Saluting the Statue of Liberty

Saluting the Statue of Liberty

As anticipation builds for the royal newlyweds’ first official North American tour, I’m reminded yet again of how beautiful Kate Middleton (er, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge) looked. With billions of eyes on her as she towed a nearly nine-foot train across Westminster Abbey, she embodied poise and grace, winning many admirers at home and overseas….

More than Words: Theater’s Unsung Heroes

More than Words: Theater’s Unsung Heroes

Rolling my artifact cart through the exhibits at The Strong’s National Museum of Play, I often spot guests who are shoo-ins for the stage. These budding thespians linger under the colorful lights in Kid to Kid and the majestic red curtain in Reading Adventureland’s Fairy Tale Forest. There’s nothing like playing at plays—take it from…

Mermaid Memories: A Fairy “Tail”

Mermaid Memories: A Fairy "Tail"

“Hey, Mom, quick! Look at me swimming with my legs and feet together! Who am I?” If you were a filmgoer in the 1980s, you probably paddled like a mermaid at least once. Perhaps you were channeling Daryl Hannah in Splash (1984). Likelier still—and I suspect this is the case for most of my contemporaries—you…

Monsters and Marshmallows: The Allure of Breakfast Cereal Characters

Monsters and Marshmallows: The Allure of Breakfast Cereal Characters

I miss my favorite vampire. No, not Edward Cullen or Bill Compton—I’m in Count Chocula withdrawal. Ever since this chocolaty breakfast cereal became a seasonal specialty at my local supermarket, I’ve spent 11 months per year convincing myself not to purchase a 12-pack online. It’s a somewhat irrational love, isn’t it? Count Chocula has never…

Funny Papers: Spoofing the News

Funny Papers: Spoofing the News

Playing with words and images can be funny: joke-telling, trickery, and satire allow us to be subversive without the repercussions that may accompany more malicious behavior. At seven or eight years old, my best friend and I produced a fake weekly newspaper. We pasted school portraits alongside our bylines and painstakingly crafted gossip columns, “horror-scopes,”…

Ever the Crafty One

Ever the Crafty One

They say that the best things in life are free, and that concept definitely applies to my creative endeavors. I’ve always been a scavenger (and hoarder) of craft materials too pretty or unique to pass up. I picked up the habit at summer camp, where I spent as much time as possible on arts and crafts. Half the fun of those projects was in dismantling them later for parts.

I’m NOT a Bozo: My 15 Minutes of Fame on Children’s Television

I’m NOT a Bozo: My 15 Minutes of Fame on Children’s Television

I remember the roar of the crowd as I confidently gripped the ball and took aim—the way the noises faded as I focused on my target—and the broad smile on Bozo the Clown’s face during my successful run on the Grand Prize Game. Though I am competitive, I’m not well coordinated or graceful. You probably…

Under Scrabble’s Spell

Under Scrabble's Spell

ZA is a perfectly good word. You know, like PIZZA. While you probably wouldn’t use (or eat) ZA in a formal social setting, it’s a two-letter word that might help boost your next Scrabble game. Surprised that ZA is a legal word? Don’t be. The entire world of Scrabble terms can be pretty surprising. From…

The Time of My Life?

The Time of My Life?

I snagged my prom dress off the Macy’s sale rack for $26. What was wrong with that? Nothing, I suppose—until my mother discovered that I’d mentioned it in an interview with the local newspaper. Apparently, I should have kept my mouth shut when told that I looked like a million bucks. But whether you were…