Posts Tagged ‘childhood’

Reoccurring Dreams

Man, dreams were great when I was younger. They were insane and fun and had great atmosphere. Most of my dreams as an adult are alternately about boring things or nightmares about things happening to other people I am responsible for. Which are not fun.

As a kid I had a number of reoccurring dreams. I mean, I assume I did. The thing about reoccurring dreams is…are they really reoccurring? When you’re in the dream and you’re like, ah, yes, I have been here/done this before, have you really? Or is that just another layer to the dream?

For example, when I was in early elementary school, we lived in a tri-level house out in the woods. Lovely place. We had seven acres of land, so I spent most of my time outside, exploring rocks and trees and imagining stories of my own creation.

The basement, however, was dark, lined with dark wood paneling and having a single wall of windows on one end. The light end was great (except for the time I fell off the shelf and broke my arm). The dark end was dark and featureless (and had an actual dark room, which we just…didn’t use for anything).

At the time I had a series of dreams involving the dark end of the basement. In the dream, I’d go down the stairs, but instead of there being nothing, there was kind of an…evil carnival. What exactly was there changed from time to time, but it was definitely something I dreamed various times. (There was an alligator once, and another time some scruffy little boy stole my favorite stuffed animal.)

My reoccurring dreams are always linked by place. It’s the place that’s reoccurring, and the events may or may not be linked from dream to dream. Oftentimes what’s changed in the place is directly related to how long it’s been since I’ve dreamed that particular dream.

I had reoccurring dreams a lot as a child, as I mentioned above. But, all of sudden, I’m having them again as an adult. I mean, I’m dreaming those same places from when I was younger, not having new reoccurring dreams.

I had one last week, though I don’t remember what specifically it was anymore. And I had one last night.

Let me back up. As a kid, my grandparents’ house was one of my favorite places. It was where I saw and played with my cousins. It’s where we spent a lot of time when my parents were divorcing, where I first got to touch and learn how to use a computer (and play games), where I spent hours up the crabapple or jumping off the wall or lazing about in the hot tub. My grandfather had a mining consulting business in the basement, with pictures of huge equipment and coal cores (which I touched only once and then learned my lesson) and this giant printer–and my grandfather was my very favorite person, may he rest in peace.

So it makes sense that I had a dream grandparents’ house that I would visit. The dream one was huge, several stories tall, with a tower, and a rideable miniature railroad, and a pool, and part that looked like a castle inside and out, and museum exhibits, and a place to host haunted houses, and mini golf. A giant library. Huge rooms for me and my cousins to stay in. And there was a separate building in the back, which was the “original” house (whatever that means in dream world), smaller and more modest but still not at all related to the real-world house.

I dreamed of this version throughout my childhood, but I don’t think I have since my grandfather died (19 years ago). Or I might have once afterwards–I have a vague memory of something being wrong with the tower and it having to be anchored to the hill behind it–but no matter what, it’s been a while.

So imagine my surprise when I found myself there last night, surrounded by my family (including my uncle, dead these eight years). The house, if anything, had become grander and bigger in the years since. But there was an undertone of disuse and decay throughout. There was a burst pipe that no one had bothered to repair for several years. Portions of it (such as the castle and the pool) were open to the public.

But the general feeling was that we, the family, had to give the place up, that it was empty and falling apart, and that we’d lost control and there was nothing to be done.

Not the most optimistic of dreams, but also not that surprising. After my grandfather died, family get-togethers were never really the same. That’s to be expected, I think, and perhaps explains why the reoccurring dreams stopped.

And last summer, my grandmother decided to move out of that house I loved so much from my childhood and sell it. So maybe this was just that–a last dream farewell to someplace that meant a lot to me, but that is now (and to be honest, has been, at least emotionally) no longer available.

A little slow on the uptake–the house sold months ago–but a farewell nevertheless, and a thinly-veiled metaphor of how family changes as you age and people leave your life while new people enter it.

Man, it is a cool house, though. Maybe I’ll dream of it again sometime, in better times.

The Road Untaken

So, last week a new Muppets movie came out.  (And they put out about a million different trailers, and I have had to watch them all multiple times.  Evil marketing, Disney.)  I went to see it opening night with my sister-in-law and her husband with great expectations, but despite it being fun and full of Muppet-y humor, it still felt a little too…close to home.

Hm, how to explain this?

Jim Henson died twenty years ago.  He managed great things in his lifetime: Sesame Street, the Muppets, Fraggle Rock, Labyrinth, Dark Crystal – movies and television shows denoted with humor and life lessons and imagination, pushing the envelope of how far you could create a fantasy world without the use of computer animation.  The Muppets have always been there, always been real.  When actors act opposite to them, they have something there to act off of, to see react to them.  I read something once where the Muppeteers think of each Muppet as their own individual being, where the Muppets will do and say things unplanned by the human moving the mouth and speaking the voices.

We lost a visionary when we lost Jim Henson, and I sometimes feel like the Muppets lost something too.  We had Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island within a few years of his death, helmed by Brian Henson, and those feel good.  Feel natural, feel right.  But since then…well, there was Muppets Tonight in the late 90s, which I liked, but overall, it’s kind of felt like something was missing.

The Muppets have kind of dropped off the radar, except as something we look back on as something we used to enjoy.  And the new movie plays on this a lot – the Muppets, even in the movie, are forgotten, out of place in a world where flashing lights and computer graphics are all the rage.  And it felt like that while I was watching it too – at the theater on opening night, sitting in a theater that was maybe half full at best.

And the new movie isn’t bad – it’s good, the story resonates, and all the Muppets you’ve ever loved are there, from Piggy and Kermit to Waldorf and Statler to Sam the Eagle and Rizzo the Rat.  Most of the songs are catchy (if you ignore the one, extremely random rap number), and they play old favorites like the Muppet Show theme and Rainbow Connection.

But there is this overall feeling of having been lost for some time, and it makes me wonder where the Muppets would be today if Jim were still with us, and had had them under his wing for the past twenty years.

Get Off My Childhood

I tried to find a version of this that would embed, but alas, I must send you to Youtube instead. 

What you have here is the trailer for the new Thundercats series that has recently premiered on Cartoon Network.  I’m not going to lie, it looks kind of awesome, but seriously, can’t we come up with original things instead of rehashing my entire childhood?  (Also, where is Panthero?)

My childhood is rearing its head all over the place lately, and not in the fun, nostalgic way.  Apparently it has been decided that we need a redo on the entirety of the 80s, and By God, we are going to do it Right this time, if by Right you mean “buff everyone up, add more explosions, and sexify the whole thing.”  And they do.

Alvin and the Chipmunks and the Smurfs, both cartoon staples of my childhood, now have horrific live-action movies.  (Actually, add G.I.Joe in there as well.  Oh, yes, and Transformers.)  Aside from the new Thundercats cartoon, He-Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Strawberry Shortcake all have new series as well.  Even TRON, a cult classic, now has a sequel (though admittedly, it was pretty awesome).  And I hear they’re remaking Short Circuit?  But the original is perfect  The new My Little Pony I will forgive even though they have no noses.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I understand liking something when you’re a kid and as an adult, wanting to revisit it and maybe make it better.  I know I have shows and movies that I love that have always felt like something’s missing.  But seriously, I feel like there’s nothing left at this point.  We have redone everything good from the 80s, with varying levels of success, and all that’s left now is to make a Jabberjaw movie and then move onto the 90s.  (Live-action Dexter’s Laboratory, perhaps?)

And yet, despite all that, there’s still no remake of Rainbow Brite to be found.  Get your priorities straight, Hollywood.