This is no vacation I’m describing. This wasn’t a camping trip. We weren’t pretending to live like people did during the great depression or the colonization of the America’s. We were some sort of modern American settlers, homesteading on the open land. Planting, pruning, transplanting, harvesting and cultivating our way across the west coast, following the farmer’s almanac and mother earth news of course.
There were amazing gardens, because two of my parents possess the four greenest thumbs that this earth has ever known. There is nothing sweeter than tasting a fresh tomato, or carrot, or beet. I enjoyed apples off the tree, peaches off the bush and berries off the vine.
We played with wooden blocks or bric blocs (an early, cheaper version of Legos), erector sets and lincoln logs. We had ample pencils and paper. I enjoyed Rubick’s Cubes and other puzzle games. We didn’t, however, get to play with guns. Even our Star Wars action figures lost the privilege of their weapons (which their little plastic hands were made a perfect match for). So we went ahead and lost their names as well, and made up our own names and our own space fleet and little sets of ships and cities where they staged their secret battles.
I still played with marbles, years later. After finishing junior college and working on another independent feature film (“The Party”), I filmed a feature length movie in Seattle, Washington. It was called “Satchel of Broken Toys”, based on a play that had gotten into a local festival and had a trial run with a 16mm short. ‘Satchel’ used the marble as one of its visual motifs. We took 3 1/2 months to shoot ‘Satchel’, with 18 actors and 8 musical artists and 4 graphic artists. It was a great exercise, teaching me the fundamental elements of movie production. A very ambitious project, to be sure!