Thrifty Living: Ballerinas

30 Aug

I was lucky enough to grow up near three of my cousins, and I have such fond memories playing with them. We used to play the same three or four games over and over, the type of games which only make sense to you as a child. They changed somewhat as we grew older, but I remember one game we could only play when my aunt was watering the flowerbeds, and one game involved following vacuum cleaner tracks through the carpet like they were a maze. The best game, however, involved the record player in my cousins’ bedroom.

They were very grown up, in my eyes, to have such a thing in their bedroom. It was a 1970s harvest gold children’s model and next to it sat a bunch of random 45s, some that read storybooks and some that were music. Our favorite thing to do would be to cue up the “scary” record,and the person who was “It” would cover themselves in a blanket and chase the rest of us around the room. The scary song in question was actually the Hall & Oates single Maneater. I guess we assumed that “Maneater” was a type of monster.

Many years later and here I am bringing my daughter to my cousins house to play. The 45s are long gone but Isobel’s cousin’s bedroom is filled with various musical instruments including guitars, keyboards, and the drum set Isobel loves so much.

The game they like to play is called “ballerinas,” and it involves raiding Victoria’s tutu stash and spinning in a circle for twenty minutes while giggling, squealing and saying “whoa whoa whoa WHOA!”

Every once in a while they stopped for an impromptu drum solo.

I’m going to have to keep my eye out for tutus while thrifting, I think. A game like this, with or without cousins, guarantees a good nap later.

Afterwards they decided it was time to play make up. Isobel is an old pro at this as she’s been putting on make up with me every morning while I get ready. We keep her make up brush in in the bathroom, though, but after this I bought her a few to play with around the house, which lead to an awesome game I’ll show you later.

Victoria was very patient with Isobel, as she was still refining her technique.

Not the eyes, Isobel! Watch the eyes!

I should find these girls a record player.

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5 Responses to “Thrifty Living: Ballerinas”

  1. DINGEY August 30, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    You should TOTALLY get those girls a record player. You could probably still pick up a bejillion random 45’s cheap at Goodwill and whatnot. Kids will listen to ANYTHING that they can stick on a record player. My childhood favorites included a 45 of some big, white-people chorus bellowing “The Yellow Rose of Texas” to the accompaniment of a massive drumline that made me itchy in the pants, a Four Preps song called “Big Man” that sounded WAAAAAY better if you switched the speed to 33-1/3 because then they were in a submarine, the chipmunks Christmas Song played at 78 rpm, and THE SIAMESE CAT SONG from “Lady and the Tramp.” OH! And “Jailhouse Rock” by Elvis Presley. Because of a skip at the beginning of the 45, I thought for years that the opening vamp went on for way longer than it really does. ALL TIME FAVORITE 45 of childhood, which still KILLS me when I hear it: JOHNNY CASH, “Big River.” Thanks, parents, for giving me your teen-years 45 collections and allowing me and my brother to literally play them to DEATH.

    • DINGEY August 30, 2011 at 10:49 am #

      You have to picture a tow-headed 3 year old girl belting along to this song:

      • LittleBig August 30, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

        You, madame, are pretty much my hero.

    • LittleBig August 30, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

      We had a similar experience growing up, except instead of a record player it was the 8-track in our old Buick. I’d gleefully sing along to Three Dog Night and the Blues Brothers. We had a great time until one day my Mom caught me singing, “I’m going to take a gun, people, and disconnect my brain!” I had no idea what that meant, obviously, but Mom decided we were done with the blues brothers.

      It is actually way harder to find both record players and playable 45s than one might think. Believe me, I keep an eye out.

      Oh, and one day I’ll tell you about how when I was in the hospital at the tender age of six I started hallucinating before they put me under and my brain created a whole “We Are Siamese If You Please” music video. Epic.

      • DINGEY August 31, 2011 at 6:00 am #

        OMG! That song is ALREADY hallucinatory! Your “maneater” story pretty much put me on the floor. A friend of mine who wasn’t supposed to have “rock and roll” records as a youth told me about she and her brother’s top-secret “PRIVATE EYES” 45, which they only played when their parents weren’t home, and which they thoughts was pretty much the MOST EXCITING THING ON EARTH EVAR! It got stepped on, so of course, the song for them had a whole extra set of clacks and “handclaps” that don’t really exist. The cover also somehow got lost, so Liz made her own with notebook paper, staples, and lots and lots of drawings of dramatic eyeballs. She found it a few years ago and I think we both peed our pants a little looking at it. I’ll try to keep my grapes peeled for a portable, sturdy, relatively child-proof rekkid player in these parts, too!

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