Normanday #65: Are we almost there?
Write for three minutes about…
…a family vacation.
Email what you wrote to woof at bright dot net by the end of the day March 3 (put “Norman Should Be on Mount Rushmore” in the subject line). I’ll post as many of my favorite entries as I want next Monday. Include your first name (or, even better, use a pen name) and age (unless you’re tortoise-old). If you’re a published children’s or young adult writer, include a biography to be posted with your entry.
Here are the entries from last week when I asked you to write for three minutes about…
…something you miss.
My favorite candy bar of all time was the Marathon bar. It was around in the United States from 1973 to 1981. At the time, I would save up the quarter from my allowance to get one. The Marathon Bar was a foot long of braided caramel covered in chocolate. It was chewy and light. I do believe, if measured, it probably would have fallen short of 12 inches, though. But they had a measuring tape on the back of the package to make you think you were getting a foot of candy. The chocolate coating was probably a little darker than milk to offset the sweet caramel, which pulled into strings when you bit into it. Today, England makes a similar bar called the Curly Wurly bar. And it’s good. It’s not a foot, mind you, but closer to six inches. They are hard to find too. But they aren’t nearly as good as the Marathon Bar. You can’t even find one today. No one makes them. I know. I did a lot of research. If I were a rich person, I would put them back in production. I miss them to this very day.
I don’t remember the year. I think I was around seven years old. I had a Stretch Armstrong doll that I loved. My brother got one first. He is four years older than me and the Stretch Armstrong toy was geared towards boys, not girls. So my parents didn’t think to get me one. My brother liked it too, but preferred to experiment with it as he was getting a little old to just play with things at that age. He loved slowly destroying his toys. Stretch Armstrong was a “muscle man” doll with a hard plastic head and stretchy arms and legs. Do you know what Silly Putty is? Think of a doll filled with Silly Putty. His arms, chest, and legs were made of rubber and filled with some sort of gel substance that I am sure is not BPA free and probably quite hazardous to your health. But it was the late 70s and early 80s, so no one thought about that. I know he was filled with a green substance because my brother cut his open. I was so obsessed with his toy that my mom got me one of my own. And when that one died from being stretched out too often and getting left in the sun a few times, she got me another one. I loved the texture and weight of this doll. If I look around, I may be able to find a picture of me on Christmas Day with Stretch in my arms. I recall there being one. Unfortunately, Stretch Armstrong did not hold up well to the elements. I would often put him in the bath with me. And I would take him outside to play. He got dirty pretty quickly and we had to clean him off often. Plus the sun made his rubber skin crack. Eventually, he would develop a tear. I would put a Band-aid on him to keep the green ooze inside, but it didn’t really stick so well. At some point, I would cover his cuts with electrical tape. Eventually, he would stiffen up to the point where he couldn’t stretch anymore. I think after the second was thrown out, my parents decided not to get us anymore Stretch dolls. By this point, they had others. They had a Stretch Octopus and some Stretch bad guy. But my favorite was the blond hair muscle man.
To this day, I miss Stretch Armstrong. I miss the weight and texture. I am sure he is all sorts of bad for you, but I did love that doll for a couple of years and kind of wish he was around today.
My sister is eight years older than me. She started dating at a young age—I think she was 12 or 13. But she seemed so much older to me. And I suppose to everyone else. Everyone always said she very mature for her age. She was perfectly curvy. She had the same measurements as the girl mentioned in that song “Brick House” (36-24-36). Evidently that was the ideal curviness for a lady. I have never had those same numbers, although I did strive to get them all through college. Anyway, I remember she had been dating this guy for a few years. We all just assumed they would get married. She must have been 16 and I was eight. My memory is hazy on how or when they met. I imagine they had been seeing each other for a year. I was a small child. I have always been short or little for my age. But I remember when her boyfriend used to come over and pick me up and swing me around. I loved the feeling of the spinning around, arms out, wind blowing through my long, sandy blond hair. One day, he came over and tried to pick me up but couldn’t. He said I was too big to be picked up anymore. I remember being so sad. He was just one of many who started telling me I was too big to be picked up. I had a number of uncles who had already told me that, but I figured it was just because they were old. But here was this young guy—fit and strong, a couple years older than my sister. And I was sad. I don’t remember if I cried by myself in my bedroom, but I imagine I looked pretty sad even as he told me, because he apologized pretty profusely. I think my sister must have kicked me out of the living room then, so she and her boyfriend could be alone.
So I missed being picked up and swung around. Funny thing is, years later, when I was 14, a guy a couple years older than me picked me up and I hated it. He didn’t swing me around. I didn’t like the lack of control I had on the situation. Also, he did do it to annoy me and to stop me from doing something he didn’t like. I was wearing roller skates at the time and threatened to kick him if he didn’t put me down. He didn’t put me down. I kicked him, not hard, but since I had roller skates on, it didn’t have to be hard. So, I suppose I miss being so little and innocent and enjoying having someone else spin you around. It seemed like time stopped when that happened. And when they told me I was too big, I knew I was getting older and I missed the innocence of my youth.
By the way, if you kick a boy while wearing roller skates when you are in junior high or high school, you become known as the girl with roller skates who kicked a boy. As I always tell people, you can’t threaten something and then not go through with it. It did garner me a bit of protection as a small girl in a big high school. Everyone knew I was someone who would follow through on my promises.