Constructing a Monster

As a ten-year-old kid, I was an avid collector. My bedroom closet was full of things I had found, which included animal skulls, empty bottles, various insects pinned to a Styrofoam board, and every Star Wars trading card they ever made. I was proud of my collections and added to them whenever I got the chance. I knew my playthings were different from other girls my age who had closets full of dolls and stuffed animals, but having tea parties wasn’t in my realm of interest…being a scientist or pioneer was.

One rainy day when I was trapped inside, I found that my trading cards were great for building massive card houses. I spent hours meticulously stacking each one up to build a paper empire. The thick rough edges made the cards much better building blocks for strong, sturdy structures than the slick Bicycle playing cards I had tried previously. My fortress was as high as I could reach while standing on my toes and it covered the span of the floor in my playroom. I even set up action figures like GI Joe, the Bionic Woman, and the Lone Ranger around the perimeter to guard it from enemies…like my little brother.

Tiny Creatures

I grew up during the seventies, which means there weren’t video games, hundreds of television stations, or even cell phones to play with as a kid. I had to use my imagination for entertainment. My parents allowed me to play outside all day as long as I came home for dinner, so every minute was full of adventure as I explored the world around me.

If nobody else was around to play with, I enjoyed watching the ants march in the dirt. Their ability to move large breadcrumbs and work as a group carrying them into anthills was truly fascinating. I desperately wished it was possible to shrink down and experience the world from their vantage point. I was curious if they feared me as a giant and even wondered if they thought I was God. I talked to them with gentle words of affirmation and encouraged their hard work, hoping their tiny wiggling antennae wouldn’t interpret me as a threat so they wouldn’t attempt to hide.