the joy of Retro & the wisdom of You’ve Got Mail


Its been a flashback, retro, "oh my gosh I remember that!"…kinda Winter.

Warm memories, like this torn antique quilt, have been keeping me warm and soothed during a long sickly Northeastern winter.

It all started when for Christmas I bought Mr.MS the Atari flashback plug-in console. Though it took us over a month to break it out, for the extremely pathetic reason that we kept forgetting to buy triple A batteries.{Really, nothing else we own requires triple A, and therefore we could not do the "swipe and insert" like we do with most electronics we want to use NOW}.

Once we did however, it was such a grin-wide and shake-your-head HOOT to hear the girls yell out "KILL THE SPIDER, KILL THE SPIDER!" to Centipede the way we used to scream during the long boring winter in the late 80s of my childhood.



We stopped being so dang cheap and went back to getting the Netflix DVD- in the mail option. Our first DVD sent via mail to our porch mailbox:


Remember Val Kilmer in that one? We were obsessed with that movie growing up.  The little ones could not get over the fact that midgets were real people!  Our favorite scene is still when Val Kilmer dresses up as a woman to evade a jealous irate husband, and when the husband busts in and takes a look at him dressed up with a stuffed dress, asks leeringly,

"wanna breed?"

Val replies in a horrible fake woman voice:

"temptiinng…but no"

The next 2 DVD's scheduled to ship out:

The Eewok Adventure & Jurassic Park {the first movie my younger brother and I were allowed to watch  by ourselves in the movie theater while my Mom went grocery shopping}.


We are not totally vegging the Winter away with video games and movies.

There are books and music.

In the book corner:

I am so giddy and nostalgic over the second girl absolutely loving The American Girl series.  I was first introduced to the book series in 1989, which I believe, was near the initial release of the first books and of course exorbitantly priced dolls and accessories.

Remember Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly?

I was team Samantha.

She also dabbles in Sweet Vally Twins.

Which I devoured in the late 80s and probably a trifle too long into the 90s.

And in the song corner.


I am not combing through the zillion images of him on google cuz I know you all know what he looks like.

It came to my attention last week that the only perception they had of Elvis Presley was from an animated spoof based on him from Veggie Tales! I could not let that one lie.  So I youtubed "Jail House Rock" in technicolor.  The same girl who is bringing back the retro girl books found out there is an Elvis Presley channel on our XM and programmed it in, and listens to it all the time!  When her sister's friend was riding with us she asked if she knew who "Presley was"  {its so cute…instead of referring to him as "Elvis" liked everyone else she simple says "Presley"…I don't know why but I don't want her to stop, so I don't say anything}.

I now can't get "Suspicious Minds" out of my mind.

Singing along with The King, I realize that I totally love 1970s love ballads.

I forgot that I grew up listening to Elvis, Tom Jones, and Gary Puckett.

Or rather I grew up listening to my Dad sing them, which is why I know about two lines to like 100 hundred songs and no more, and those two lines, are often incorrect.

All this retro nostalgia reminds me so powerfully that it all those little passing things that make up a childhood.  Atari and giant bowls of cereal on early Saturday mornings, renting a VCR…that's right I typed out V  C  R …cuz that is how we did it, on Friday nights to watched a stack of VHS tapes that reached my knee, and knowing that if my father came home with the window of his old pickup truck rolled down whistling "Deliah" by Tom Jones, it was a good day at the construction site.

My parents were not trying to make "wonderful family moments that will shape and better your children" I am pretty sure.

Just as I shared last post about what Mama did 

I really do not possess a large bag of meaningful and deep experiences of bonding with either one of my parents.

We did not take many vacations.

We joined zero groups, clubs, sports, till high school.

But as a parent now, certain objects or events will trip the wire of memory; long forgotten, buried in the dust of a thousand memories, waiting to be kicked up like a layer of dust on an old sofa.

I remember coversations around kitchen tables, always, always with food.

I remember laughing.

I remember the freedom to escape for hours in fields and trees.

My parents were always there.  Always available. Not always doing something or taking us somewhere  {with express intent of bettering us, their children of course}.

We do not raise our own children exactly as they did.

Do I scratch my head, with my now adult eyes, as I peer back at some of my parents' parenting styles and decisions?


It just seems parents today are so worried.

Are heavily buried, and teetering over with too much information, geared too much toward accomplishing.  What they are told they should accomplish is a perfect kid.  Depending on your own social standing, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or what tax bracket you fall in, it's a constant niggling poking a parent's side.
A faint but persistent whisper of:

" Do A, B, & C and your kid will be a 1, 2, or 3, or at least decrease the chances of being one of those X,Y, and Zs"

That sinister yet seductive voice knows my mind, my fears, my vanities too well.  I find myself trying, trying like a woman possessed to accomplish what I am convinced separates me from those face-less "selfish" or "lazy" parents.

And yet.

I am learning the scandalous truth of simplicity, rest, and carefree. Without guilt!

I have told new parents over and over again that what my parents did, what we try to do, more than any parenting philosophy or Amazon best selling how-to:

is simply to love God, love your mate, love your kids more than yourself.

It's everyday, it's constant, it's humbling, it's full of " I've blown it again" but it will simplify your life, and give needed clarity at the needed time, for that needy family member, just when they need it.

Those big moments are never what you expect.  You never see them coming, and they will never be able to be duplicated. 

It's often simple and little.

But to quote Shopgirl of You've Got Mail {aka Kathleen Kelly aka Meg Ryan}:

"I just want you to know that all these little things, have been a very big something to me"


4 thoughts on “the joy of Retro & the wisdom of You’ve Got Mail

  1. Great post Leah,love it all!It is that self-centredness that is ruling the world, we have been warned it is to come though. Will have to Flickr a pic for this post.Have never seen Willow,will have to now.Drooling over your quilt.


  2. I loved Sweet Valley Twins! They were definitely my favorite in fifth grade (maybe into Jr. High..but I don’t know if that’s normal:) And I love that quote from You’ve Got Mail. It’s always resonated with me.


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