Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 25, 1979, When Etan Patz Went Missing...

New York kids and parents will always
remember this beautiful face.

During the week of May 25th, 1979, New York area moms held their children closer. I was only 6, but I clearly remember the day Etan Patz vanished without a trace. My own mother, a NYC school teacher at that time, was very taken by the missing little boy. It affected her. She knew children who walked to the bus stop or walked to and from her school. 

In 1979, Etan and I were the same age. He was born a mere month before me. I will never forget the haunting image of this beautiful child with adorable silky hair styled in a typical '70s "bowl cut." I wondered where he could have gone. I wondered why he didn't run. I wondered who could have taken him. I thought about Etan often. 

We all felt for the Patz family. It could have been any of us. As a kid, growing up in the late '70s and early '80s, it seemed like an innocent time. We would bike to the corner candy stores. We played in our local school yards. We were safe. Etan wasn't. 

Every morning, my little brother and I would begin our day with a bowl of cereal. We were safe in our PJs. Safe in our home. Safe with our parents just a few feet away. Sprinkling sugar over our Rice Krispies, we would stare at images of missing kids our ages. Their faces on milk cartons. Thoughts of where they might be raced through my innocent, young mind. 

According to news stories all over the US, New York City's finest have cracked the case this week. A man has confessed. It doesn't even matter what his name is or where he's from. The point is, someone has finally come forward. I read that the Patz family never moved or changed their phone number in hopes that their son, Etan would try to locate them. 

My heart aches for Etan's parents. 

Are you old enough to remember this heart-wrenching case?

Monday, May 14, 2012

In 1979, I was no Sandra Dee - Olivia Newton-John

I wished I looked more like this in 1979.

Back in the late 1970s until about 1982, I LOVED Olivia Newton-John. I first discovered her as Sandra Dee in Grease. I swear, I thought Olivia was like this beautiful angel with a heavenly voice. I wished I looked like her. Skinny with lovely blonde hair. She was just so pretty. 

Around that time, I was friends with an adorable tanned, blue-eyed, blonde-haired little girl from our neighborhood. Though she was two years younger than me, we would sometimes play together. Her parents spoiled her in a different way than mine did. I remember her room was so pink. We're talking floor to ceiling pretty shades of pink. In her room, we'd sink our toes into the soft mauve carpet of her fit-for-a-princess style bedroom and perform scenes and songs from Grease. We'd play the album over and over, and sing along to every song.

It's weird, but as young as I was back then, I can recall feeling this strange, overwhelming sense of sadness. While singing along, leaping on and off her bed, pretend pillow fighting and reenacting the slumber party scene, it hit me ... My friend looked much more like Sandy, Olivia Newton-John's character, than me. Deep down, I knew that I was like a chubby, mousy brown-haired younger version of Rizzo to this little girl's Sandy. 

The early 1980s seemed like more of an innocent time. Kids didn't seem to grow up as fast as they do today. How did I know to even feel that way back then. How did I know she would be the cheerleader. Not me.  I just did. 

Thanks for listening. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Really Rosie & Pierre - by Maurice Sendak

"I don't care," said Pierre - a Maurice Sendak classic.
Children's author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak passed away today at 83. Although famous for Where The Wild Things Are, I was probably the only child who didn't like that book. I did, however ADORE the tale of Pierre and Really Rosie

Pierre was a very naughty little boy. I remember thinking that my parents would kick my butt if I was as bad as Pierre who just didn't care. The story revolves around his disrespectful ways and what can happen to children who don't listen to their parents. 

I remember Carole King singing the words to Pierre in a TV special that aired on CBS in 1975 called Really Rosie. Really Rosie was an animated musical based on Maurice Sendak's stories including Chicken Soup with Rice -- another one I enjoyed. I was really small when I saw it and I think the scene where the lion eats Pierre was a bit scary, but the song was so wonderful. 

I especially love Maurice Sendak's kids and characters in Really Rosie because they were New Yawkers, like my family and me, and they sure did have the accents to prove it.

Here's a clip of Pierre...

Chicken Soup with Rice:

Monday, May 7, 2012

Maxell & TDK Tape Cassettes

Tape cassettes from back in the '80s and '90s.

Remember cassette tapes also known as compact cassettes? The popular brands were distributed by TDK and Maxell. It's hard to believe these items are hard to find today. One of my favorite gifts as a child, was a tape recorder. Ask someone under 30 if they know what a tape recorder is today and they most likely will have no idea. 

As a kid, I would use a small tape recorder to record audio while watching my favorite movies in the theater. I particularly recall doing this during The Goonies. I would listen to the tapes while getting ready for school or doing homework. I knew every line. Too bad I didn't record important information such as history or Spanish lessons. I would have aced my classes!

I think my very first tapes were copied versions of Madonna's first two albums and Cyndi Lauper's She's So Unusual back in sixth grade. My dad was a teacher and one of his students had a massive record collection. He told the student how much I loved Madonna and Cyndi Lauper. Soon I had two new tapes and I bet some had a passing grade. I played those tapes continuously until I believe they finally snapped. That was the one thing that was uncool about tapes. They would get stuck or the tape would unwind from the spool. 

As we kids got older, we learned about the romanticism behind the mixed tape. Often a sign of affection, your crush would gather their favorite songs and put together a nice combination of tunes for you on a blank tape. The crush would label the tape and sometimes create artwork, depending on how creative they were.  Even the worst song on the tape was lovely because of the person behind the mixed tape. My husband made me CDs in 2001. There are songs that will always remind me of him.

It seems like so long ago when tapes were popular. Now, you may not even be able to play them and don't get me started on records.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Flying Finnegan Board Game

Flying Finnegan Board Game from 1978
Every once in a while, I'll get a text or Facebook message from my younger brother asking me if I can recall this game we used to play way back in the late 1970s or early 1980s. He never can quite recall the name of it other than the term, "Flying F-something" ... Tonight he texted me asking if I remembered how much we enjoyed playing, "Flying Flannigan." 

Flying Finnegan from Kenner
We both knew this wasn't what this game was really called. And to be honest, I couldn't even remember what the object of this game was. I just knew there was some wacky board game we loved to play with a funny name. I reminded him about my love for Run Yourself Ragged. But felt bad that I couldn't offer him any other memory behind this "Flying" game that was so special to him.

Thankfully, Board Game Geek once again came through for me. And there it was, the complete Flying Finnegan lowdown.That was it! It was called Flying Finnegan -- a 1978 game from Kenner. Classified as a board game, this game was more of a tabletop action game. It was perfect for two players around the age of 6 or 8 - though I think my brother may have been under the suggested age.

You have to view the above YouTube video to really see how the game is played. It's like a cause and effect type situation game. You launch something and then another thing happens which then causes another thing to happen. It always reminded me of those funny contraptions you'd see in a cartoon usually with a brainy scientist would be behind it. Think Data from The Goonies

Anyone remember this?

*Photos take from Board Game Geek.


Share |