Mother Goose Steps Back in Time

Because I am a goose of advancing years, sometimes my mind wanders to the days of my youth…. especially on these chilly wintry mornings when the snowflakes drift down from the clouds like soft memories of times gone by…

Will you join Mother Goose on this nostalgic road?

I can hear the theme song for the Monkees in my head as I recall the end of the decade frequently referred to as “the 60’s”, and I smile because my memories are not about the atrocities committed at Kent State or the My Lai Massacre or violent protests at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. I only remember the fun of being a kid in a small town in southeastern Minnesota — the sun shining brightly on our childhood days.

We were very creative in those days! We would run around the yard singing, “Hey hey we’re the Monkees. People say we monkey around. But we’re too busy singing, to put anybody down…” Around and around the yard we ran, singing and singing, until the sun went down. We sang even louder than the cicadas in the trees! (For the longest time, I thought the buzzing came from the electric wires that hung up and down the street, swooping from pole to pole and full of power. Why didn’t I get the connection between the big fat red-eyed bugs and the buzzing in the trees?) Then we caught lightning bugs in jars and smeared them on our faces. Then we looked up into the summer night sky and counted the stars.

My brother, my sister, my friends and I were impervious to the encroaching darkness that faced the nation at the time. We didn’t hear the news reports from the war, didn’t follow the politics, couldn’t hear the protests. Our primary focus was this: if we acted out the latest episode of Batman, who would be playing the Joker, the Riddler, the Penguin, and who would play Batman, and who would be Robin. And we’d jump on our bikes (or run around the yard) singing the theme song to the Batman show, “na na na na na na na na na Batman…na na na na na na na na na Batman”. And the hours would fly by — the sun rising and the sun setting over and over in glorious predictable fashion.

We were not clever enough in those days to coin the term “BFF”, but my best friend was Jane Elizabeth Johnson. We were soul mates from the day we met and nothing could ever separate us, except for when space and time interferred when my family moved to another town far far away.

Jane was very talkative — I was an introvert. Jane was grounded in family chores and rules — I was hither thither when it came to responsibility. Jane’s baby sister was born with six toes on one foot — my little sister was just a funny little toddler who followed me everywhere in her cowboy boots and hat. Jane’s big sister cut the flowery ornamentation off of her training bras because they looked too feminine. I had no big sister, but my mom looked pretty cool with her platinum blonde hair and her hot pants.

The halfway point between our homes was The Pump House — a small brick building surrounded by medium-sized maple trees. We often met there up in the trees — watching the world go by through the canopy of green. We talked constantly and settled many problems of the world from our vantage point in the maple trees. We wondered about many things and made many plans.

We planned to be cheerleaders in a few years. We practiced our cartwheels and jumps and cheers in her front yard. When we fell down, we would sometimes hurt our chests and we thought maybe that someday we might have breasts like Jane’s older sister, but we weren’t sure if that’s what we really wanted.

We were very clever with words. As we walked to school, we would discuss the “true meaning” of words. We came up with the “true meaning” of the word “astronaut”. The “as” meant donkey, “tro” meant space and, of course, “naut” was another way of saying nut. So we discovered the true meaning of “astronaut” was donkey-space-nuts. And we laughed and laughed about that because we KNEW that was the true meaning.

We really listened to good music back then. One of our favorite songs was “Snoopy and the Red Baron” and we ran around the yard, acting it out. Around and around we ran, singing and singing, “10, 20, 30, 40, 50 or more, the bloody Red Baron something something score.”

And whilst we ran and sang, the world turned and traveled around the sun. Our family moved away, I turned into a goose instead of a cheerleader and donkey-space-nuts got lost in time as did Jane Elizabeth Johnson.

But I can still hear her laughing when I go down Nostalgia Road. And that’s a blessing!


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bunn
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 12:36:34

    Aaaahhhhh I love going down memory lane!
    Have you ever tried to find Jane? Such a shame we had to move.
    Thanks for sharing Sissy!


    • Natalie
      Jan 14, 2012 @ 18:36:43

      No I haven’t tried finding Jane for a long, long time. I think last I heard she was a nurse living in the cities. It’s funny — I still remember her address in Lake City because I wrote so many letters to her after we moved away. Strange the things that stick in our heads and the things that disappear…


  2. Dianna
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 20:07:40

    Oh, Natalie, this is absolutely wonderful. So well written! And I have to say that I believe we must be the same age, because all those songs and tv shows you mentioned: I was right there with you – watching and singing them too! Thanks for the memories, Mother Goose!


  3. eof737
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 22:27:46

    Natalie, your choices bring back lots of memories… love the videos! ๐Ÿ™‚ I haven’t forgotten you as I’m still catching up on blog posts I missed when I was sick… ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Natalie
      Jan 15, 2012 @ 07:15:26

      Elizabeth, so sorry to hear that you’ve been sick. Please take care of yourself — plenty of rest and fluids. Call Mother Goose if you need a story to cheer you…


  4. yearstricken
    Jan 15, 2012 @ 20:47:11

    What a lighthearted romp through your memories. I enjoyed it very much.


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