I've always been fond of Cracker Jack candy, so I had to buy a box when I found it.
As a kid I loved the caramel corn and the sweet peanuts. But best of all I loved the prize.
From a very young age, I adored small things. I collected the prizes in Cracker Jack boxes and gum ball machines. I called them my trinkets.
I crossed fingers and held my breath when I turned the knob or opened the paper prize holder. Oh how I hoped a special ring or a tiny toy would surprise me.
Gum or Trinket?
I used to study the prizes in the gum machine. I hated my bad luck when gum popped out, so I came up with a plan that would assure me a few real goodies. My plan was to take the dollar in my birthday card and exchange it for 100 pennies. I pictured myself hunkered down with a paper bag underneath the gum machine. (I now picture that 6-old-Beth, looking like an anxious player at a slot machine) I could just visualize myself, strutting out of the candy store with my heavy bag. I would give the gum to my friends and keep all the trinkets. Sadly, I never followed through with that clever plan.
My Box Yesterday
What a disappointment!
The caramel corn didn't even cover the napkin. There were 2 peanuts. And it was pretty evident, there was no cute trinket hidden in that flat prize holder.
Are You Kidding?
I know the prizes have been lame for many years. But this tiny little "Go Ahead Throw The Curve" sticker was blurry and hideous!
This is my first real dud 6-Year-Old-Celebration. I have 15 more to reach my goal before my birthday. I better start choosing my celebrations wisely!
Time With A. A. Milne
During recent travels to and from Thailand, I had nearly 40 hours of movie time on our 4 flights. There were so many movie options, but I only made it through one, from start to finish.
"Goodbye Christopher Robin" seemed to soothe my 6 and 60 year old self, without putting me to sleep. The film was about one of my favorite childhood characters and all of his favorite animal toys. Actually it was about the relationship between author, A. A. Milne and his real life son, Christopher. The movie relaxed me with its scenery and costumes and music. The father/son story was touching.
Not Just Pooh
After returning home, I spent a week with a miserable cold, plus jet lag. If I'd been 6 and had a teddy bear, I'd have hugged it, as I lounged on the couch. Instead, I found this old book on the shelf and took it to the couch.
Inside the book, I found Christopher Robin and so many familiar images from my childhood.
I loved studying the pictures of Christopher Robin and Pooh, in the midst of their adventures...
...especially because I feel like I know Christopher after watching the movie.
I loved the last poem best. The last two lines are perfect.
"But now I am Six, I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever."
New York City's Chinatown in 1963
Although this old photo is blurred and eerie, I have such vivid memories of visiting Chinatown when I was 6. The smells were all so new to me, but I liked the adventure and oddity of it all.
In this photo, my father wears a jacket and tie and pushes my 2 year old brother in a stroller. I'm hidden behind my sister, with our family friends Bill, Barb and Winston nearby. I remember eating in a Chop Suey or Noodle House a time or 2, but I can't recall the exact places or foods. I so wish I could go back to New York and re-visit this very street... with a better camera.
Chinatown in Bangkok
When we were in Thailand recently, I was thrilled to learn we could visit Bangkok's huge, bustling Chinatown. It gave me a way to celebrate those exotic memories from my childhood. Compared to the quiet looking black and white photo, the Thai version of Chinatown nearly shocked my system! It was exciting to take in all the new sights and smells surrounding me. I loved the crazy, congested, Yaowarat Road with all the neon signs.
I loved the side streets, jammed with tiny shops. We stopped for lunch and shared a feast that spun around in the center of the table. There were few touristy shops, but I stopped at this colorful store to admire all the red goodies, gearing up for Lunar New Year.
Maybe Another Time
I got a little curious looking at my old family photo from 1963. I noticed the sign, Nom Wah and was excited to find the old tea parlor when Googling. The cute little place has been serving since 1920.
Maybe in 2020, I can make a trip to New York and visit Nom Wah for its 100th birthday. It was a young 43, when I saw it last!
Dance Off in Thailand
I had not intended on doing any dancing when we visited Bangkok's Flower Market a couple weeks ago. But some how I ended up dancing with this woman.
At one point I conjured up the dance move I learned at age 6 in 1963. My "twisting skills" have not improved since I first began imitating the mod dancers I saw on TV. I think doing "The Twist" at the Flower Market will be one of my most memorable 6-year-old celebrations!
How it Started
We were taking a quick tour (with our friend, Fred) through the busy flower market, when we suddenly heard music and laughter.
