No Wonder I'm Dizzy! Essay

One of My Aunts…

What can I say? I believe it was from this particular aunt that I somehow inherited in a sideways manner my sense of humor and fun. I’ve mentioned her before, in my hub on genealogy and determining cousinships and quasi-cousins.

This particular incident I know of only second hand, but I feel as if I had been there in person, having seen the event several times via a home movie.

Both my aunt and my father were home movie buffs, and they routinely shared their 8mm movies back and forth across the country in special shipping boxes my dad made for the safe transport of the movie reels. This exchange happened several times a year.

Both dad and auntie carefully compiled the footage from their movie cameras, splicing together the 50-foot reels from the camera into 300-foot reels telling a story of sorts for the year. It was in a very real sense a visual diary.

These were silent movies, not “talkies” as we have today with first VCR camcorders and now mini DVD cameras. So, my aunt sent along a letter explaining the action in this particular movie.

I only wish I had some way to share this visually wtih everyone. Unfortunately, it may no longer exist, and if it does, is probably in the posession of auntie’s step-granddaughter. In any case, I know of no means to upload film movies into the computer: personal computers were unheard of back then.

Camping Families

I was reminded of this story when I read a recent article by fellow author, Habee. Her article happened to be about tents, but nonetheless, I was reminded of this tale.

As with the movies, both our family and my aunt and uncle were avid campers. Experienced campers know tricks or invent devices to be certain their food stores are safe from the natives that inhabit the woods. That is to say, wild animals.

Time To Sell A Car…

The time came when the old station wagon that had served my aunt and uncle well and faithfully on many a camping trip had to go. It had given up the ghost, as it were, and repairs were out-pacing the practicality of keeping the vehicle.

They bought a newer wagon, and thought perhaps to sell the old one to a teenager for his first car and as a project to work on. No takers. In the end, they were forced to pay to have it towed to the scrap yard.

That is where things got weird.

An Old Friend

The station wagon had served them for many years. They hated to see it go, as there were many happy memories tied to that car.

Auntie, being the perpetual clown, and movie buff, decided to make a movie production out of bidding farewell to the wagon.

Out came the camera, with uncle doing the shooting. Out came an oversized rag to serve as a hankie that auntie was using to make quite the scene of sobbing and wiping tears as she blew kisses and waved goodbye.

Is This the Looney Bin?

The poor tow driver at this point already feels he’s landed in weirdo-land, and is hooking the old wagon up as quickly as he can.

As he begins to pull out of their driveway, auntie is seen suddenly sprinting after the old car, yelling and waving her arms and the ‘hankie.’ She’s spotted a particular piece of wire draped over the hood ornament.

The letter auntie sent with the movie provides the dialogue that followed this odd behavior:

“Wait! Wait!! Stop!” (The tow driver hits his brakes.)

“What’s the matter, lady?”

“Wait a minute! I need this wire!”

“Lady, it’s an old hunk of wire. Why on earth to you want to save that?!”

“Oh! Oh! I need it to keep the raccoons out of my icebox!”

Auntie is seen retrieving the wire, at which point the tow driver cannot escape fast enough, and is seen accelerating up the street with auntie clutching her precious wire and waving the ‘hankie’ after the disappearing wagon.

The tow driver only wants to get out of there as fast as possible before he can be eternally ensnared into this crazy person’s world. I’m sure he had quite the story to tell on returning to the office….”You’ll never guess the crazy old lady I had to deal with today….”

A Simple Explanation

Naturally, he had no way to know that they were campers, and that auntie meant her camping ice box, and not the one in her house. This was back around 1960 or so, and some older folks, especially in New England, still referred to refrigerators as ‘ice boxes.’

And So…

…I guess that is just one family incident that resulted in my choice of the stage and pen name of “Dizzy Miss Lizzy.”