Here is what I offer you for Christmas: a sturdy cardboard box; a bottle of Elmer’s glue; a can of golden spray paint; and a box of elbow macaroni.
Merry Christmas! It’s a rooster. Or a pig. Or a cow. Or any creature or macaroni creation your little craftsman’s heart concocts.
When I was a kid, it seemed like every vacation Bible school or summer recreation camp involved gallons of glue and balls of macaroni boxes. Somewhere in my mom’s kitchen is a rooster that, at age 8, I expertly crafted using only raw pasta, a bottle of glue with an orange lid, and gold spray paint.
Or maybe mom already sold my macaroni doodle to the Cleveland Museum of Fine Arts and Pasta Productions. More likely, she scratched all those homemade macaroni when I was 15, boiled them, and served them to me as macaroni, elmer, and cheese. Moms are doing what they need to do to feed the teens. Otherwise, they eat away at the sofa. And as fast as the boys eat, they probably won’t notice if something tastes a little mushy instead of pasta.
Adults today complain that children’s noses are always glued to an electronic screen. Back then, adults complained that our earlobes were stuck to bent pieces of macaroni (pirate earrings, of course).
Those days are over, at least I thought they were. A quick google search gave me flashbacks with headlines like “8 macaroni crafts for children”, “21 Unique Pasta Crafts You May Want To Try” and “63 macaroni craft ideas.”
While we younger ones encased gluten in glue and gold, older children were inflicted with another craze for crafts – macrame. It was the art of making knots in yarn or similar fabric to create wall hangings that looked like someone who had, uh, tied knots in your yarn or similar fabric.
Our walls in the 1960s and 1970s were filled with fabrics knotted in all manner of geometric patterns.
For a few years with us, a macrame owl hung next to my macaroni rooster. No one knows where the macrame owl came from. One day it was right there – I suspect I was waiting for mom to make the macaroni.
Macrame wasn’t just for the walls. Each hanging basket had to be macrame. There were hefty fashion fines to pay if you simply hung a planter on your porch without it being encased in macrame. The planter, I mean, not the porch – although an aunt of mine made a macrame porch cover. She wanted it to match the macrame garage blanket she’d knotted the year before. My uncle drew the line on the macrame tractor blanket. The wire continued to foul the engine and jam the PTO.
When we weren’t pasting pasta or tying knots, you could find us in tie-dye T-shirts in art class. While we splashed reds, blues and yellows all over the newspapers that lined the fourth-grade downstairs, our art teacher – a true living hippie – played a new album titled “Diana Ross introduces the Jackson 5.”
I bet it took Mr. Humphrey, our janitor, months to take the whole hipster side out of this classroom.
This Christmas I’m bringing you the hippie joy of my childhood in the 60s. Now, if I could just come up with a craft involving a pasta rooster wearing a knotted macrame apron that held a bowl of sea monkeys, it would be golden macrame macaroni. .
– Create yourself a merry little Christmas with Cole at [email protected], the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or www.burtonwcole.com.