DRAGONFLY: Historical Notes and Pictures

In honor of the recent round of comments and questions about Dragonfly (see the previous post for some wonderful stories of how readers first encountered the book), I wanted to give you a few more glimpses into the book’s origins. In a long-ago post (still available for reading/viewing on this blog) called “Dragonfly: The Commentary Track,” I posted a couple photos of the “Dragonfly Grove” at Niigata University — the little grove of trees under which I had the first concrete sparks of the idea for the novel. But of course, the book began to percolate long before that. As Tolkien wrote: “[A book such as The Lord of the Rings] grows like a seed in the dark, out of the leaf-mould of the mind.” The “mould” of fallen autumn leaves that produced Dragonfly lies back across the decades in the little prairie town of Taylorville, Illinois, where I grew up.

Taylorville is the seat of Christian County. Here's the famous courthouse. This is the angle from which I most frequently saw it, from the corner nearest our family's bookstore.

In the book’s opening chapter, the eponymous main character, Dragonfly, walks down an alley after a school open house. That alley was based directly on the alley I walked down every afternoon, after school, to get to our bookstore.

The DRAGONFLY alley, looking west. The section I frequented runs from the offices of our local daily paper, the Taylorville BREEZE-COURIER, straight to the back door of our old bookstore, The Book Center.

In that chapter, Dragonfly encounters mysterious figures lurking near the back entrance of the bank.

The name of this bank has changed many times, but in my childhood it was the First Trust and Savings. This is where the mysterious strangers in Chapter One of DRAGONFLY lurked.

Dragonfly’s Uncle Henry owns and operates a funeral home. From the back door of our bookstore, I could see Shafer’s Funeral Home. I remember the visitation for my Grandma Emma there. That experience features largely in the part of the book in which Willie is captured by the denizens of Harvest Moon. I was picturing the interior of Shafer’s.

Shafer's Funeral Home is in downtown Taylorville; Uncle Henry's is more at the outskirts of town, next to a millet field.

Can you picture a jack-o'-lantern aglow in every window?

Here's the building in which we had our bookstore. I had forgotten how steeply-sloped the street is!

The Book Center in May of 1970. Along that left-hand wall, I made the discoveries of H.P. Lovecraft, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Richard Adams.

The white storefront was our bookstore. Eddy's Studio was next-door on the left, a photographic studio and camera shop.

And Eddy is the guy who took these pictures of me, right behind our store. I'm leaning on the hood of Mom's car. This would be in about the era that my head was full of The Planet of the Apes, soon to give way to Jaws.

Heh, heh, heh!


This photo was taken by Phil Jacobs for the DECATUR HERALD & REVIEW in the summer that DRAGONFLY was first published by Arkham House, 1999. Mr. Jacobs chose our old chickenhouse as the background.

This was taken in Tokyo's Kinokuniya Bookstore, when the Ace edition of DRAGONFLY was on the shelves there. I was excited!

Since I'm throwing pictures of me around, here's my favorite fairly recent one. This was taken in the summer of 2009, I believe.

This photo by Chris was taken in 1979. That is not my bicycle. (I wish I could claim the clothes weren't mine, either.)


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84 Responses to “DRAGONFLY: Historical Notes and Pictures”

  1. I miss home Says:

    …and Taylorville will ALWAYS be home, though I have not lived there since shortly after high school.

    All these sights are familiar to me, of course, and the Shafer Funeral Home was the site of several services for members of my family as well. I always considered it a spooky place, if not so much for what happened there as for the odd architecture, etc…

    It is too bad we do not have pictures of the alleyways and front of the old Book Center from ‘back in the day.’ Back when the sidewalk was oddly-angled slabs of cement with dangerous cracks and an uneven surface, when the back of the bank and of Marblestone’s (an upscale men’s clothier) opened onto a not-so-nearly-clean-looking alley — when it was a ‘real’ alley, with bits of loose gravel on the pockmarked asphalt that had a high crown in the middle and deep dips at various points along one or either side of the one-lane travelway.

    I love the repeat appearance of the 1970 Durbin family shot at the Book Center. Fellow bloggers, just past Fred’s parents is the portal to ‘the back room’ where great ideas sprouted. Just past Joe and to the right was the flight of stairs (unseen, but leading back toward the camera) that led to the most famousest of basements, and, as Fred noted, to the left beyond the counter was the Fantasy section. It was from those shelves that The Hobbit, LOTR, Watership Down, The Plague Dogs, The Book of the Dun Cow and so many other treasures entered my life …

    God bless the storytellers in our lives … and, of course, all of our dear friends …

    • fsdthreshold Says:

      That’s right! I do remember the alley being in far worse repair back in our day.

      And Mr. Brown Snowflake — do you remember the huge evergreen tree back along that street leading from the Shafer Funeral Home to St. Mary’s (now St. Mary)? The branches came to the ground all the way around, and they formed a “cave” — a large, open space inside, all around the trunk, carpeted with the tree’s needles. It had an arched opening on the side facing the sidewalk. I would stop in there nearly every day on my way home from school. It was obvious other kids played there, but I never met any. Eventually, someone must have decided it was dangerous, and all the low branches were cut off, so that there was no more cave. As far as I know, it’s still that way: a bare trunk up to about five or six feet off the ground, and then the tree continuing normally from there on up.

      As to a frontal shot of The Book Center from our childhood: Chris sent me an excellent one, but it’s in an unfamiliar format (not a jpeg), and I can’t get the blog to accept it.

      • I miss home Says:

        I DO remember that tree. I think it was an enormous blue spruce (we had one just south of our front yard, in Livergood’s front yard…do you remember?) I did not know anything about the ‘cave’ under the branches … cool! That would definitely have been a great place to crawl into as a kid. I bet the smell of the nettles was also incredible.

        One thing about the front facing of the Book Center. Those deep window wells: I remember your parents would never let any of us play around in there (a wise declaration, of course). I also have fond memories of walking in the front door and seeing your father sitting there. He knew every customer by name. In all the years and all the visits I made to the Book Center I cannot recall a single occasion — not one — in which your father was not behind the counter. Oh sure, he would come out from there (duh) but it was like I could not walk in either door without Joe being teleported to his place moments beforehand!

