It’s unclear to me what the recurrence of this memory means, or what a psychoanalyst would say about it (if I believed in that kind of thing), but the weirdness of it and the vividness of it after 25 years make this recollection worth a mention.
My earliest memories are from the late 1980s. There are some vague images that I can remember from the year I lived in Barcelona in 1987-88, but things get a lot more concrete after that, when my family moved back to Toronto. Between the return to Canada and the move to the current home at the end of 1989, I really start to remember.
History is funny, and for some things it moves very fast, and for others very slow. For example, the experience and technology of air travel has probably changed less in the last 25 years (1989-2014), than it did in the 25 years prior to that (1964-1989). An opposite example is the media business. The structure of that world in 1989 was not so different as it was in 1964, whereas between then and today, nothing is the same.
All this to explain why it was perceived as a very normal thing, at some point in 1989, for my mother to take me and my older brother David to a rerelease of Disney’s racist 1953 classic Peter Pan at the Varsity Cinema. At that time Disney Animation had totally lost their mojo. Their four most recent films were Oliver & Company, The Great Mouse Detective, The Black Cauldron, and The Fox and the Hound. No wonder they were recycling their hits.
In any event, we arrived at the theater and much to my delight, who should be there but Captain Hook himself! Or at the very least, a gentleman dressed as Captain Hook.
What he was doing there I cannot recall…greeting children, posing for pictures, I don’t really know. What I do recall is that at some point, Captain Hook’s mustache either fell off, or was removed by the Captain himself. The reason I remember this is because Captain Hook then gave the disembodied mustache to my brother, and solemnly told him that if he stuck the mustache to his bedroom wall, his dreams would come true.
I’m laughing as I write this because it just seems like such a great example of how bizarre the world is to children, that me and my brother swallowed this without any hesitation (I must have even been jealous that he got the stache, and not me). By the time the movie was over, the mustache had been lost. Obviously, my mother, charged with the safekeeping of this and other disgusting items, must have immediately gotten rid of this truly suspect item. I of course felt sad that we couldn’t stick it to the wall and that the dreams wouldn’t come true…
I don’t think I’ve discussed this memory with my mother or brother, ever. It’s not traumatic, though if it actually happened I do wonder…what kind of man tears a fake mustache from his face, gives it to a young child, and tells him it has magical powers? The fact that this was the dawn of the era of not talking to strangers starts to make a lot more sense.
Did this episode actually happen? I wonder, and will have to verify with the other eyewitnesses. But if it didn’t happen, what does that mean? What kind of man am I to implant such a memory in myself?
It’s no surprise that we have such a tough time explaining our worlds. Our consciousness and our memory, which make up the foundation we stand on, are nothing but shifting sands.Read More