I had many favorite toys:
- Fisher Price airplane (it came with its own string!)
- Fisher Price people (that fit in the airplane!)
- Small chalkboard on my bedroom wall
- Hula hoop (several because they “bend” easily)
- “Drive Yourself Crazy” – a handheld game that had a miniature steering wheel
- Magic 8 Ball (always good for a laugh)
- Viewmaster (stunning visuals!)
- My pink coat (technically not a gift, but Santa gave it to me so…)
- Numerous stuffed animals (Monty and Lino)
But the standout champion toy was – and is – the baton! My first memory of a baton is from the Chicago-based kids’ television show Bozo’s Circus. At the end of each show, when the closing credits started to roll, Bozo would gloriously march everyone out and I’m telling you that clown had serious marching skills. He’d pump that baton like nobody’s business all while doing “high knees” in enormous, ENORMOUS shoes. A completely inspired performance! I know I’m not alone when I say I wanted to be like Bozo.
At some point, probably to rend me from the television and my obsession with Bozo, my parents bought me a baton and I am grateful.
It is weirdly therapeutic to twirl a baton and downright mesmerizing to watch a professional baton twirler go at it. Bozo had great showmanship, but didn’t have the finesse of a trained majorette.
I was never a majorette. I had no training. But I could twirl a baton with both hands, do finger twirls, toss them up quite high and catch them, sometimes behind my back. Satisfying! And I shouldn’t have to tell this, but I had great fun embodying Bozo’s “high-knees” march and rhythmic baton pumping.
When I was an adult, I’d occasionally see a bin filled with batons at a grocery store. I would pick one out, impulsively buy it, take it home and give it a twirl. I didn’t do the march.* Even in my twenties and thirties, I still found twirling the baton to be joyful, stress-reducing activity.
I assumed batons were something “everybody” loved, but my kids never showed much interest in them. It’s possible my over-the-top enthusiasm for twirling and marching ruined it for them.
It’s been several years since I gave one a twirl. Maybe one will mysteriously appear this spring in our backyard or garage? I should probably start stretching out, just in case.
Or maybe not.
Hey, thanks for reading! See you tomorrow. -Connie
*I did the march.