The Enchantment of the Inner Child

A few years ago, a close friend mentioned I’d lost my sense of enchantment.

It made me reconsider. Gray hairs—not refundable. Dime store magic only masks the problem.

Now I take my inner child out to play. Respite care. It saves me from the days I could wake up storming like bridezilla or going to bed in a chocolate coma.

During my well spent youth, the girls in my neighborhood formed the Park Royal Dynamite Club, named for our neighborhood—and the magazine we read.

Defenders of the imagination.

We built forts in the woods, raced hippety hops down the street, pitched tents in backyards.

On a warm summer evening, dew mellowing the fresh cut lawn smell. No moon. The stars twinkling between the hemlock branches. Frogs singing their lullaby. We packed into the tent, youngest to oldest. Ages 6 to 10. Sleeping bags, pillows, security blankets, flashlights, and Pringles.

At 10-years-old, I slept near the tent flap protecting us from marauders.

Mrs. B., the responsible adult, said, “Do not completely zip the tent flap in case someone needs to make a potty run. The back door will be unlocked. The bathroom light’s on. Sweet dreams, girls.”

I woke up sometime after the frogs settled down. Something long, dark, and thin climbed the desert-sand-colored tent flap—inches from my nose. I found my flashlight. A six-inch-long, dark-brown slug clung to the flap. Five of his best buds sprawled across my sleeping bag.

My gut twisted into a giant pretzel. A blood curdling scream burst from my lips.

When ten little girls sleep in a tent, and one screams, what do you think is going to happen? Mass hysteria. The youngest cried.

My best friend—the most level headed nine-year-old-in-a-crisis—tossed me a can of Pringles.

“They have salt. Scrape ’em off with a chip and toss ’em in the yard.”

We repelled the slug invasion, did not wake the adults, went back to sleep.

When the sun rose, I peeked through the flap.

The largest slug wrapped itself around a chip and feasted like Superbowl Sunday—writhing. The others, dead.

We celebrated at breakfast telling Mrs. B. how we would save the world one can of Pringles at a time.


Our group evolved, some moved away, other moved back, new members joined. Marriages, children, grandchildren, divorces, loss.

We gather once a month for our inner children to play.

And this month we make Shrinky Dinks.

What would your inner child's Shrinky Dink look like?

What would your inner child’s Shrinky Dink look like?

“It’s not where you take things from, it’s where you take them to.” Jean-Luc Godard.

Nourish your soul. Remember to play.




About Fannie Cranium

Writing since she could first hold a pen, Tracy Perkins formed her alter ego, "Fannie Cranium" at the suggestion of her husband. Tracy understands smiling makes people wonder what she’s been up to.
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11 Responses to The Enchantment of the Inner Child

  1. kerbey says:

    This makes me nostalgic and sad for the world in which we now live.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. aplscruf says:

    LOVE this one, T. Definitely mood-inducing and thought-provoking. I love the images of the screaming girls in the tent! And shrinky dinks are great!


  3. markbialczak says:

    I like your club, Fannie. I’d like to see you all have a Hippety Hop race for old-time’s sake!

    You tell your slug adventure so well. I felt like screaming along with you. 😮

    Now, please, what’s a shrinky-dink? That must be something regional we were locked out of in the Northeast.


    • Shrinky Dinks were created by two mom’s in the mid-west back in the early 80’s as an activity for their Cub Scout troop. It’s a piece of plastic you draw on and/or color, place in the oven and bake. When it comes out of the oven it is 1/4 it’s original size and becomes thick and hardened.

      It was a huge fad in the 80’s and 90’s. A lot of people still use it for making custom jewelry today.


  4. Liz says:

    that is so cool that you do that! Loved Shrinky Dinks. So many cool toys from back in the day. Makes me sad to think of how cheaply made my kids toys are. They need a good set of Fashion Plates or a well-made Golden Dreams Barbie 🙂


    • I agree about how cheaply the toys are made now days. We’ve got our old toys stashed about the library, so when the youngsters come over they can play. The only one that’s painful is our old table top pinball machine. . .it’s arcade loud.

      I remember fashion plates and Golden Dreams Barbie. Those were the days. 🙂


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