Wednesday, July 20, 2016

RIP Garry Marshall

Some of the happiest and most vivid memories from my childhood are of being seated comfortably amid my loving family watching the assorted works of Mr. Garry Marshall 1934-2016.


Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy, The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Odd Couple were his works in our orbit and we devoured them. Being a kid in the 70s and 80s was a treat because we were still in that golden era of television where new territories were being charted while still paying homage to the old. Different stories were being told and different eras of nostalgia were being explored. They ranged from the emotional to the ridiculous but they always made us smile. He even contributed to our vernacular with terms like "sit on it", "aay", "nanu-nanu", etc.

Garry Marshall was an artist, a legend and a good man.


Whenever I hear the theme song from Laverne and Shirley, I get a pang—that waft of emotion and joy from when I was a care free kid and when my mother was still alive. Such happy days.

RIP Garry Marshall and thank you for all the joy.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Happy Days

John and Julian Lennon on the set of Happy Days
via John Fugelsang

Friday, April 22, 2016

RIP Prince

June 7, 1958 - April 21, 2016

Friday, March 25, 2016


In the spirit of childhood nostalgia, I’ve been asked to participate in a blogging project for the world’s leading online marketplace for fine art, antiques and collectibles. Invaluable is a revolving door of must-have collectibles and vintage items, be sure to check out their website—particularly their wide-ranging page of Collectibles.

My task: to list favourite pieces from my past—things I grew up with, that I wish could make a comeback.

Childhood Books (Rare, Older Editions):

As a child, there’s nothing like finding a book that resonates with you for the first time.

And there’s nothing like tracking down the exact edition of that book which meant so much all those years ago. Sure, first editions are wonderful collectibles but so too are those 3rd or 4rth (5th or 6th even) "Anne of Green Gables" (L.M. Montgomery) or "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" (Judy Blume) with the covers you once loved and knew, that are no longer in print. My elementary school library was that last safe bastion, akin to a holy shrine where a child could take sanctuary and escape the pressures of unimaginative classrooms and unruly teachers and find such treasures.

There's just something about having books from your formative years (the 70s and 80s for me) in your personal library as an adult: like a portkey to your past and a map of where you once traveled. Below are a few of the unforgettable books that meant a great deal to me as a child. Of course, like most things nowadays there are revamped or digital versions of these books available but these were the versions available in my youth:

"Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" (Judy Blume) and
"Encyclopedia Brown Boy Detective" (Donald J. Sobol)
"Harlequin and the Gift of Many Colors" (Remy Charlip, Burton Supree)
and "Miss Osborne-the-Mop" (Wilson Gage)
"Cinderella" and "Peter and the Wolf" (Disney's Wonderful World of Reading)
"The Wizard of Oz" (L. Frank Baum)

Smith Corona Typewriter:

There’s nothing like the sound, feel and mystique of a typewriter.

When that "tap-a-tap" sound (or "tuck-tucka" as my mother heard it) vibrated through the room, you knew an important document was being prepared. I learned to type on our turquoise-colored Smith Corona (similar to the one pictured to the left). It came with a matching covering case and could be transported (or stored away) like a fancy little briefcase. A family staple, every member of our clan made use of its elegant powers. From the mid-70s, it carried us through the next decade until we ventured into the world of word processing—a mere hop, skip and a jump away from personal computers. A stepping stone into future technologies and a family friend, it was a thing of beauty. I'm addicted to my smartphone, laptop, tablet et al. (I used to dream about the convenience of such technologies) but every once in awhile I long for those old school days where all your imagination needed was some sheets of paper and your trusty Smith Corona.

Cabbage Patch Kids:

In fifth grade, like every other kid in the world, I desperately wanted a Coleco brand Cabbage Patch Kid. Obtaining one in the mid-80s was no mean feat: it involved braving shortages and lunatic throngs of parents (fisticuffs and wallets at the ready) in neighbourhood malls not to mention the black market. Suffice to say, I never did have my very own Cabbage Patch Kid in the 80s. Even though she thought them to be hideous (they freaked her out), my Mum, bless her heart still tried to find one for me.

Of course friends and classmates would bring their Cabbage Patch Kids to school in full proud new parent mode—replete with boasting, timely feeding and fashion displays. If we had lived in a world of social media and smart phones back then, there would have been blogs, tweets and Instagram posts laden with Cabbage Patch selfies. Looking back, I admit, they were a tad freaky but those were crazy times.

I still want one though (vintage only, of course).

Old School Phones:

I love the convenience and capabilities of smart phones but damn I still love old school phones. Both the rotary and push button varieties were a joy to use. We had a red rotary phone and a green push button phone in our home during the 70s and 80s (my formative years). I loved the sound they made: and not just the rings but also the dialing, the dial tone and the "click/clink" made from both lifting and hanging up the receivers. When I was kid there was no call waiting or answering machines. That kind of technology was still a ways off.

Not that we didn't daydream about such advances.

I used to imagine having a screen attached to our phone where we could simultaneously look at the people we were speaking to—like they did on Super Friends. Of course the Super Friends were Skyping (or what was tantamount to Skyping) decades before the rest of us but that only makes sense.

And now with many of those childhood technology-based pipe dreams fulfilled, I still long for the vintage elegance of a rotary and push button phone. Like Kodak-cameras, typewriters and other ephemera of the day, they were status symbols but also marked important moments and milestones for families.

Many thanks to

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

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