Archives For childhood

Seafoam Memories

June 18, 2012 — 40 Comments

When I was in Grade 7, I recieved my first and only “real” detention. Oh sure, I’d received plenty of lunchtime detentions for neglecting my math homework, but the real detentions – the Black Book Detentions – were handed out only when one did something really bad. The very name “Black Book” brought to mind a musty, multi-volume book, covered in cob webs and kept in a secret candlelit chamber. What egregious crime landed my name among the scrawls of my fellow delinquents? I cheated on my Memory Work.

Every week, students were tasked with committing a particular verse of the Bible to memory. I usually fared very well in these, but this week, I was hung up on the very first verse of the passage (I had already written out the rest!). In a rash and foolish move, I tried (unsuccessfully) to sneak a peak at the completed selection inside my desk. My teacher caught me. I was mortified, and choked back tears for the duration of the afternoon. I still remember the big ol’ zero he wrote at the top of the page – it had a sad face inside it.

My memory failed to work that day, and I so failed my memory work. However, I won’t go ahead and say I’ve got a bad memory. I’ve actually got a very good one, in certain contexts. But that’s the frustrating part: I couldn’t recall that verse when I needed to, I can never remember where I leave my keys, what bills to pay, and when the garbage has to go out, but when it comes to recalling the lyrics of 90s pop songs, the filmography of long-gone child stars, and the jingles of local furniture stores, I’ve got an encyclopedia up there. That’s likely why my blog so often ends up at back at nostalgia and reminiscing. These useless facts gotsa go somewhere!

And that, coincidentally, is where we come back to what I’ve got on today.

This skirt is a recently acquired thrift from my favourite Salvation Army. It’s pleated, it’s minty, and it’s pretty darn trendy considering it’s another 70’s find. The colour is insanely popular these days. I mean sheesh, It’s all over my blog! As soon as I put on this skirt, I went uber matchy-matchy and painted my fingers and toes in that colour, too. But while my memory may not have retained all of Psalm 29, it did dig up something random that puts this outfit – and that very trendy colour – in perspective. Before my seafoam manicure was dry, I remembered a Mastercard commercial from nearly 14 years ago. It was a foggy memory – about seafoam and bridesmaids.  I’ll I needed to Google was “seafoam mastercard” and there it was.

If you don’t feel like watching the clip, the premise is simple: It paints a little vignette of a pretty, sad little bridesmaid, forced to wear a most-ghastly shade of seafoam from head to toe, simply to appease a stereotypical bride. But then the two women share a lovely, moving embrace while the voiceover says “a friend wearing seafoam for: priceless”.

It’s quite funny, isn’t it? Something that was deemed a particular kind of torture (Seafoam nails! Horror!) is the same thing I willingly delight it not 15 years later. And look at her dress – it’s lacy, asymmetrical, and all kinds of pretty by today’s standards. I actually kind of love it. My memory might fail me on occasion, but I do appreciate when it provides little gems like this, simply because it keeps me humble.  It reminds me that it’s all been done before: everything that’s considered old and dated one year might be considered new and trendy the next. It’s a reminder of the fickleness of fashion. I’m obviously still privy to being swayed by colour trends and fads, but that shouldn’t be the defining factor in how I dress my blog, or by body. If I like the seafoam, I should be rock it whether it’s on trend or not. Remind me of that in a few years.

A closing word of advice: Trends aside, you can wear just about anything so long as it’s paired with a plain white tee, because that’s one thing that will never be out of style. That’s pretty easy to remember, eh?

