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A Bit of Childhood Re-Visited

Today was a very discombobulating day. I started out today full of resolute to get going on my daily activities with all vigor; none of this dilly-dallying of late. That meant getting back onto an orderly schedule. But just as I was about to go upstairs and get started, a thought occurred to me. I had been wanting to print some things out on the computer, and I’d better use my chance while I had it…just some quick things you know…the next thing I knew, I was spending all morning making things for a pretend store!

What I had wanted to print out was pretend food, for a pretend store of Owen and Caleb’s. They have been saving all manners of boxes and tubs that would normally get recycled for several weeks to this end. They’ve been quite excited about it, anticipating the moment when they’d get to finally "have" their store! It awaked in my mind the remembrance of an old infatuation of mine.

At one point I also had a pretend store, which was supposed to be a running thing: I kept saving up cereal boxes, yogurt tubs, etc., until I had enough food to open it, and then I’d start over to accumulate a new selection. But eventually, the actual openings of the store died out and it became a thing only in my mind. I still hoped and planned to have it someday, mind you, but a "Grand, Magnificent, Wonderful-Without-Comparison Store", that was so grand I’d never get around to doing it. Because my store wasn’t just groceries; I made other things to sell in it as well, and that was what I really enjoyed about it. It became, in my mind, the embodiment and pinnacle of all the things I liked to make, which were many (magazines, stories, and endless other things that can’t be explained with a single word).

Now I have gone onto other things, and all the interests which fueled me in making things for my pretend store are expressed in other ways. But in the midst of all Caleb and Owen’s reports about the new things they had made or got for their store I couldn’t resist joining in somehow. I didn’t have enough time or ambition to make anything grand, so I decided to do something very simple. I’d scan in the cereal box covers and crop out the picture of the cereal on the front; e.g., a corn flake on the corn flake box. Then I’d print it out in mass numbers, and cut them all out (which would be extremely tedious, but that’s the story of my life) and–voila! The cereal boxes actually would have CEREAL in them!

It was, as I said, a very simple thing, and a far cry from fulfilling all my ancient "Magnificent Plans". But still, it was one of the things I had always wanted to do. Buying an empty box did sometimes strike me as a bit pointless; some of my customers at the time voiced this also. You buy an empty cereal box, and then what do you do with it? At least the magazines and comic books I made you could read. To just have a cereal box which is empty was seemed like a book which has a nice cover, but greets you only with blank pages when you open it. But to have a cereal box that you can open and actually find what’s supposed to be in there…ahh, that’s much more satisfying.

It was yesterday that I carried out this plan. I didn’t want Owen to know about it at first–I was just going to do it as a little surprise. Then I considered that it might make him upset busting up his boxes so I could scan them in (even though I’d of course tape them back together; it’s quite easy) so I asked him about it.

That sure made him puzzled; he knew I was going to make something, but what it the world did busting boxes have to do with making something? "Well…I guess so…but–bust them? Why do you need to bust them?" When he came out of the enclosed porch with the cereal boxes, he had a half-apologetic smile on his face. "Here, but…I think I know what you’re going to do with them now. Scan them in."

But I assured him I didn’t mind that he had figured that out, and then told him what I was going to do. I figured it would probably be more fun for him that way after all. If he ever even noticed it while he was playing store game, he’d think it was cool for 2 seconds, and then forget about it in the goings-on of the moment.

As for now, he took to the idea with all eagerness. Once I had printed some, he immediately got engrossed in cutting them all out. When I came over to help and he saw how quickly I could do it, he was amazed. Then we both felt silly when we realized how we could’ve just cut the paper into strips, lined them up, and snipped the other direction. That admittedly left white space around them, but we decided it was just "cereal with milk"!

Now, today, I was printing out some more "food". I happened to know that a computer program we have, which has lots of graphics–called Print Shop–has various color photographs of food. The program is aimed toward making things like greeting cards, banners, and signs, but I took advantage of their collection of graphics toward another purpose. I plunked down a bunch of their pre-cropped food graphics…such as as a cluster of grapes, a head of lettuce, or a doughnut…increased their size, copied and pasted to make duplicates, and print, print, printed.

Besides the doughnuts, I made sure to print out tons of candies for Caleb’s Candy Shop. I got a little carried away on those doughnuts…those doughnuts just had to have a box.

(That’s Micaiah, one of the friends that came over to play store, arranging things in the candy shop.)