Saturday morning cartoons, a bowl of cereal … and my biggest concern? What cartoon was coming on next? I miss those days.
The simple joys of a child. It’s sad that most of us forget what it was like. That sense of well being, safety and peace. Never thinking far beyond the next 30-minute segment of cartoons.
This particular memory takes me back to a time before my brother was even on the scene or perhaps just a newborn baby. We were living in the West 12 street apartment and it’s Saturday morning. Oh, how I loved Saturday mornings! No getting dressed to attend Kindergarten, no fear, and anxiety about being left at school without Mom to protect me from the kids who took great pleasure in teasing and bullying. No schedule to keep, no worries about my stomach rebelling because of my anxiety, resulting in what Mom called “tummy issues”. Hell, I didn’t even have to get dressed! I could stay in my comfy pajamas until the afternoon when I would accompany Mom to the store or just to run errands. What a feeling of safety and peace it was.
I would get up early, way before Mom, as she also took advantage of the “day off” to catch up on some sleep. Dad had probably worked well into the night on Friday, so he also was doing some much needed “catch-up”.
Down “the hall” I would come into the small kitchen. The very first thing that I would do was rummage around for a big bowl. The sound of my rummaging would bring Mom out of her bedroom to get me all set up. She would ask what cereal I would like. I remember being a “Rice Krispies kid”. Dad was a Coco Puffs guy and Rob, I believe, was one of the “Captain Crunch Kids”. It really didn’t matter to us what cereal was in the house, as under normal conditions there was only one box at a time for budgetary reasons. It was cereal and it was Saturday morning… that’s what mattered.
After getting my big bowl all set up, I followed Mom down the hall to the living room where our small black and white television stood. She set me up on the floor in front of the Television with a nice little tray for my cereal. She then found the right channel ( there were only 5 to choose from back in the day) and headed back to bed for a bit more of that needed rest. As she left the room she always warned me not to “sit too close to the Television “. One of the countless Italian superstitions that we grew up with was that if we sat too close to the television, we would go blind. Later in my adolescent years, I found out I would go blind for other reasons, but that’s another story.
Anyway, warnings given, mom was off to bed leaving me, my bowl of cereal and my cartoons. Heaven.
My favorites were always the characters from the famed “Looney Tunes”; Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat and my number one guy, Bugs Bunny. I ate my cereal, laughed at their antics and relished the peace and security of “being home”….. mom and dad only one room away. On good days, I might even sneak in a second bowl. This wonderful ritual would last the full morning until mom and dad arose to begin the day. For me, it made little difference what that day had in store, nothing would surpass my morning hours with my cartoons and cereal and security.
Of course, life is life, and we grow up and the pressures of the world take over and we often lose sight of the simplest and, often times, most inexpensive things.
I’m writing this on a Saturday morning and in my mind, I’m in that living room. Light flannel pajamas embrace me. Mom, Dad and my newborn brother asleep just a room away. A heaping bowl of Rice Krispies on my tray, and Bug Bunny asking, “What’s up Doc?”
I don’t know Bugs…. but, I miss you… I miss those mornings…