We spotted a tiny woman in red, dancing up a storm , while her family egged her on.
Dancing in Bangkok
Fred teased, "Go dance with her Beth." I laughed. "Nope. I already fell for that one."
The night before, Fred had encouraged me to get up and dance with a Thai dancer on a dinner cruise. I thought it was something everyone did, so I was game. I soon realized that was not true. Oh well.
I was perfectly content being a spectator. It was refreshing to watch this happy family having a good old time, in the middle of the bustling and fairly serious Flower Market. I grinned and watched and suddenly the woman's son (I assume) was gesturing for me to join in.
Why not? How often do you get an invite to dance at the market? I channeled my 6-year-old-self and boogied along with this little old lady... who turned out to be a year older than me. What a hoot! And I have no idea what was going on in that last photo. I don't know what my expression is about.
The song ended and our dancing stopped. The son, who had been laughing along, handed Don an unopened can of beer... in a welcoming gesture.
Fred spoke a little Thai with the happy family. (That's how we learned that Granny and I were about the same age) Then we moved on.
It's been a while since I've danced the Twist. I hope it won't be a while before I have another opportunity to dance with a stranger. That was fun.
These are the frisky critters that leapt about the roof of our bungalow on a recent stay at Railay Beach. They reminded me of my early love for playful, long-tailed monkeys.
I was 6, when we first visited the Staten Island Zoo and I fell in love with the monkeys and the lions. I loved seeing the lions at feeding time, roaring and carrying on. But I could watch the crazy monkeys forever. I wanted badly to have one as a pet. I really sort of wanted to be one. I was very good on the monkey bars at school, after all.
The monkeys that we saw in Thailand did not thrill me the way they did when I once watched them behind bars. At dusk, the Thai creatures with their eerie eyes, leapt from roof to roof, making a horrible racket.
We were told not to feed them or make eye contact, since they can be mean. Worst of all, they gathered in trees above us and it was nerve wracking to rush down the path underneath them... knowing they can make a mess.
The Thai monkeys with their creepy eyes and sudden pouncing made me lose my desire to own a monkey as a pet.
Don and I spotted a few on our morning walk to Phrarang Cave/Beach and I kept my distance. Instead I turned my attention towards a little "monkey behavior" and climbed up the muddy vines for a while.
I have a feeling I would fail terribly, if I attempted to swing along a set of monkey bars today. (I no longer have that monkey-like body I had at age 6.) But I did use my arms and legs to get my 60-year old self up that muddy, rock wall without too much effort. I didn't swing on any vines. I didn't make monkey sounds. I didn't even have a tail to help me along. But I enjoyed "being a monkey" for just a little while.
I always wanted a tree house or a tree fort. I never had one, but I did get this crazy looking playhouse when I was about 5 or 6.
This is how it looked after it arrived in our backyard, one blissful day.
My friend, Diane and I had discovered "the shed" in a nearby alley and I begged my parents to talk to the owners. We bought it for $15 dollars and somehow got it on the tailgate of the station wagon. This is how it looked before new paint and windows. I adored it, and so did the rest of the neighborhood kids.
When staying in Thailand a week ago, I spotted these children enjoying a rustic platform fort, like the ones my friends and I attempted to create when we lived in Florida.
The funny platform was sitting beside a large covered sitting area with pillows and low tables, where tourists sipped cocktails and studied the surrounding beauty of Railay Beach.
Out on a Limb
This is the image that caught my attention. Oh how I would have adored a cozy fort, balanced on a limb above the water, when I was young.
I watched a young couple climb out and snuggle on the pillows, until a barefooted waiter, holding 2 drinks scurried out on the bouncing limb to make a delivery.
My Anxious 6 Year Old Self
As I sat under the large palapa with my family, sharing drinks and playing Yahtzee, I couldn't take my eyes off the playful sitting area. I wanted my turn.
When the couple finally left, I jumped up and dashed over before the spot was taken. By the time I walked out on the unsteady limb, the tide had gone out and the bed of rocks below did not look comforting.
My family didn't seem to share my giddy enthusiasm, but at least they humored me and took photos.
Lonely Out Here!
The low tide made the setting less ideal, but the distant view was stunning.
Suddenly it seemed silly to be out there alone. Forts and tree houses and playhouses are meant to be shared.
Sharing with Heidi
I'm glad my daughter was game to join me for a while. My adventure felt complete.
Then I headed back and gave my spot over to Heidi's fiance, Jamie.
What an unexpected Fort Adventure!