…every now and then I get to read posts which just make me chuckle… my Guest Blogger today is the LUVLY Marianne Jones… I’ve learned a wee bit about her…. y’see, I do DO my research, so yeez all don’t have to dig for it…
…Marianne’s an eclectic writer of an award-winning poetry book, a children’s picture book, a fantasy novel for young readers and a soon-to-be published cozy mystery set in her home town of Thunder Bay, Ontario… her interests include theatre-y stuff, writing (of course), family, and her two gorgeous granddaughters… she’s a retired elementary teacher, actor, director and playwright… now get this, here’s a photo of the lassie next to the stone bench in Thunder Bay that has one of her poems carved in it!… beat that, Edgar Allen Poe!…
…now back to the chuckle-raiser…..enjoy…
…Curious George is 70
My two-year-old granddaughter is obsessed with monkeys. She has a monkey mask which she requires adult family members to wear while she leads them about on a rope. At other times, wearing a crocodile mask and nothing else, she chases her hapless monkey victim through the house.
Of course, the great thing about being two is that the story line is fluid. I have some great video footage, which I am saving for blackmail material, of my son in law bounding down the hall after her, making monkey noises while she runs away and screams in delight. I have promised not to post it on YouTube. Yet.
Grandmothers get a gentler treatment. On a recent visit I was required to be Sick Monkey, which involved lying on the couch with the mask while she wrapped me in bandages and examined me with her doctor kit. Dressed in a crocodile mask and nothing else, the doctor’s bedside manner seemed a bit unorthodox, but the patient was cooperative, and appears to have made a complete recovery.
This preoccupation with primates began with Curious George, who, as everyone knows, was a good little monkey, but always curious. Since I remember reading about George and his friend, The Man in the Yellow Hat, when I was a child, I became curious myself in just how long this story has been around. According to Wikipedia, Hans Augusto Rey and Margret Rey, fled Paris in 1940, carrying the Curious George manuscript with them. The books have been in print continuously for seven decades. That’s impressive longevity, even for a monkey!
When my granddaughter is a bit older, I will tell her about the squirrel monkey my Dad won in a poker game and brought home to his awestruck family. The four of us kids crowded around the cage to gaze in fascination at his tiny hands and his ugly little face permanently creased in a sorrowful expression, like a sad clown. For reasons that are unclear to me even now, we christened him “Toivo.” Our status among the neighbour kids had just shot up by ten points.
He was a terrible pet. Mean, spiteful and vindictive, he would fly at my younger brother in a rage and bite his face whenever he got the chance. Not that I didn’t often feel the same impulse myself, but my parents took a dim view of that sort of thing in our pets. He did take a kind of liking to my older brother, which meant that he bit him less often.
He wasn’t completely incapable of affection. He often crept toward my mother when she was sitting on the couch and nestled onto her shoulder. She would be touched by this display, until she felt a dampness trickling down her arm. She would take a swipe at him, but he was too fast.
On another occasion a friend of my father’s came to visit with his pet Weimaraner. In case you’ve never seen one, a Weimaraner is a variety of hunting dog that is as big as a house. The dog was wild with curiosity about the strange little creature in a cage, and was sniffing in a not-unfriendly way when a skinny little arm reached through the bars and grabbed him by the nose. According to my father, the dog “leaped ten feet in the air” and came down beside himself.
The rest is a blur of memories. Toivo stepping in my little brothers tomato soup and leaving tiny red footprints on the kitchen table while my brother wailed. Toivo eating the new blooms on the tulip plant that was my older brother’s science fair project, and my older brother weeping. My Dad chasing Toivo up and down the stairs (we knew better than to laugh). Memories of us crying hysterically when my father in an expression of rage-fuelled hyperbole threatened to flush the monkey down the toilet. The neighbour kids calling out, “The Hamilton’s monkey escaped again.” All the usual things.
On a trip to Mexico a few years ago, I saw a man with a squirrel monkey. I hadn’t seen one since Toivo. I felt awash in nostalgic affection, and had to have my picture taken with the tiny creature.
Those were different times. Nowadays we know that trying to make pets of wild animals is unfair to the animals. George and his friend The Man in the Yellow Hat belong between the covers of a book, where children can enjoy their fantasy world to their hearts’ content.
…Mariane’s website is www.mariannejones.ca.
…her Amazon Author page is amazon.com/author/jonesmarianne.
…and follow her on Twitter at @Mariann36863659 (she could use a bit of Twitter Follower LUVVIN… pile in Lads and Lassies of Blog Land)
…thanks for visiting, Marianne… see yeez later…