  2. Shieldmaiden Says:

    Thanks for the birthplace of Dragonfly Part II tour. I just looked back at the pix from Part I where most of the writing took place. It is great to have this one to go with it and see where the ideas came from. I can’t wait to read it again! If anyone wants to read or re-read “Dragonfly The Commentary Track” I copied the link while I was there:

  3. I miss home Says:

    Dearest Shieldmaiden and Daylily: All Hallow’s Eve approaches…we all await ‘the October plot’ with great suspense…

    • Shieldmaiden Says:

      You mean you missed it? 🙂
      I put a link on the post comments before last to let people who didn’t remember the “plot” in on it. Way back, John C. made an appearance on the blog after reading Dragonfly and asked the other commenters to tell their story of finding Fred’s book. Daylily and I thought it was a great idea, but Fred didn’t seem to want to dedicate an entire post to the topic… so we decided that no matter what the topic was in October that we would start telling our stories. As it turned out we were given a great Dragonfly post. Thanks Fred! And Daylily, did you tell your story? I must go sort through the past comments and see if I missed it.
      Sorry Mr. Snowflake, I guess it didn’t live up to all the build up. Do you have any October plot ideas? Fred will away soon, we need something to keep us all busy LOL.

      • Daylily Says:

        My story? Way back in the years 5-4 BFB (Before Fred’s Blog), I lived in Pittsburgh. A Pittsburgh friend of Fred’s thought I should become acquainted with the works of Frederic S. Durbin and lent me his copy of Dragonfly. I enjoyed it very much, particularly the vivid descriptions which produced such amazing mind pictures of this underground world. I would like to reread the book, so I shall have to make work of getting my own copy!

      • I miss home Says:

        Silly me! I guess I was thinking something more nefarious was afoot…and the Ladies of the Blog never let any of us down!

  4. Morwenna Says:

    Fred, how long did your parents own The Book Center?

    • fsdthreshold Says:

      Morwenna, my parents first opened The Book Center in 1967 (to the best of my knowledge) and closed it up in the summer of 1984. So they owned it for all of my childhood and local school years. My friend R.M. and I made countless trips in his truck, hauling old racks and shelves out of the store to keep in our barn.

      Here’s a bit of Book Center trivia that even the most hardcore fans may not know: it wasn’t always in the well-known location. For its first year, The Book Center was in a building east of the Square, not west. Did you know that, Mr. Brown Snowflake?

      • I miss home Says:

        NO! Really? East of the square? Still on Market Street? What is currently in that spot (or what was there back when we were preps?)

        Here is one thing I bet YOU did not know: My dad was a regular customer for many years. He bought each book of W.E.B. Griffin’s series that followed a group of Marines at the Book Center, and was shown the Ballentine paperbacks of LOTR by Joe when I was given them as a Christmas gift in 7th grade (1979). Dad occasionally bought TIME magazine too, and I assume those came from The Book Center. He was a life-long subscriber to two magazines: National Geographic and LIFE (until it folded, much to his sorrow).

        SOOOO, originally east of the square! You stumped the Snowflake!

      • fsdthreshold Says:

        No, not on Market Street. The original location of The Book Center was on Main Cross Street, in either the first or the second block east of the Square. I don’t remember what was there in our preteen/teenage years. Maybe that store that sold band instruments? Along in there, anyway. I don’t remember the interior at all, but there is a photo of me at about age 2-3 just outside the entranceway.

        So, doing the math, I think I estimated too early on “1967” as the opening date of The Book Center. It must have been more like late 1968 or 1969. The famous 1970 shot at the new location was probably taken in commemoration of its opening. Then the numbers work out.

        If I had a time machine, rather than the distant past or future, I’d be most interested in visiting those times of childhood — seeing what the old town looked like then. Wouldn’t you love a chance to stroll through your home town in the year when you were three years old?

        No, I didn’t know that about your dad, Mr. Snowflake! So, did he buy you the Ballantine edition of LOTR for your birthday? (The same year this final picture was taken!) Was it the boxed set?

        I have very fond memories of reading those paperbacks from the boxed set. They were new, but they had an old-book smell from having sat unsold for a while.

  5. Nick Oz Says:

    Aw, the nostalgia in that bookstore interior pic for me comes from the comic book rack. How many wonderful four-color adventures were sitting on that spinning rack, waiting to spin out into our youthful, candy-sticky hands?

    • Chris Says:

      The interior of the Book Center was so much larger than that picture shows! Or perhaps I was smaller. The back room just visible way off in the distance was pretty cool.

      The left side Fred mentions was where ALL the good books were. Fantasy and Sci Fi. Where I got my copy of Jaws (which I still have on my bookshelf) as well as those copies of LotR that the Durbins’ hadn’t gifted me for Christmas (I believe I got the Return of the King and the box part from one one year), again, still on my bookshelf at home.

      Back on the right side was where sheet music was (waaay at the back) and there was one that always fascinated me from a band called “Badfinger”. At the time I didn’t realize how good Badfinger was, and I didn’t listen to much rock music until later, so it just stuck in my head.

  6. John R. Fultz Says:

    Awesome pictures, Fred! I love that bookstore.

    • Chris Says:

      John, by today’s standards it was teeeeeeeny tiny. For most of us who grew up with Fred it was some sort of singularity in the universe.

      I didn’t really fall in love with a bookstore again until years later when I was living in Lexington, KY and the Joseph Beth Bookstore was there. It was among the top 3 greatest bookstores in my life.

      But this week I am in Maastricht in the Netherlands and have found the ULTIMATE BOOKSTORE! It is one of a Dutch chain called “Selecxyz” and this one they put in an old renovated ancient cathedral. I got a picture of the outside here: http://picasaweb.google.com/ch.toles/MaastrichtNederland#5529637097974923810

      I would have taken pictures inside but I felt it rude. Suffice it to say it is INCREDIBLE.

      Now if only I read Dutch I could hang there for hours. THey do have some English language stuff and I did buy a “Getting Started in Dutch” book there but it is waaaay cool.

  7. fsdthreshold Says:

    Everyone, LOOK BACK at the POST! I’ve added one final photo — the much-longed-for “inaccessible” picture taken by Chris! Shieldmaiden and her friends offered to take the WordPress-unfriendly Bitmap image and render it into a jpeg — and here it is! Many, many thanks to Chris and to Shieldmaiden (and to her tech-savvy friends)!

    Again, if you click on the photo, I think you’ll be able to see it in a slightly larger format. I remember that big, geeky leather watchband that I thought was so cool!

    • Shieldmaiden Says:

      Hey, in the 70’s that watch band WAS cool! 🙂

    • Chris Says:

      My apologies for sending a .bmp, Fred. Normally I avoid that format like the plague!

