'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Thursday, 18 December 2008

Rupert



I was cleaning up the children's bookcase the other day and came across my old Rupert annuals. Some of the cartoons I haven't looked at for 48 years, egad, and a strange, soft, upwelling of little-girl memories quite overcame me.  As I looked at the pictures, especially the backgrounds, I realised why I always feel so 'at home' in Europe.  It is the soft rounded hills, the little lanes, the shape and size of the houses, the snow-at-Christmas, the copses and oaks and robins and larks, the urban streets sandwiched with semi-detached houses and so on.  I met these daily through my formative years in Rupert, Enid Blyton, Giles magazines, Punch cartoons, Ronald Searle, Andy Capp, Beatrix Potter, I Spy, Twizzle, The Bobsey Twins, Black Beauty, Peter Pan and Wendy, the Amelia Anne stories, and my favourite: Milly Mollie Mandy, (because she always had a map in the front of her books).  

Tony was posting today about his memories of growing up with Charlie Brown and Snoopy and how kids today want superheroes, aliens and Hellboy, whoever he is.  

Something's lost, I think.  Innocence?  Childhoodedness?  Or am I just getting old and everything in the past is getting rosier and rosier.  

Go away and play your Grand Theft Auto IV, son and leave me here in the hammock reading old Rupert annuals.


6 comments:

  1. You kept yours?! I used to get those sent over as well, but they didn't survive my father's purges. I think the old stories had more sinister messages hidden in them that we were not aware of, whereas today's are very much up front and in your face. I also grew up with Oor Wullie, have no idea how I understood the Scots - I remember my mother translating an awful lot. (Not exactly an idyllic childhood there)

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  2. Sadly I fear you ARE wearing thick rose tinted specs, Katherine, but that's not to say it's a bad thing.

    In the Britain of today, Rupert would be a binge drinking drug addict who would terrorise the woodlands and copses of our fair country.

    The 'good stuff' is still there but more and more one has to dig deep to find it.

    Or maybe my glasses have just become cynical and stained over the years.

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  3. VioletSky Noooo, I don't want to believe that! I thought Noddy was daft, but never nasty. I never found anything insidious in those stories. The only book I read back then that worried me was "Struwwelpeter"... and that needs another post! And to be fair, it is 160 years old.
    Silverback, here, borrow mine for a day. Everything looks so good!

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  4. Your entry has got me thinking about my childhood comics, The Eagle,Victor,Hornet & Tiger collected every Monday from the news agent on the corner, when returning from school.Thanks for that memory flash.

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  5. Oh - Rupert Bear! I LOVED the illustrations in those, possibly even more than the stories! You know they're worth quite a lot of money these days, don't you?

    I think we grew up in a gentler age. Quieter, more peaceful, and with less pressure from the media, less traumatic information bombarding us, and less hurry.

    Sure there were pressures of a different kind ... I guess every age has its advantages and disadvantages. I think, on the whole, I'm glad not to have grown up in the age of beeps and instant worldwide disaster news though. ;)

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  6. I'm sorry that it's taken so long to write this comment. I've been working longer hours and then trying to get ready for Christmas. My brother and his family will be here so we want to make the house all special and Christmas like for the kids.

    I honestly never heard of Rupert, but I imagine he would be like the cartoon characters that I grew up with and loved. As VioletSky said I also think that the sinister messages are more up front and in your face - it's kind of sad, but then I wonder how the kids of now will look back at these years when they're older.

    Thanks for the link to my blog. I hope you continue to visit - I'll be checking yours out more often. Take care

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