Sunday, November 19, 2006

Stuff that made me smile (part 1)

The news in Israel is slightly too depressing for a regular blog posting. Or maybe it's a general feeling of moodiness.

Soooo, I thought I'd fall back in time to recollect some of the activites that made me smile when I was a kid.

Unlike where I live today, I used to have a wonderful, large public library to visit, and I vividly recall the privledge of receiving my first library card. Fridays were library day, and each of us kids would each take out 8-10 books to be read over Shabbat and Sunday...

Some of the books I used to borrow:

I loved the Great Brain books. Not that I was such a great brain, nor did I have such an older brother figure....but I loved those books. Famous stories I remember; First Toilet in Utah, Building a Roller-coaster, going off to the Academy and sneaking chocolate in...and finally, teaching a kid with a missing leg how to run, jump, and play ball like everyone else. Thanks RR for reminding me of those books.

I only saw this book once in fourth grade, and it immediately became one of my favorites. I never read the original Adventures of the Mad Scientist's Club, but the "new" adventures were simply too good to put down. I think I reread this book over 10 times. Lots of the technology there would be put to shame by the contents of my 2 older boys' room, but that book was ahead of it's time.

Before third grade was over, I had read every single Tom Swift book in our school library. I think I was one of the few who actually read one else seemed very interested. What did they know. Now I'm working in high-tech, loving the technology I used to dream about...and they...we'll...they're doctors, lawyers and accountants making 3 times as much as me. Hmmm.

Of course, I did read all the Hardy Boys books, but they got sort of repetative after a while. I think I was crushed to learn that the author Franklin W. Dixon was only a pen-name for the FEMALE writer who also wrote Nancy Drew. Bah.

While PsychoToddler may know everything about the new series, (which I'm also a big fan of), I loved the old series -- and memorized more details about that show than I knew mishnayot by heart. As I could only watch one hour of TV a week -- I saved up my time to watch my favorite show...Battlestar Galactica. I owned every single book about the show, the complete comic book series, and I made every single plastic model. Maybe I'll write about the time I cut camp to walk to the mall...and spend the day in the bookstore reading Battlestar books. (No, I didn't go to play video games, or hang out...really!)

I didn't only read books. There were fantastic radio shows on once a week. Usually on Sunday night after 9:00 PM, I'd have to be in my room, with the lights out, and I'd listen to these great radio presentations: The Star Wars audio performances were done so well, that if you closed your eyes and just listened, the experience was at least as good a a 70mm widescreen showing in the theatre.

Another great series was the Jack Flanders radio show series by ZBS media. Classic radio...I think I'm going to try and find those series again.

Fine. So you think I was all geeky and just read books, and fantasized about Science Fiction?

Wrong! I also played in Little League. My real picture is saved at home...this pictures is for display purposes only.

And besides Little League -- on warm summer days, I would bike to the nearby lake and pedal around it without a care or worry in my head. I'd stop under a shady willow tree, and read some of the library books I'd picked up the previous Friday, and relax in the cool shade.

OK. You got me. Even with biking and little league, I was still fascinated by science. The best possible piece of mail I could receive (and I used to love getting junk mail, I signed up for every free piece of mail, catalog and freebie I could find, because what's more fun than getting mail?) was the coveted Edmund Scientific catalog...The coolest stuff that only a budding mad scientist could dream off, was all there.

The magical drinking bird.

The Astroscan telescope whcih I wished I could buy:

Lasers, optics and cool stuff. I wanted it all...but rarely got any of it, and their mechandise remained a distant dream, which I guess was always more fascinating in my imagination than in real life.

Hmmm...feel a bit less wistful than before. Maybe I'll continue this tomorrow.

Want to gain more Muqata points? What stuff from yesteryear made you smile?

Tip: Save those Muqata points...

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


Jack Steiner said...

I loved Tom Swift and The Great Brain.

Anonymous said...

we have Little League right here in the Shomron. Check out

Sara with NO H said...

Come choose your own ending books?

Sarah Likes Green said...

cool! so if i save my muqata points you can choose a prize? like at a fair? so you'll have like, slinkys and plastic figurines and key rings and toy cars and and bouncy balls and matchbox cars and bubble wands?!

Enid Blyton books were always good, there was something for everyone. I especiallly liked the illustrated Far Away Tree books (which I still look at from time to time!) We also used to go to the library every week and pick out a selection. Oh, I love the Mr Men and Little Miss books (I have almost the whole set) and that's gotta make you smile whatever age you are! Also the books by Graeme Base (such as Animalia) which are beautifully illustrated and I used to spend hours looking through trying to find the hidden characters.