      I’m in the process of finding a place to take all my mom and dad’s old photos which I got after mom’s funeral and have them digitally scanned.

      I have opted to not edit any of them (ie throw anything away) figuring that even the occasional random shots of trees without any explanation will have some sentimental value when I’m wholly senile).

      I will ensure they are jpeg files and if I find any particularly EMBARRASSING ones of you, I will assuredly send them along!

  8. I miss home Says:

    Fred: I was given the Ballentine LOTR boxed set as a gift for Christmas of 1979 (the math would us in 8th grade … as 1980 was the end of grade 8). I had read The Hobbit two years before, and I remember being so excited to tell you about these new books I had from Tolkien that continued the story (heh heh heh).

    My well thumbed paperpback copy of Watership Down has, written inside the cover: “To (name withheld to protect the innocent), Merry Christmas 1977! Your friend, Fred.” That means it was in the late winter/early srping of my 6th grade year that life changed forever. What a gift!

    I would LOVE to revist Taylorville in, say, 1966, when we were born. The Oak Street school would be open, Let’s Drive-In and the A&W would be in full swing, Little Pete’s would be a happening spot, the square would be packed with thriving businesses, The Spot market would be humming, Holland Dairy would be at full capacity, the Vollentine mansion at Webster and Spresser would still be occupied … oh boy!

    • Chris Says:

      Dog ‘n’ Suds. One of my earliest memories with my dad was him taking me to Dog ‘n’ Suds. I got a paper kite there.

      When I moved to Charleston in 1979 there was still a D’n’S there but it had no special meaning.

      Have you been back to try the “new” Angelo’s pizza? It is under new ownership and sadly isn’t the same.

      “My Store” was also a conundrum. As a child I remember playing the “Let’s go to _MY_ Store….no, let’s go to _MY_ store…” with my mom. Strangely enough my sense of entertainment really hasn’t improved over the years.


  9. Chris Says:

    Taylorville was great right up to about 1979. The picture of Fred outside his parents’ bookstore was taken one afternoon I remember quite well. My dad had just had the unthinkable happen and he was transferred to Mattoon, IL. A thought I had always dreaded from my early years. So that summer (1979) was my last in T-ville as home (later after the ‘rents moved back when I was in college I came home one year but spent most of my time working in Decatur trying desperately to get away somewhere else).

    So those pictures of Fred outside his parents’ bookstore, along with a couple other places in T-ville amounted to my “break” with the town.

    I think it was at that point that I truly became a gypsy of sorts. I never really connected again with a place per se. I went to high school and college in Charleston but was out of there in 1986. After that I have not been any one place for more than 5 years.

    Taylorville was special, now it’s just a dim fading place. At this point I have almost no connection with the town anymore. I may one day go back, but the likelihood is vanishing with each passing year.

    In a sense that kind of makes it more special. As they say you can never go home again. Maybe that’s what makes it special. Certainly that afternoon in 1979 was special. A point in time when you realized even then that nothing was going to be the same really.

    (NOTE: T-ville also peeved me slightly when I realized, about 20 years later, as I’m sitting in Boston reading a book on the history of radar that Taylorville was actually the BIRTHPLACE of a NOBEL LAUREATE! In all my years of living in Taylorville I never knew that Edward Purcell, one of the guy’s whose research is partially behind why we today have MRI’s in hospitals, was born in Taylorville. Oh but if you want to hear about Lincoln and some *&^%in’ PIGS, just wander anywhere in Taylorville and you’re sure to read about it on some random plaque! Grrrrrrr.)

    • Scott Says:

      OK. That was a cool fact that I didn’t know. But as a former comic book fan(atic) one of the coolest people to be born in Taylorville was Yvonne Craig. She was the Batgirl from the original TV series.

      • Chris Says:

        No way! YET ANOTHER famous person without any sort of memorial plaque in Taylorville.

        Sure Lincoln waddles through on a pony and makes a pig joke and suddenly Taylorville has a raison d’etre, but Batgirl and a researcher responsible for foundational research behind MRI machines got bupkis.

        That places SUX! 🙂

  10. I miss home Says:

    Not to mention that multi-millionaire and former New Jersey governor John Corzine (thankfully defeated by the wonderful Chris Christie) is also a Taylorville native, class of 1966, I believe.

    And do not forget former University of Michigan and Iowa State University men’s basketball coach Johnny Orr. “Here’s Johnny!” took one Michigan team to the Elite 8 and three times had the Cyclones in the Sweet 16. He is still a big celebrity in Iowa although he is now quite up there in years.

    Coach Orr played on the famous 1944-45 Tornadoes basketball team that finished their season 45-0. That is a national record that will never be broken, as no state now allows their teams to play that many games in a single season. I once asked him in an interview if 45-0 was a big deal back then. His reply? “Hell, we were really 48-0. We beat three junior colleges but the IHSA would not count the wins because they were not against a high school!”

    Taylorville is also famous as the hometown of noted author Frederic S. Durbin and of the world-renowed chemist/geologist/oceanographer/Nordic traveller/8mm home movie star/hayloft-jumper-out-of/domesticus husbandus Chris.

  11. fsdthreshold Says:

    Amazing! I’d heard of the others, but I didn’t know about Batgirl!

    Chris, you’re understandably flummoxed and/or irritated by that Lincoln and the pigs story. There was a time when my mom had unearthed that story in her reading, and she was the only one telling it. (You remember how dedicated she was to the historical society & museum.) I distinctly remember this. Then it caught on, and suddenly it became Taylorville’s identity, and we had statues on every corner, murals on every smooth flat surface . . . and my mom completely distanced herself from the story. I think she felt as if she’d created a monster.

    I agree that it’s ridiculous to “claim” Lincoln for Taylorville — to pretend it’s the Lincoln Mecca of Illinois, and to hope that the tourists flocking to Springfield to see his home, his tomb, New Salem, and the state-of-the-art Lincoln museum are going to come to Taylorville to see . . . uh . . . what is it they’re coming to see? But at least he’s Abraham Lincoln. Courageous and insightful President at a time when the nation truly needed one . . . if we’re going to go nuts over someone, he’s not at all a bad choice.

    What strikes me as odd is that, as one drives into town, Taylorville has official signboards announcing that it’s the home of various kids who set some records in sports. And I don’t mean Johnny Orr. (Does he have a signboard?) Don’t get me wrong — it’s fine to be proud of those kids. But why do they get signs when chemist Nobel laureates and Batgirl don’t?

