Today is Black Love Day. No, I’m not making that up. Another woman did. It is a day to focus on love and unity in the family and the community — not to buy Hallmark cards and candy (no offense if that’s your thing). Hannibal is off today. Don’t freak out, you didn’t miss a national holiday. Black Love Day is relatively young. He took a floating holiday, or personal time off, or whatever nine-to-fivers take when they stay home and aren’t sick.
Our community commitment will likely be displayed by attending the Pan-African Film Festival, but our project today will bond the two of us in a unique way. Hannibal has a lot of toys and comic books. He generally keeps just about everything — receipts from 2001, stuffed animals from childhood, promotional CDs from random artists, business cards — all of it. He’s obsessed with keeping things. I, on the other hand, purge constantly. I organize. I fight to keep an environment free of clutter. I input the data from business cards and then toss the cards. CDs go into iTunes and then to the recycling bin. I’m obsessed with keeping stuff neat. We both have the same illness, though. I really have a stronger tendency towards keeping everything, so I fight that urge by throwing everything away. I vaguely remember trying to address this with a scrapbooking hobby, which I also never have time for any more.
This didn’t dawn on me, again, until I was on a website that featured toys from the eighties. I saw these plastic junk charm necklaces that my sister and I used to collect religiously. I had to scour the net for one, so I went straight to Ebay. The tacky small collections of radio and sunglasses charms and Coke bottles charms that I used to get out of bubble-gum machines for a quarter were going for a whopping sixty bucks! I couldn’t believe it. I totally still contemplated which of my kid’s shoes I could pawn to get one of those necklaces.
It was the nostalgia of it. The picture of it alone brought back so many feelings and memories. I remembered Baby Sitters Club books resting on my stuffed gremlin, Gizmo. “Baby Skates,” a doll that showed off less than stellar derby moves rolled through my mind. Then there were Ring Pops and Kissing Koolers and jellies shoes! Oh, and my Gameboy (I still have that, actually, but I never play it).
When my house burned down in the sixth grade, all of these memories went up in smoke with it. I was devastated, but didn’t really realize what I’d lost until right now — well a few weeks ago. I mean I cried at the time, but at eleven years old, I just didn’t understand the magnitude. Nothing would ever be the same. As a result, I didn’t form attachments to things very much. Throwing stuff away meant nothing. I’d lost it all before. Couple the house fire with the fact that my father was a hoarder (he’s actually recovering), and you have the prime set up for my OCD ass!
The problem is, I went to Hannibal, with that crazed look in my eyes, a few weeks ago and said, “I want to start collecting eighties toys!”
He didn’t have a problem with it. He actually dove into the conversation with, “Ooh! Which eighties toys?”
“All of them!” I responded in my best Brain voice from Pinky and the Brain. He laughed at the thought, but was excited that we shared a common interest. We sat and talked for two hours about how the toys made us feel and why. I think it was the first time I almost saw him cry (It didn’t happen, though, his eyes just water when he gets excited about a point). Eventually, we came back to reality and recognized that we can’t house the eighties in a three bedroom living situation. Moreover, we don’t play with, look at, or have time for the stuff we do have. We don’t even have anywhere to display it. We are saving for another piece of property now and spending on a childhood museum wouldn’t make sense.
Enter our idea: Since the pictures alone bring out such emotion, why not take pictures and/or print pictures of all the things we want to hold onto, and only keep physical versions of the most precious things (like the Transformers collection, The Transmetropolitan collection of comics [which even I love], my Gizmo plush, etc.).
We’re going to use a large canvas and Mod Podge to adhere the pictures. Then we can embellish with paint and actual tiny toys, CDs, glitter and anything eighties we can find that fits our aesthetic. Our eighties artwork masterpiece can hang in our hallway for us to drool at whenever we like. Hannibal LOVED the idea, and keeps reminding me about it (he even wants to sell large amounts of toys and comic books from his storage on Ebay) so we decided to do the art project today. We can talk and laugh and remember together.
If it gets finished today, then part two of this blog will post this evening with pictures of the piece. If not, I’ll post it next Monday.
P.S. Remember these?
Alright, peace, I’m about to go print my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.