While it may seem strange that a Canadian would choose to post about the start of an American conflict that took place 150 years ago, the American Civil War will alway be a fascination of mine. The conflict has had far-reaching effects that are still felt even today. It was one of the first modern wars, and foreshadowed the death and destruction reaped in the fields of France and Belgium only 50 years later.
At 4:30am on April 12, 1861 a single mortar shell burst over Fort Sumner in the harbor of Charleston, S.C. It would prove to be the first shot in a war that pitted brother against brother and left 620,000 (at least) dead. I ask that you take a moment to remember these men that believed in something enough to give their lives.
It’s funny how one thing can lead you off in a totally new direction (welcome to my life). I hadn’t really thought too much about posting the Accident(al) Chalk Outline photo. I figured it was the perfect little fluff piece, that would help me get back in the swing of writing again. It was meant to be a one-off, “fire and forget” thing that had made me smile.
Then I started the humming. It was a few days before I even realized what I was doing. Hum a hum, hum, hum, hum, a hum, hum, hummmmm. Pretty soon words started to join in with the tune playing in my head. “Oh you know my name is Simon” ……. and there it was! I had flashed back about 35 years to an after school TV program. I was singing the theme song for something that I hadn’t seen in three decades. The scary thing was, I still knew ALL the words (I know because I checked on the internet to make sure).
Ask me to remember a list for shopping or to remember to make a phone call and I can’t do it! If I don’t write it down, it’s like it just doesn’t exist. It was the same in school, remembering math formulas or grammar was impossible. Seems that there is no room left my head for the important things because it’s packed with trivia. While this makes me a killer opponent in trivia games, organization and routine are what’s required to get me through the day. But now and then, a flash back pops out of my mind. I never can tell what will set it off. This time it was a drawing on my driveway.
When I was looking for the show on YouTube, I came across all sorts of shows that I recalled from younger days. It’s not that I watched a lot of TV when I was younger, there were just fewer channels to watch. I remember when the first TV converter boxes came out with the long cord that attached to the television. Besides the new-found freedom of sitting on your duff, and surfing channels during commercials (before then you had to ACTUALLY get up and walk all the way across the room to switch stations) there was the novelty of being able to now get 40 odd channels (gasp!). Family Channel was years off, so the children of my generation watched PBS (and TVO in Ontario). The shows were just a few minute long for the most part, but somehow I don’t ever remember being bored with watching them.
The show Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings was produced during the 70’s in England (25 – 5 minute programs) for Thames Television, but was also shown in US on both Captain Kangaroo, and Romper Room. In Canada, episodes were aired on the CBC (narrated by Mr Dressup’s, Ernie Coombs) and on the Ontario public station TVO. Years later in 2003, Nickelodeon would produce an animated series called ChalkZone; which bears a striking similarity to the original Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings, and Teletoon has also created a modern version featuring a new song, a female chalk character, and an updated look for Simon.
So now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find a box of colored chalk and a ladder!