Saturday, February 7, 2015

My Personal Symbolism of the Unicorn: Early Childhood

Tokyo Otaku Mode Inc.
My Personal Symbolism of the Unicorn 

Since I was about 4 or 5 years old, in the early 1980s, I saw a movie on HBO called "The Last Unicorn" which was not only based on the novel by Peter S. Beagle, but he also wrote the screenplay/script for the film as well. I saw it early in the morning, on a Saturday. It was around the time we first got pay-TV (Cable TV) and also got our very first VCR/VHS.

I recall that it was a film I'd VERY MUCH wanted to see. I don't know why, just that it was something I wanted to see.

Why? Well, in the 1980s, in South Jersey (Greater Philadelphia) there was this great toy store franchise called "Kiddie City". It was so great that when you went there, they had turnstiles at the entrance like a carnival, or amusement park, and when you went inside it was wall-to-wall toys, and other fun stuff, including video games, video tapes, and anything fun you could think of for a child or teenager in the 20th Century. If I recall correctly, there were some Kiddie City locations in NJ, but also in Eastern PA. My Aunt lived in Eastern PA, and she would often buy these rubbery plastic clown figures that were Made in Hong Kong (in fact virtually ALL TOYS in the 1980s were made in Hong Kong). The little figurines were some kind of collectable series which was a thing in the 1980s. "Collect them all!" Even McDonald's and many other companies had collection gimmick campaigns to stimulate consumer demand, or revenue.

Anyways, one of the clown figurines was a Unicorn.
It was named Yuli or Uli. Even tho' anything my Aunt gave me was instantly my favorite, Uli was my ABSOLUTE favorite ANYTHING at that age! I took it EVERYWHERE! It was very small, and white, and had a cutesy, goofy face.

 And, one summer, I went shopping with my Aunt at a grocery store in PA, I think it was called Jewl-T or something, and as I was riding in the back of the cart, like little kids were allowed to do back then, I dropped my Unicorn! Shopping carts are made of chrome metal mesh, which is wide. It was SO TRAUMATIZING for me, even tho' I had several incidents in which I'd lost, or misplaced my Unicorn, my Aunt always could always find it, and I dropped it 3 times in that store.

The last time I dropped it was FOREVER, and I was always forever sad about it as a child. My Aunt always tried to find another Unicorn figurine, and I think she might've even called, and visited EVERY Kiddie City there was in the entire area... but to no avail...

So, I figure THAT is the reason why I LOVED UNICORNS SO MUCH. Hense, why I wanted to see "The Last Unicorn". In fact, I think it might've actually been HER, my aunt, whom told me about the film, and told my Mom... I don't specifically recall for sure...

Tokyo Otaku Mode Inc.

Well, that Saturday morning, I got up and manually turned on the analog TV (there were no remote controls yet for the TV, just the VCR). By the time I'd fiddled with it, and got it to work, I switched the dial, and came to HBO... and I must've had perfect timing, because I saw a BEAUTIFUL, elegant, unicorn. All the beautiful colors, and golden backgrounds, then, the next thing I knew, the song started to play.
And, I THOUGHT the movie was OVER!!!!! So, I started CRYING!!!!!

I was SO distraught because the movie was OVER! I thought it was over! Like, the end of the world! (I was only like 4 years old) I recall it being SO PAINFUL! And, I sobbed, and sobbed! And, it was like loosing Uli ALL OVER AGAIN! Ever see a child sob so much that they gasp hard,  and gulp air? Yeah, that was me...

Then, the image of the Squirrel came onto the screen, and the squirrel was crying too. You could see a tear form on the face of the squirrel! This only incited my epitome of despair even further! I sat there at the TV screen, crying at it, telling the unicorn to come back.

So, my Mom got out of bed, and came out to see what was going on, and looked at me crying.

"It's over! It's over! I missed it!"

My mom told me it was OK, or fine, and said I didn't miss it, or I could watch it again later. But, I cried & cried at the TV. It's forever etched in my memory...

...........but, there's a twist.... I actually hadn't missed it.

