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When I was around six or seven years old, my brother and I used to listen to a collection of short horror stories on our little Sears record player. It was a collection of six stories, told by three different narrators, released on a full-size LP and titled Scary Spooky Stories. It was released by Troll records and distributed through Scholastic to schools across the country. My brother and I must have listened to this record at least a thousand times. We loved it and I still have the original record in my possession today (although it’s chipped badly on one edge, ruining the first story on each side).
Fast forward thirty years. My six year old son asked me to tell him a story one night. I usually make up stories for him, but on that night something reminded me of a story from the Scary Spooky Stories collection. I hadn’t listened to the records in thirty years but I remembered the gist of the story and told it to him…and he loved it.
After he went to bed I did a Google search for the record and found mp3 copies of the collection. I immediately downloaded and listened to them. It was like stepping back in time. The nostalgia was almost overwhelming. It was strange because I hadn’t heard them for so long, but so familiar I could finish the sentences. Surreal.
I turned thirty-six in February. Thirty-six, if you can believe that shit. Four years away from forty. Forty! That’s the age of someone’s dad! Oh wait; I am someone’s dad.
When I was young-grade school age-I never thought much past age thirty. I wondered what I’d be doing when I was twenty one. I wondered what I’d be doing when the year 200o rolled around. I knew I’d be twenty-six but didn’t know where I’d be. Little did I know I’d be finishing college and moving 500 miles away from West Virginia to Missouri, where I’d stake out my little place to live out the American dream.
Forty? Didn’t think much about that then. I figured I’d have kids, maybe a job worth a shit. Who knew? Thirty-six? Never gave it a moment’s thought; it’s really a non-milestone age. Overlooked in the glow of thirty-five and the fear and stigma of forty.
So here I am, halfway through the year I turned thirty-six. Thirty-six trips around the sun for me.
So where am I now, at age thirty-six? What have I done? What’s changed? Did I accomplish the things I thought I would? What didn’t turn out the way I thought it would?
I’m thirty-six with two kids and a wife. My wife and I have been together for fifteen years and have been married for twelve years. Our relationship is changing, modifying as we get older, as we accumulate years together. We’re staying flexible with each other, flexible with what life is throwing at us. We’re in a partnership, and we’re together for life. This is actually where I thought I would be, but our marriage is a little different than I imagined it might be. It’s more difficult; not quite as easy as I’d originally thought, but those are the ideals of youth. Although difficult at times it’s rewarding and not at all impossible to maintain. Continue reading
Around the time I turned 35 (and my oldest son turned 4) I started thinking about some of my own experiences from my childhood while I watching my son hard at play with some of his favorite toys. I had a wonderful childhood, at least up until my parents’ divorce in 1983, but my fondest memories are primarily from the 1970s. I was born in 1974 but I have memories all the way back to 1976 (albeit not too many from that young of an age). Most of my memories are from 1978 and on.
I’d been wanting to put together some sort of nostalgia page, something to commemorate the things I liked the most from the 1970s, from the days when I was still young and innocent, before my world was turned upside down and I was forced to grow up way too early. I thought I’d include some of my favorite toys and television shows and anything else that struck my fancy from those days. As I watch my son experience the world for the first time (and now my youngest son doing the same) it reminds me of my own experiences of me doing the same thing. It makes me want to make his experience as special as possible. Continue reading