Category Archives: the past

Anything having to do with my memories or recollections of the past.


Most borthers torment their sisters by trashing their dolls, for Meg and I, it had always been a bonding experience.  There was the doll that we joyfully yanked its extending hair out to find the spring coiled around her locks.  As well, there was Barbie, she was strapped to the bottom of my skateboard, which was strung from the back of my bike.  Up and down I would ride down Third Street until evenything that extended past her forehard was smooth and gleeming.  Other dolls had their eyes plucked out, while others were gneral mistreated for out enjoyment.  But the coup de’gras of doll mutilation was Meagan’s Michelle doll.

I am sure that everyone remembers (or at least be forced to remember) Full House, the sacchrine sitcom headed by  Bob Sagat (played Danny Tanner) and launched the media Juggernaut that are the Olson twins.  In the marketing genious of the Full House brand, they put out a Michelle-ish doll that when you pushed a button or squeezed her hand she’d spout off with one of her tolken lines from the show.  After recieving this doll as a gift, either Meg or myself decided (mostly likely, it was me) that this Michelle doll, with all of her witticisms, was deserving of rapid and repeated trips down the stairs of our house.

Not that trashing a perfectly good toy was a reward unto itself, we got more sick pleasures from this activity; apparently during one of its multiple trips downstairs, the doll’s voice system was damaged.  Michelle’s little sayings had changed and she would now chime in with our favorite, “Thank you for the potty-pie” which is a riot if you are the ages of seven and twelve as Meagan and I were at the time. 

Sadly, while trying to induce further Michelle sayings via the stairs, her ability to thank us for the potty-pie or say anything for that matter ceased, she remained mute until torn apart of trashed.  This is why people should be mindful of seeking perfection because at some point you’ll lose what enjoyment you had, and only then will you realize what treasure you had.

No. 2 Pencils only

First day of a standardized test for my sophomores, ah, that brings back the memories. Hunched over a desk, painful indentations in the side of you finger, and the little bubbles you had to fill in perfectly or garner eternal-damnation. Those were the times.

As I’m reading the directions to my seventh period class, there is a constant stream of reiteration playing in my head from my own standardized tests in elementary school. I kept on thinking, “Wuzzle means to mix” “Balu is a bear”.

I remember those distinctly as the preamble to a set of questions, such as, “what does wuzzle mean?”

Why do the tentacle of long past memories dangle on like that? Is there a purpose those images will serve?

Well, see… now I have Tail Spin stuck in my head.

I fought the law…

I find it amusing to think back on the stuff that I have done, not the good deeds, the acts of kindness, or even times when I was being an upstanding citizen. I mean the fun stuff, getting in trouble and various misdeeds. Not that I now approve of said misdeeds but it is funny how I felt I was “living on the edge” or toying with the long arm of the law.

When I was six or seven, there was the time that a neighbor kid (I don’t remember his name) and I were taking fistfuls of mud and grass and hurling them up over their tiny rental house. Little did we know (or little did we choose to accept) that these were hitting cars. Eventually people were starting to stop their cars, so I fled home and immediately opted to take a shower. A side note: anytime little kid actively wants to a shower, it’s probably not a good sign. While in the shower, the doorbell rang, it was the police. I was sure that the police threatened my parents, told them I was bound for ‘juvy’, I was a bad seed and I had better change. Needless to say, I stayed in the shower for as long as the warm water was running.

Once out of the shower, I’m sure I got an earful or two about being part of such stupid antics, but I knew I was it was bad and I had sort of liked it.

But my favorite was my unintentional law breaking. Like most kids who between ages nine and eleven, I and my friends were constantly play guns. From different parts of Woodburn and various backyards you would hear the caps pop off with the screams of “I GOT YOU!” and rebuttals scream of “NO YOU DIDN’T!”. Those were the days.

Almost all of the time, the game of guns took place with Ben and Sam Thomas, and the other kids we could round up from Corby Street. In the Thomas backyard or down in Spider Park (Where we had booby-trapped a portion of a hill) was where we were most often taking fire. But the creme de la creme of ‘guns’ venues was the fertilizer mill behind the Thomas house. Rising up four or five stories behind their property, the mill was a huge complex of buildings and hiding places. The mill was so big, it actually stretched across a street into another set of buildings.