It wasn't the end of the film... it was actually the beginning. In the beginning of the film, there's an intro opening scene, and then it goes into the Opening Credits Scene, with credits on it, and the song "The Last Unicorn"

So, as I was transfixed with the TV, crying my eyes out, bawling, and reliving my trauma of loosing Uli all over again, the film kept playing.... and I realized it wasn't over... and as the unicorn spoke, I began to calm down, and sat on the floor, watching the film...  Yes, I'd made such a fuss about missing it, when I'd actually JUST turned on the TV at the EXACT right moment!

Later that day, after lunch, my mom went to the TV, rewound the tape, and put my little brother, Ken, in his playpen near the TV, and asked me to come into the living room, and watch the movie. She pushed "play", and I saw the HBO logo & Jingle, and the Parental Guidance Rating, and then, the movies started playing: "The Last Unicorn".

Yes, Super Mom, had actually programmed the VCR to record "The Last Unicorn", which was probably WHY it was even on the screen to start with, and I just happened to watch it just as it was starting.

The HBO version of the film was edited differently, but I didn't know that until sometime in the 1990s. However, I'd watched the HBO cut film version we had so much that I knew every line by heart, and can still quote & recite it to this day.

Unicorns became my symbol, even when I didn't even understand what a symbol was.

All the adults, neighbors, relatives, and people whom knew me through people that knew me, just KNEW that Kandy LOVED UNICORNS. So, anytime anyone noticed a unicorn, ANYWHERE they would call my mom and tell her about it, and we would go look at it. Whether it was a decoration, or an item in the store. And, people OFTEN would go out in the world, like on a vacation, and see a unicorn item, and BUY IT just for me. We lived in a different time, and that is HOW Middle Class folks were back then.

One day, I went with my mom & my Aunt to a Mall, I think it might've been the Burlington Center (NJ), or it could've been a mall in PA, I don't remember specifically, and whilest we were there, we came into a department store, and near the escalator, I saw these cute, tiny, little plushy unicorns!

They had a pink mane, pink alicorn (horn), a pink tail, and a pink choker, and were all white, with shiny eyes. The hind legs were small balls, and the forelegs were little pinches that were like a spring coil hinged clothes pin. And a tiny felt heart on it. I instantly saw them, and we HAD TO GET ONE for me. So, we spent a long time trying to find out how much they were, and no one in the store knew, and so much back and forth, because I wanted it really bad. They finally sold one to my mom, and also to my aunt, which I think was a yellow one instead of pink. She later gave it to me about a month later.

Then, for years, I always got these as gifts from my Grandmother, and random people whom knew my mother, or my aunt. I think they were made in Shenzhen China usually, maybe Taiwan and maybe Hong Kong sometimes. I had a purple one, a turquoise blue one, various rainbow colored ones. The body was usually white. And, I also had a brown horse one. Eventually, I think there was a wide variety of these, with farm animals, and Christmas, Halloween, and Spring/Easter characters as the years went by.

I don't even recall how many of these I had. People put them on their backpacks, purse straps, in their hair, their clothes, etc.

Tokyo Otaku Mode Inc.

By the time I was about 5 years old My Little Pony toys were a thing. I think it was "My Pretty Pony" first, which was larger, and I could never get one, because you couldn't find a store that sold it. Then, the My Little Pony toys came out, by Hasbro. I wanted one really bad, and they were popular, and often sold out. Then, they came out with  series of My Little Pony toys that were UNICORNS, but also ones with wings, like Pegasus, called "Pegasus ponies". (Another films I'd LOVED to watch on TV was "Clash of the Titans" which was often on TV in the Spring time.)

So, naturally, I was very vocal about HOW MUCH I wanted a Unicorn Pony!

My first 2 My Little Pony toys were Apple Jack, and Bowtie. Then, I FINALLY got a Unicorn: Sunbeam!

Anyways, before long I had a collection going. I still have all of my My Little Pony vintage toys. They are in my daughter's closet.

