Magic Time


I’m no longer twelve. Not by a long shot. My allowance dried up long ago and they don’t even let me off school for two weeks at the end of the year—school’s another thing I’ve outgrown. Sometimes, I miss that kind of magic.

The holidays can, however, bring back that lost time. They evoke memories of another era, the days when the world offered itself like a playground to anyone under five feet tall. Once upon a time snowstorms were positive events. Once upon a time I measured days off in the number of movies seen, not alarm clocks switched off.

December meant a non-stop movie festival when I was twelve. Passersby marveled at all those white lights strung along Michigan Avenue. To me, they looked like the world’s longest movie marquee. I had dough in my kick with every movie house in the city merely an El ride away.

It didn’t matter if your parents had no Florida cabana to escape to. You didn’t need any Colorado ski lodge. It didn’t matter what kind of grades you pulled. For the last two weeks of the last month of the year you were cut loose.

Every December meant taking up the movie marathon challenge. One season I caught eleven flicks in one week, my personal best. Then again, my memory tends to shift and swell with time. Maybe in another decade, or two, I’ll recall the record as fifteen. No matter. December was a glorious time to be twelve years old.

Lucky for me I can still recapture those days gone by. It’s easy to tap into rich sentiment with the selection of a DVD or an online queue, a click here and a tap there, with the simple press of the “play” button. I can put up some popcorn, dim the lights, and become twelve years old again, ninety minutes at a time. These days that’s my holiday gift to myself, a movie marathon from any December I wish. I’ll worry about growing up the rest of the year.

(photo courtesy of nuttakit/