    Oh, well. The important announcement I came here to make is that I will be away now until November 5th. I’m heading for the World Fantasy Convention in Columbus, Ohio. Of course, Lord willing, I’ll be back with a full report soon!

    In the meantime: Happy Hallowe’en!

    • Chris Says:

      I was wholly unaware that your mom was responsible for finding the “Writ of Quietus” story! My apologies for offense if any were taken.

      I actually like Lincoln a lot and am proud to be from “Lincoln Country”, but I have to put on “airs” at times if you will to ensure people don’t think I’m the gooberish Lincoln-o-phile of my youth.

      And the Writ of Quietus and pigs story is not one I am proud to read about anyway.

      I wonder at times if even Lincoln remembered that story.

      BUT, all that being said I am desperately hoping that one of the various writers on here will pen an “alternative history” type novel (please not a graphic novel, but of course this would fit well in that genre) where Lincoln teams up with Batgirl to solve crimes in Christian county. Crimes coordinated by an evil genius mastermind who cunningly controls PIGS to do his evil deeds!

      OMG, I’m sensing a movie too! The guy who played Wolverine in those X-men movies can play Lincoln! And he can even have a “Lincoln Cave” where he keeps his various crime-fighting equipment.

      Hey, wait, I could probably write this! This is horrific that even someone such as myself could write it from beginning to end!

      Of course it would involve appearances by Johnny Orr weilding a magnetic resonance device made just for Mr. Lincoln’s needs.


  12. jhagman Says:

    Hey Fred! Have a beer with your fellow Arkham Alumni James P Blaylock. Tell him that his (and your) fans are waiting for another book! H

  13. I miss home Says:

    OKAY KIDS, THE BOSS IS GONE! And that leaves it up to us to keep the momentum going. SOOOO, in the spirit of the alphabet games, and in true Hallow’s Eve spirit, let us start with the best costumes.

    These can be costumes of get-ups you have appeared as, wish you had/could appear as or one you have seen someone else as. Since I am firing up the list, I will start (and remember…multiple entries per letter are allowed, and going back to tack on a comment on a letter already discussed is also allowed)

    A is for Apple. One of my fellow Knights of Columbus went to a 2008 KC party dressed as the apple from the Fruit of the Loom underwear commercials. We all threatened to make pie out of him …

    • Jedibabe Says:

      B is for Bear: You’ve all heard this story, but since it is a great ‘B’, I will share it again. When I was in elementary school I headed out one Halloween night, brown head to toe with pillows tucked inside, trying my best to look like a momma bear in my long, brown, bumpy, hooded terrycloth bodysuit. My hood had small, nubby ears sewn in but my mom forgot to put in a tail. I had also skipped out on the greasy crud on my face which I totally hated wearing. Out I went sans bear make-up getting more than my share of bewildered stares. When I said, “Trick or treat” at one door I can still remember the lady asking me what I was. “What do you think I am?” I asked her back (the bear nose and whiskers would have come in handy at this point). She paused, looking very confused and sheepish, and finally guessed… “A turd?” I almost fell over. Even though I was only 9, I still knew that was funny! So for the rest of the night as I ran around in my lumpy brown costume with no tail I just started telling everyone that I was a turd.

      • fsdthreshold Says:

        Jedibabe–I’ve heard that story before, but it STILL makes me fall over laughing with tears in my eyes! I’m not even sure why it’s so hilarious, but it still wins the prize for Funniest Story Ever on This Blog!

    • fsdthreshold Says:

      The “Boss” isn’t quite out the door yet! Since I’ll be gone (Aaaughhhh!) for most of this thread, which promises to be FASCINATING, I’ll do two B’s. (Though there’s no way I can top the Mama Bear! Jedibabe, tell us the story again when we get to T, and I’ll fall down laughing again!)

      The first is “Bruce,” the shark in JAWS. For the Hallowe’en parade one year, I was the shark. Since the movie had recently been released, our bookstore had a bunch of shark books that were displayed on a cardboard rack about 6 feet tall, which was in full color and made to look like a shark leaping out of the water — in other words, a shark shown in full body view, standing on its tail. I carried that in front of me, and behind it, I was covered with a white sheet and blue streamers to look like ocean water trailing off the shark. My neighbor R.H. was Chief Brody, with a pistol and glasses, and he wore a painted sandwich-board replica of the Orca, Captain Quint’s fishing boat. We may have won the prize for Most Original that year — my memory is a bit foggy on that point.

      My other B is “Skull Bearer.” I had just read Terry Brooks’s The Sword of Shannara. So I wore a completely black costume. Even my face was hidden in black, with two fiery, stick-on eyes. And my dad helped me rig up a pair of giant bat-like wings on my back, on a metal frame. I even had a string cow-skull necktie, though I don’t think Terry Brooks mentioned the Skull Bearers’s wearing those . . .

    • Daylily Says:

      Best family costumes I ever saw: The parents dressed up as Adam and Eve. They wore black (or was it flesh-tone?) with strategically placed green leaves. And their baby, maybe three months old, wore an apple costume!

  14. Marquee Movies Says:

    I’m going to skip over B, partly because I don’t have a B costume, and also because I have a great C costume – when I was in the sixth grade, I dressed up as my cinematic idol, Charlie Chaplin. It turns out the entire class I was in was supposed to stay after school for 5 minutes on that Halloween afternoon, because we had (understandably) been so rambunctious that our teacher, Mr. Henkes, told us all to stay. But I was so excited about Halloween, and my great costume (with bowler hat and cane!) that I didn’t hear him say this to the classs, and I darted out the moment the bell rang. I raced home, put on my costume, and riding over to my friend Corey’s home, I pedaled right by my school, and happened to see Mr. Henkes in his car. Not knowing that I was supposed to have stayed, I simply smiled, and gave a large, joyful wave as I rode past him – he smiled back, a genuine smile at my costume, and waved as well. When I got to Corey’s, he told me that I was supposed to have stayed. Ordinarily, I would have freaked out, knowing that I had disobeyed, and would have let the worry of what Mr. H would say the next day, but I remembered his smile and wave, and decided that I’d be all right. I was. God bless Charlie Chaplin!

    • fsdthreshold Says:

      God bless Charlie Chaplin! I remember once when I was working at a new school, wondering how to relate to my fellow teachers, etc. I wrote a listening activity based on Charlie Chaplin, and it helped to break the ice. The other teachers appreciated the humor and the content, and they saw that I seriously wanted to help the students.

