courtesy mary berry 1970: sausage and beans with pineapple rings
Thinking this through in the light of day, there’s probably a deeper reason I’ve been hunting for and posting all these various recent pix of little rubber monsters and plastic spacemen the past few evenings. Clearing and selling my late parents’ house was a BIG TASK, of course: and not undertaken solo — my sister was there with me, with her little daughter in the evenings — but the kind of thing you have to face in a kind of solitude all the same. And afterwards to mark a boundary and detoxify, we all went on family holiday together (the first such not w/mum and dad).
Holiday over and back in London (w/sister et al gone to their home), I have many many excellent friends, and more on-line, but the specific sense of solitude definitely welled up again this last week, especially in the evenings: because it’s not really about company as a cure, it’s about how you process your past — what’s gone and what remains.
One element of that past, when mum and dad were themselves young still, not yet dauntingly ill, not yet seriously disabled, was, basically, my army of monsters and spacemen, tirelessly gathered from toyshop cheapie shelves and gumball machines and (now and then) rescued off the pavement. Silly and small perhaps, but this is often where the intensity is concentrated.
Family notwithstanding — my sister in particular (we were close as kids and remain so now) — I was a pretty solitary kid: when I wasn’t reading I made my own amusement; fashioned and peopled my own worlds. There was an element here of compensatory activity and self-absorption: my dad was diagnosed with Parkinsons when I was 7; by 12, I was certainly actively/subconsciously distancing myself from committing to certain kinds of emotional bond — because I (half)knew and (semi)anticipated the pain of future loss that is always embedded in such bonds. Safer to stick with my wee rubber guys: at least until punk rock began to glint and beckon (I’m simplifying and cartooning, but not enormously).
So yes, this is a trivial indulgence; and yes, it’s something I evidently needed to do for a brief season — which brief season is probably not ended; and nor (I’m guessing) is this going to be the only manifestation. Apologies in advance (sorry not sorry) :)
from a set called “let us to the moon” — this is a screen grab of a minute thumbnail which no longer links to an extant page, research courtesy one “astronit” — it’s the only reference I can find on google (but the name on the box confirms his/her claim)
yellowie aka chiefie (he was promoted to captain of a Lego starship) (in a Lego wheelchair) — tracked down by googling basil wolverton moon rubber
rubber uglies — not so many of these (2nd top right, known as “pinkie”) and bottom left/2nd bottom left (they’re the same I think: known as “squidge”) — both still extant, if ragged, at pushing 50
moon platoon: we had all the top three and the fellow on the bike below, but mid-top was tragically lost in action during a sand cave-in at shell island campsite in north wales in c.1970 RIP little rubber moonman, much missed :( :(