A Week In 1987
This time of the year I think we all reflect on what it was like to be a kid. Even if you have kids of your own, I think the weeks leading up to Christmas we remember that certain childhood excitement and go down memory lane. A time when catalogs from Sears were bookmarked twice and strategically open to a certain page to that olfactory smell of how awesome scotch tape smelled on a chilly 5am Christmas morning. Being a kid had its perks but nothing compared to the biggest perk of them all; Christmas!
This season, so many things are changing, both professionally and personally. Don't worry, all for the best but this morning I got up and realized December is almost half over and I am letting the season slip by again. Stress can crush the jolly out of anyone so it is up to me to save it. Even if it is just an hour here or there by going back in time to remember sitting in Mrs. Sheldon's fourth grade glass, counting the days to Christmas and trying my best to stay out of trouble.
I don't know what elementary school is like today but back in the eighties, I would imagine it had to be a bit better. For one, we celebrated holidays and were unapologetic about it, for better or worst. It seemed like mere weeks before we trashed the jack-o-lanters and put up five-finger hand turkeys which eventually had full on Christmas trees in unison. That's because every kid knew half of December belonged to celebrating the Christmas holiday and the teachers had a couple paid weeks off to drink copious amounts, so the other events like Veterans Day, All Saints Day, Thanksgiving, Daylight Savings Time were all just given a nod of acknowledgment. Even the Presidential Election Day.
Lucky for me, I recently found an old assignment from my fourth grade class teacher which was a weekly journal that happened to be during the election of President George Bush Sr. and (apparently unfavorable to me) Vice President Dan Quayle. That should put this particular assignment around mid-November, 1988. It's a peek into the past and to a simpler time when one thing was for certain, my mind was on Christmas and the P's and Q's that needed to be minded if I was to ever get the Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future toys. Seriously, they blew up while interacting with a TV show! It worked like dog shit but man, what a concept to a kid!
So, in the fourth grade I am pretty sure every assignment was illustrated, whether it was needed to be or not. Mom insisted on art lessons after school because she was convinced I had a talent when actually all I ever drew were sharks and stormtroopers. These particular lessons were at this lady's house once a week and looking back, that seems a bit weird. I don't think they do that anymore. She would choose some insane photo of a squirrel or panda that I would try and ruin it but she would come behind to fix it. That lady could turn a moose into an eagle with a shade here and a stroke there. Before I knew it I was leaving her home, high on pastels, with an arm full of hotel art Mom could rave about for a week.
But I digress...
This assignment seems to be a lesson in journaling. The skill needed to reflect on the week and take assessment of the world to learn where we are and where we will go. That's a great skill to possess and fast forward almost thirty years later, I'm a blogger! We never full grow up, do we?
I can't say for sure but I am thinking I had a heavy influence from the Garfield comics because of my absolute hatred of "Mondays". As if the anthropomorphic Monday was a death-plotting assassin, I taunted it to do it's worse. I even dissed the pep-talk my sweet teacher gave us coming off a weekend. To that, sweet Mrs. Sheldon ensured me I would survive.
It's Tuesday and surviving Monday has it's pay off which was P.E.! Apparently I was a big fan of P.E. because I dedicated a whole entry to it with a Thomas Kinkade style art-scape. Not really sure where I was going with a majestic mountain landscape since I was smack in the middle of suburban Atlanta without a mountain range within eighty miles. Maybe P.E. was that special? Perhaps it was "Red-Rover Red-Rover" day?
This is when spelling shits itself.
The United States has a new President and it seems I was pretty happy with the results but the poor Vice President Elect did not get a my graces. What did I know back then that formed these opinions? How informed could a nine year old be when it came to the intellect and character of a politician? Whatever or whoever, a couple years later Murphy Brown proved me to be right. The spelling bee didn't help.
The important part of this entry was knowing priorities. No doubt the major networks would be clogged with inaugural news and shows like ALF or The A-Team or Beauty and the Beast would suffer their airtime. Not even giving Reagan his last trip around the lawn.
It looks like Thursday was a close call. This whole day could have been shit when a dollar went missing but like magic, it fell out of this very journal! Most likely it was because I was in a rush to enter Wednesday's entry before she made us turn it in. I just really know myself. Even nine year old me.
As a bonus I made sure to say "fuck you" to the other three days of the week.
The last day and the best day of the week! I made it and without much fanfare, I shrugged my shoulders and assumed the parents would like this. If for nothing else than to see what I am up to in school. I made sure to include a ridiculous scene of presents around a tree because I am not the most subtle when it comes to hints and intensions. It was the beginning of November, after all.
This isn't the most Christmassy post but reading it took me back to a time when life was simple and spirit of Christmas was real. The ever enduring campaign for the most awesome gift to show off to your friends was fun but there was something much deeper about this season. Maybe it was 1988? Maybe I was a child and the smell of pine trees and department stores didn't immediately remind me of financial statements and bills?
Or maybe it was because of wonderful people like my teacher, Mrs. Leslie Shelton. How lucky am I to have had such amazing people like this? I never forget my teachers. Especially her.
Thanks for reading! Back with some silly stuff for your yule log collection.