I have some other Unicorn, rubbery toys from Hong Kong that I got at Kiddie City. The horns broke off. But, those were my "boy unicorns" because they look male, and have red eyes, and look angry or raging. I named those Dick and Rick. Why? because I used to visit my mom's friend's house, whom was a Jehovah's Witness, (and we also were, briefly for a time) and I would visit my buddy Tamera whom was a mixed Mallotto girl (half Caucasian, and Half Black) and we would play with ponies, and unicorns. In her home she had a fairy tale story book, one of the only non-religious books, and it was very think, and had many many short stories with pictures. In one of the stories, it was about 2 boy unicorn brothers named Dick & Rick. And, I always asked her dad, her older sister, or her mom, to read that story to us, over and over. I also think another neighbor of mine had that book, and I would have the parents read it there as well. So, that is why the unicorns were named Dick & Rick.

Also, we had a vintage 1970s dictionary, and in it were pictures. If you turned to the page that had "unicorn" you could see the picture of a Unicorn in it, which I think I ripped out of the book.

For my birthday, when I turned 6, I had a My Little Pony birthday party. All of my relatives came, the decorations, plates, and everything were My Little Pony EVERYTHING!

All of my neighbor's kids were my friends in Willingboro, and we played with My Little Pony toys every day. I was like a film director, and staged many of the things we played. My mom used to watch, and laughed about it to her friends.

My Christmas gifts were almost entirely My Little Pony anything related toys and unicorns. The Dream Castle, Plushy My Little Pony Firefly, stickers, and anything unicorns. I had Unicorn pendant necklaces, charm bracelets, earrings (because my aunt got my ears pierced), T-Shirts, pillow cases, curtains, sheets, bed spreads, blankets. Stickers were a big one. I often got unicorn stickers, even from boys.

THE Ultimate My Little Pony everyone wanted was named Glory, a Purple and White Unicorn MLP, similar to the Queen Unicorn named Majesty, which I had, because I got the Dream Castle. All of the neighbor girls had Glory, but I didn't get one until my big birthday party.

Wholesale Party Supplies and Halloween Costumes
Then Saturday morning cartoons began to have unicorns also.

My Little Pony, and Dungeons & Dragons.  

Then, later on, came cartoons like Rainbow Bright, and She-Ra. Probably several others that I can't think of right now, but also anime movies like the Unico movies, which are really weird.

LEGO The Lord of the Rings

Unicorn Plushies

When I was in Kindergarten, in Willingboro NJ (Penny Packer) I was walking around at some playtime, and I saw a plushy unicorn in some kind of basket (we called them "stuffed animals" back then). So, I asked my teacher if I could play with it. She seemed very pleased that I asked, and said I could play with it. I was in love! I hugged it, and played with it, and was very happy. Then, at the end of school, when we packed up our stuff to leave, she asked to talk to me, so I went over to talk to my teacher, and she gave it to me. This sort of thing often happened to me at school, because it happened again in First grade, and again the following year.

I had several of these kinds of plushy unicorns, the ones made in the 1980s, and some in the late 1970s, which all had a distinct look to them. Usually white, with a yellow horn, made of 2 twisted pieces, and sometimes they had hooves, which were often yellow, or golden. Other times they could be turquoise blue or pink manes, or rainbow manes, and had a choker. My whole collection of these adorable unicorns I decorated my bed with before school when I made my bed, and often included Teddy bears (and I had loads of those also).

Birthday in a Box*

My Very First Actual Drawing: A Unicorn
Not only that, but the very first ACTUAL drawing I ever drew, when I was 4 years old was a Unicorn.

I have often told this story, and have blogged about it several times before, but I cannot find it.

One of my mom's friends had 3 kids, and one of the kids was named Jamie, whom was older than I was by a few years. So, I always wanted to play with her, even tho' she was sometimes naughty, and I wasn't. I think she was naughty because of her father, whom often terrorized them, and they even hid out at my house once, with cops guarding our house. I have no recollection what the dad looked like, just that he was a very bad, very scary, very disturbed, sadistic man.

When I was 4, not quite 5 yet, in the spring or early summer, Jamie wanted to draw. We often drew things, and she would teach me, or challenge me... but, I mostly just made "scribble-scrabbles" and imagined they were something. I drew all the time since I was old enough to hold a crayon or pencil, and scribble-scrabbled on every book, table top, or piece of paper I could find. It was like this insatiable aspect of my soul expressing myself. I had to write and doodle on everything. However, since I got in trouble for that, I stopped scribbling on the walls, and just scribbled inside of empty book pages, napkins, and envelopes, or bills on the desk.

