My Brain, Peanuts, Remembers: Don’t Mention the Meteorite!

It all started with the Plaza Theater 

I grew up in a very small town with a population of 1,010 people.  Downtown we had three grocery stores, a drugstore, a variety store, a barber shop, a hardware store and a restaurant as well as a movie theater, called The Plaza, that showed outdated movies on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Plaza Theater Waitsburg Washington
The Plaza, where all my nightmares began

And it is the Plaza Theater, Dear Readers, that I hold directly responsible for all the childhood fears I had — which were as follows:

1)  Falling into Quicksand  

In 50’s movies, people were constantly falling into quicksand.  Consequently, any second grader worth his weight in elementary-school rubber cement could tell you that if you fell into quicksand, never, ever struggle.  You will only sink faster.  And while this seemed like important information at the time, it never really panned out as being useful in the long run.

"Stop moving!" I'm not moving, I'm just making a face!" "Stop making a face, you'll just sink faster!"
“Stop moving! You’ll sink faster!”
I’m not moving, I’m just making a face!”
“Stop making a face, you’ll just sink faster!”

2)  Contracting Leprosy

I suffered from eczema as a kid, which might be why contracting Leprosy was a huge fear of mine. After watching the horror that Ben Hur’s sister and mom had to go through when they ended up with leprosy, well, I lived in constant fear of getting Leprosy and having to be sent away from home to live in a leper colony — even if it was in the beautiful Hawaiian islands.  This was before Hawaii was a state.  (Note to self: Jeez I’m old!)

Linda Vernon Humor, My Brian Peanuts Remembers
“Stop making a face, you’re just going to make it spread faster.”
“I’m not making a face.”
“Yes you are.”
“No!  I’m smiling, you wanna to see?”
“Oh good heavens, NO!”

3) Falling into the Alice and Wonderland Hole

I thought Alice in Wonderland was horribly scary complicated by the fact that Alice was a complete air-head who didn’t seem to be bothered at all by the fact that she had fallen into a deep, dark hole populated by drug-crazed weirdos in a nightmarish world of high strangeness. This troubled me deeply.

Alice didn’t even have the sense to worry about getting back home. Oh no! Instead, her overriding concern was finding a bunny with a pocket watch.  I had to ask myself why?  And I”m sorry to say my question fell on deaf bunny ears, Dear Readers.

"Plus her air-head was too big for her body!"
Alice’s air-head was too big for her body

Anyway, after seeing Alice in Wonderland, I became seriously worried about falling into the Alice and Wonderland hole.  And for awhile there, my mother had to check out my room to make sure it was Alice-in-Wonderland-hole-free before I’d go to bed.

4)  Being Pulled Underground by Aliens

I remember watching a horribly scary 50’s sci-fi movie about people who would just be walking along, minding their own business, when suddenly, the earth would open up and an alien would reach up and grab onto their legs and pull them down into their underground base (that no doubt led to the Alice and Wonderland hole).  In the 50’s, this movie chilled the bones of the second-grade, movie-going public of which I was, unfortunately, a terrified member.

"You want me to stop at the store and get a loaf and a can of tuna . . . got it . . . Oh and honey, I'm going to be a little late, I've got one thing left in my in basket and then I'll be home."
” . . . a loaf of bread, a quart of milk and a big juicy second-grader. Okay, honey, got it . . . I’ve only got one thing left  in my in-basket and then I’ll be home.”

The Strangest Day of All

Here’s a strange incident from my childhood for which I blame my imagination in conjunction with the Plaza Theater movies I watched.

In second grade, Becky Kenny invited me to come over to her house after school. I got to ride the school bus which I remember looking forward to with excitement.

"Yay!  We get to ride on a rollar coaster." "No it's a school bus, Linda." "Who cares?  It's gonna be F. U.N.
“Yay! We get to ride on a roller coaster!”
“No it’s a school bus, Linda.”
“Who cares? It’s gonna be F.U.N.”

Somehow, I got the idea that a meteorite had gone through the roof of Becky’s house the night before. But that I was under no circumstances to mention this knowledge because the Kenny’s didn’t think anyone else knew about it and didn’t want anyone to find out for some reason.