  15. Shieldmaiden Says:

    D is for Dread Pirate Roberts. Two years ago my son made his own costume (with a little assistance from me of course) and was the perfect Westley incognito. He put together parts of several costumes used over the years from a Paso Doble costume to Jedi boots and Zorro sword, with a thin mustache I painted on him. He looked great. Whenever someone figured out who he was we tossed quotes back and forth, it was great fun! I will leave you with some of our favorite lines:
    “When I was your age, television was called books.”
    “INCONCEIVABLE!” “It would be absolutely, totally, and in all other ways inconceivable.” “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
    “Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.” “Wait til I get going!”
    “Who are you? I must know.” “No one of consequence. Get used to disappointment.”
    “Why are you smiling?” “I know something you don’t know. I am not left-handed.” “Oh, there’s something I ought to tell you. I’m not left-handed either.”
    “Let me ‘splain. [pause] No, takes too long. Let me sum up.”

  16. Shieldmaiden Says:

    oops! Can you delete this one?

  17. I miss home Says:

    Ooops … sorry Fred, did not mean to step on the ol’ kilt as it were. I simply figured that you had announced your departure, meaning there would be no new subjects until you returned. Added to that was the obvious: unless you were you or I or Chris or Scott or Tim in Germany or Mike on West Main Cross all the Taylorville talk must have been causing serious indigestion.

    HOORAY for the return of Jedibabe! Hope all went well with the thesis!

    Going back to C: I have two tidbits to share, both from costumes I saw others in. One was the best dang Captain Kangaroo you could imagine, complete with this guys friend who was dressed as Mr. Greenjeans. The other was a young kid a few years ago you had the hat, the epulets, the mustache — everything — and was the perfect Captain Krunch! Awesome.

    • fsdthreshold Says:

      No, no, there was no kilt-stepping! I’m glad I got in (barely) on the beginning of this thread!

      Since I’ll undoubtedly miss T, I’m going to put it in here: my best-ever costume was a Three-Legged Man. (I have this strange feeling of deja vu! Have I talked about this before on the blog?) It was so realistic that people would look long and hard trying to figure out which was the fake leg and how I had engineered it!

    • Daylily Says:

      Well I, for one, enjoyed all the talk about Taylorville even though I’ve never been there.

      • I miss home Says:

        Thank you Daylily! I am more the nostalgia-stricken type than the other ex-Tornadoes on here. Of course, Scott is only a few miles away (he lives just west of the first part of a wicked stretch of blacktop known infamously around the entire area as “the S-curves’).

        Oh how I would love to take Daylily, Shieldmaiden, Jedibabe and whoever else wants to go along on a field trip. Even better if Fred were there. Oh the stories (and, of course, the required stops at our fave taco joint and my beloved greasy spoon, Bill’s Toasty!)

        hungry, Fred? Sancho, sancho, sancho … yummm…sancho…sancho….heh heh heh

      • Scott Says:

        The funny part is that in high school, I wanted nothing more than to get as far away from Taylorville as possible and I ended up living only a few miles away. I’m like the little kid who runs away from home but doesn’t get very far.

        I was going to say that I am the only one from our D&D group that even lives in Illinois, but then I remembered S.T. lives in Champaign.

  18. fsdthreshold Says:

    Hey, everybody! Hello from Narita Airport! I’m looking out at a beautiful October afternoon. I can see giant jets from American Airlines, China Airlines, and Japan Airlines.

    Will report on the convention soon!

    Meanwhile, God bless, have fun, and take good care of things while I’m away!

  19. Morwenna Says:

    “C” is also for Christmas tree. Yes, I do realize we’re talking about Halloween! I live in a major city, and on October 31st, there are always many revelers out and about. One year, I saw a man who’d dressed up as a Christmas tree complete with blinking lights! Some people do complain that Christmas displays go up too early. Here the displays even trot down the street! 🙂

  20. Scott Says:

    “D” is for Deer & Hunter. There is a Halloween/Harvest Party every year at the campground where we have our camper. A couple of years ago, my wife and I were asked to judge the costume contest. When we got to the group of non-scary kids, there was a girl dressed as a deer. She suddenly fell to the ground and laid still. Everybody started asking if she was OK and her Mom piped up “OH, she’s fine. Her brother shot her.” At this point, her brother came up to her with his toy shotgun, got down next to her and picked her head up by the antlers in the classic trophy pose. They won the contest with that one.

  21. SwordLily Says:

    E is for Eskimo. I’ve never actually been an Eskimo, but I sometimes joked about being one. It would be fairly easy. Just a big furry coat and boots. But has anyone ever noticed that Halloween is always to warm for a heavy costume and to cold for a light one? Going trick-or-treating always makes you end up shivering or sweating depending on the mood of the sky. Trick-or-treating is always tricky becuase I’ve got mostly girls in my family who are the ones who end up shivering in their little dresses and skirts. It’s miserable at times, not to mention the candy that makes it even more likely to get sick on this day of days. *sigh* But me family goes trick-or-treating anyway cause it’s fun ^_^

    Back on topic, this post about Dragonfly is why I must comment again even though I’ve left you guys in silence for so long. My story about how I came to know this novel is simple. I loved Fred’s writing and than I found out he published a book call “Dragonfly”. End of story.
    I’d really like to go back and read Dragonfly again, it’s the perfect time of year :). Must hunt down copy.

  22. Chris Says:

    Must skip to “H”. In grad school I was invited to a hallowe’en party given by fellow geo grad students at Mizzou. I was poor but could afford a pack of “Hello, My Name is…” stickers, so I filled them out with various character and real people names and just changed them throughout the evening. During the night I was Leo Buscaglia, Todd Rundgren, I even tried to be clever since Douglas Ginsburg was in the news as Reagan’s new recommendation for the Supreme Court so I made one badge that said “Hello, my name is Justice Allen Ginsburg”.

  23. Jedibabe Says:

    Hey Brown, thanks for noticing; I missed you all! Life’s still crazy but the thesis went well and I can only hope that, someday, the dissertation will go well too!

    J is for Jedi Knight: I don’t think I have ever written about one of the peak experiences of my life (I am SUCH a geek!), but it involved a Jedi costume. My friend and I created our own Jedi costumes prior to the release of Revenge of the Sith, knowing that would really be our last chance to geek out at a major Star Wars film opening. And, we were both living in NYC at the time and what could be better than Jedi costumes, on opening day in Manhattan!

