My growing up years included school, church, Brownies, and a smattering of dance and piano lessons. All of those molded and formed me. My life was also a mix of make-believe and magic. They, too, created the person I am today.
I grew up following some benign superstitions—being careful not to step on cracks in the sideway, and reciting “bread and butter” when separated by an obstacle when walking with a friend. I also believed in several Hingelberg-clan good luck charms. My favorite was our routine of making a wish on the smoke stack of the Wyandotte Chemical freighters as they passed by our cottage on the St. Clair River. I also believed in the power of the Wishing Tree, standing proudly in a farmer’s field we’d pass on the interminable, pre-freeway drive from our home to Grandma’s house in Detroit.
Those good luck rituals were just a part of my magical childhood, thanks in large part to that Irish grandma, with her story telling of little people and pots of gold. Magic and make-believe formed the core of my childhood years.
I talk about the make-believe of my childhood as if the fantasy disappeared as I became an adult. Not so! My life, the part of my life mostly hidden away in my own home, continues to be a mix of make-believe, dreaming, wishing, and wondering. Luckily my wife is a willing co-conspirator, and our joint-playfulness, always enjoyable, has been an especially welcome distraction from the turmoil and uncertainty of the pandemic.
Linda and I begin each day by reading our horoscope in The Seattle Times. Whichever one brings in the paper, opens to the last page of the sports section, and reads aloud the morning’s prediction for Leo (me) and Capricorn (Linda). We have a good system. If we like what the horoscope says, we believe it. If we don’t like what we find, we call it silly-stupid. The day I began writing this piece Leo said, “Today is an 8. Keep a philosophical outlook. Slow to consider the road ahead … privacy, introspection and contemplation soothe your nerves.” Now, that’s certainly good advice! Good advice, proven by the fact the first draft of this blog was written from my favorite park bench, at my favorite waterfront park, being introspective and contemplative.
The scale for the horoscopes we read is this: 0 is the worst possible day, 10 is the best. So, if a day is an 8, that’s good. For most of 2020, and so far in 2021, the days have been between 6 and 9. No 10s, but nothing below a 6 either. What could be better than a published pick-me-up each morning, promising quite wonderful day.
Linda and I have two unique “friends,” a stuffed felt character, and a small, soft stuffed Goldendoodle. On a practical note, they were both chosen because they coordinated with our bedspread we used when each was purchased. In our Lambert-Peck world, though, they have been given names—Jubilee and Wally—and personalities as well. Jubilee is a trickster and Wally a comforter. We delight in inventing stories for and by them. Anthropomorphism suits us well. (I’ve introduced you to Jubilee and Wally. They are only two of several inanimate items we’ve named and enjoy in our home. Perhaps sometime I’ll post photos of Joy Lady, Jacqueline, and Salty as well.)
I believe the lightheartedness we bring to each day has been a boon during these last fourteen months of set-apart days. Surely there was concern and nervousness about the virus. Even more, there was dismay and outrage over the politics of the time. The overlay of silliness was a blessing. Thank you, Ralph Waldo Emerson, for this advice: “Living without laughing isn’t living. Be silly.” We have, indeed, been silly.
Dear Reader, thanks for reading through this upbeat, full-of-magic piece. May your day be, at least, an 8.