I can mark time passage in my childhood by the little material things I accumulated. These little talismans were not important because
of their monetary value but rather because they acknowledged my
increased maturity. They are some of my clearest memories of
Winnie the Pooh is the Grand Marshall in my parade of time capsules
posing as childhood trinkets. My sister, Deb, always brought home
Winnie the Pooh albums that included both a record with
voice characters reading the story and a large book so I could follow
along. I still work Winnie the Pooh themed memories into my daily
life, witness how I often call our cat, Magoo, by his
Winnie-influenced nickname- “Goober the Pooh.”
Next up on a list of handheld childhood items would include my first
knife. I believe it was a brown Barlow knife. At first I had to find uses for
the knife. I knew this was a clear message that I now had the
maturity and responsibilities that accompany a knife owner however I
really wasn’t sure what were these responsibilities. I started by
cutting one twine of the two that held bales together in the stack.
Later when I began to feed hay to the cattle and spread out straw, I
used the knife to cut both twines. I now know what a mature knife user
knows; a knife is typically used to as a screwdriver and a small
pry-bar. Using a knife to cut is a rare and wonderful treat.
I have written about my first watch. Earlier this week, someone
remarked about my super-wide leather band and watch. Lisa gifted me
this watch for my 50th because of my childhood stories of that watch.
My first watch was actually my dad’s old watch that was repaired for
my use. It had a twist-flex watch band and was awesome. The
passage of time has revealed a perspective in which that timepiece
seems like a training-wheels level of watch bands compared to the
massive, leather version which arrived when I was eleven and the more
recent version now on my wrist.
I had many bicycles so there isn’t one special bike. A bicycle back
in the seventies was like receiving the keys to your own cell. I was
no longer limited to the farm and loved the freedom of my bicycle. I
caused some panic in my parents with extended trips but they both
lived pretty long lives so I don’t believe I did much damage. I still
like a good bike ride.
My first gun shot bbs. A lot of people have written about bb guns
so I will stop there. My first real gun was a 30-06, bolt-action
rifle. It kicked so hard that I hated it. I still use a 30-06 today
but normally shoot de-tuned ammo that doesn’t kick so badly. What I
really wanted back then was a Winchester 94, lever-action but dad
said it wasn’t practical for my needs. I still want one.
My final trinket of youth wasn’t a trinket and it ended my youth. My
parents paid for half of a car and I paid for the other half. It was
a 1976 Mercury Montego. I really liked that car but once you have
wheels of your own you can go to the drive-in, date and enjoy freedom
to make your own stupid decisions. For these reasons, I don’t believe
I was a kid after I got my car. I don’t know what I was but I sure
wasn’t the same kid who liked Winnie the Pooh, even though I still
did like him.
When I received each of these signposts in my life, I thought it was
a huge event. When I look back, I see how simple and wonderful were
each of these items. I guess the memories wouldn’t exist without the
material item but it is probably the memories that carry the value
more than the knife, watch, bicycle or car. But not Winnie the Pooh,
he’s special. Not Winnie.