    We started out a Shieldmaiden’s house for her sons sake and to get some pictures, and then hoped the subway into the city. In NYC no one even blinks when they see Jedi’s on the subway! We got off in Time Square and had about ten blocks to walk to the Ziegried Theatre. We got stopped frequently by fans for pictures, but made it to a Burger King and decided we’d better ingest some food pellets and utilize the facilities before what promised to be a very long wait in line. As I stood in the burger joint waiting for my friend to emerge from the men’s room a boy of 8 or 9 sized me up and sceptically asked me if I was a real Jedi. I informed him I was indeed. He then asked if the light saber hanging off my belt was real. I assured him it was. “Prove it” he challenged me, “light it up”. I looked at him with that bemused look adults give to kids when they ask for ridiculous things and said: “You can’t just play with light sabers in Times Square, that could be very dangerous”. The boys eyes got huge and he backed away and began to scream “MOM, MOM- She’s a real Jedi Night!” At which point my friend came out of the restroom and this little dude about fell on the floor. His Mom was great and we signed autographs and took a picture with him and were back on the sidewalk. Once we got to the theatre we amused ourselves and the crowd with Jedi sparring sessions. It was some of the most fun I have ever had and it was an honor to dispel the idea that all SW geeks are ghostly white couch jockeys. It truly is amazing the power held by a costume to transmogrify its wearer into whatever it represents. While I have grown up always trying to live the sort of life I saw embodied by the Jedi, on that day I truly became one! For a picture from that day, check out my jedibabe webpage by clicking on my name above.

    • Shieldmaiden Says:

      That was a fun day! I was the official photographer and hair stylist and they came by (we all lived in Queens at the time) to snap a few photos and to rock my sons world before they headed to the city. My daughter was only a few months old so I did not join in the adventure to Manhattan (sigh) but the night before I did make it to the midnight release of the movie. I left my daughter asleep and prayed that I would return home before she stirred. I waited till the last second then drove to the theater where I was met, as I opened my car door, by Jedibabe. She was in costume (of course) and fully in character. She escorted me through the parking lot and saw me safely to my seat. It was a blast! About half a dozen of us met there and had smuggled in large bags of dark chocolate m&m’s which we passed around… it was heaven. The movie was GREAT! but that is a whole other topic. Of course I had to hurry back home and I only found out as I was pulling away that Jedibabe had locked her keys in her car (Jedi’s don’t carry purses). Everyone stayed with her in the parking lot waiting on AAA, everyone but me that is. Luckily the truck came (eventually) and as I snuck back into the house my daughter was just waking up. Then after a very short night of sleep Jedibabe and company were ready to go again.

  24. Marquee Movies Says:

    I am loving all these terrific stories! The wife and I ate at our favorite restaurant tonight (The Celtic Knot), and the hostess had nametags all over her top with different names on each – she explained she was an Identity Crisis! (That’s “I”, of course.) And to go back to “F” – I went as the floor of a movie theatre – the idea taken from the brilliant Mystery Science Theatre 3000, of course, as mentioned here in years past. Swordlily, Willow DID dress up as an Eskimo on an episode of Buffy in the first season – she looked adorable, of course.

    • Shieldmaiden Says:

      Marquee: I have never actually done this and you may be my best chance for someone who would think it worth trying, as you are the first person I think of whenever there is something Wizard of Oz related.

      Anyway, since I was little I thought it might make an interesting costume if someone were to dress as the smashed witch. (I hope no one has done it already). If a woman took a cepiatone image of Dorothy’s house (hopefully there is a shot from above in the film) and transferred it onto a long T-shirt, then wore red and white striped tights with the ruby slippers, you would have: H is for House on Witch.

      Now back to K

  25. Shieldmaiden Says:

    Does anyone have a G? 🙂 These are great! Loved the dear and hunter!

  26. I miss home Says:

    Several items, first of which is ‘G’ for “Genius.” My buddy Rick back in Marshalltown slicked his hair down in a nerdish side-part, donned these impossibly geekish circular eyeglasses two sizes too small and had the lab-coat, pocket-protector, large circa 1975 hand calculator and a clipboard (replete with important notes such as “Gravity makes things land”). Great get up.

    Loved Marquee’s floor of a movie theater!

    I loved the tale, so I just HAD to see the jedi pic. What we have here, gentlemen, is a babe who happens to be a jedi, the aptly named jedibabe 🙂

    Thas us to K. Halloween is over, but let us “resolve to persevere” and finish this puppy before the head cheese returns…K anyone?

  27. Marquee Movies Says:

    Shieldmaiden, I think that idea ROCKS! I have never heard of that, nor seen anything like that – to be the Wicked Witch of the East, squashed like an evil bug – what a fantastic idea! And there most certainly is a shot of the sepia-toned house flying right down towards the camera – in fact, it’s the last shot before Dorothy’s little “Oh!” when suddenly everything stops moving about. And Mr. Snowflake, just to flesh out the floor of a movie theatre, in case some didn’t read about it last year, what Joel and the ‘bots did on MST3K is put on a maroon sweatshirt (I had one), so it’s like the color of the chairs and floor of a theatre, then glue bits of squashed popcorn, straw wrappers, and some old Milk Duds to the front of your shirt. The alphabetical thread seems to have petered out with the passing (sigh….) of the holiday, so I’m going to cheat and just say that my “R” was the year when my mom made us Robot costumes – my dad brought home some large cardboard boxes from work, and she set about making us into shiny silvery robots – it was really cool – a little hard to get up and down stairs, and hold our bags, but it looked really cool! I hope everyone had a happy and safe Halloween – I showed the Halloween sequence from the American masterpiece “Meet Me In St. Louis” a bunch of times in different classes and at different presentations, so that made me really happy! Children did then (with permission) what they’d get arrested for today – how fascinating – what great storytelling!

    • Shieldmaiden Says:

      I was pretty sure that such a scene existed, I just wasn’t sure if I had imagined it or if it really was in the movie. When I first thought of the costume there was no such thing as sepiatone transfer of a photo, so my first design was harder to create, which is probably why I never actually did it. I first thought of one of those sign boards you can wear, and thought I could just shape it like a house and paint the picture of Dorothy’s house on that. Major project however. Now it would not be hard to make by just printing the image from the computer, although the scale would be at least a little better with the sign board version.

      I love, love, love “Meet Me In St. Louis” and think you very lucky to have been able to watch it bunches of times in your classes! Wonderful.

      Anybody have a K? or any other letters? When is Fred coming back LOL

  28. Morwenna Says:

    I know we’re trying to move on through the alphabet here, but I had to mention another “E.” On Sunday, I saw a woman who was costumed as an Etch A Sketch!

