Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Childhood Memories

When I was a kid, my grandparents lived in Upper Michigan and we would go visit them, pretty often. This was a long trip for us kids, which meant, my brother 5 years younger and myself. About 45 minutes in real time outside of town was a Magical Place called Treasure City. It was in Fond du lac for local friends. When my dad got off of work, the car would be packed and we would be ready and excited for our weekend. What seemed like a million miles from home we would start looking for these signs on the side of the road. They were like sideways picket signs painted red with white lettering, and said things like..Treasure City 20 miles ahead. The signs were stategically placed and got closer and closer together and believe me we read everyone. Suspense on every sign....World's largest Man eating clams...Treasures from under the sea..Pearls from genuine oysters....Alligators....Baby alligators...... On and on these signs would entice us and our excitement would be uncontrollable. Daddy can we stop? We'll see...Both of us would discuss with great enthusiasm...Man eating clam....eewww how scary is that...Maybe we can see it eat a man? yeah maybe. Alligators, mom can we have an alligator? Daddy can make a cage for it, can't you Daddy? Hey it says Treasure city, only 500 feet ahead daddy slow down...daddy....it's right there hey, dadddddddyyyyyy. Aaawwww you missed the driveway, you can turn around, No I can't turn around with the trailer on, maybe on the way home. With great disappointment we would sit back down and discuss all the cool stuff they would have and how much we would buy and on and on, that would be on our trip home. Well this went on for years, when finally I think I was 12, we got to stop. Maybe it was our years of begging that finally broke their will, but we stopped. It had all of the coolest junk you can imagine, it was a kids dream. Every hokie gimmiky kid thing including Daniel Boone coonskin caps. Shells that when you put them in water they opened and little silk flags came out. Gemstones and shells and seahorses, and real baby alligators. But the most disappointing thing was the clam...the man eating clam. We both scoured the store looking for the clam, is it dinner time for this monster? Are we in time to watch it devour some unsuspecting shopper? Way in the back of the store about 4 feet off of the floor, all lit up was the infamous clam. Dead, dried out and painted bright pink!!! It was big alright, but it didn't open and close and eat humans? It was full of cheap junk for sale, trinkets. We didn't want to look disappointed, it would mean our parents were right about it being a gimmick. We just kind of walked away and looked for some junk to buy with our 50 cents. One of my favorite things was candy rocks. I would eat them and other kids would think I was eating rocks..that's how I planned this. I would put them in my hand and when they would say "Hey look at all of those cool rocks" I would gobble them up...it was a great scam, but after playing with the rocks for a few minutes I ate them all....so much for cool. I still hold a fascination for them.

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