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Baby tooth wishes and Le Ballon rouge

Something reminded today me of the short film ‘The Red Balloon’.

I smiled and asked anyone and everyone in the near vicinity if they had seen it. No one had.

I was shocked!

What a classic.

red balloon








I explained the premise and went on to add that when I was younger – when the helium began to exit my balloons, I’d pretend they were following me.

Why do I share these things?? We’d already established they hadn’t seen the movie, how does ‘I pretended my balloons were following me’ not sound completely insane??

Anyway, this did start a walk down memory lane for myself and a co-worker.

She shared that she was convinced her toys had parties when her eyes were closed.

She would open one eye ever so carefully in hopes of catching them in the act.

That suddenly reminded me of a very similar childhood memory.

I had placed a tooth under my pillow and awoke to not only a coin, but a little note from the tooth fairy!!

Tiny, scratchy letters explained that explained that I was to be granted one wish.

Looking back, I’m thinking that was a really risky experiment on behalf of the letter writer – depending on what I wished for.  What if I really wanted an elephant??

I was loosing baby teeth for crying out loud – my head was so far in the atmosphere no balloons, red or otherwise, could reach me – my wishes were pretty out there.

I wrote back to the fairy … my wish?

I wished that my dolls and stuffed animals could come to life.




I walked to school the next day with a friend and excitedly told her that by the time I got home, probably my toys would already be alive!!!

I could not WAIT!

You know – I don’t remember much more than that.

I don’t remember being disappointed that it didn’t happen either …

I reckon I just figured she had something more important come up – or perhaps my mom confessed.

Either way – I was filled for a brief time with a magical feeling and such innocent excitement.

It was that time in my life when I believed with my whole heart such things were possible..


I just called and asked my mom about this. I asked her how she handled my wish … she said she moved my toys around in the night so that when I woke up, they would be in different spots.

I don’t remember that.

I then asked ‘What if I had asked for a pony??’  to which she replied ‘Well, I’d probably have got one for the day and then explained that it couldn’t stay.’

This is where I get my love of magical things from.

This is why I chewed up carrots and spat them out on the porch so my son would believe in reindeer … why I sprinkled glitter around the fireplace then walked through it to leave jolly boot prints.

Probably why I write and certainly why I love to read.

And definitely why I still believe anything is possible.



P.S. I just received an instant message from her as I was about to hit ‘publish’  it reads: “Oh, by the way, I deny writing the letter, the tooth fairy really did do it.”




Banana Bubbles

Had a sweet memory pop into my head as I was driving to the laundromat today.

It was of blowing bubbles into my banana milkshakes at the Bentalls department store cafe, in the Bracknell town centre.  

Back when straws were made of paper – with their vibrant colored barber pole pattern.


Milkshakes in England were more of the Nesquick variety.  It wasn’t until I came to America and had my first McDonald’s experience that I learned just how thick and ice-creamy they could be!  (I have to say – I prefer the first kind.)

I would blow those bubbles and my mum would tell me to stop – I suppose it wasn’t very lady like – but they made such beautiful pale yellow bubbles!


That memory segued to more of Bentalls.  Memories of the tiny cottages and shops they had at Christmas time.  They were on display close to the cafe entrance I believe, lit up inside – so quaint and magical.  I wanted one so badly! 

Such wonderment in that store.  It’s where Roger Hargreaves signed my Mr. Fussy Mr. Men book.


It’s where I would visit Father Christmas in the grotto they set up for us wide-eyed children.  They did a good job too – lots of decorations to keep your mind off of the wait in line.

But my favorite memory there still has to be the times my mum and I stopped at that cafe.  It was such a treat. 

And now 35+ years later, I’m visited out of nowhere by those banana bubble memories. 



Memory Lane – the shows (Insert Coin)

I am a big TV watcher.  Always have been. 

When I was a little girl, “Mum, can I watch telly?” required more than a “yes” it required coins! 

Our TV was a coin operated one.  I don’t remember how much it cost, but my ‘research’ has other children from the 70’s remembering approximately 50 pence for 4 hours.


I do remember inserting the coins.  (We also did this for our electricity, in 10p increments – you try putting coins in a meter, in a cupboard, when it’s dark! *shudder*). 

Loved the day the meter man came to empty out the box.  I would hide some of the money and when times got a little tighter than normal, I’d surprise my mum with the stack of coins.  (Wait, did I steal that from the meter man or was that overage?  Oops).

I had started out wanting to post about English sweets (oh those penny sweets!), then got sucked into the toys of the 70’s I played with – that led to the comic books I read – then came the shows. 

We’ll do the shows first I think.  There are a lot!  Even though we only had 3 channels back then.

The Wombles


They lived on Wimbledon Common (yes, that Wimbledon).  These creatures were our introduction to ‘going green’.  They lived in burrows and cared about the environment, picked up litter and recylced. Very catchy song they had too.

Dr. Who.  Anyone my age has to argue that Tom Baker was the best. 


Yes, he was.


Then there was Playschool, Fingerbobs, Basil Brush, Top Cat the Magic Roundabout, Swap Shop, Roobarb & Custard, Magpie, Top of the Pops … SO many!  I want to insert pictures for all of them (and I have them, oh yes I do), but I couldn’t possibly leave out Rainbow and the hilarity that is the ‘innuendo’ scandal. 

In my innocence, I watched.  I loved Bungle, Zippy and George!


Then years later – this came out:

Shocking! LOL

I’ll share a little secret dream with you now as I sign off for now.  This was the picture we got before programming began (remember that?  When TV wasn’t an around the clock affair?)

I always wanted to be the little girl in this picture.