"Hey!  Where're we goin'?" Becky Kenny's house, but mums the word!"
“Hey! Where’re we goin’?”
Becky Kenny’s house, but mums the word!”

So we rode the school bus out to Becky’s house.  When we got close to her stop, Becky stood up and so did I, but the bus driver slammed on his brakes so hard  that Becky lost her footing and slid nearly the full length of the bus — under all the bus seats — and came to a stop neatly beside the bus driver.

I didn’t say anything, Becky didn’t say anything and the bus driver didn’t say anything.

We got off the bus and Becky’s mom met us at the front door to warn us not to go upstairs.  Of course, I knew why.  It was because of the meteorite, naturally.

And there you have it, Dear Readers, I hope you enjoyed the very first installment of My Brain, Peanuts Remembers.

Until next time . . . I love you (and whatever you do don’t mention the meteorite!)

36 thoughts on “My Brain, Peanuts, Remembers: Don’t Mention the Meteorite!

  1. My dear, this is excellent, and again points up how similar were our childhoods… The picture of the Creature From the Black Lagoon brings back my own childhood horror, of horror movies in general (though it’s true the Creature had a glass jaw, and got knocked out by the hero with a right cross in the ending of the movie….) (Plus, my theater was called the Bijou…) Any who, great reminiscence, great writing, and in the famous words of El Guapo (I think…) “some funny shit”…. 😆 What would your life be like without Peanuts?…. What would ANY of our lives be without Peanuts? I don’t think I want to know the answer….

    • Ah Ned. What a nice comment. You just made my day! Kids today! They know nothing about the horrors of Black Lagoon. It’s just a crying shame what they missed out on down at the Bijou!! 😀

  2. I hope that Alien realizes that talking on your cell while carrying your human slave can result in an accident, or at the very least, a ticket.

    Poor Becky. Having a meteroite crash through your roof would make anyone slip under a few bus seats.

  3. Yes, those were far more perilous times. A girl in my 2nd grade class walked under the monkey bars and it caused her to have kinky hair until she was a junior in high school.

  4. I don’t understand why Peanuts is so down on the alien, who sounds like he just wants To Serve Mankind…

    (Sorry, it was the Twilight Zone that got me as a kid…)

  5. Lol! I think I’m gonna like this new series. I’m probably Peanuts’ biggest fan. I’d like to add that the quicksand story line and valuable quicksand life saving tips must have kept going right into the 60’s and 70’s. For some reason I feel a full quicksand knowledge was instilled in me, too. I also have some idea of how to behave if apes ever take over the world. By the way, I have the same problems with Alice. What’s up with that?

    • Ahahahah! Well I’m not surprised Lisa that you have the exact same perception as I do. You and me! Our brains operate alike. Gosh it feels so good to know there’s somebody out there who really and truly understands about Alice and Quicksand and Apes taking over the planet! It makes these things so much easier to bear! 😀

  6. I’m surprised Becky didn’t slide into a hole(on/under the bus), they do seem to be everywhere…in the 50s. Now all those holes are called ‘the economy’ – saves a lot of time, doesn’t it!!! Now it’s time for my nightly episode of the Twilight Zone, 50s version. Thanks for the salty peanut.

    • Ahahah! Well Becky missed the hole by “that much” Borgia! And yes you’re right — the economy hole does save a lot of time. Slam! Bang! You’re broke! Now go home and count your meteorites and/or asteroids! 😀

    • They really did. I was very disturbed by Alice in Wonderland. But also in the 50’s it seems like there were a lot of little kids falling down abandoned wells too. I remember one three-year-old little girl somewhere in Texas was trapped in a hole for 3 days but she lived. I’m glad you don’t hear of stuff like that happening anymore. (At least I don’t think you do.)

  7. My movie horror: Watching a huge boa constrictor fall from a tree around Jane Russell’s neck. Of course the hero du jour saved her bacon, but she spent too many seconds face to face with Mr. Snake. Brrrrr. I avoid rain forests.

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