Not Winnie

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 childhood.

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. barlow knifeAt 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.

mercury-montego-1977-3My 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.

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