“Everything that’s happened in the strip
has happened to me,” he once said.
“That’s why I have all this white hair.”
Bil Keane, Family Circus
Let’s see what today’s writing prompt is . Write about a memory….
O, I have the perfect one! I’ve told people about it several times. Now’s my chance. Surely someone has it on the net……No? Then there is my chest of memories downstairs. After all the years I had it taped to my kitchen cabinet, surely, I would have kept it?…..No? A photo album then …. Where could I have kept it?
It was one of those Bil Keane Family Circle cartoons. That strip really seemed to capture moments as a parent. Billy and his sister and brothers got into so much mischief and said the cutest things. But that strip, that one captured it all.
Hmm… where else can I look. I hope it wasn’t in one of those boxes that got tossed. Could it be in the basement of the old house. Surely I didn’t lose it?
There were two panels. The first was a coloured picture of the mom and dad — pulling at their hair, I think. Around the image were small images of the kids and some of their many antics. “When will they ever grow up!” I think the parents were saying.
I remember turning to the picture for empathy remembering the fire in the bathroom garbage can lit by Not Me’s cousin I Didn’t Do It. Or the times they were settled on each end of the couch until they could talk instead of fighting….. Yes, I understood that image.
But the strip didn’t end there. There was the other panel. The mom and dad are sitting in a quiet house. He is reading a newspaper and she is knitting. On the neat as a pin end table between them is a new history. The kids are grown, graduated, married. Around the mom and dad are line drawings of the images so full of colour in the first of the panels. They did grow up.
I remember touching that image and sending up a prayer to remember that no matter what happened these moments when they were young were fleeting. Yes, there would be trouble but there would also be joy — the last first day of school coffee with the girls, and then with the youngest as one by one they entered school, a child’s delight in the new flowers of spring, songs and stories, hearing myself in the embarrassing mimic of their play acting at being grown up.
Now they are grown and their images fill frames on my walls. It is my grandchildren on their visits that fill my space with songs and stories.
In my mind I reach out and touch that worn frayed comic strip one more time where it hangs so I can see it in the business of being home with three small children.
Wait! I do still have it after all these years. I didn’t lose it after all. The worn comic strip is right here in my memory.
Have fun searching out other old comic strips. And if you find the one I am looking for, let me know.
Here are a few more I like. Keeping them here, so I won’t lose them.