The other day I wrote on a wing and a whim … and misremembering.
Or as Prufrock put it, quoting Woman —
That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.
Nearly nothing I recalled happened in that way.
Except of course the recalling. And a bit more.
- Wasn’t a Twilight Zone reboot but Spielberg’s Amazing Stories
- Didn’t begin in the 150s but the 1930s
- The kid loved comic books, not toys, per se.
His mother wanted him to read a medical book, his father later wanted him to get a job.
So he goes outside with her choice and falls asleep under a tree. The troll in the tree [!] who made no appearance whatsoever in my recall, tells him to follow his bliss: listen to Mother Nature, not your mum, is the counsel.
The world needs dreamers, the troll ads.
[Did no one ever warn this kid about trolls? Well, I suppose his folks wd not have one, wd perhaps not have even heard of them, and certainly wd not believe in them.]
He gets two jobs, which pleases his parents for the moment, but it is only to buy an Auburn Roadster, not go to college. The Auburn was the American Rolls-Royce, it seems; a Google search turns up info that it sold for about 90% of the average annual income at the time.
You’re killing your father, his mother tells him.
He’s killing himself, is the young man’s retort.
I got more wrong — we see him in 1955 and then a bit later, but not as late as I’d put it. He’s kicked out of the last place he lives — he is squatting in a shack and there is a nasty developer involved who, with reason I cannot fathom, has his two kids along with him, when he comes to kick the guy out.
The troll reappears with more advice; the now-old man wants zip of it, from the sweet-faced Don Quixote [who] ruined my life.
But later, it all comes out in roughly the way I said — someone finds, in the back of the dusty and beat-up Auburn an antique teapot/pitcher, a Toby, for which she claims to be willing to pay $10,000.
In the account, the old man lets her take the pot and come back with a check. This was sorta baffling to me, but hey, it’s television. And in the event there ends up being an auction, and there’s a photo of Lefty Grove from 1931 — also baffling: he didn’t know it was valuable? — and even the Auburn, with more than a bit of TLC no doubt sells for $200K.
To that troll.
As I said: TV.
[Another Google search gives the current price of an Auburn, which had gone out of business / been bought four years after the kid bought his model, as $100,000.]
The comic books by then are rare as well.
And as Harry Lime once said, there’s a woman involved.
Well, I got ‘Mark Hamill getting rich on old junk’ right. And Royal Dano is the dad. And what must be an early Forest Whitaker sighting.
[Except I don’t really recall Whitaker’s early career that closely.]
Oh! — and it was Las Vegas, and there are collectibles guys who offer to buy the whole trove … but this gets confusing … because it’s after that the auction takes place … So he didn’t sell to Whitaker and pal?
Maybe just the comic books.
The boy is called Jonathan Quick; not bad, tho he is preternaturally aware — or is it simply precocious, and proper to the story? — for a boy his age.
That reading thing is a bit ironic for me — I might’ve chosen medical over comics — now also graphic novels. Except I liked Maus and others of the latter type I’ve read.
Eliot wrote it in 1911, published it in 1915. He’d moved to England in 1914 — the same year, as it happens, image used for this post depicts.
Tell the story — as best you can.
Unlike Prufrock, don’t be afraid.