Aside from books, there were phases of everything from a chemistry set and microscope (go figure) to various toys and (more fun for me) various craft and art activities (crayons, paints, sewing, knitting, cutting and pasting, bits and pieces, plaster molds, shells, coloured sand). The best being play-dough and plasticine that I used to make little characters and other things (like a tiny, tiny balsa wood sukkah with all the trimmings and table settings!)

That was fun :)

Household Duck said...

If I was ever sick and missed our family trip to the library, my father would bring home books for me. They were always the most amazing books and I could never figure out how he always could choose something I would just love. It was a long time before I realized he was just pulling books from the "Classics" shelf.

... Is the Window to Our Soul said...

I loved going to the library and was so excited when I got my first library card, but I don't remember ever checking any books out and reading at home, except for Dynamite magazine - how pathetic is that? But you got to admit, those teen idol centerfolds were really hot. I guess my thing was listening to music and playing records on my record player.

My favorite yesteryear toys were the red thingamajig that would slide up and down on the metal whatchmacallit, my rollerskates and skateboard, and my fave albums - when I was younger, Peter Pan and Mary Poppins, and as I got older, all the K-Tel hits albums.

I also loved riding my bike, especially in the woods that we called, the Monkey Hills. Not a smart thing for a young girl to do by herself, but my only fear back then was Bigfoot and UFOs.

kishnevi said...

Do you know what a Tom Swiftism is?, he asked approvingly.

PsychoToddler said...

I have to confess that I wasn't able to watch Battlestar Galactica as a kid--I had karate lessons when it was on and we didn't have a VCR in those days. I've secretly pined after BSG ever since.

Pragmatician said...

tell kids today that going to a library was a weekly occupation and they think you must've been a nerd of major proportions, yet I enjoyed those quiet long halls where the books I needed were always taken out or impossible to find.
I recently found out he may have been an antisemite but then Roald Dahl's books were my favourites and boy did I laugh with some.

Annie said...

I guess that I am a bit younger, but I read the Cam Jansen books, and my Southern public school included the "All of a Kind Family" series in the hopes of being "diverse."

And for those who bemoan the lack of reading among kids today, what about Lemony Snickett, or Harry Potter? Those books are wildly popular.

JJ said...

I was fascinated by that drinking bird as a kid!!

I also waxed nostalgic today about the Encyclopedia Brown books- remember those?

Anonymous said...

Wow! Encyclopedia Brown and The Great Brain - I hadn't thought of those in ages.

Ezzie said...

Wait a second... can I cash in the Muqata points I already have? :)

daat y said...

Smiling -before we get nuked.

Jenifer said...

Jameel, you and my husband should get together and talk Edmunds Scientific. He loved that magazine! Have you ever seen "Wired" magazine? (Nicknamed "Weird" around our house...) My son loves that one.

But back to the old stuff. There were these books by Tov Jansen (sp?) about some characters called Moomintrolls. I loved those books.

BTW, my brother and sister-in-law now collect and sell all those toys we eventually threw or gave away from our childhood. You'd be surprised what people pay for that stuff!!! (...and how much we could have made if we kept it all and sold it now!)

sobersubmrnr said...

Heh. Jameel, you and I must be about the same age. That brought back some memories.

I was big into the Hardy Boys books. The telescope and a lot of other cool things were found in my monthly copy of Boy's Life, which came with my Boy Scout membership. I wanted that telescope.

Lurker said...

Have you forgotten The Phantom Tollbooth?

Anonymous said...

I always wanted magic monkeys but my mom wouldn't let. Etch-a-sketch (still around, and now in different sizes!), the FAO Schwartz Xmas catalog, riding my bike down to buy a Marathon candy bar at the grocery store, lots and lots of kittens until my dad gave the cat away, breaking off icicles from the trees and eating them, the library of COURSE, Narnia books, anything by Ray Bradbury, I could go on and on. More points please! We're in America right now, so please save them for me until we get back. :)

Anonymous said...

I heard that both the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew were not even authored by one specific person, but were farmed out to ghostwriters. They're still good, anyway. My favorite books were the "Childhood of Famous Americans" series that made the history of early America leap to life for me. I think it was those books that instilled in me my lifelong love of reading.

Anonymous said...

Whoa...I recognize those T-ball shirts!! Are they from Linglestown, PA?? Does this mean that one of my favorite bloggers has a Harrisburg connection??

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