"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Sunday, January 16, 2011


What price make believe beauty?
I am hoping that commandment doesn't include desiring my best friend's toys when I was a kid.

If so, I am sunk.

I mean, let's face it. Valli always got the cool stuff for her birthdays and Christmas. Sure, she shared. And I played at her house practically every day for roughly 10 years.  So I had plenty of opportunity to pretend those most wonderful toys were mine.

But pretending is not quite the same as owning something ourselves, is it? Nah.

Which meant that at the end of the day, when it was time for me to go home, I had to take off that gorgeous brunette plastic wig and begrudgingly -- with a weak smile, though a smile nonetheless --  hand it back to her.

Hey, those plastic wigs were da bomb back in the 60s.  In my little mind, anyway. Sure, they made my real hair all sweaty, and the plastic edges, though soft, carved a rather nasty impression into my temples if we played dress ups too long. But what price make believe beauty?

Those plastic wigs, however, were the least of my longing.

Why didn't my mom buy me one?
Hellooo Easy Bake Oven.

Drooling, with my eyes as big as one of my mom's Fiestaware dinner plates,  I was absolutely speechless as Valli unveiled that Christmas gift.  No matter that those little cakes baked by the heat of a lightbulb tasted funky.  How neat was having your own oven? And why didn't my Mom buy me one?  To this day I do not cook unless forced to. I blame it entirely on the Easy Bake Oven, or lack thereof.

The year Valli got Thumbelina, the writhing, thumb-sucking baby doll that was all the rage, I got Cathy Ann, my sister's hand-me-down do-nothing doll.

Susie Smart 
Granted, we both got a Chatty Cathy one Christmas.  She had the blonde, I had the brunette.  That may have been the same year we got matching sailor dresses. Hence, the green-eyed monster was at bay for a while.

Gee, thanks
Until Valli got a Susie Smart -- a tall, blonde doll with jointed knees, dressed in a jaunty plaid jumper with a matching plaid beret and black shoes, who could recite math problems and spell "cat" -- and all I got was a tin arithmetic quiz machine.

When Valli got a Barbie, I got a Babette, Barbie's cheap drugstore knock off.

When Valli got the Barbie Queen Of The Prom game,  I got Parcheesi.

And, to add insult to injury, when we played BQOTP I forever ended up with that freaky Poindexter with the beady eyes while Valli always wound up with dreamy Ken. An omen, perhaps?
Poindexter had beady eyes
 Valli got the Mystery Date game, too.  And, as I recall, it seemed that each time Valli turned the knob on that white plastic door in the middle of the board, the handle grabbed the card with the handsome prom date in a tux.  Her worst date was either the skier or the tennis player -- both charming lads.  Me?  No mystery there. Always the bespectacled bowler donned in polyester or the filthy, unshaven bum.

(Secretly, I felt sorry for the bum, and saw great potential for the guy -- a quick shower, a dab of High Karate, a resume makeover, and he'd be right as rain. But I digress.)

The Christmas Valli got the latest Beatles album and my parents gave me Don Ho's Greatest Hits is the year I finally gave up craving the things that that Valli got for Christmas. I realized that my folks, bless their old school hearts, were doing their best to be cool.  So I just gave thanks for Tiny Bubbles and the bright orange stretch pants my parents also gave me that Christmas, and went about my merry way.

But I must confess there was one item that Valli didn't own that, once upon a time, I yearned for more than all the plastic wigs and mystery dates in the world.

She was one classy coupe
I would have given my eyeteeth for the Aunt Jane's Pickle Mobile they were raffling off at the local  grocery store. I'd outgrown the bright red tricycle my folks had bought me with their long-saved Green Stamps, and Aunt Jane's classic convertible coupe looked like one, sweet ride. Oh, how I ogled that bitchin' buggy every time I went Krogering with my parents. Alas, I did not win.

Chances are I could find one on eBay.

Wonder how it does in snow?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just happened to stumble upon this. Excellent writing and pretty comedic. Keep it up.