Monday, March 20, 2023

Younger Than Springtime

Got a faster start than anticipated this morning! I heard the alarm, opened my eyes, closed them for five minutes...and then it was a half-hour later. I finished Wings of the Falcon, had breakfast, wrote in my journal, and rushed to get changed. Called Uber quickly...and of course, they took almost 14 minutes to arrive. I was almost late. 

That's the worst thing that happened all day, other than my break was slightly late. We were on-and-off quiet for most of the afternoon. We had plenty of help for a lot of the time, too. I spent most of the time standing around on one foot, lining up the soda in the coolers, and putting away candy best I could. It died so quickly by 5, I was able to shut down with no relief and no need for one. 

Had far less trouble getting home than I did coming to work. Got a driver in 3 minutes, and he hit no traffic. I arrived home in less than five. The absolutely gorgeous weather may have played into that and our lack of customers today. It was sunny and cloudless, breezy but not too hot or too cold for the first day of spring. 

When I got in, I changed and went straight into something I'd been putting off for a while - making the bed. I sleep under six blankets, and they were starting to slide off. I usually just spread out the sheet and the comforter and fold up the rest, but this time, I spread them all out but the huge magenta plush blanket. That one is so big, it would have overwhelmed the bed and possibly knocked my two stuffed My Little Ponies off again. (I need to find a better place for them. They're on the edge of the ledge between the bed and the wall, and Bow Tie in particular keeps tumbling off.)

Listened to my Tune Up for Spring album while I worked. This is one of the seasonal-themed albums Columbia put out in the 60's. It sticks with the spring theme a little bit better than my similar Music of Spring album does. I like the bouncy instrumental Ray Conniff Orchestra version of "Younger Than Springtime" that features on both records. Other good songs include Al Jolson's iconic version of "April Showers," Jo Stafford's lovely "I'll Remember April," and two from Polly Bergen, "Spring Is Here" and "Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year." 

Broke for dinner and Match Game '74 at 6:30. Richard ran into some major trouble during the Head-to-Head when his answer to "__ Canyon" wasn't at all what the audience or the contestant...or probably anyone outside of the Los Angeles area...expected. Though Richard had been in America for over a decade by that point, he was still learning about North American geography. (Richard and the others would refer to this incident several times over the next few years whenever he gave a particularly bad answer.) 

(Oh, and according to the commercial tonight, it looks like Buzzr's next big week-long marathon will have a college theme for spring break. It'll also make use of several shows that don't turn up on their schedule that often anymore, like Sale of the Century and the 1988 Family Feud. It's even going to run the week of my birthday! I'll absolutely be looking forward to that one.)

Finished the night on YouTube celebrating the official start of spring with some fond memories. In the 1980's, the arrival of spring meant the debut of new specials that were basically advertisements for either a brand-new toy line or additions to an existing line. For all the mercenary nature and obvious cheapness of these programs, my sisters and I loved the whimsical story lines and gentle characters. They're also a reminder of forgotten or lesser-known toy lines. For every Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears that are still well-known today, there's a Herself the Elf that's remembered by collectors and nostalgia fans, or a Peppermint Rose even they've forgotten.

The Charmkins holds a special place in my heart. We didn't have the tiny sweet-smelling jewelry charm toys, but the video was one of the first two movies we ever rented, and we'd take it out many times over the years. I'd never forgotten the story of how Brown-Eyed Susan and Willie Winkie rescued dainty ballerina Lady Slipper from the evil Thorn. This is also one of the few specials to have something like an anti-hero in mischievous Poison Ivy, who delighted in turning her friends into anything she wanted (and was adorably played by Sally Struthers to boot). 

(Incidentally, the other movie we rented with Charmkins was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which we'd eventually tape off cable.) 

Peppermint Rose came out in syndication in 1993, which was a bit late in the day for this sort of frilly fantasy. I kind of regret that these didn't go over better. I remember seeing the dolls in stores, and they were really lovely in their lacy Victorian striped bloomer dresses and huge flowered Blossom hats. This tale of a pre-teen who is brought to a destroyed land to rescue a magical rosebush from an angry queen beetle is actually pretty fun. Rose starts out as an annoying kid who thinks she can solve everything by handing someone a check; her delight in doing things herself for the first time is genuinely sweet. 

I suspect this and fellow late-comers PJ Sparkles and the stuffed animal line The Yum Yums were really the last of their kind. The Yum Yums was actually a big enough deal to turn up rather surprisingly and without fanfare on CBS during a Saturday morning in the summer of 1990. (And although they never made much of a splash in the US, they apparently remain popular in Japan to this day.) 

If you also don't remember a spring without sweet-smelling kitties, nature-loving elves, and rapping teens in Victorian bloomers, here's a fruit cart load of fond memories for you! 

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