Transmogrifier leads a lesson in imagination
I credit my sister with introducing me to "Calvin and Hobbes," and I have been a fan ever since. Recently, a favorite blog posted a link to a "Calvin and Hobbes" cartoon on one of those daily cartoon sites, and, for a brief moment, I dared to hope that Bill Watterson had restarted my favorite strip.
Since that link was just a rerun, I had to go and dig out our stash of "Calvin and Hobbes" books to refresh my memory. The books are dog-eared and worn. My oldest kids slogged through them when they were just learning English. The books have been passed around ever since.
Nothing seems to compare to the wonder and mischief-making capability of a 6-year-old boy. My son, Max, now the same age as Calvin always was, views Calvin as a compatriot. Whereas Calvin had Hobbes as a confidante, fellow adventurer and conscience of sorts, Max has a little brother. And Atticus is many things, but a moral compass is rarely one of them.
My long-suffering husband is not a fan of the funnies. It isn't that he dislikes "Calvin and Hobbes" per se — I am not sure I could have married someone with so egregious a fault — he just finds little enjoyment in comics, so he doesn't read them unless prompted. This does help us to avoid a turf war over who gets the paper first, so there are benefits to our arrangement.
Brian's lack of interest in "Calvin and Hobbes" was evident when he brought home a transmogrifier. He just left it there, lying in the driveway, and didn't even tell anyone. I had to go out and drag it in.
The transmogrifier had previously encased a dryer, which we desperately needed. When our old one stopped running, I initially committed to solar drying. I would save energy, save money and save the planet. What I would not do was get my laundry finished.
I hung clothes on the line just in time for the neighbor to burn leaves. Everything needed a run back through the washer to get rid of the smell. We set up drying racks in the house, but they couldn't keep up with the pace. Several cold, foggy days later, I finally gave up hope of getting a family of nine through the winter without a real dryer.
The new dryer kept me busy for a few days as Mount Washmore slowly eroded. The box it came in became a fixture in the living room. It was our new transmogrifier.
I used to think that Bill Watterson made up the word transmogrify. It seemed like a perfectly Calvin sort of word, but the online Merriam-Webster dictionary tells me that transmogrify, which means "to change or alter greatly and often with grotesque or humorous effect," has been around since the mid-1600s. Who would have thought we would get a lesson in history and grammar from a dryer wrapper?
The transmogrifier kept the younger children busy for days. There were shrieks of delight as they transformed themselves into dinosaurs, tigers and whatever else caught their fancy. At one point, the box transmogrified itself into either a set of clothing or a suit of armor, I wasn't sure which.
I banished that box this past Tuesday. By then, it had been reduced to a few tattered pieces held together tenuously by tape. As my daughter took the remains out to the trash can, Max wailed at me, "But, Mom, that's my chair!" It seemed the box had transmogrified itself again.
With Christmas around the corner, I've got my list together. The complete set of "Calvin and Hobbes" books is for me, and I am ordering new transmogrifiers for all the kids.
Rose Godfrey is a homeschooling mom in Meridian. Her homeschool blog can be found on the Appeal-Democrat website at appealdemocrat.com.