Thursday, February 09, 2012

Sometimes It Is The Destination That Matters

All the recent mentions of hanky panky (and the pankyless variations thereof) Jane's been making over at Jane In Her Infinite Wisdom stirred a little something in my primitive brain. Mine not being the sort of brain "normal" people possess, it is perhaps no surprise that what came to mind was not actual hanky and/or panky, but a road I knew in a long ago (pre-hanky panky) time in my history.


When I was in fourth and fifth grade and we lived in the house where I read the Little House books, my friend Alissa Butler lived at the other side of our widespread and rural school district--it was nearly twenty miles from my house to hers, but I would sometimes ride the bus home with her on a Friday night. Generally, we holed up in the attached garage, which was a furnished rec room with an upright piano and a flippable chalkboard on wheels and we played "school" or "work" for hours and hours and hours.

Alissa's mother worked from home tying flies, which she sold to local fishermen1. She kept the feathers and fur she used for tying flies in cabinets with clear plastic drawers and to keep the pests away, she used copious amounts of mothballs. The garage/rec room reeked of that camphory smell and whiffs of it permeated most of the rest of the house as well. I loved it. Absolutely loved it2.

Anyway, on two of the rare instances when Alissa and I ventured outside her house, we wandered a little ways up the road to Hanky Panky Road where her uncle or grandfather had a "sugar shack" for making maple syrup. (Though, at that age, I had a vague notion what "Hanky Panky" might winkingly refer to, it was not until just now that the inherent humor in placing a "sugar" shack on Hanky Panky Road occurred to me.) It was not sugaring season, so there wasn't much to see--though we tried peeking in the cracks between the worn boards and were treated to a view of dimly lit, dusty equipment--and we wandered back to the Geeky Kid Paradise that was the garage/rec room at the Butler's house.

A few years later, living in a different house, some assortment of my family members were gathered around the TV for the NBC show Real People, when "my" Hanky Panky Road was featured in the funny photos portion at the end of the show. I could scarcely contain my excitement. (Okay, okay, I didn't even make a show of containing my excitement.) Hanky Panky Road was famous3!

A few decades later, living in my grown-up house about an hour away from where I lived in fourth grade, Daughter-Only and I set out on a mini road trip in search of Hanky Panky Road--this road I visited twice (by foot) when I was nine or ten and never since. I didn't look it up first on Google Maps, just set out to find it from memory. And, this probably goes without saying, but I could scarcely contain my excitement when I got it right on the first try. (Okay, okay, I didn't even make a show of containing my excitement.) Hanky Panky Road was right where I left it!

Alissa's Uncle Grandfather's sugar shack wasn't there anymore, though. There was something even better--right there at the corner of Hanky Panky Road and whatever road leads you there--was a Chevy Nova, which looked as though it had last been driven around the time I had last visited  Hanky Panky Road (circa 1979) and it was for sale. Being the conscientious blogger that I am, I remembered that TangledLou had mentioned a certain fondness for Chevy Novas in a recent comment, so I snapped a couple of photos.







Sure, she's a bit of a fixer-upper, but aren't we all?

I say we all get together and take up a collection and send this beauty to TangledLou. Who's in?


1. Later, after I had lost touch with Alissa, my Pap would take a fly-tying class from Alissa's mother and set up his own clear plastic drawers of feathers and fur and hooks and mothballs. Being limited to a corner of their already cramped living room, my grandfather never achieved the mothball scent saturation Alissa's mother did. (Irrelevant aside to that irrelevant aside: my Nan consistently called it "tie flying" rather than "fly tying.")

2. Though I did sometimes feel bad for Alissa, whose clothes, notebooks and paper lunch bag--and even, on one horrifyingly memorable occasion, the Pringles inside her lunch bag--carried that smell as well. Fodder for the mean girls, who seized on every opportunity to taunt and torment.

3. For the 27 seconds it appeared on national TV.

21 comments:

  1. Dear Masked Mom - this post made me smile a whole bunch of times. I love the road, the stories, the fly tying references, and the car. A Chevelle, maybe? Whatever .... thanks for this. It was a nice smiley thing to take in tonight.

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  2. I second Red Dirt Kelly. As soon as I win the lottery, I am in for getting that car to TangledLou:) I'll keep you posted!

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    1. I'm totally waiting for my lottery winnings to chip in, too.

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  3. I love that you found the road from memory!

    Can you imagine her face if the car showed up at her house?! :OD

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    1. It would priceless, wouldn't it?

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    2. Can you imagine my face at all?!

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    3. I have a pretty good imagination, I think. I can, for instance, imagine how great it would've been if I had actually typed the word "be" in that sentence up there as I'd intended. ;)

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  4. That Nova is the spittin' image of de Lova machine that Annie drove when I met her. A 1972 Nova,, with a chunk of the "N" missing, so it said "Lova" with a small L of course. This is an awesome post. I missed TangledLou's post; I will have to backtrack.

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    1. I love "Lova." Lou's Nova related remark was a reply to my comment on her Camaro post--if that makes it easier to check out. ;)

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  5. Youngest Sister2/10/12, 3:53 PM

    Had to laugh at the "tie flying" footnote. That was my first thought! : ) You do have a remarkable memory for things. I would be completely up a creek if I even tried to find the houes that WE lived in.

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  6. Youngest Sister2/10/12, 3:54 PM

    Ok. Not that I want to get back into this, but my word was "Culatork". . . wouldn't that be a great word for Balderdash?? A relative of the stork? An obsolete eating utensil??

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    1. It sounds EXACTLY like something that would be in Balderdash, and I would totally vote for either of those options. As for tie-flying, I had to include it because it took me three tries to type it the right way, so ingrained was Nan's way in my brain.

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  7. Moth balls... smells do bring back the strongest memories... guess we aren't as evolved as creatures as we want to believe. Moth balls remind me of my aunt's attic of treasures.
    I won't even get started on my Nova stories. Let's just say they were popular in my high school. :)

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    1. Heh. I'll bet the Nova in the picture could tell some stories as well.

      And "What sense is most closely linked to memory?" was one of the questions in the original set of Trivial Pursuit cards in the '80s. It was smell, of course. ;)

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  8. Awesome name! Do you remember the names of other streets in that area? Usually clusters of streets are themed.

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    1. The road it crossed was actually unmarked as far as I could tell. And it's in a little teeny place called Watrous--with maybe thirty houses. The only other street sign I saw said (unimaginatively) Watrous St. However, Watrous is in Pennsylvania--home of such fine, upstanding communities as Blue Ball and Intercourse, though they are in a whole other region of the state.

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  9. You have done it, Masked Mom. You have officially achieved the most awesome blog post ever. The street! The moth balls! The nerdy children! The Nova! My whole entire head and part of my torso is smiling.

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    1. I'm totally putting "made (part of) a torso smile" on my resume. Totally.

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  10. "Love Shack" just started playing in my head as I read this. I couldn't finish because I had to comment about this craziness. I blame it on you. Now I am going to go back and read the rest. Thank you for such a loaded post!

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  11. Oh hey! You gave me a hanky-pankied shout out! Thanks!

    I'm totally in on the purchase of one Lova delivery to Tangled Lou.

    Also? I now want to live on Hanky Panky Road. That's going on my bucket list.

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