I never watch television in D.C., but my trips home allow me to catch up on some mindless entertainment. Freezing temperatures? No car? No problem! I just have to turn on the idiot box to take a trip back to my earliest years. Since it is Christmas time, there are cartoon marathons featuring Santa, Frosty, gingerbread men, and anyone else remotely connected with the winter feasts. Some of these shows are beyond the acceptable boundaries of taste. My IQ must have lowered some points as I watched Santa get lost in Pac-World. Yes, Pac-Man had his own cartoon. I don’t remember it—and that is a good thing. I also watched Santa become grounded at Fred Flintstone’s house—why Santa Claus would deliver gifts during the Cretaceous period is beyond me.
What I find remarkable about some of these cartoons is how I remember, upon seeing them again, that which I must have seen before I could read. One such cartoon that I watched last week is The Peachy Cobbler:
When the M.G.M. lion roared and the title was shown, no memory stirred. However, as soon as I saw the cobbler’s house, I remembered the show. It may be silly and common, but I find such recollection very pleasant. Even if it is only television, in reconnecting with a long dormant childhood memory, I find again a part of me that I forgot existed. The wholeness of human life that time and change whittle away reconstitutes itself, if only for a moment, when you remember in such a way. A similar and superior pleasure occurs when I dream what I call a memory dream. Such dreams are not necessarily replayed experiences, but they do involve places, people, relations, and circumstances lost in the past. I have no firm opinions about dreams or their significance, but I find some joy in experiencing—even in phantom sleep—some time spent among the ghosts of my youth.