with a baby. Just trying to do my part.
In later years, Grandpa was without a doubt my favorite grandparent. He nicknamed me “Carrots” because of my red hair, and even though those sorts of nicknames offended me when anyone else used them, for some reason when Grandpa did it, it felt like a badge of honor. And, yes, he forgave me for vomiting on his head. That takes a lot of love, you guys.
A. Lot. Of. Love.
Well, anyway, when we got back to Seattle, Summer was in full swing. As you can tell by the previous picture, I had four teeth now. And still no hair. I also had a friend (let’s call him Jesse) whose sandbox I got to play in. Jesse poured sand on my shoulder, so I retaliated by stealing his cookie.
I liked cookies. A lot. I’m told that my favorite kind of cookie at the time was Arrowroot by Nabisco. Here’s a picture I borrowed from Google that shows what the Arrowroot box looked like in the 70’s.
I remember five or six years later, I would drool like Pavlov’s dogs every time my mom pulled that box out of the cupboard to give a cookie to my baby brother. I would beg her for one—just one!—because they were sooooooooooo delicious. Mom would always roll her eyes and tell me it was baby food and I wasn’t a baby anymore, but deep down inside she knew I was right that those suckers were pure heaven and she’d give me one anyway.
Sometimes two. :-)
In July 1973, my first birthday rolled around. According to my baby book, my parents had a party planned for me, but then my sandbox friend, Jesse, came down with measles, so at the last minute the party was cancelled in case I was coming down with it too (since I stole and ate Jesse’s cookie and all). No-one wanted to risk any other babies catching measles, so everyone was told to stay away.
(Seriously? What the hell? What kind of 70’s attitude was THAT?!?!)
So, I spent my first birthday with my parents. My mom was rockin’ her beehive wig for the occasion, and I just wanted to get a taste of the cake.
Which I did. And I liked it!
After cake (and maybe a bath!), I opened one of my presents. It was a Dorable Daksy dog. Dorable Daksy’s tail would wag when his leash was pulled, and he barked and sniffed as well.
Daksy was so well-loved that he, sadly, didn’t survive my childhood. I remember being about five years old and Daksy’s fur had fallen half off his plastic and metal body, and was just hanging on by a mere thread or two. Mom always wanted to throw Daksy away, but I would never go for it. But I guess Mom won that battle at some point while I wasn’t paying attention because I have no idea what happened to him.
Daksy dogs are really, REALLY hard to find these days, but they do pop up on eBay every now and then. I once replaced my long gone Daksy on eBay for about $10, but, sadly, my replacement Daksy doesn’t work—no barking, no uber-cute tail-wagging—however, he’s still freaking adorable. And he has all his fur! See?
The now measles-free Jesse and my other baby friends came over for my rescheduled birthday party about a month later. (And, no, I never came down with measles too. Whew!) Jesse, it appears, was still sore from the whole cookie-swiping incident and attempted to murder me with the elastic on my party hat, but—whatever—I was WAY too enthralled with my new toys to even bother to notice.
Mom and Dad, for some reason, waited until some point several days after my late-birthday party to let me open the gifts sent from my relatives in England. Mom was in a black bouffant wig and fake eyelashes that day and was looking a bit like Amy Winehouse.
One of my favorite new toys I got that day was a Fisher Price Chatter Telephone. Here’s a picture of one that I borrowed from Google.
I, obviously, had lots of important calls to make, so I got right down to business.
These days, 1970’s FP Chatter Telephones sell on eBay anywhere from $1 to $40. And FP Chatter Telephone Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments (jeez, that’s a mouth full) are hocked on eBay anywhere from $55 to $149.
Around my first birthday, I really started getting into music. I loved listening to the radio. I even had a favorite song that would make me drop whatever I was doing, hold onto the coffee table, and sing, dance, and totally rock out to it every time I heard it. Here’s shot of me doing just that.
So, what kind of song would make a one year old drop all her toys and get her groove on that fiercely?
Yeah. “You Make Me Feel Brand New” by The Stylistics. Oh, I knew how to party, people. Definitely. I loved that song so much that my parents bought me the record album.
Eight or nine years later, I would still play that record whenever any of my Barbies were dating or getting married. (In fact, I’m pretty sure my Starr and Shaun dolls conceived a baby to that song once in 1982. But that’s a story for another time. Moving on….)
In addition to dancing my ass off, I also liked going on walks to the park with my mom. Although, why Mom wore a half-shirt, mini skirt, and stilettos to the park, I’m not quite sure. (????)
When Fall rolled in, Mom and Dad took me to a reunion with their Lamaze and Baby Care class buddies now that all the babies were one year olds. For some reason, there was a newspaper photographer at the reunion and, maybe because I was the only girl and all the other babies born to the class were boys, but the photographer was quite smitten with me. Some pictures of me at the reunion ended up being published in the newspaper and in a Red Cross newsletter. Here are a couple of them.
When Halloween hit, my mom made me a pumpkin costume and I went to a party with Jesse and my other friends. Always the jokester, Jesse tried to poke my eye out….
….so, I ate a cookie and watched a poodle’s tail wagging (which probably reminded me of Daksy’s).
As 1973 came to a close, my parents took me to a Christmas party at my dad’s coworker’s house.
My earliest memory is of that party. I was only one and a half, but I definitely remember those other kids in the picture up there and that I knew they all thought I was little and cute, and they kept trying to tickle my neck. I remember looking at their huge, glittering Christmas tree and knowing I shouldn’t touch it and then, when their mother told them to, the other kids took a present out from under their tree and gave it to me. I remember how surprised I was that there was something for me under their tree! Kind of sweet for a first memory, huh? :-)
What I don’t remember is that I somehow made a horrendous mess in their house with a box of packing peanuts, but there’s photographic proof that I did. Whoopsie!
(Oh, looky. An eBay Seller in the making!)
For Christmas that year, one of my favorite gifts was my new Fisher Price Music Box TV.
The FP TV played two songs, London Bridge and Row, Row, Row Your Boat, while the pictures on the screen moved and changed according to the songs. My TV is long gone. I have no idea what happened to it, but here are some pictures of one just like it that I borrowed from Etsy.
These days Fisher Price Television Sets like my old one sell on eBay anywhere from about $10 to $30.
And as 1973 ended and 1974 began, I saw my first ever dusting of snow. And I mean dusting. (Hey, sometimes Seattle goes a whole year or two without any snow.) It’s kind of hard to see it in the picture, but it’s there.
In the next post, I’ll be telling you what I’ve discovered about 1974—the year I became a big sister, got into Kraftwerk, and watched my scary little cousin eat a whole stick of butter and then climb on top of my fridge.