This is one of the gifts I opened for Christmas last year from my Mom and Dad. Sure, it might not look like much but it's something I hadn't seen in quite a long time. This is another item that I made with my Dad when I was a kid... a Second Grader, to be more specific. I can't remember the specifics, but this paper mache mask was done for a school project. My folks kept it all these years. It's in pretty bad shape, but still very cool to see again.
When I was a kid, I was always "in" to something. In other words, I tended to fixate on television and movie characters and, most often, the toys that went with them. Among my young childhood obsessions were Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Before I discovered things like Planet of the Apes and Evel Knievel, Mickey Mouse was a character favorite of mine in the very early 1970s. I watched cartoons, drew Disney pictures, and dreamed of one day visiting Disneyland and seeing all the colorful characters, in person.
So, when the opportunity came to make a mask for a school project, Mickey was at the top of my list. I remember layering goopy, gluey newspaper strips all over a blown-up balloon to make the basic headshape and ears. Once dried, it was painted and a bent metal measuring spoon, painted black, served as the nose. At some point, Mickey's nose must have disappeared as he was sans spoon when I opened the box my parents wrapped up for me.
This is my "Mickey Collection," at the time. The ridiculousness of this photo cracks me up. Didn't I have more pressing things to do than this?! Anyway, my kid brother, Mike, was kind enough to stand-in and help me display my Mickey bounty. I'm holding a Mickey ventriloquist dummy that I got for Christmas a year or two earlier. My brother is holding a Mickey Mouse bust bank and Mickey doll, of some kind. On the wall, is a Mickey corkboard for keeping track of all the pressing things a 7 year-old would need to keep organized. I'm wearing a home-made Mickey Mouse Club shirt (don't be jealous) and an official, stylin' Mickey Mouse ears hat. A mysterious arm holds the Mickey Mask that is the subject of this post.
I still have the same Mickey bank that was one of the toys in the picture above. These two decorated my room when I was about 4 or 5 years-old and have just kind of stayed with the family, all these years. I think I adopted them, officially, into my collection of toys just a few years ago. I came across them recently when looking through boxes of toys in a recent "toy purge" to thin out my collection.
Another shot of my brother, Mike, and I. This seems like a lifetime ago. These days, we're all starting to get up in years, but it's always neat to have an object like this mask as a tangible reminder of the simpler, care-free days of being a child.