I never know when inspiration will strike. For instance, aside from reading about the failing car industry and government bail outs, I just saw new energy efficient two passenger cars that don’t even cost that much. They are practically small enough to be Matchbox cars and …. wait an minute…there it is… inspiration for this article.    

        A two passenger car that looks like a bubble on wheels is creative in that it may solve energy problems, about as much as a golf cart would. I can just imagine a tractor trailer tailing me in one of those and let’s be honest, survival is what comes to mind, not energy conservation. But, that odd little car is not what is inspiring me. It’s the Matchbox cars that just provoked a strong memory.

   I remember playing with Matchbox cars with my brother, Kerry, when we were just little tykes. We invented conversations between the invisible drivers of the cars or maybe it was the cars themselves. To be honest, the one thing I know for sure is that our cars were all named ‘Joe’. Now that I look back at it, it was an early sign of creativity for both of us. Others may think that not having a different name for each “guy” showed a lack of creativity, but I challenge that. The right side of the brain isn’t so great at remembering names (that’s the left side’s job) and one name (Joe) seemed to be enough.   

   However, we had the most interesting story lines and adventures for those cars as they whizzed around rough terrain on hand designed courses made of building blocks, up and down pant legs, across an arm or back and through tunnels of paper towel tubing. They defied gravity up the side of a bedpost or under a shelf and parked in their own little matchbox garages. Legos wasn’t even on the scene yet. We had so many different cars including a dune buggy, convertible, police car, trucks, various race cars and hot rods that the story lines for “Joe” were infinite. I even remember how we alternated picks, so we each had the same number of cars. This, of course, occurred ‘fairly’ after my brother skimmed his favorites out of the pile.

   I have two points to this story. One, who ever designed the new energy efficient two passenger car (the bubble on wheels) may be thinking way out of the box here, certainly out of the Matchbox, but did they ever play with Matchbox cars? We may have only had one name, but the cars were magnificently designed with different body types, colors and character. My second point is that Kerry and I started to develop our imaginations early in life through the act of playing. We learned along the way to channel that play into our adult lives. Yes, I did become an artist. My brother, aside from skillfully hiding cars up his sleeve, became a Master carpenter and musician. We chose paths that nurtured our creative intelligence and passions. I guess we’ll find a way to play with the new bubble cars to further inspire the future. We can even call them all Joe, I just hope that they’re the kind of bubbles that can also defy gravity. I’m hunting for Matchbox cars now to draw a picture of them tucked up my brother’s sleeve.

   As you look for inspiration, keep a small notepad handy and when something you come across during the day touches a memory or catches your eye, write it down. It could be in a conversation or a TV ad, you never know where or when it will pop up. Just pay attention.


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3 responses to “Inspiration

  1. Ann Burrish

    Inspirational, Cheryl! 🙂 I’m also glad to know why I do not retain names well.

    Your cars reminded me of a fun and forgotten activity of my childhood – of being a horse while walking home from school during the winter with my best friend.

    The college deposited mountains of snow from its parking lots on a field that was on our route. We galloped up and down daily. I was called Morning Star. I don’t remember hers.

    I now have upstairs and downstairs notebooks.


  2. Nice writing. Thanks for the visuals of you and Kerry as kids.
    My first real car (a 1964 Valiant -in 1976) was named Rufus. I tried naming cars after that but the names never stuck. I am lucky if I remember my children’s names. I think it is so interesting that I spent so much effort picking out the right names for my children only to call my son by my brother’s name or the dogs name. My daughter Mae should have been named “Cait-a- mae” cause I usually start out by calling her Caitlin.

  3. I loved matchbox cars (& wished they were mine instead of my brothers! but at least he shared them! We had those AND Legos! I loved to build houses and neighborhoods, and drive the cars all over the place. What a great ‘creative’ time that was… kids now have enough ‘free-play’ time??

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