Thursday, October 15, 2009

A is for Alligators all around, B bursting balloons

When I was a little girl we lived in Silver Spring, Maryland and as many children in the 70's. I was obsessed with Maurice Sendak's book: Where the Wild Things Are, I also was crazy about In the Night Kitchen.
My mother is an artist, so most of the books she bought me as a child involved gorgeous illustrations, and she never worried too much about the content. I remember her telling me In the Night Kitchen was banned from some libraries because the boy was shown naked and something about nocturnal ejaculation (yes, she used those words.) Remember, this was coming from the woman who took me to the natural drawing class with the naked guy, per my post: LOOK MOM A NAKED MAN!
At some point between 1977 and 1979 Maurice Sendak came to White Flint Mall, which was a brand new fancy pants shopping center with a glass elevator that descended in to a water fountain, about 25 minutes from our house. My mother took me to see him. Mr. Sendak read Where the Wild Things are aloud and once he was finished I stood in line to meet him. He was seated and next to him was an easel with black sheets of paper on which he made each child in line a drawing with colorful chalk on the black back round. When we got home my mother sprayed hairspray over it so that it wouldn't smudge. I put it under my bed, as it was the only place it could fit with out being folded. I would pull it out every night and imagine I was Max in a far off land being hero, dancing around a fire with my new found fierce friends.
We moved houses and countries, states and schools at least 10 times since I had that drawing under my bed, and of the things that I lost and were broken or ruined in the moves, that is the one thing I regret the most. Last night, I told my Mom about the movie coming out and how I was taking my boys to see it. I asked her if she remembered taking me to the Mall, she didn't, but she also couldn't remember what she had for diner 10 minutes ago.
Instead of focusing on my my childhood, I told her about how I bought all the same books for my boys, how to this day can still sing every damn song from I'm really Rosie, and make a different voice for every monster, and can make the 'weeeeeeeeeeeeeee" sound for 30 seconds when Mickey slides down to the Night Kitchen. So tomorrow night, after I leave the hospital I will take my boys (now 18 & 17) to see Where the Wild Things Are, and I am sure I will cry my eyes out, and one day down the road they will buy these same books for their kids, and then I will be able to dance around and sing and play all thanks to Mr. Sendak and my mom the artist.


  1. Love, love, LOVE this post, Ylla! I loved all the same Maurice Sendak books you did, especially the little Nutshell Library...and I played that Really Rosie record over and over and over again...and now, I can't get Alligators All Around out of my head!!!! YAY!!!!

  2. Used to love that book. I hope the movie doesn't ruin it.

  3. Used to love that book. I hope the movie doesn't ruin it.


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