  29. Morwenna Says:

    “K” is for knights. A few years ago, I saw two very cute young boys in medieval knight costumes out on a quest for Halloween candy with their father. These little guys would have needed booster chairs to sit at the Round Table!

    “L” is for a sweet girl I saw last Sunday who proudly wore a perfect Little Red Riding Hood costume.

  30. I miss home Says:

    M is for mouse — or, more accurately, mice. I saw the Wilhelmi triplets (all now four, two girls and one boy) dressed as mice this year. They had their faces painted with whiskers and pink noses and instead of carrying pumpkins to put their treats in all had hollowed-out foam wedges of ‘cheese’ similar to the cheeseheads you see Packers fans wearing. Very cute.

    And now, ‘N’…

  31. Kyran Says:

    I’m Swordlily’s brother if you don’t remember me, which is totally understandable since I haven’t posted in who knows how long >>;; I have been lurking (STALKER!! just kidding…:3) on the site but I just haven’t gotten to posting ._. I just had to say something about Dragonfly tho because it’s so important to me =)

    So Dragonfly…for me Dragonfly was…life changing? Enlightening? Totally awesome? It really is one of the best books I have EVER read.

    How I first found Dragonfly wasn’t super interesting or anything, I had already read The Star Shard and was a big fan of Fred’s so when I saw that my sister was reading a book by him I was, of course, itching to read it. I kept seeing it on the couch and wanting to pick it up 😦 But since Swordlily was still reading it I had to wait. When I finally got it I jumped right into it. From the time I started it to the time I finished I don’t remember much else, it was all that crowded my brain for a few days…

    One of my most vivid memories of Dragonfly is the night when I read the part with Sylva and Dragonfly. That night I read wayyy to late and then just couldn’t last another word so I fell asleep reading about Dragonfly and Sylva in his “den?”(not sure what else to call it? ^^;;) That night never really left me and neither did their relationship. They were both such great characters :<

    Dragonfly the character is one of my all time favorite characters ever. I learned things from her about myself and about the world I won't soon let go of. Things about friendship, love, sadness, perseverance, among many others xD.

    ANYWAY enough with my rambling….I really wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart Fred for writing such an AMAZING book and i so look forward to reading stuff from you in the future!

    Also on the note of October, I just read Dracula and was wondering who else has? And what your impression with it was? I really really loved it, the characters are so deep and even though it's a scary story that keeps you on the edge of your seat(unlike Frankenstein which is supposed to be, but really isn't, though it still is a good book) and yet the story doesn't leave you feeling depressed, hurt, or confused.

    Lastly N is for Ninja! 😀 I love ninjas, I've seen a few people dressed up as one, but have yet to see a super awesome one ): It's one of my costume dreams to make an awesome one myself :3

  32. I miss home Says:

    We are slowing down, people! Snap to it!

    By my calculations we need an ‘O’ and, sadly, I cannot say I have ever seen or heard of anyone dressing as old FofR friend OOTID.

    However, I can say that, at the same party in which Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Greenejeans appeared, Oscar the Grouch (inside his can) was in attendance. The voice was all wrong, but the get up was pretty good.

    ‘P’ please …

    • Scott Says:

      P is of course for Pirate. I don’t know how many different versions I’ve seen. I’ve seen everything from Long John Silver to Pirates of the Caribbean. As a heterosexual adult male, I have to say that the current female pirate costumes ROCK!

      Q anyone. OK now that I think of it, Q from James Bond would be a cool costume.

  33. I miss home Says:

    Yeah…Q…what a stupid letter! It always messes up our lists! We have an R from Marquee, but, of course, others can be added.

    As for pirates, I join Scott in saluting the saucy tarts dressing as lady brigands nowadays. When we were kids pirates (if memory serves) were not nearly so prevalent, but I guess the recent movies can explain the resurgence.

    Q anyone? R anyone? We must hurry, Frederic shall soon return, and we should set a goal of being finished before he does …

    • Daylily Says:

      “Q” must be for Queen. I have seen any number of little girls with tiaras throughout my years of giving out Halloween candy. I imagine that most of them thought of themselves as princesses, but hey, at least ONE of them must have been a queen!

  34. Marquee Movies Says:

    Oh, thank you Daylily – you reminded me of a “Q” – my friend Becky’s daughter went as the Queen from Narnia’s The Silver Chair – when Becky told me, I said, “Oh, cool!” (Because it’s so specific, and a bit obscure, which takes guts. Maybe we should do a thread of most obscure costume references to get next year!) I then asked Becky, “Do you know that your daughter was dressed up as a bad guy?” She said, “Really?” I sighed, and said, “Yes, that queen was evil, trying to keep Puddleglum and the others trapped in the underworld.” Oh well – not to be too hard on Becky – she (like many others) works a little too hard for a living.

  35. Scott Says:

    I think I can cover the S and Marquee’s obscure in one shot. My wife was trying to get me to dress up as Sheldon from Big Bang Theory for the campground costume contest this year. I argued that it was too obscure of a character for anyone but a few in the campground to recognize. Also, I couldn’t find a good comic book t-shirt at the last minute.

    But next year…HeeHee.

    That covers S and Fred covered T before he left. We need a U! Quick before Dad gets home.

    And no Mr Brown Snowflake, we can’t use Untid.

  36. Morwenna Says:

    Surprisingly, U isn’t difficult. One Halloween, I saw an adorable little girl in a unicorn costume.

  37. Kyran Says:

    V is for Vampire! I love seeing Vampire costumes. I wish there would be more cool ones though, most of them are just cheesy 😦

    • Shieldmaiden Says:

      Welcome back to the blog Kyran, you have been missed! I loved your story of Dragonfly and I remember when Swordlily was reading it, she kept telling me that you would pick it up whenever she left it laying somewhere. I had lent it to her telling her it wasn’t a young childrens book, then made her promise not to share it with anyone in her family younger than herself. She wrote me back and said that she wanted to keep her promise but that she HAD to let her brother read it, so she needed me to say it was OK. She pleaded your case very well by the way 🙂 And, I also loved Silva and Dragonfly ❤

      So Dracula! It is one of my most favorite books of all time. Top 5 anyway. I read it last Halloween I believe, and it was the perfect October book. I plan to read it again some future Fall and I am sure I will love it just as much. You all remember my closet and how it attacked me nightly after I read Dragonfly, right? Well at some point during that year after I read Fred’s book the closet dreams began to fade. And then I read Dracula, only to be attacked by my closet again. Oddly enough, I didn’t dream about Bram Stokers world at all, instead the vampires lived behind mirrors and came in through my closet, along with the rest of the things that have continued to creep out of those shadowy corners ever since.

