Mojo's Favorite Mother's Vintage Sports Illustrated Magazine
Okay. No recounting of all of the childhood traumas Mojo is now re-experiencing will be complete without her Favorite Mother recounting the dating scene she enjoyed in college. Mom was a professor's brat at Penn State (although I will probably catch some major grief calling her a "brat") and either as such or in spite of such had an active social life. Active by Mojo's standards, anyway. Mojo, of course by contrast is something of a misanthrope and would rather sit and stare at the wall all evening than attend a sorority dance, but it just goes to show. What it shows, I'm not quite sure, but there ya go. I guess it means not only did the apple fall far from the tree but someone picked up that poor apple that never hurt anyone and flung it, and then it was trampled by pigs and left to rot in the mud. Anyway, for whatever reason, Mojo's Favorite Mother is what Mojo would call "Socie", which is not meant to be the slur it sometimes is but just in the social sense. Whereas Mojo has to be dragged kicking and screaming to certain events and really enjoys being left alone until she happens to get lonely and then she wonders why no one ever calls or writes unless they want something. And of COURSE Mojo upped and married a social butterfly thereby assuring she will never enjoy being alone, never again, and has since learned to communicate with humans through a series of grunts and hand gestures.
Anyway, in the manner of small children Mojo has always tried so very hard not to envision her Favorite Mother's pre-Father existence, but her mother, with rather chirpy disregard for such juvenile tastes, will recount at great length the many, many dates she endured, and the many men she secretly mooned over, and all that stuff. For example, Mojo has a favorite bear, a now ratty old panda she named Jo Bear (because, in typical Mojo fashion, she named him after herself). I remember the day I first saw Jo Bear. I went into my parent's room to say goodnight to my mom, who was already in bed for some reason, and my eyes fell on this HUGE panda (bigger than me!) sitting on a chair in my parent's room. It was love at first sight. So while I was supposed to be expressing my love for my mother as I said goodnight instead I kept one eye on this magnificent new toy and kept asking, "Where did that bear come from? Can *I* have it?"
My mother patiently explained that he had always been sitting there, and no, I could not have it, for it was HERS. Whereupon I came up with the suggestion that maybe I could sleep with it that night, and give it back to my mother the next morning. I said this with all childhood innocence, but I was keenly aware even as I said it if my mother gave me that bear to sleep with she was NEVER getting it back. I was mentally preparing myself to pitch the biggest fit in childhood history should she ever attempt such a thing. There was a little more back-and-forth before my poor mother, who I guess was sick which was why she was in bed before me, acquiesced, but gently reminded me yet again that the bear was HERS and she was going to retrieve it in the morning.
Well. Needless to say that was the last mom ever saw of that bear. Jo Bear became my constant companion. He proved to be a great help when the floors without rugs on them became deep water (and occasionally molten lava) for I could use him as a boat and scritch myself across these huge expanses without once touching the floor. I have Jo Bear to this day, although the years have been less than kind to him. He lost his eyes early on, his nose got pushed in, and there remains a bad ketchup stain on his stomach where he was SHOT and I had to bravely and selflessly save his life.
Anyway, I bring up Jo Bear because as it turns out, he was a gift from one of Mom's thousands and thousands of boyfriends. In fact I was rather shocked a few months ago when Mom came over, saw Jo Bear sitting on top of the couch, and exclaimed, "That's MY bear!" and then proceeded to tell me the story of how so-and-so won it at some fair they attended or whatever. Me, I stopped listening once she said it was HER bear, so I don't remember the particulars. Anyway, with my mom one boyfriend story turns into another as she then goes on recounting how who-gee-foo was kinda odd and turned out to be gay (this was in the 50's) and how so-and-so did this and that and frat parties and sorority dances and whatnot. This last go-round she told what I thought was a perfectly horrifying story that she met this one guy at a dance and he was a great dancer and a great fun guy and he asked for her number and called a few days later to set up another date. And she looked forward so to this second date, only this time the guy acted totally awkward and stupid and couldn't dance worth beans. About an hour into the date he asked, "Have you figured it out, yet?" Turns out he and his brother were identical twins--identical, I guess, except that one was a great guy and this one was a total loser--and his brother (who was already engaged, it turns out) often set up his loser twin in this fashion.
Needless to say Mom didn't really want to have anything to do with that family after that. Being a smart mouth, I brought up my mother's apparent attraction to twins--for my dad, too, is an identical twin--but as I have said in past Craptaculars it was not dancing but instead the magical game of Pinochle that brought them together and eventually produced the wonderment we all know and love as Mojo. Oh, and her siblings, too, I guess. And indeed my family continued to play pinochle for many many years, and still do on rare occasions, but nobody really wanted dad for a partner because of his tendency to yell at you really loudly when you played the wrong card. This yelling would continue as the remaining tricks were played, the points counted, and well into the next deal. Because, you see, there are various strategies and bidding hints involved with pinochle, a fact that appeals to his engineer's mind, and heaven help the poor ten-year-old who does not remember Every Single One. So always the first order of playing pinochle involved arguing (in an equally loud way) over who among us kids would be stuck with Dad for a partner. But I digress.
Anyway, I bring up my Favorite Mother's College Boyfriend-o-rama because while she was going through her stuff she found this vintage Sports Illustrated Magazine, dated March 21, 1955. Don't ask me who's on the cover putting the shot. All I know is, I asked my Favorite Mother why she kept this magazine all these years, and she promptly flipped to a spread somewhere in the middle and there it was.
A short story about the Penn State gymnastics team. And then (you just KNOW this is coming, don't you?) she pointed at one of them--don't ask me which one, I have mercifully blocked it from my mind--and said "Oh, I used to date him." Or maybe it was just she had a huge private crush on him. I forget. Either way, my mother the mantrap had this magazine tucked away amidst her stuff all this time. As you can see, it's in pretty good shape. I have no interest in sports whatsoever, so I've never looked at an SI before, but I was shocked at the broad range of what they called sports. Including a several-page spread of some moron on African safari deciding to leave the jeep and approach a wild rhino with a baby on foot so he could get better pictures. The resulting pictures (in case you haven't already guessed) document him being chased back to the car and the vehicle eventually rammed and gored and flipped over by an enraged rhino. Idiot. Mojo just takes simple pride in knowing that SOME of us don't need to be TOLD not to approach a wild female rhino with a baby on foot, but somehow we instinctively KNOW not to do that, even though we have never personally been to Africa....
Anyway, if you want this exciting vintage Sports Illustrated complete with the picture of one of my mother's former heartthrobs (again, don't ask me which one, although I have the feeling I will be told which one before the night is out) and the Certificate of Craptacularity to separate it from other, lesser, vintage SIs. It's worth reading just for the ads. Like the one just before the Penn State spread, selling men's suits, with a large fish interposed over one of the models. Why? Sigh. You should know better than to ask Mojo why. She doesn't know, okay?