Foolish Games

June 11, 2012 — 19 Comments

I almost left this dress behind. Sure, I love the length and the print, but it’s very reminiscent of the Betsey Johnson dress I recently blogged, and the price sat just a little higher than most of the dresses I thrift. I was about to return the dress to the second-hand universe when I looked at the label. I’ll admit a high-end or vintage label can usually be the deciding stay-or-go factor if I’m on the fence. This label, however, wasn’t high-end at all. Oh, it’s vintage – probably late 80s. And I did recognize label, just not from anything in VOGUE. I recognized the label from my childhood. Observe:

What the heck right?! They just made Battleship into a movie, and this label would have me believe that at some point in the mid-eighties, they made UNO, everyone’s favourite card game, into a clothing line. Huh? It’s not like the label was just named UNO, either. The logo, the colour, the shape, it’s pure 80s UNO! This bizarre little dress came home with me, simply because I wanted to Google it (the purse and the necklace I’m wearing came home with me too because…I didn’t want the dress to be lonely).

Many times, the Googlematron tells me everything I need to know about vintage labels. This was not one of those times. It told me about UNO the bike wear company, UNO the California boutique, and UNO the Spanish for the word “one” (okay I knew that already), but did it tell me about an obscure 1980s clothing line that stole it’s brand identity from a card game invented in 1972 Ohio? Nope.

However, as is typical with all my WST endevours, I’m turning this dead-end into a post. In my search for answers, I spent a great deal of time collecting useless info on UNO, and it led me deep, deep into the web of 80s and 90s nostalgia blogs, retro board game dealers, and over-priced Etsy merchandise made from up-cycled UNO cards. I started looking for a label, I ended with a strong desire to compile a list of my favourite 80s and 90s kids games. And so, while I can tell you no more about this dress, I’m going to tell you about Guess Who and Trouble.

First, with the game that started this mess, UNO: I don’t have a lot to say about UNO, other than I never really liked it because we never had our own copy. I’d play it only at friends’ houses, knowing full well I was on their turf. Although I’d eventually seek revenge by inviting them over to my house for a round of Rummikub. Creepy face tile FTW!

UNO, as fun as it was, just didn’t hold my attention. I was more entranced by games that were made out of a lot of rainbox plastic crap. Point in case: Hungry Hippos! This game was so easy, and required little to no skill. Although its simplicity eventually became a problem. One summer evening, we grew tired of the game, so my sister dared her friend to pee in it. So she did. What? Don’t judge! Kids are weird! They pee on command!

Let’s also talk about the great amounts of stress these retro games induce. So many timers! So many buzzers! Nobody actually liked Operation. It was flippin’ scary. I remember playing this in the waiting room of the doctors office. Creeped me right out. Dumb move on the doctor’s part too, as I imagine he had to field many more unnecessary questions about how to avoid wrenches in your ankle and butterflies in your stomach.

In another category, we have the games that unintentionally taught kids about blighted hopes and dreams. Let’s single out Mouse Trap. What kid didn’t spend years pining for this plastic circus? Only to realize it takes 52 minutes to set up, and the pay-off isn’t worth it, even a little? Thanks, Mouse Trap, for peeing all over my child-like expectations. Looks like “pee” is this week’s theme. Who’d have thought? Let’s put in another nice picture of me to remind you guys I’m actually pretty classy.

Alright. On with the games. Perhaps no game was more psychologically damaging for my young mind than Girl Talk. That game was awful. I had to eat ketchup sandwiches, lie about the boys I liked, and when I messed up, I had to stick a ZIT ON MY FACE! That’s messed up guys. I probably spent years thinking my actual teenage acne was the result of my failures in life. Way to go, Girl Talk. I hope you get peed on.

I must confess this list is a little deceiving. While I played my fair share of board games, I actually spent most of my childhood on the computer, mastering pixely adventure games and Pizza Worm. I could easily add them to this list, but Commander Keen and Jezz Ball deserve an entry all their own. Maybe next time I’ll thrift a dress with an “MS DOS” label, because after “UNO”, you just never know.

As for my present day gaming habits, I’ve moved on from the computer now, too. Draw Something, anyone?

PS: Do my photos look extra special today? That’s because they were taken by Jentine. She rocks my socks and sandals right off.