Monday, June 01, 2020

IT ALL BEGAN WITH THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK!









With masks suddenly and unexpectedly having become the latest fashion accessory my mind darted off into fun childhood games of the distant past. 

When we were kids, my brother, Graham and I were always tearing around the place pretending to be one super hero, or another.  Bare-footed, free and happy as larks, we soaked up the sun and fresh air, as we allowed our imaginations to run wild.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto featured often in our games.  Batman, and his side-kick, Robin had more than their fair run.  Somehow, I never got to be Batman.  Robin was the role I played. 

Although mask-free, Superman, the Man of Steel flew in often, not always wearing his red undies on the outside.  

Even Mighty Mouse, as flighty as he was, landed in our yard, interrupting his flight to elsewhere. 

The Phantom, of course, paid regular visits disguised as my brother, or was it the other way round?   

Who didn’t love The Phantom, the Ghost Who Walks?  We certainly did! Who didn’t wear a Skull ring?  We did. Who had a Skull Cave?  We did.  The cave was anywhere we imagined it to be.  Many adventurous games we played disguised as The Phantom. 

Joining the fun, with his top hat perched on his head, and his cloak flying in the breeze, Mandrake the Magician magically appeared, too.   He was full of tricks, with even more up his sleeve. 

Davy Crockett didn’t wear a mask, but it was impossible to mask our admiration of Davy. A mask would not have helped disguise him.  Davy’s distinctive hat was a dead give-away.  

I ‘fess, after we went to the Saturday matinees to watch Fess Parker play the role of Davy Crocket, the King of the Wild Frontier, there wasn’t a kid in town who didn’t create his/her own Davy Crocket hat, or cajole Mum into purchasing one.  Ours weren’t made of coonskin, but the nearest simulated pelt made do.  That hat did wonders for us and our imagination-filled games as we tore around the yard, sometimes gaining stone bruises along the way. 

Our backyard laundry became the Alamo. Using poetic licence, we altered history to suit.  We escaped our mortality at the hands of the Mexicans, and lived to play out more exciting, fun days. Wearing a Davy Crockett hat added unmatched bravado-filled adventure to our adventures.  We feared nothing...we were invincible.

This should go without saying...when I wasn’t demoted to being Batman’s off-sider, Robin, I grabbed the bullwhip and morphed into the one and only...Catwoman!   

Ahhhh!  She was my heroine!  

Intrepidly, I’d slide down the railings of our high front stairs, sometimes swinging off the side onto the concrete garden path, or onto the fern-filled garden beneath the stairs. 

Fortunately, the crushed ferns bounced back before Mum noticed the disarray.  Somehow, I managed not to get splinters in my hands, or elsewhere.
  
Catwoman ruled the world!   So what if I all I frightened away were the Wanderer butterflies and little common garden skinks!  My imagination was what mattered...an imagination that was wild and audacious!

The weirdest home-made mask I created was a powdered milk face mask. 

In 1972 the brain-shattering brainwave came to me. At the time I was living in a townhouse in Toowong, an inner western suburb of Brisbane.  

I was plastered...not with alcohol...but with my stiff, set hard, immovable powdered milk face mask.  

As I stood at my bathroom sink trying to remove - yank - the stubborn mask off my face, Sasha, my ginger cat decided to assist.   He thought it a fun moment to be shared with me! 

Leaping onto the sink, without hesitation, Sasha began to enthusiastically eat the cement-like mask from my face.   He was extremely annoyed when I shoo-ed him away!   Sasha was determined to assist, but I won the battle, both against him and removal of the obstinate facial mask! 

Since that particular Saturday - that one and only time - I learned my lesson.  Never again have I bothered with facial masks of the powdered milk variety, or any other kind.  I allow drinking lots of water to do its trick.

What you see is what you get if or when we cross paths.  My apologies if I scare the living daylights out of you, but my face is the real deal...no tucks; no nips...no mask...just me, as is!  Sorry!


Powdered Milk Buns: Dissolve 1-1/4tsp active dry yeast in 1/4c warm water in small bowl; let stand until foamy. In large bowl, combine 3/4c warm milk, 1 large egg, 1/4c softened butter, 1/4c sugar and 1tsp salt; stir well; stir in yeast; add 3c plain flour; gradually add a little more flour until dough gathers together into a ball as you stir.  Turn dough onto floured surface; knead 6-10mins, until smooth, elastic and stretches thinly. Place in bowl; cover; let rise 1 to 1-1/2hrs, until doubled. Gently deflate dough; use sharp knife to divide into 50-55 portions of about 1-1/2 inches; shape each into a smooth ball; arrange close together on greased 9x13-inch baking pan; cover loosely; let rise, 1hr. Combine 1/2c sugar and 1/2c powdered milk. Brush tops with egg wash. Sprinkle half of milk-sugar mix over risen buns; bake in preheated 175C oven, 17-20mins, or until buns are golden. Cool buns slightly; then sprinkle with remaining powdered milk-sugar mixture.  

