PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Wreck of the Fisher-Price Yacht

When I was back home, I took some pictures of the landscape: junctures of grass & field, trees and streams, so permanently etched in the memory of my mind, and yet changed through time to be unidentical to those etchings.... yet everything was still similar enough to bask in the warm familiarity of it all.

This dam was not here, back when I was 7, so the water grew shallow by the crossing, and though it was only ankle-to-shin deep, the water moved quickly, over the rocks and down to the juncture with the other trout stream. On the fateful day I reference, my parents were working in a large communal garden, a garden that would later prove to be one of many examples of why communal living doesn't work very well. My father was on a tractor, my mother in earshot of me. I was having a GRAND time, playing with my Fisher Price yacht, complete with a Captain, life preservers, a lifeboat, and passengers. I still remember the little plastic grill, with the sticker that featured some hot dogs & burgers on the grates. (It WAS a yacht, fine dining included!) Then, the unthinkable happened. I tipped the boat over, and suddenly, all my little Fisher-Price passengers, and all their Fisher-Price accessories, including the tiny yellow life preservers, and the small white lifeboat, that would have only saved one passenger, but still, and the grill, and who knows what else were all racing away from me, carried away by the flow of water and rush of the shallows.

There was nothing else to do but scream at the top of my lungs. I did not stop screaming while I began performing Emergency Rescue Actions, sloshing down the creek barefoot, grabbing at Fisher-Price Paraphenalia, as it slowed and bobbed, depending on the current. My mother arrived a couple minutes later, and interrupted the Rescue Mission. She was PISSED. She thought I had been attacked by a snapping turtle, and to be sure, had a snapping turtle latched on to my toes or fingers, I am quite certain a similar blood-curdling shriek would have travelled across the countryside. I had no time for her ire, as I was losing passengers & accessories by the second. This was probably the beginning of a long pattern of disdain and irritation between us, as one person's agenda and emotions became completely unimportant to the other and the only course of action was to YELL. And/or cry. I remember she dismissed my silly Fisher-Price Yacht Disaster, and was not inclined to help me find everything that had been lost. (I think she did help a little, but seriously? I was looking for a higher investment of energy.)

If my foggy memory serves me correctly, we did lose the lifeboat, some accessories, and a couple of the Fisher-Price people. I don't think I lost the captain, and I'm sure he lived with the horror for years afterwards, probably wishing he'd gone down with his ship. As we traveled down to this section of our creek two weeks ago, the stream now formed into a pool by the dam, yet still familiar as that hot summer day, I chuckled through the strange mixture of love & heavy grief that was smothering us all, and said, "Hey. This is the site of the Great Fisher-Price Yacht Disaster of 1976." I didn't explain it any further, it wasn't necessary, and I saw myself as that screaming kid, where the world's greatest misfortune was to lose a few pieces of plastic, and have your mom think a snapping turtle was attacking you. We prepare for loss our entire life, don't we?

Update: On a whim, I did an eBay search and found this listing, talk about a pristine collection.

I had totally forgotten about the lounge chairs, and, obviously, the steak on the grill. And the DOG! Also, it seems this particular toy was officially called a houseboat, but even at a young age, I preferred the notion of a yacht.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:59 AM