take a trip down memory lane with me

Today, on an old bookshelf, behind some boxes and things, I found my ancient Where’s Waldo books. All the childhood memories flooded back: flipping through the pages and getting sucked right into the Waldo search, eyes darting back and forth, made me feel exactly like I did back then. It wasn’t just the pure fun of the game (I think this is one of the most well-conceived children’s books) but the comfort in that familiarity, feeling at home in a book; the idea, I guess, that the way our minds work doesn’t change all that much — just the specific thoughts, the circumstances, the problems we have to unravel.

I got to the last page, the Land of Waldos, where everyone is a Waldo except the real one is missing a shoe. This was the one I don’t remember ever solving as a kid, spending what seemed like endless frustrating hours, but who knows what it was in actual time. And today I found him, stripey sock and all. I won’t say it’s instantly easy as an adult, as with most of the Waldos, it’s hard until suddenly you see him and it’s as if he’s been staring you in the face all along. And, well, he has.

There might well be a metaphor somewhere in there, finding ourselves, finding our way, who knows, write your own, I’m not that far yet. All I know is that this made my day.

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3 responses to “take a trip down memory lane with me

  1. There is a book I have been trying to get “Tell Me A Mitzy” one of my favorites when I was growing up…Now selling for $40 and up. Who knows how much your Waldo book could sell for. My daughter would look at this picture and not understand why I liked Waldo when I was growing up…because the kids today have soooo much. Sad actually

  2. I love this post and I LOVED those books. You are right; there is indeed a metaphor, a whole host of them probably, buried in those colorful pages. But, like you, I don’t pretend to know just what it is, just what they are. Maybe it is something about the sweetness of the search and the triumph of the finding. Maybe that last page is about how often, too often, we all try to be alike when it is better to be a bit different after all, to be imperfect, to be sans sock. Who knows? That book made your day and this post made mine 🙂

  3. Wow. Where’s Waldo. Haven’t seen that in ages.

    Ever heard of a book called “Hitty: her first 100 years?” (OMG, no clue where that came from.) And then there’s Eloise, and the Plaza… oh, sweet memories in some of these wonderful child’s books.

    Of course, the above image reminds me a tiny bit of Henry Darger (look him up, and please don’t be appalled – or if you’re in NYC, you can go see some of his bizarre populated worlds at the Folk Art Museum – it’s strange and amazing outsider art). ..

    Cool post.

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