Since my Mom passed away earlier this year, my Dad has been going through boxes of stuff that he and my Mom have accumulated over the years. Bit by bit, pieces of my childhood have been slowly migrating out to the west coast with each family member who makes the trip from Saskatchewan to Victoria.
A few days ago my sister arrived at my door with the latest bounty – a box chock-a-block full of informal learning circa 1976.
The complete Childcraft collection circa 1976. Published by World Book Encyclopedia (which we also had, and which I also cherished), I spent hours pouring over the books from the time I was 8 or 9 until I lost my way as a teenager to other vices. But for my formative learning years, this was how I got my info fix when I wasn’t in school.
I loved these books, and going through them over the last few days made me realize just how much these books taught me. These were my gateway to the world. These were my Internet.
A favorite of mine was the special section of the Human Body book which had a transparent overlay of a boys and a girls body. Flip the transparent from page to page and you could overlay it like an onion skin over top the various systems of the body. I thought it was the coolest thing ev-ah!
Each year Childcraft would release a new volume. 1976 was a banner year. It was the year the dinosaur issue arrived.
The only thing that would have been cooler is if they would have had a Star Wars yearbook.
As I pour over these, I am again struck at what an amazing time we live in, and how our kids won’t really know it as an amazing time because for them, it will just be a time. They will have no frame of reference for what life was truly like PI (pre-Internet), just like I have no frame of reference for what life was like pre-TV, pre-telephone or pre-power. And I wonder if someday my daughter or son might wander over to the Internet Archive and view the Martha Speaks or National Geographic Kids website from 2011 with the same kind of nostalgia for learning that I have experienced over the past couple of days flipping through these books.
Funny, though. Since these things have arrived, my daughter has kept this dog-eared yearbook close at hand.
Which goes to show, no matter how much things may change, little girls will always want a puppy.