Powdered Milk Pedas: Heat heavy based pot on med-low heat. Add 3tbs butter or ghee; once melted, pour in 1x397g can condensed milk and 1/4tsp almond extract; stir. Add 2-1/4c powdered milk in two parts.  Add half; stir to combine; add 1/8th tsp ground cardamom, and other half milk powder. Stir mixture until it feels slightly stiff; let cool a minute or two before rolling.  Rub some oil or melted butter on a plate. When mixture has cooled, rub some melted butter on both palms. Use a small spoon to scoop out about 1tsp mixture; roll into a ball; slightly flatten with palms; place on oiled plate. Continue to roll pedas, buttering hands as you go. Work quickly before mixture cools. Garnish each peda with pistachios or almonds. Let cool a few hours to firm up





21 comments:

  1. Wish I still had my Batman lunchbox from 1965. OH, the things my Mother threw away when I begged her not to!!

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    1. G'day, Kay. Oh! Yes! So much we collected and have lost through the years...but hopefully we never forget the memories of those fun-filled times of our childhood!

      Thanks for coming by...I hope all is well with you and your loved ones...take good care. :)

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  2. Oh my gosh I loved this - and you are right - all the super heroes wore masks. I love that - can't wait to tell this to my family and hopefully they will put theirs on more easily!

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    1. And, think of the fun they'll have tearing around the yard, Sandie! :)

      Thanks for coming by...keep taking good care...stay safe. :)

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  3. Sorry Lee I had no interest in all that action- I was a 'girly school friend' type of comic reader. Maybe not having a brother at that time of my life was the reason??
    I do remember seeing all those characters at Saturday morning pictures though.

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    1. No need to apologise, Cathy. I was a girly kid, too. I had a huge family of dolls, which I loved dearly. On particular girlfriend and I were always playing at being ballerinas, princesses, flying trapeze artists...and all that jazz...in among being cowgirls and super heroines! And I was a huge fan of all of Enid Blyton's adventurous groups such as the Secret Seven and the Famous Five. One's imagination...particularly that of a child of either sex can lead that child to magical places. :)

      The Saturday matinees were never missed. We loved going to the pictures!

      Thanks for coming by...keep taking good care. :)

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  4. I think we limited ourselves to Lone Ranger and Tonto and cowboys and Indians. I was about seven or eight before we had tv, so I missed out a bit but I did read about cowboys and Indians and perhaps I read comics too. One year we were given a teepee tent, which was fun.

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    1. We didn't have TV until I was around 15, Andrew. Going to the pictures...and the radio, along with reading, books...and comics...kept us highly entertained and informed.

      We made our own teepees...cubby houses and tree houses...and we had a terrific place also...down at the tar works, where many adventurous games were played.

      How we loved to recreate the pictures we'd seen at the matinees, and others sometimes seen during the week!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  5. I was even older than Andrew before we got a TV. Cowboys and Indians were played, but there were no masks. We had a heap of imaginative fun anyway.

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    1. Me, too, EC....re TV. As I mentioned in my above response to Andrew, I was 15 years of age before we got a television set.

      Imaginations created wondrous fun adventures...great games!

      Thanks for coming by....keep warm. :)

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  6. Powdered milk buns! I thought they were light and fluffy scones and eagerly looked for the recipe, but I can't make anything with yeast. It doesn't like me and every bread or rolls recipe I ever tried was a failure.
    I never played games like that, I was a kid who preferred to read the book than act out the story. I did participate in Cowboys and Indians, but the Indian usually got shot pretty quickly so I'd lie under a tree reading while pretending to be dead, while the cowboy, my brother, sped off after the stampeding herd.

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    1. Hi River...I read a lot, too...as did my brother We had a massive load of books. Reading was an important, integral part of our childhood. Always for Christmas and our birthdays we received four or five books each...each event. We never needed encouragement to pick up a book...or to play our imaginative games.

      Thanks for coming by.:)

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  7. You certainly had great fun doing those things, Catwoman and so forth.
    Never was into that type of things, probably dancing and playing piano I expect.

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    1. Hey Margaret...I had ballet lessons for a while, and piano lessons for five years...and lots of games, reading, going to the pictures as well. Never a dull moment! :)

      As well as Cubs and Scouts for my brother...and Brownies and Girl Guides for me!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  8. I'm totally out of my depth. I have heard of quite a few of your characters but not all by any means. I'm sure that I must have role-played as a youngster but I certainly can't recall it. I wasn't even in the Cubs. I did have a good childhood though believe it or not.

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    1. Hi Graham...how strange....all the characters I've mentioned are very familiar characters...or were here in Australia when I was a kid.

      My playmates, and my brother and his mates loved role-playing. Our games so often were inspired by the pictures we'd seen at the Saturday matinees...and from comics and books.

      I do believe you had a wonderful childhood. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  9. No nips or tucks here, either, and mostly, no make-up, either.

    What a grand childhood you had!

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    1. Hey, messymimi...mostly no make-up here, too. Just a touch of lipstick when I head off to the supermarket.

      We kids played freely...and allowed our imaginations to run free...

      Thanks for coming b. :)

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    2. "by" even! :)

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  10. Oh goodness, I used to enjoy watching 'The Lone Ranger and Tonto' … but thinking about it you are right! All of the super heroes did wear masks.

    Wishing you a good weekend …

    All the best Jan

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    1. G'day, Jan...and how we loved to wear masks of varying kinds during some of our games when we were kids! They added to the fun of it all! :)

      I hope you enjoy your weekend up that way, too, Jan...take care....and thanks for coming by. :)

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