THE POP-EXPOSE – ‘Do You Have Vintage G.I.Joe’s’ by Mitchell Smith!

Do you still have your vintage G.I. Joe’s?

Last weekend I had to take a trip home for personal family related issues. My wife stayed home for a couple previous engagements, so I was able to think about going to my old house to find my Joes from when I was a kid. My wife isn’t exactly accepting of my harmless pastime, so I normally wouldn’t go hunting for old Joes with her around. The thought had crossed my mind several times to look for them, but I could never break free to look, so I finally got my golden opportunity. Now you might be wondering why it was so hard to go try and find them. The house I grew up in is still owned by my parents, but now pretty much an old storage facility. Abandoned and undisturbed the house sits vacant, packed with mounds of junk. I was staying with my brother in the small town of Keene in the heart of the Adirondack mountains. 

On Saturday morning I woke up and headed up to “The Hill” (as we called it when we were kids.) There I poked around the yard and looked at the vast amount of abandoned cars and trailers now packed with junk. I made my way to the back door of the house, which happened to be the main entrance, stopping for a moment at the Kitchen window recalling playing with Tomax and Xamot there in the back yard. Their rope tied from the window to the propane tank. It was such a great time as they slid down the zip line, smells of apple pie came from the window and filled the cool crisp fall air. As my brain adjusts back to the present moment I was in, the house now more of a decaying mater waiting for me to enter the past I had left behind so many years ago. Walking through the kitchen into the living room cautious to take light steps and make sure there was solid floor for me to walk on. I climb the stairway to the 2 bedrooms I shared with my 3 brothers.

Memories of Tecmo bowl, Madden football, and MLB on the Nintendo fill my brain. I look around to see where my childhood Joes may have been stuck. Old closets stuffed with junk, both rooms piled with stuff left behind by all my siblings, but I looked at the space above an addition my father had put on the house when I was a teenager. It was supposed to become the living room but was never finished. The space above, little more than a crawl space that once was my room only because I was so desperate to not have to share a room with a sibling, now sat with a piece of plywood hinged and hooked shut with a bent nail. This was probably the spot, but as I go to open the door, it is screwed shut. Once I find a screwdriver I was able to open the door and climb up in. I felt like Mike Wolfe from American Pickers looking for some old Indian motor cycle parts. I’m crawling over piles of junk and have cobwebs in my hair and on my clothes. 

There on the right I spot a box of my old stuff. The box was deteriorated but there they were, mostly parts and pcs, but a few vehicles in good enough shape to find parts for. For me though it wasn’t about the vehicles being complete and in great condition. For me it was a very emotional moment of holding the vehicles that I had as a kid. The vehicles that made me love G.I Joe so much. The reason I woke up early on Christmas day, probably the reason I didn’t have a girl friend in high school. As I pick through I find a few garbage bags and load them up. While sifting through other boxes to make sure I got everything, I put myself into an asthma attack. It was worth it though, as I carried them out packed them in my car and tried to catch my breath, memories brought me back to a hard upbringing. One that wasn’t filled with everything I ever wanted, but one that was filled with everything my parents and grand parents could afford. At that moment I realized how lucky I was. How lucky I was to get what I did and how hard people had to work back then to afford such luxuries as toys. I found a lot of peace from my past that day. A very simple thing that had been sitting there for 20 years or so, and I think it gave me some closer to have those memories of all the good times. I was holding onto all the negative things in my childhood and it really made me rethink how a look at my childhood, and realize that it really wasn’t all that bad and I’m glad to have these G.I. Joe’s back in hand now as a reminder of that.

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