      W is for witch. My daughter has been one for the past two Halloweens now, and she is the cutest evil witch I have ever seen!

  38. fsdthreshold Says:

    Guess who’s baaa-aaack! I have been referred to as “the boss,” “Dad,” and “the head cheese” during the past week — fascinating! It has been a sheer delight to read over all the comments everyone has made during this past week — wow! Frankly, you all do better when I’m away! 🙂

    A few comments in response: Scott, you talked about how you desperately wanted to get away from Taylorville during high school, but you’ve ended up within shouting distance of it. I, on the other hand, loved (and still love) Taylorville with a passion, and I’m the one farthest away from it! Ironic.

    Something that someone wrote reminded me of this story. The year I lived in Shirone, Japan, I organized a Hallowe’en party at the local Lutheran Church. The members were somewhat skeptical at first, but they enjoyed the party so much that they continued it for years after I was no longer the volunteer there and no longer lived in Shirone! Anyway, the first year I attended that Hallowe’en party, I decided to dress as Mr. Spock. In addition to a light-blue sweatshirt with the Federation badge, gold zigzags around my cuffs, fake pointed ears, and carefully-drawn Vulcan eyebrows, I actually cut my hair into a Mr. Spock hairdo! (If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is! The next day, I had to leave for a retreat in which I spent several days with the other people in my program from all across Japan . . .)

    Now, in Shirone, I lived in a neighborhood full of immigrants from Brazil who worked at a candy-making factory. It was a very lively neighborhood, with all doors usually wide open, and festive music and parties going on day and night. The former volunteer had left in my apartment an English-Portuguese dictionary, and I paged through it, trying to figure out how I could explain myself when I walked through the evening fiesta to get to the church while carrying a jack-o’-lantern and dressed as Mr. Spock. I put together a list of words I might say. Taking a deep breath, I stepped out into the brisk October evening.

    But all my worries were groundless. As soon as I ventured out of my door and into the flickering light of the neighborhood’s perpetual party, the neighbors all greeted me with gleeful cries of “Mr. Spock!” “Hallowe’en!” “All right!” etc., and there were many thumbs-up and much thumping of my back. So Mr. Spock and Hallowe’en are part of a universal language. I invited everyone to the party at church. It’s been several years ago now, and I don’t really remember if anyone came. I suspect the fiesta in the neighborhood was better than what we were doing. But those were some good neighbors!

    Jedibabe, I loved your Jedi story!

    And to whomever was joking about A. Lincoln (Chris or Scott) — do you know that there really IS a book called something like Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter? It’s one from among the explosion of mash-ups that are so popular right now — the books that combine classic works of fiction with vampires, werewolves, and zombies.

    So anyway, a new post will be coming soon! I’m thrilled and honored that you all kept the hearth fires burning here while I was away! Thank you!

  39. Scott Says:

    Uh Oh, Dad’s back … UH … I mean Fred’s back.

    X is for X-Men. The standard go-to costume for store-boughten costumes since the movies have come out. Y anyone?

    Fred, I didn’t do it. I can explain. It was like that when I got there. And besides, it was all Brown’s fault. He started it. He’s such a Goober!

  40. Morwenna Says:

    Kyran and Shieldmaiden, I’ve read Dracula several times. Its form as an epistolary novel works perfectly, pulling the reader in to one unforgettable scene after another. For example, the captain’s log from the doomed ship is compulsive reading.

    Y is tough. I’ve never seen a child dressed as a yak, a yellowjacket, or a yeti.

    • Shieldmaiden Says:

      Yoda? I did see a baby Yoda, but would that be a B?

      Morwenna: You are completely right about the way Dracula is written. It is brilliant! I could go on and on but there may be some here who have not yet read it… so I will stop myself (for now). All this Dracula talk really makes me want to read it again but I am reading The Three Musketeers at the moment. I wish I could read faster and more.

      • Jedibabe Says:

        I have seen a pug dressed as a fabulous and believable canine Yoda. Baby or pug, I think We’ve got “Y” covered nicely. But a yak, I might have tried that after the bear costume if I had thought of it! I wonder what sort of comments I could have gotten dressed as a yak? 😉

      • Jedibabe Says:

        Oh, and Welcome Home Fred!! Glad you made it safely, hope you had a great time away at the conference. Looking forward to hearing about it.

  41. Morwenna Says:

    Thanks, Shieldmaiden and Jedibabe, for a great Y costume!

    Shieldmaiden, I read The Three Musketeers in high school. Many years later, I read it again. Both times, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

    Welcome back, Fred!

    And Brown Snowflake, thanks for this very fun alphabet game. Z, anyone?

  42. Morwenna Says:

    I forgot to mention that there is a hilarious Dr. Seuss creature called the zizzar zazzer zuzz, but this is not a costume I’ve seen. 🙂

  43. fsdthreshold Says:

    If anyone has ever dressed up as Zorro, this could be a wrap! Has anyone?

    Didn’t Dr. Seuss also have a creature called the Zanzibar Zidds?

    Oh! Oh! Dr. Zaius from The Planet of the Apes! Our friend Randy in elementary school had a gorgeous full-head latex mask of Dr. Zaius, complete with realistic orange hair, that his mom bought him in San Francisco! He was the envy of us all until the same series of masks became available by order through magazines. Chris ordered the gorilla soldier, and I ordered the chimpanzee. I remember coming home from school every day with my pulse racing for well over a month — I’d burst into the bookstore and ask my dad, “Did it come yet?” It didn’t come and didn’t come, and then finally, it did!

    • Shieldmaiden Says:

      My son actually was also Zorro for Halloween. I think it was last years costume? He had grown out of all the Dread Pirate Roberts garb so we had to start over finding new all black clothes. It was quite entertaining however (before he surrendered) to see him attempt fitting back into his old Roberts clothing… “No really, it will fit!” “Ummmmm, no.”

      Loved the Zaius mask story!

  44. morwenna Says:

    Oops, I didn’t get our Dr. Seuss beast’s name quite right. It is a Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz. It looks like a cross between a cow, a horse, and perhaps a bear. Add in checked designer fur, and top with a rock star’s shaggy wig.

    Zaius and Zorro . . . that’s a wrap!

  45. I miss home Says:


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