Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Can you go home again?

I looked at the kid standing across the counter from me with dismay. “Ten dollars to mount one poster onto cardboard?” He nodded, trying to look confident under my intent glare. “You realize we’re talking about slapping on a little glue and sticking it to the cardboard.” He nodded again. I picked up my four posters and shoved them back into the oversized envelope. “Forget it, I’ll do it myself.”

In a prior lifetime I was about as crafty as they got. Tole painting, quilting, t-shirt painting (my Mommy and Me outfits used to sell at Nordstrom’s), clocks, candybar labels – nothing was beyond my grasp, and I loved every minute of it. I used to drop the kids off at school and shoot my bad self over to Michael’s, where I’d loiter, lust, and invariably buy out the entire store.

Now that I’m a black-hearted editor and writer, my time hasn’t been my own for…um…wow, a long time. Until today. Michael’s looked exactly as I remembered it – thousands of aisles filled to overflowing with all the latest and greatest artsy fartsy goodies. My brain went into overload. I found my cardboard, which was large enough to fit all four posters ($8.99 thank you very much). But I didn’t stop there. I found some fun things to make surprise gifties for four of our authors who will be at the autographing booth at this weekend’s BEA. I felt drunk on my own cleverness.

I brought my booty home and got to work. Daughter wiggled the glue and brush in the air. “Gee, Mom, how’s it feel to go back to your roots?” Geez, I thought she was talking about my hair.

“It’s not like I remembered it,” sez I, while rubbing the glue out of my shirt. “I wasn’t as clumsy back then.”

After fifteen minutes of gluing, cutting, and pressing, I had four brilliant, gorgeous posters for my authors. Looking at them made me wish I’d sprung for the backings so they could also stand up on a table. Ah well, maybe later. “Stick that in your bong and smoke it, Kinkos. I just saved myself – ah – the company thirty bucks!”

My little author gifties turned out great, too.

Playing with scissors and glue took me back to when my kids were young and the worst thing we had to worry about was skinned knees and who ate all the Icy Pops. I remembered how I cut my own wood for tole painting. The garage door was always up, and the neighborhood kids (of which there were many) considered us their second home as they filtered in and out while I worked the bandsaw, sanded, and sealed. Daughter, now 21, used to zoom around the garage in her wheelie chair, and I had to lay the garden hose across the driveway so she wouldn’t roll down the apron. My two boys, now 23 and 25, spent their time with the other boys cutting up the egg sacks of black widow spiders who found our neighborhood a sheer delight. It was a simpler time that was always filled with noise and a lot of laughter.

It was fun walking down memory lane, and it’s nice to know that there are times you can go home again. I watch the scant number of kidlets who now own our neighborhood streets ride their bikes and play street hockey, and I know they couldn’t possibly be having as much fun as we did. Those times were magic. So thanks, Kinko’s, for charging a king’s ransom. It was a fun day. I’ll hit reality tomorrow. Maybe.

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