Anyways, that day I sat on the patio with Jamie and we colored, and then she wanted to draw. So, we tried drawing things, to see if we could draw something that looked like something. She was much older than I was, maybe 2nd grade, and I was only 4, almost 5. 

She then suggested that we try to draw a Unicorn, because we both loved unicorns, and often watched The Last Unicorn together. She tried, then I would try, and both tries didn't quite look like a unicorn. We were only drawing the head. Then, she tried again. I thought to myself, no these don't look right. It doesn't look like a Unicorn, it looks like a rhinoceros. But, Also, I felt there were too many things missing from it. She forgot that the Unicorn's alicorn (horn) needed a spiral. She forgot to draw the nostril. And, she didn't draw the ears. So, on my next try, I drew all of those things. She agreed that it looked better, but we both agreed it didn't look right. So, she tried again. But, still, it didn't look right.

So, on a few more tries, I drew both ears, showing perceptive of 1 ear behind the other, and Jamie also trying to figure out how to draw it. The paper began to fill up with unicorn heads, that didn't look like unicorns, but like rhinoceroses.

So, I stood back a moment, perplexed, and trying to analyze what it was about the unicorns that was wrong... I did all the details right, but something just wasn't right. I knew it was something wrong with the horn. It just wasn't right. And, looked like a Rhino. I even said that to Jamie, but even tho' she agreed, she would still ignore what I said because she was an older kid, and still thought she was more right.

Then, it hit me! Aha! It's the horn! It needs to go UP, and be drawn on the FOREHEAD! Not the NOSE! So, when it was my turn, I drew just that! And, BAM! That was FOR SURE a UNICORN!

Then, Jamie looked at it, and was WOWED, and agreed that this was INDEED a UNICORN! I was just so blown away, and so proud of myself, for doing that! For the mind a of a 4 year old child, this was mind blowing, and meant the world! Truly significant! That moment forever changed my life!
 There I was, a little kid, and I could draw something the big kid couldn't! I DID IT! ME!

So, we took the picture to our Moms in the kitchen and showed it to them. Usually whenever I draw things, and showed it to people, it was just scribble-scrabbles and I would tell them to tell me what they thought it was. They often had no idea, because it was just scribble-scrabbles. But, when we showed them THIS my mom said: "It's a Unicorn."
Both moms' seemed WOWED also. And they thought Jamie did it. NO! IT WAS ME!
And, even Jamie confirmed this.  Everyone was happy, and liked it!

After that, I drew Unicorns everywhere, almost every day. I just loved unicorns.
I did it! I could do it! I could draw! FOR REAL! It's NOT SCRIBBLE -SCRABBLE!

But, by September I'd become normalized with drawing, and I thought that anyone, and everyone could do it. So, on my first day of Kindergarten, when we were asked to draw, my whole classed was WOWED by my ability to draw, as well as my teacher. I'd never gotten this kind of attention from people for just drawing a cartoon... and when I drew a Unicorn, it REALLY wowed people.

At school kids would challenge me to draw all kinds of things to squirrels, to cats, dogs, horses, leaves, dinosaurs, etc. I could do it all! They asked me: How did you learn how to do that?

I thought this was a strange question. I didn't know what to say, so I said: I just do it. I just learned it myself. And, not long after, I became so much better at drawing than Jamie. She just couldn't draw details, and focus more on colors, or words, and stuff like simple hearts & flowers that you don't need much skills to do at all. She was very creative tho'. With her, everything was Peacocks, and unicorns, and rainbows.

Birthday in a Box
So, my very first MUSE is the Unicorn.

So, my entire childhood is one of Unicorns, and I have quite a nostalgia for unicorns, horses, rainbows, and so on.

Well, that about does it for most of what I have to say/write about Unicorns regarding my early childhood. I have more to write about later on in my childhood, and towards my teens. But, this is already long enough.

And, I will get into The Black Unicorn symbolism after that.

Tokyo Otaku Mode Inc.Tokyo Otaku Mode Inc.

No comments:

Post a Comment