By Rachel Favilla
I ponder my childhood often. I’m nostalgic and have the memory of an elephant in that I never forget, anything. Like ever. It’s a bitter-sweet complex. I have many joyous memories to re-live in my mind. That’s the upside. But, I also remember every meal that went uneaten. Every toy that I didn’t really need. That children’s laptop from the ‘cheap store’ that would’ve stopped working in a second. The one I threw a tantrum over in May, 2004. It could’ve been June. The sky was grey and it was cold. Okay, so I don’t remember everything, but hey, close enough. What were YOU doing round-abouts May/June 2004?
It hurts to think that I was a consumer-driven child.
I was convinced that my contentment would escalate as my doll collection expanded. Not so. I was charmed by the ‘mini’ hot chocolate and ‘mini’ fluffy ear muffs that accompanied my ‘Winter Wonderland’ themed playmate for about a month. Then into a shoebox they went, along with the teensy tiny outfits and ‘click-on’ footsies.
I thought I’d be happier with a voice controlled password journal. The television advertisement made it look uh-mazing! In reality, it was so secure that it never recognised my voice and would lock me out of my own thoughts. Rude! I gave my mum massages every Saturday for 4 months to pay for that thing. If I’d consulted a crystal ball and shown an age inappropriate interest in investing, I would’ve used that money to buy shares in hand sanitiser. If I had, thanks to COVID-19, I’d be rubbing my hands together. Ah, hindsight.
I’d shaken off this headset by my mid-teens, but even still. If I had my time over. I’d have asked for experiences over objects and simply enjoyed spending time with my mum running errands, rather than throwing a wobbly over a poor-quality electronic toy. I hope that the parents of today will read the poem below – written from the perspective of one of my old dolls – to their bambinos. Give them the opportunity to shift their values now and appreciate their time with you. Accumulating more memories and less eventual landfill.
It’s Dusty Dolly.
Your trusty childhood playmate.
You had far too many toys of my kind,
by the time that you turned eight.
Now I sit on a shelf collecting dust, yearning and wanting to play.
Yet my glory days are over.
I’ve become environmental dismay.
Loved for a day, here for a lifetime.
My plastic display, a landfill-destined crime.
I was sold to you by a society in strife.
Chronic, over-consumption gone absolutely rife.
Advertisers made me look seductive and pretty,
So that you’d beg for me to join your play-box committee.
I came with collectable friends.
We now all share the same stagnant ends.
Collecting dust that makes you sneeze.
It’s been years since we’ve been able to please.
You could’ve saved for a holiday or invested in the bank,
But to your eight-year-old-self, how alluring was a money tank?
You wanted Santa to bring you every toy on TV,
You lived for the now, not the years that would be.
If only we could travel back to the early naughties.
When your hard-working parents were in their forties.
With the hindsight of now, you’d want for less,
If anything, you’d ask ‘may I please invest?’
You’d know that the memories that now warm your heart,
Had less to do with shopping and more to do with art.
You hold fondly trips to video stores.
And when mum would kiss better your footsie sores.
The quality time playing cards with your dad,
Mum’s forgiveness after times that you’d been bad.
Weekend afternoons spent at the park.
And being allowed to stay up after dark.
The sleepovers ending with a pancake feast.
Baking homemade pizzas with home-brewed yeast.
Sunny Summertime trips to the coast.
And the wholesome smell of mum’s Sunday roast.
It wasn’t your fault, you were a victim of conditioning,
But it is now your duty to pioneer a new beginning.
Dear Children, Dear Parents, if you’re reading.
Consider what it is you’re truly needing.
Do you want more stuff or do you want more time?
Long term security or a flippant dime?
Will you still want that shiny item in a year?
Or will it end up causing you closet-cluttering fear?
How happy do your things make you really?
Or does true happiness come from those you hold dearly?
Lazy weekend mornings and family dinners,
Card game fun and board game winners?
It’s still okay to want nice things,
A powerful blender or outdoor swings.
This way you can whip up smoothies to share,
And play on a lawn that is currently bare.
Just aim to want for that which meets your needs,
You can then get cheap thrills by doing good deeds.
In the decades to come what will really have made you smile?
Please pause and ponder that simple question for a while.
Rach, thanks for being my voice and typing these lyrics,
I hope I don’t come across as an anti-capitalist cynic.
I simply want others to learn from your hindsight.
Giving them a chance to get their priorities right.
Yours in lessening the load on every trolley
To the future, with love,
Dusty Dolly xxx