You can’t force memories

You can’t force your kids to take a trip down memory lane.

I’ve tried.

A few weeks ago, on an impromptu visit to the Cincinnati Art Museum, my family caught the second to last day of a Robert McCloskey exhibit, Make Way for Ducklings.

What a treat!

Blueberries

An image from the exhibit.

As we perused the art, I babbled to the kids about Blueberries for Sal, a favorite of mine. I read my copy to them when they were little.

“I’m not sure I remember it,” one of them said.

I don’t know why it surprises me what I remember and what they don’t.

Meanwhile, Eddie had his own memories of McCloskey’s Homer Price, remembering that the boy’s uncle invented an amazing donut machine.

My brain was tickled by images of The Man Who Lost His Head, written by Claire Huchet Bishop and illustrated by McCloskey. I had totally forgotten this book until I saw it in the exhibit. In the story, a man wakes up without his head and tries to replace it with a pumpkin, a turnip, a wood head. As a child, the whole thing struck me as a bit horrifying as a child.

Turnip Head

The man tries a turnip for a head. See why it freaked me out?

When we got home, I dug out our McCloskey books, including Blueberries for Sal.

“Oh yeah!” both Max and Calvin said.

A few nights later, I tried to get them to read it out loud with me. Together.

Bad idea.

They wanted to read in goofy voices and made each other laugh so hard there wasn’t any reading going on.

I couldn’t get too annoyed because I remember cracking up like this as a kid. And I realized I was trying to force my memory on them. I liked the book, they liked the book but at nine weren’t ready to be nostalgic.

But I do recommend checking out this Hamilton, Ohio native’s work.

signed copy

My 1975 copy of Sal that was a gift with Don Freeman’s classic Mop Top.

 

 

4 thoughts on “You can’t force memories

  1. I saw this exhibit probably a day or two before you did, and thought to myself Julia’s kids need to see this. Must have sent the message telepathically. This made me nostalgic as well. Could have looked at the drawings endlessly. Read that when McCloskey was drawing Make Way for Ducklings he had 14 ducks living with him in his apartment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There is a huge mural of the donut machine story on the side of the old municipal building here in Hamilton. We have some mighty fine donuts in town, too. I recommend a visit to Kelly’s Donut Shop.

    Liked by 1 person

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