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Sonnets on an American Childhood in the Seventies

By Molly Denver

When I think my muse is Jared Leto
And the X-Box - substantial diversion
I must put out my well thought out veto
And take a little mental excursion.
Candy Land was the game for an age,
Operation - pure and total classic.
Remember when Twister was all the rage?
Though now it makes me feel quite Jurassic.
I'm saddened that kids today do not know
All the joys of life's simplest pleasures.
Don't forget the Hungry Hungry Hippo.
To this end I shall take drastic measures.
Wonder how I can make this crescendo?
Simple enough, I'll bust your Nintendo!

'Tis true that the star of my childhood was
Strawberry Shortcake's friend Lemon Meringue.
She lived in Barbie's Dream House (and still does),
Oft having Monchichi over for Tang.
My Cabbage Patch doll was way too big for
Playing with Luke, Han Solo or Vader
So Laurie Lynne, poor doll, yearned for much more
Until Rub a Dub Dolly came later.
Years before My Pretty Pony moved in
My red-haired Sea-Wee Doll swam in the sink
Peace did reign until that terrible sin-
My brother, with an acute sense of kink,
Proved himself quite a ridiculous pest
By soddering Smurfs to Barbie's huge chest.


Lest we should forget our bellies as youths -
The culinary treats of our childhood,
I'd like to recall to your mind some truths
That concern what you ate (or at least could).
You woke up to a chewable Dino
While ironically, your mom downed a Tab.
Lunch was PB&J and some Cheetos.
And you oft traded the apple you had
After school. A fluffernutter's a winner
Or Kraft Mac & Cheese if you were lucky.
Supper - if Dad's out- a TV dinner
After, Otter Pops never were yucky.
You grew up, I'll bet, and now eat cuisine
Me too, well, almost completely I mean.


In my youth, it was for blonds I did swoon -
I do not think that I emerged unscarred.
There was Schroeder - true, he is a cartoon-
A musician (old habits die hard).
When out of the General Lee hopped Bo,
My heart would beat against my rib cage.
I'd follow those Dukes wherever they'd go,
So the show's demise evoked all my rage.
Luke Skywalker was a heroic hunk.
Princess Leia should have picked him despite
Him being her brother and all that junk.
She chose the brooding brunette - it ain't right!
Now all I can hope is (this I avow)
To come across them on Where are they Now


In my pink footed pajamas I'd sit
While Hong Kong Fooey tried to save the world.
Someone changed the channel? I'd smurf a fit!
Before me, tales of George Jetson unfurled.
I never cared much for any Care Bear.
I'm berry glad Sour Grapes never won.
Gargamel and Skeletor never were fair,
Though I admit I loved Blinkie a ton.
With Trixie, I'd yell, "Go, Speed Racer, GO!"
My favorite Muppets were in the box seat.
Shaggy had that groovy van in his show.
Childhood: can I request a repeat?
You say, "You loser, grow up - at least TRY!
I say, "I know you are, but what am I?"


Lo, though I tried to stay in my folks' home,
Sometimes they would make me go play outside.
About the neighborhood I would then roam.
On my banana-seat bike I would ride.
My red Hoppity-Horse would often race
My brother's narrow plastic blue skateboard.
Or I'd ride my Big Wheel from place to place,
Since that damn Sit-n-Spin made me so bored.
Slip-n-Slide was one of the summer greats
While I'd oft twirl my baton in the fall
I could shoot the duck on my roller skates
And play a mean catch game with a Nerf ball.
"Did you have fun?" Dad said with a grin.
"Yeah, Dad, great. Now may I please come back in?"


How oft I then heard the music so sweet
From my spacious chamber above the den.
Pac-Man's "puck-too-wah" as he then did eat
Power pellets then ghosts once and again.
The angry song of the alien beasts
While descending on their prey far below
Compared to the tune of crocodile feasts -
Which was worse? I still can't say that I know.
The tanks had quite an innocuous hum,
While Mom's favorite, Pong produced sharper sounds.
I'd lay in bed, thinking, keeping quite mum,
Afraid of the dark, and also of clowns.
(Don't say I'm childish it makes me so mad!
Remember- my dad can beat up your dad.)


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