We were in the midst of a heated guns battle in the mill. I’m sure that my team was winning (technically, there were no good guys or bad guys, but a hiding team and an assaulting team). As my team was assaulting, someone went this huge metal ramp that is used for loading trucks. This ramp was meant to be mobile and either side could be raised or lowered. The person who walked up the ramp quickly found that the top of the ramp on which he was standing, quickly crashed to the ground with an amazing crash, it echoed off of the mill buildings and the houses across the street.

My fellow assaulter team members, knew that someone would at least come see what the sound was, so we moved deeper into the mill complex to not be right near the street. We continued our assault, checking out the different recesses of the building, checking under the semi truck left under the fertilizer loading tower, and into the alley of huge rooms where they store piles of their product. As my assault team and I walked into the alley a little ways, a police officer drove past the end of the alley and saw us. Because we are upstanding, well-intentioned youngsters, we turned and ran as the lawman backed up to come down the alley. Some of the team scattered down the hill and our the backside of the mill, but Ben and fled into one of the giant rooms that had a pile of fertilizer that was easily eight feet tall. We jumped into the room and hid behind the massive pile of processed chicken droppings. Watching from a backside corner, I saw the long arm of the law slowly drive down the alley past our hiding place. Luckily, we must have blended in well with the fertilizer because we weren’t seen. The fuzz drove past us and out the other side; we were sure our brothers in arms were going to take the fall (which, at the time was acceptable by me). We hid among the fertilizer for about ten minutes, carefully checked to make sure the S.W.A.T. team wasn’t waiting in the wings to snatch us up. We slid out the back of mill and ran back to Ben’s house, apparently, his house was the unofficial rally point for all of us miniature dirty dozen. We reveled in our escape from the law, we had just evaded (at least in our minds) some serious stints in the clink. We quickly shared our embellished tales of our actions, bravery, and flagrant disregard for the law and our own safety. And then, of course, we picked teams again and prepared for yet another round of “I got you” and “No you didn’t.”

Playing Guns is hard enough without needing to run from the cops, not to mention that reloading a ring of caps is hard while taking enemy-fire–so this time, we stuck to Ben’s backyard but I’m certain that we were bound for the fertilizer mill the next afternoon.

I’m sure that the case is still open in the cold case department of the Woodburn Police Department, sitting in that file is some vague description of Ben and I, but if I have to, I’ll continue to run.

There is no dark side of the moon really

This weekend, Jess and I were over in Bend for her mom’s birthday.  One of the best things about their ranch is that it is far enough away to limit some of the light pollution from Bend and Redmond so you get a nice view of the stars.  As I was trying to fall asleep, I just laid there and looked out at the stars which reminded me of one of my first sleep-overs at Ben’s house

I must have been seven or eight when I first slept over at Ben’s house.  I’m sure we stayed up and played the Sega Genesis, mostly likely Joe Montana Football or Sonic the Hedgehog.  However, what I remember the most is once we were all set to go to sleep in Ben’s room; he had this cheap plastic telescope.  It was so cheap that it came with plastic slides that you could insert into the telescope to see stars, planets, and solar systems.  I’m sure this telescope had just under the required power to see the Andromeda Galaxy…. or our sun for that matter.  So Ben and I had that telescope out looking at stars, I think the telescope magnified them by at least 1.5 times.   I’m not sure what happened, but eventually we either became delirious or just ingested too much sugar because we both swore that we saw starts moving in crazy patterns. 

We let this become our obsession.  We grabbed blank pieces of paper and both of charted the stars erratic path.  We started having discussions on maybe it was an asteroid or a UFO.  We had convinced ourselves that we would be submitting this to Unsolved Mysteries (with Robert Stack) and they would appreciate all of this documentation so they could make the reenactment of us more realistic and factual.  We couldn’t wait to hear Stack’s baritone say, “Two boys in a little town of Woodburn, Oregon were innocently looking through their telescope one night and happened to find a most curious discovery.  What did Chris and Ben find?  How would it change their lives?” Of course, the show would break into commercial after the Stack lead-in because you have to keep the audience waiting through the commercials… you know they were going to be hooked after the intro.

I’m not sure if Ben and I were just Robert Stack-ophiles or if we never realized that when they haphazardly threw out head up against the telescope that it moved in an erratic motion. 

I wonder if Ben still has those charts.