Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Definitely the Patent Leathers

As a child she would sift the newspapers for the comic pages and hunker down in front of the radio to hear an announcer read the funnies. It was her favorite part of Sundays, along with her Daddy's from scratch pancakes with lots of margarine and syrup, and a milk chaser.


That love of colored images held her imagination into her elementary school years. She could now read the words herself, and she envied the neighbor boy, an only child, whose parents were wealthy enough to afford a subscription to the Walt Disney comic books. She would lovingly read the volumes at his house and think how privileged he was.

plaid judy

One strip in particular caught her eye, "The Adventures of Mary Jane and Sniffles." Mary Jane had long blond hair, and wore a red and white smock accessorized by shiny, buckled, black patent leathers. The black patent leathers may have been another character's, but for certain, Sniffles was her little mouse friend. Mary Jane would utter the incantation, "Magic words of poof poof piffles, make me just as small as Sniffles." and be transformed instantly to a mouse size version of herself. Various events of peril and hilarity naturally ensued, all ending with Mary Jane resuming her normal stature.

Whether it was the shoes, the blond hair, or the outlandish adventures that drew her to that particular comic, she did not know, until one fateful evening, sixty or so years later, as she prepared dinner with her signature finishing touch...cheese.

"Cheese, glorious cheese, " she sang to herself, her mouth watering in anticipation of the creamy dairy goodness. And then her mind was flooded with memories--the shoes, the hair, the MOUSE!. She was startled by the sudden rush of images so long ago forgotten.

And then she pondered.

Why this fascination with cheese? Had she identified at an impressionable age with a rodent? The relationship of the tiny mouse with the beautiful golden girl in the shiny, black, patent leathers certainly knew complications. It was interspecie, cross cultural, bizarre. Did the comic writers intend to foister the belief that to be a mouse was better than to be a little human?

Too many questions, the cheese was getting cold. "No", she spoke aloud to herself, "it was the blond hair...the red dress..."

Definitely the patent leathers. Definitely.