I wonder, did I make a huge mistake when I was a youngster? We moved frequently and often I could’ve been the recipient of a treasure-trove of Barbie dolls or Matchbox cars – cast offs from kindly neighbors whose older children had grown out of kiddie toys.
I never said yes to the offers. I think part of the reluctance was the feeling I sensed…our family was different and messy, and every time a well-intending adult offered gently used toys, I saw what was in their hearts. They were being nice because they didn’t know what else to do. Mom was a sideshow attraction, dad was often away, and most neighbors were relieved when we moved on…took the drama elsewhere. They had guilt eyes and I knew it. Not wanting to get involved, but kind just the same, sister Lisa and I often saw generosity as the moving vans were getting packed up. Offers of ‘toys to go’.
When I struggled as a little one, often in the backseat with Lisa as we trooped from town to town, my trusty Etch-A-Sketch was my companion. I realize now I vented my frustrations and fears by doodling – often unflattering scribbles and scrawls about our mother – but in the safety of the backseat. Undetectable. My only worry was being sure Lisa didn’t rat me out. If she giggled too much, her laughter would draw attention from mom…but even then, just a quick shakey-shakey-shakey and I could say, ‘huh, what? Nothing to see here’ when mom turned around to see what was going on.
I doubt Barbie dolls or matchbox cars would’ve provided the same outlet, but I’ll never know. Lisa? She loved her tinker toys and when she couldn’t figure out how to get the pieces together, she’d do impromptu drum solos, using her “sticks” to keep me entertained.
I had a fun experience this week discovering a new-fangled version of my beloved Etch-A-Sketch and you can read about it over on Heart of the Matter. Every day with technology is an adventure in Vicki-land. You’ll see…
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