Saturday, December 04, 2010

Cartoon Character? My nickname.

Over on Facebook, people are changing their profile pictures to a cartoon from their childhood.

I didn't watch cartoons on Saturday mornings very often.  Around our house, Saturday morning were still a day of work.  Since the three of us kids were free labor, things that needed to be done happened before we were able to play.  When we came downstairs for breakfast, there was generally a list of tasks on a blackboard that hung over the kitchen table.  Sometimes mom would mix it up and let us choose from the list of tasks, but more often we saw our name ... and a list.

Now, before you think our lives were too terrible, these tasks weren't anything very difficult.  We had to clean our rooms, maybe yardwork or cleaning in the house.  Because we were so busy during the week, a lot of things hadn't gotten done, so Saturday mornings were a great time to make sure the house was ready for whatever came next.

Television wasn't a big deal in our home.  It wasn't until Mom got cancer that the television finally made its way into the living room.  Mom had grown up knowing that a television was crass, it didn't belong in a formal living room.  When we were very young, it resided in Mom and Dad's bedroom, which meant that it was a big deal to get to watch a show.  Since we always spent time in the living room, we read a lot of books or we played outside or did a million other things.

Max laughs at me because I missed a bunch of pop culture from the 60s.  When I got to junior high and high school, I didn't have time to watch television in the evenings - I was always out doing something.  But, I did know that I was missing Saturday morning cartoons.

If I have to come up with a cartoon character though, it will be the one whose name became my nickname - Hairbear!
I'm pretty sure that nickname was assigned to me with love, but it happened and it stuck.  I had curly hair - that was never really tamed.  I don't remember it ever being an afro, but something must have happened the day Dale Cavin saw me walk into art class in the basement of the Junior High building in Sigourney.  As I walked down the steps, he called out 'Hairbear!' and that stayed with me through high school.  It finally got shortened to 'Bear,' and sometimes I still hear that when I run into old friends.

My friend, Devbra and I hand wrote the "Hairbear Journal," an underground (really not quite as subversive as that sounds) newspaper.  We hand copied several copies every time we published it and passed them around the school.

Since I had just moved into Sigourney and was at that tender age (7th grade - adolescence) where you desperately want to have friends and fit in, a nickname wasn't a bad way to start.

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